Guacamole – the simpler the better

Before I went to Mexico first time I had been convinced that my guacamole with garlic, scallion and parsley is really good. Then, I discovered the whole spectrum of recipes… better ones.

There is probably no need of telling more about the guacamole itself. This traditional Mexican sauce is well-known in Europe and in the USA it’s even more present in the kitchens than here.

The recipe I’m sharing here comes from my friend from East Lansing, Michigan, who is one of the best cooks I ever met.

You will need only four ingredients: avocado, lime, tomato purée and salt, although you may add also some freshly grounded black pepper. Below some explanations:

AVOCADO: Well, without avocado it won’t work at all. I don’t have any specific sort of avocado to recommend. Whether green or violet, as far as it’s ripe it will taste good!

LIME: Use rather freshly pressed lime and not lemon juice. The taste is really different. Be careful. It’s better to taste your guacamole a few times after having added some lime and before adding more than to put too much at once and ruin the whole sauce.

TOMATO: A little bit of sieved tomatoes makes your guacamole better. Tomato adds a sweeter note to the sauce and offers a counterbalance for the sour lime juice and the salt. One or two tablespoons of tomato purée (passata) should be enough for a sauce made out of one avocado fruit. Too much tomato renders the color undefined and guacamole can lose its appetizing fresh green character.

SALT: Some salt is necessary and you can use whatever salt you have, but consider that the quality of salt can really influence the final effect. My first pick is always fleur de sel (French for flower of salt). Usually I use Slovenian solni cvet from ‘Piranske Soline’. I mentioned it already in my post from October 24. There are also many other great products like ‘Sal de Ibiza’ (Spain) or ‘Sale di Cervia’ (Italy).

Mix it all together and enjoy!

If you wish to have something healthier than nachos, also Swedish knäckebröd (crisp bread or hard bread) works well.

Mussels & French fries

Last week I heard that the French eat mussels with fries. This may be obvious to all those who are constant visitors in France or French restaurants. I’m not. But I was happy to have learnt something new. Yesterday I found mussels at a good price and decided to prepare them by myself – this was the first time for me. That’s why I had to inform myself about the preparation of this yummy shellfish species. In the shop they advised me to boil them for 3 to 5 minutes.  But I also consulted the treasury of wisdom: Internet! Since as everyone I have my prejudices, I looked for ideas on Italian not German websites. Here in the North, we are not the masters of seafood preparation 🙂

So, here the results of my research: a traditional recipe from Southern Italy. I tried it out and the mussels were delicious…

http://ricette.giallozafferano.it/Impepata-di-cozze.html

I guess the video makes it possible to understand the recipe even without speaking Italian.

Obviously, I don’t post any recipe for French fries… but believe me, it is a good combination!!!

Sage wine

Sage wine, in German: Salbeiwein, is considered to be a traditional remedy for indigestion, stomach trouble, flatulence, excessive sweating, inflammation in mouth and throat, as well as bad breath (halitosis). But – to be honest – it is so tasty that you can enjoy a sip with your friends, even without all the health problems named above.

All you need to prepare it are ten fresh sage leaves (big ones), 1 l of semidry white wine and 4 cl of cognac/brandy. If possible use also some sage blooms, but just a few.

Cut the leaves in thin stripes and put, together with the blooms, into the white wine. Keep it for a night in a closed bottle or another container. The next day, you need to filtrate the wine and add the cognac, since the oxidation process must be stopped. Otherwise your wine will turn into vinegar soon.

Whether used as medicine or just to enjoy, it’s better to serve it cold and drink slowly in small sips.

Onion marmalade

Marmellata di cipolle (onion marmalade) is a very simple in preparation but incredibly fascinating by its taste company for good cheese, especially hard cheese types like pecorino, parmigiano (Parmesan), gruyère or the original British cheddar.

Although the very idea of cooking marmalade out of onions may sound for many people discouraging, you will be surprised by the result. First time I tried it on a piece of pecorino, I got excited by this completely unusual and unidentifiable spread. I suspected everything in that but onion.

The marmalade should be actually cooked from the red onion from Tropea (a community in Calabria). This is a very popular kind of onion in Italy, bigger and sweeter than the red onion known in many other European countries, but I’m afraid that it’s virtually impossible to find it outside of the Bel Paese. So, let’s stick to the red onion we can get in a usual supermarket, wherever in the world.

I’m presenting you a recipe I got from Nicoletta, my friend from Bologna. We need 1 kg of red onion, a little bit of red wine (2-4 tablespoons) and sugar, at least 150 g. Basically, you can substitute red wine with white one, but the red wine helps to emphasize the color of the onions, making it deeper.

Well, so chop the onion, and let it simmer with the 2-4 tablespoons of wine in a covered pot. You don’t need to add any water or oil as onion will lose its juice, which is enough to stew it without any risk of burning. Once the onion has become soft and has lost its red color, you can add sugar. Start with 150 g. Usually it’s more than enough, but if you are not satisfied with the sweetness of the stew, add more sugar. Nicoletta said that, in some cases, even another 150 g of sugar might be needed. This, however, has never happened to me. Now, leave the onions to caramelize and the juice to evaporate. It will take at least an hour. Stir it from time to time, especially in the very end when the stew is getting thicker. The consistence of the marmalade should be dense and pretty dry, even more than powidl.

Marmellata di cipolle can be preserved as all other marmalades.