Okay...enough being selfish and self-indulgent. The blog-vacation is over! It's time to get some new food news up here at Eat.Drink.Think., because it's not like I've been going hungry these past couple of weeks. Last night was case in point. Mom's birthday dinner (btw- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM...I love you!), where the main course was my famously perfect rotisserie roast chicken, along with a side of chopped Caprese salad, and a decadent creamy polenta with mascarpone which is as rich and wonderfully sinful as it sounds!
But my sharing moment today has to do with our pre-dinner cocktail snack and our dessert, both of which were awesome uses of some of the seasons best fresh produce. For our app, we had a great guacamole, which was one of the best versions of this standard dish I've ever had. Inspired by a recipe from Saveur Magazine, this is, as they called it, the World's Best Guacamole. Instead of mushing up the avocado this recipe preserves it in a more chunky form, making it much more interesting texturally. Plus it gives me a chance to use my heavyweight mortar and pestle (I bought the 9" by the way...size matters!), which if you don't have one is a must, not only for your kitchen, but for your own peace of mind.
Then after all the wonderful flavors that were mom's birthday feast, we finished with w's now signature seasonal treat, blueberries and peaches in a balsamic syrup. Fabulous fresh flavors, and this never fails to get raves, I promise. Both these recipes are way too easy, and will absolutely rock your next dinner party!
The World's Greatest Guacamole
adapted from Saveur Magazine
3 medium hass avocados (firmly ripe)
3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons packed chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
1 tablesppon chopped jalapeno
1 teaspoon salt
1-In large mortar or molcajete, grind salt, one tablespoon onion, one tablespoon cilantro, and jalapeno into a paste.
2-Half avocados, carefully remove pit, and score each half four times both directions being careful not to cut through peel. Then scoop out meat from each half into mortar and carefully fold into paste, keeping avocado as intact as possible.
3-Fold in remaining ingredients, mix well, season with more salt of necessary, and serve! ********************
Balsamic Blueberries and Peaches
adapted from epicurious
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 cups blueberries (about 1 lb)
1 lb peaches or nectarines, sliced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
Boil 3 tablespoons sugar with vinegar, and 1 cup blueberries in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Combine remaining 2 cups blueberries with peach slices in a large bowl. Toss with hot blueberry syrup and black pepper, then add sugar to taste. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes.
*Cooks note: Vary sugar depending how sweet and ripe your fruit is.
Makes 4 servings.