Sauces / Condiments

Fresh Avocado Preserve

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Florida Choquette Avocado

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Here in Florida we have wonderful locally grown Florida Choquette Avocados available, which generally are much larger than the typical California varieties and about 20% less oily.
The texture, smell and taste is also different, and I prefer them to Haas anytime. (Of course, this is a personal preference and not based on quality)
Nowadays, most of us have a wide range of avocado types to pick from, since we are able to buy produce from different parts of the Country and even from around the World during most of the year.
However, when Avocados are in season in Florida, they are VERY cheap and one can buy very large ones for about a dollar a piece. They are usually sold fresh of the tree, which means they are not yet ripe and will need a few more days in your kitchen before they are ready to eat. So far so good, but many times in the past, for whatever reason, when I did not get a chance to eat them on time, they got overripe and the flesh brown and inedible. I hate to throw food away, but for me, until recently, there was no other option. Then, two weeks ago, I again had avocados which needed to be consumed within 24 hours or they would turn bad (I had them on the cupboard for more than a week).
I used my thinking cap for a moment and came up with this simple solution to the problem – preserve them in EVO 🙂
Today, two weeks later, I still had some of it left and used it for a dish of pasta with avocado and sambal. The avocado looked, smelled and tasted as fresh as they did two weeks ago, with no deterioration whatsoever.

Avocado problem – solved !!! 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Avocado  on  ChefsOpinion
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Fresh Avocado Preserve

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Preparation :
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remove the flesh from 2 ea large choquette avocados (or equal quantity of avocado of your choice), add 1/2 cup EVO, 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, 1 tblsp chili paste, 1 tsp garlic paste and kosher salt to taste

add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, mash all ingredients coarsely together, check / adjust seasoning; toss with pasta, spread on toasted bread, as salad topping and as condiment for eggs, meat, seafood

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Fresh Avocado Preserve

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Fresh Avocado Preserve

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Fresh Avocado Preserve

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Fresh Avocado Preserve

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last, top the avocados with 1/2 inch of EVO to completely seal the preserve; re-seal when removing part of the preserve; keep inside of the container above the preserve absolutely clean

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See you again in 2018……….

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Dear Friends,
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.I am spending the next three weeks in Argentina, visiting friends, eating (mostly) parilla and drinking (mostly) red wine.
Since I am living with friends who keep me busy 24/7 🙂 , I will not post my usual three or four posts per week during this time.
However, I have a surplus of about 50 dishes/post’s I have cooked and photographed in the past few months, which I will post as soon as I’ll return to Florida in mid- January, together with the new stuff I’ll produce when I will be back in my own kitchen.
Until then, here is a preview of a small selection of dishes waiting to be published. Hope to see you all again in 2018 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Mexican Treasures – Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

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For  me, these three condiments are not to be missed to accompany any Mexican-style meal I prepare at home. In my opinion, they also fit very well with a wide range of dishes of non-Mexican cuisine from around the world. They pair nicely with steaks, schnitzel, sandwiches, salads, meat, seafood, vegetables, eggs, etc.
In fact, I usually have at least a small bowl of one or two or sometimes all three of them in my fridge. I prep them once a week, then serve them with a variety of different dishes, be it for breakfast (without the onions), lunch or dinner.
Sometimes, just these three goodies, together with a bunch of tortillas or on a slice of toast or grilled sour dough bread, make a perfect, tasty and quick meal 🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
I did not include measurements for these recipes since I believe you should add ingredients according to the ratios you personally prefer 🙂
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Mexican Treasures - Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

Mexican Treasures – Guacamole, Escabeche De Cebolla, Salsa Mexicana

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Salsa Mexicana

Salsa Mexicana

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Guacamole

Guacamole

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Escabeche De Cebolla

Escabeche De Cebolla

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Kecap Manis

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Kecap Manis

Kecap Manis


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Kecap manis  (ketjap manis), pronounced KEH-chup MAH-nees is an Indonesian sweet soy sauce with a molasses consistency and a dark brown color.
Sometimes flavored with garlic, star anise, chili, five spice powder, etc, the sauce is more syrupy than commonplace soy sauce. Sold in most Asian markets, kecap manis can be used as a condiment or marinade for satay’s and grilled meats or as a dipping sauce. Basically just sweetened soy sauce, it is by far the most popular type of soy sauce used in Indonesian cuisine, where it plays a important role in signature dishes, such as nasi goreng, mie goreng, satay, tongseng and semur.
Sambal kecap is a type of sambal dipping sauce of kecap manis with sliced chili, tomato and shallot, a popular for sate kambing (goat meat satay) and ikan bakar (grilled fish/seafood).
Since soy sauce is of Chinese origin, kecap asin is also an important seasoning in Chinese Indonesian cuisine. It is also a staple ingredient in many other traditional dishes of Indonesia.

Kecap manis is also a staple in my kitchen. I use it mainly for my “lazy meal” day’s, when much cooking is not on my list and a simple plate of stir fried vegetables with mushrooms, noodles or rice mixed with kecap manis, garlic and chili is all that’s on the menu for a quick yet satisfying dinner. I usually have both store-bought and homemade kecap manis in the fridge. When a original recipe calls for it, I use the more complex store-bought version which usually contains star anis, garlic and sometimes other flavor agents.
On the other hand, if I prepare a “lazy meal”, the simple home-made version described below suits me better. I’s not a question of quality but rather a personal taste-preference 🙂
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Happy Cooking !   Life is Good !

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P.S.
If you decide to prepare this homemade version of ketsap manis, I highly recommend that you don’t leave the sauce unattended while simmering. If it boils over, the high sugar content makes it a nuisance to clean off the stove 🙂 😦
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mix 2 cup cane sugar with 2 cups soy sauce

mix 2 cup cane sugar with 2 cups soy sauce

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bring sauce to a VERY SLOW simmer

bring sauce to a VERY SLOW simmer

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while simmering, skim off all foam that rises to the top; cook sauce until it has the texture of syrup, let cool; it will then further thicken to the texture of thick molasses

while simmering, skim off all foam that rises to the top; cook sauce until it has the texture of syrup, let cool; it will then further thicken to the texture of thick molasses

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Kecap Manis

Kecap Manis

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The >OTHER< Kraut

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Bayerisches Kraut  (Bavarian Cabbage) is the lesser known cousin of  Sauerkraut. Also made of shredded white cabbage, it is prepared from fresh, (not fermented) cabbage and its main characteristic is the inclusion of caramelized sugar and caraway seeds, which gives the dish its distinctive flavor and color. In my opinion, the only reason  Bayerisches Kraut  is not as popular as Sauerkraut stems from the fact that you can’t buy cabbage ready-sliced and therefore the extra work to do that prevents most home cooks to prepare this great dish. But let me assure you, the few minutes it takes to slice the cabbage are well worth the trouble and you will be rewarded with an extraordinary, flavorful dish which pair’s great with pork and game dishes.
Today I served my  Bayerisches Kraut  with  Eisbein, another one of my  “can’t live without it  ”  favorites 🙂
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for another version of Bayerisches Kraut
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Click here for Krautsalat (German Cabbage Slaw)
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Click here for German/Vietnamese Cabbage Rolls
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Click here for Sauerkraut on ChefsOpinion
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P.S.
As one reader has pointed out (thank you Sherry), you CAN get shredded cabbage at the supermarket. However, it is usually shredded very fine and therefore NOT suitable for Bayerisches Kraut.
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Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

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Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

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Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

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Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

Eisbein Mit Bayerischem Kraut, Senf & Meerrettich

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Easy Does It # 29 – Home Made Chile Oil

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You  might ask yourself what’s the point in making your own chile oil, since you can buy it everywhere? The simple answer is quality and heat-level, since you have control of the quality of the chiles you use as well as the quantity of seeds you incorporate, by buying your own Chinese Red Peppers.  (Or Tianjin Pepper, sometimes you’ll also find them referenced as Tientsin Peppers, named after the province in China where they are native). They closely resemble Cayenne and Japones Chiles and come in at between 50,000 – 70,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). There are approximately 50 to 60 chiles per ounce. As with all chiles, the seeds pack most of the heat and the seeds can quickly overpower the fruit’s flavor. You might want to remove some of the seeds from the fruit in order to tone down the heat a bit. If you use the chile oil as dipping oil, you might also want to add some cinnamon and star anise for extra flavor to steep in the oil before straining. I have added neither, since I mostly use my chile oil as cooking oil and add additional flavors to the individual dishes during preparation as required.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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remove stems from chiles

remove stems from chiles

cook in peanut oil until starting to change color, remove from heat

cook in peanut oil until starting to change color, remove from heat

put oil with chiles in blender, blend until chiles are finely ground

put oil with chiles in blender, blend until chiles are finely ground

let steep overnight

let steep overnight

strain through fine mesh sieve

strain through fine mesh sieve

Home Made Chile Oil

Home Made Chile Oil

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