Chunky Guacamole


I never liked guacamole as a kid. In fact I only just started coming around to avocados a few years ago. I think that’s because the avocados we can get here in Wisconsin aren’t the greatest. Even when soft and ripe, they’re generally bland. I’ve been told that in places like California, they’re much more flavorful. I’ll have to take their word for it.

So, I prefer my guacamole to be a pico-like salsa with creamy avocado as a binder. Lots of tomato, white onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice are key, as far as I’m concerned. Even if you mash the avocados smoothly, it’ll still be chunky. I’m still not a fan of the totally smooth stuff with little else in it besides avocados.

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Texas Caviar


Hi Blog, how’s it going? Long time no see!

Sorry for the lack of updates, everyone. Life’s been busy. And unfortunately, life comes before blog.

But fortunately, I have a couple recipes stocked up, so even though I haven’t been cooking much, I have something to post about! Three cheers for planning ahead for just these moments.

I’m not really sure why Texas caviar is called Texas caviar…You’d think Texans would love regular caviar. They like expensive things, right? Maybe the tiny little fish eggs go against their “Everything’s bigger in Texas” motto. So they decided to substitute with slightly bigger beans and veggies? Yeah, I don’t know either.

No matter why it’s named what it’s named, it’s delicious. I think of it more as a salsa or chip dip than a salad, even though it’s got a bit of a salad dressing going on. I think traditionally, black eyed peas are used, but I’m a fan of black beans, so I used them instead. Plus I upped the salsa quotient by adding lime juice, cilantro and serranos. If you’ve got access to good ripe summer tomatoes, use those. I didn’t get a chance to go to the farmer’s market before making this, and the grocery store had anemic tomatoes, so I ended up using a can of small diced tomatoes. It was all right, but I’d prefer fresh next time.

Texas Caviar

2 cans black beans or black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
Fresh corn from 1-2 ears
3 roma tomatoes or 1 large heirloom or 1 can small diced tomatoes
2-3 minced serranos
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T red wine vinegar
juice of 1-2 limes
6 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients and let it hang out in the fridge for a couple hours before serving. Or, you know, don’t. I didn’t. It’s good no matter what.

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Picnic time! – Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad


When I was in college, we had a little cafe in one of our academic buildings that served cilantro petso pasta salad. I love regular pesto, but I really love cilantro, so it’s a perfect fit. I made a standard cilantro pesto and added some veggies for crunch and color. Tasty!

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta, I used campanelle
~3 c cilantro (about 1.5 bunches)
5 T olive oil
juice of half a lime
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/3 c parmesan
1/4 c skinned almonds or walnuts
1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 c sweet corn

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, but slightly undercook (it will soften more as it chills). Rinse under cold water and let sit at room temperature until ready to make the salad.

2. Put garlic, cilantro, nuts, olive oil, lime juice and parmesan into blender. Pulse until smooth. Add water if necessary to thin.

3. Combine pasta with pesto and veggies. Add S+P to taste. Chill until ready to use!

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Chipotle Chicken Pasta


This is not exactly what you would consider a healthy dish. Though, it does get veggie-haters to eat a good amount of veggies. So maybe the veggies even out the massive amount of heavy cream….right?!

Chipotle Chicken Pasta

1 lb short pasta, I use penne
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c heavy cream
1 c milk
4-6 chipotles in adobo
1 small onion
2 T tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large handfuls frozen peas
To garnish: chopped cilantro, green onions and parmesan

1. Cook pasta to al dente, timing it so the pasta is complete around the same time the sauce is ready.

2. Using a stick blender, or a blender jar, combine the seeded chipotles and milk until thick and foamy.

3. Clean and chop the chicken. Brown over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add onions, garlic and red bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Add tomato pasteĀ  and cook until caramelized, about a minute. Add milk and chipotle mixture and bring to a simmer.

4. When the pasta has 6 or 7 minutes of cooking time left, add the asparagus and the chicken to the pan with the chipotle mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cream and peas, simmer until asparagus is tender and sauce is thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning to taste. Combine the sauce with the drained pasta. Top each plate with green onions, cilantro and parmesan, to taste.

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