Category Archives: Appetizer

Flavors from Afar & FM 1410


If you’ve been keeping up with my artizone  posts, the site will launch next month!  Which means, you have only about two more weeks until you’ll be able to have the best artisan products in the city delivered to your front door.  This week I am featuring Flavors from Afar and FM 1410 — two well known names in Dallas.

At Flavors from Afar, the adventuresome duo Nancy and Gary  carries the best  artisan products imported from Italy.  You are able to taste a little part of Italy through the culinary gems that Flavors from Afar has to offer — like the fragrant olive oils of Tuscany or the bold and fruity balsamic vinegars from Modena. Flavors From Afar offers products that makes entertaining elegant and simple — as the Italians would say: Buon Appetito!!

The top chefs of Dallas know Tom well for his fresh herbs and produce.  With a beautiful garden tucked away in the middle of downtown, the treasures from Tom’s garden will redefine anyone’s definition of “fresh”. At FM 1410 it truly is a farm to table experience — full of flavor, life and most importantly, love. 

With the combination of these artisan powers I created these wonderful mini pizzettes — Bacon & Caramelized Onion with Arugula, Basil and Almond Pesto with Red Pepper and Thyme Lobster Mushroom drizzled with Balsamic.  These pizzettes would make a great appetizer or a wonderful afternoon snack.  Not to mention they are also quite healthy (except for the bacon..O_o) and dairy-free!

Ingredients for Mini Pizzettes: (serves 8-10)

  • 12 ounces pizza dough (You can find my pizza dough recipe here or buy storebought dough)

Preheat the oven to 475 F.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 1/4-inch-thick round.  Using a 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out 30 dough circles.  Arrange the circles on 2 large heavy baking sheets (make sure you put semolina on the bottom of the pan to keep the dough from sticking).

Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup high quality Olive Oil (I used Ariston from Flavors from Afar)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Process the garlic, basil and almonds in a food processor.  Pulse until all ingredients are thoroughly chopped, scrapping down the sides as neccessary.  While running the processor, slowly pour in the 1/2 cup olive oil until it reaches the right consistency, you can add more olive oil as needed.  Set aside.

 

Thyme Lobster Mushroom

  • 8 oz Lobster Mushroom, thinly sliced (you can find these at FM 1410)
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 oz Madeira or a sweet cooking wine
  • 2 oz fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 oz high quality Balsamic vinegar (you can find these at Flavors from Afar)
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan on medium high heat and melt the butter til it’s bubbling.  Add in the garlic, shallot and sliced mushrooms and sautee until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add in the wine and thyme and cook until liquid is soaked up, taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Carmelized Onion & Bacon

  • 6 oz bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • salt pepper to taste

Heat a large pan on medium high heat add the bacon and cook for 1 minute.  Add the sliced onions and reduce heat to medium.  Caramelize the onions with the bacon, about 8 minutes.   Add the honey and apple cider vinegar and cook until liquid is reduced, add salt pepper to taste.  Set aside

To assemble pizzas

Using the three toppings you’ve made, place them on the pizza dough rounds (about 1 tsp for each).  Bake until the pizzettes are golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Drizzle the pizzettes with olive oil.  For the Bacon Onion and Arugula, simply add some fresh arugula on top and serve.  For the Thyme Lobster Mushroom, drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top and serve.  For the Basil Almond Pesto, add the sliced red pepper and fresh basil leaves for garnish and serve. 

Scardello Artisan Cheese and JJ&B Artisan Spreads


So it’s time to join me on a food adventure where we will tour the top artisans in Dallas that will be featured through Artizone — this week I will be featuring Scardello Artisan Cheese and JJ&B Artisan Spreads.

Scardello Artisan Cheese, rated by D magazine for Best Cheesemonger has a selection that would impress even the pickiest foodie. Rich searches for the best European and local cheeses in so many different varieties that the combinations seem endless.  At JJ&B, Kathy makes magical combinations through her artisan spreads — Apple Pie Jam perfect over ice cream or Sweet Onion Jam to garnish a steak.  It adds the perfect touch of elegance and wonder into any meal or dessert.

I decided to combine their artisan powers and produced two simple recipes.  Using a creamy brie from Jasper Hill Farms in Vermont, the Moses Sleeper has a mild, gentle and savory flavor that taste of milk, hay and butter.  I melted the brie and paired it with JJ&B’s Toasted Pecan Pepper Jam and crackers– a simple, elegant, heavenly appetizer that would serve well for any occasion.  I also made beggar’s purses made of phyllo which I stuffed with goat cheese and JJ&B’s Sweet Onion Jam.  A sweet and savory combination that would please any crowd!

Ingredients for Warm Brie and Toasted Pecan Pepper Jam Appetizer: (serves 10-12)

  • 1 lb Scardello’s Moses Sleeper Brie
  • 1 jar  JJ&B Toasted Pecan Pepper Jam
  • crackers for dipping

Preheat oven to 350F.  On an oven-proof plate, place the Brie in the oven for 5 minutes or until fully melted.  Place jar of Toasted Pecan Pepper Jam on top and serve with assortment of crackers.  Best served immediately.

Ingredients for Beggar’s Purses with Goat Cheese and Sweet Onion Jam: (serves 10)

  • 1 package of Phyllo dough
  • 16 oz Scardellos’ On Pure Ground Goat Cheese
  • 1 jar JJ&B Sweet Onion Jam
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 package of chives, blanched

Cut the phyllo dough into 3″ squares and brush with melted butter.  In each square place 1 tablespoon goat cheese with 1 teaspoon sweet onion jam.  Gather phyllo around filling and tie 1 or 2 blanched chives in a knot to close the purse.  Trim the ends of chives if necessary.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until phyllo is a golden brown in color.  Serve immediately.

Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese


As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Nature’s Pride Multigrain bread and was asked to create an award winning recipe that would win me a trip to San Francisco to attend the 2nd annual Foodbuzz festival.  Seeing that I absolutely adore San Francisco and I love to eat and drink (ALOT), what other choice did I have but to take a shot and enter?


Now last year, right after I became a featured publisher on Foodbuzz I found out about the festival and by that time it was too late.  This year, with purchasing a new home and planning a wedding, my funds have become dismal, insufficient, practically…nonexistent.   I realize the only way that I can get my happy ass butt out there is through this contest.  Now that wasn’t a sob story to make you feel sorry for me and pick me (…not that I’d mind by any means) but I hope my recipe inspires people to look at sliced bread in a different way….an elegant way.

I chose to make hor d’oeuvres as preparation for my housewarming this weekend and kept the following things in mind:

  • – simple preparation
  • – minimal cleanup
  • – delicious flavors
  • – beautiful presentation

So I came up with Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese! These little morsels are packed with flavors that will be a hit at any party or soiree — just be sure to make extra because they’ll be gone in a heartbeat.  Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients for Ribeye Crostinis with Caramelized Onions and Bleu Cheese:(serves 12)

  • 6 slices of Nature’s Pride Wholegrain Bread
  • 8 oz ribeye
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz container bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup field greens
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter and once bubbling add the sliced onions.  Allow onions to caramelize, about 4-5 minutes.  Do not move the onions around too much, this slows down the caramelizing process — stir every couple of minutes and once done, set aside.

Start searing the ribeye next.  Heat a skillet at medium high heat with a tablespoon of butter, sprinkle each side of the steak generously with kosher salt and pepper and once the pan is hot and butter is bubbling, sear each side of the steak — about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat and place the steak on a pan in a toaster oven at 400F for an additional 4 minutes.  Set aside for 5 minutes to allow juices in the meat to settle.

Meanwhile, prep your bread and salad greens.  Using a 1 1/2″ circle cutter, cut out two circles from each slice of Nature’s Pride Multigrain Bread and using the skillet that the steak was cooked in, melt an additional tablespoon of butter at medium low heat and toast each side of the bread pieces, about a minute on each side.  Mix greens in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Thinly slice ribeye steak and place ontop of the toasted Nature’s Pride crostinis.  Garnish with greens and top with caramelized onions and bleu cheese crumbles.  Serve immediately.

Pairs well with a sweet Riesling or a smooth Merlot.

—–

Hope you guys enjoy my recipe.  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

FoodBuzz 24,24,24,: Awesome Rawsome – A 5 course Raw Food Dinner


As celebration of FoodBuzz’s new Healthbuzz section, I wanted to discover the mysteries of the Raw Food diet.  This month, FoodBuzz selected my proposal for 24,24,24  I decided to invite a group of my friends and together we explored the beauties of eating raw through a 5 course meal. Does that sound Awesome Rawsome?  I think so.

This was probably one of the most challenging menus for me to think of — I mean eating RAW? I am use to the heat of the kitchen, the sounds of oil sizzling in a pan but no, not this time.  One of the main rules of eating raw is nothing is cooked above 118F, any temperature above that will begin breaking down the natural enzymes in fruits and vegetables. Now many of you are thinking — So what? but because of the degradation of these enzymes, it forces our bodies to generate the enzymes necessary to digest cooked food. Our bodies are unable to produce enzymes in perfect combinations to metabolize our foods as completely as the food enzymes created by nature do. As a result, starches, proteins and partially digested fats can cause blockage to your body’s intestinal tract and arteries leading to health challenges such as high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.

I used Raw, a cookbook written by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein, as guidance through my exploration of raw foods.  They included this example about Eskimos and their raw diet:

The Eskimos are a remarkable example of the transformative power of enzymes.  The word Eskimo means one who eats raw. While living for centuries on a diet that consisted primarily of raw whale or seal blubber, Eskimos developed no arteriosclerosis and experienced almost no incidence of heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.  Established nutritional doctrine would predict a high rate of these ailments given the diet, but even blubber will digest itself completely if it is not cooked since its enzymes are intact.  Once you heat even the finest olive oil above 118F, you will not be able to digest it completely.  More important, many authorities believe that eating cooked foods depletes our finite enzyme reserve.  Proof of this effect is that an eighty-five-year-old has only one-thirtieth the enzyme activity level of an eighteen-year-old.  In other words, your enzyme reserve is slowly exhausted over a lifetime of eating cooked foods.”


I found this compelling, I never thought about the importance of eating foods raw.  I mean in my mind, raw food meant leafy salads and those party veggie trays, — food isn’t meant to be eaten raw, right?  I guess that’s why I had so much fun with this proposal I had to think of a 5 course menu consisting of all raw foods, made in different ways and in clever combinations to make my guests say — Wait, this is RAW? I could eat this!

To do this, the most important thing would be to pick good quality produce and discovering the beauty of fruits and vegetables in their natural state and using them in way that would enhance their flavors. An interesting fact I also learned when reading Raw, was our bodies’ struggle with digesting unsprouted nuts and seeds — nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from sprouting into a plant or tree; however, if they have been sprouted (soaked in water), these enzyme inhibitors will degrade and then our bodies are able to digest them naturally.

Maybe it may not be practical to say– I will eat raw for the rest of my life! In the society we live in today many of us are not able to do that.  However, I’m going to make a personal commitment to improve the quality of foods I place into my body.  Maybe as a start, I’ll start eating raw a couple nights a week, or making my meals half cooked and half raw either way, incorporating raw foods into my daily diet would never be detrimental to my health and would only improve it.  Our health is one of the few things we are able to control in our lives through daily practices of healthy eating habits and exercise; our bodies will take care of us if we take care of it.

In all of the food we eat, (fruits, vegetables, meats), there are natural food enzymes that are present in their raw state.  These enzymes are a perfect combination and fit to help our bodies digest it completely.  Enzymes act as catalysts for every metabolic reaction in our bodies: cell division, energy production, brain activity, which are essential to our mental and physical well-being.

“Nature in her never-ending perfection sees that all food, whether flesh, fruit, or vegetable, decomposes and returns to the earth from which it came.“ Roxanne Klein


Menu for Awesome Rawsome

Appetizer

Gazpacho Granita

relish of cucumber, red and yellow bell pepper and red onion

Soup

cream of corn soup with tomato basil lemon oil

Salad

heirloom tomatoes with arugula served with lemon tahini

Entrée

jicama ravioli with avocado crema and southwestern corn slaw

Dessert

watermelon medallions served with a tropical salsa in a chilled mango soup

Ingredients for Gazpacho Granita: (serves 4 to 6)

Granita

  • 2 pounds ripe sweet tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • ¾ tsp salt

Dressing

  • ¼ cup cold pressed olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Salad

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced

To make granita: Quarter tomatoes and puree in a food processor with sugar and garlic. Strain puree through a sieve to discard seeds. Stir in basil, lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Let mixture chill in refrigerator at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Pour the granita mixture into a wide and shallow container, such as a stainless steel baking dish (the shallower the container, the quicker the granite will freeze). Cover with a lid, foil, or plastic wrap. Freeze the mixture 1 to 2 hours, until it is solid around the edges.  Take the container out of the freezer and scrape the ice with a fork, mixing it from the edges into the center.

Repeat this scraping and mixing process every 30 minutes or so (at least three times) until the entire mixture has turned into small, sequined ice flakes.  When ready to serve, scrape with a fork to loosen the granita and spoon into serving dishes.

To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients until blended.  To assemble salad, in a large bowl combine all ingredients; add dressing and toss to coat.  Spoon granita on center of serving dishes.  Arrange salad evenly around each.

Ingredients for Cream of Corn Soup: (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • 4 cups sweet corn kernels
  • 2 cup filtered water
  • ½ avocado
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place ingredients in a large bowl and using a blender or hand held blender, puree until it is a smooth consistency.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove skin of kernels and taste with salt and pepper.


Garnish for Corn Soup:

  • ½ cup sweet corn kernels
  • ¼ cup julienned jicama
  • ¼ cup microgreens
  • 4 tsp tomato basil lemon oil


Ingredients for Tomato Basil Lemon Oil:

  • ½ pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups cold pressed olive oil
  • ¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest


Slice the tomatoes in half crosswise (through the equator) and gently squeeze out the seeds; discard them.  Working in a large bowl, rub the cut sides of the tomatoes across the large holes of a metal grater so that the flesh is coarsely grated but the skin remains intact in your hand.  Discard the skin.

Combine the tomatoes, oil, basil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a large bowl.  Place at room temperature for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, before using.  Strain and spoon the oil off any juices into clean, dry jar.  The oil will keep in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month  Bring to room temperature about ½ hour before serving.

To assemble soup, pour corn soup into bowls and garnish with jicama and corn mixture.  Drizzle with tomato lemon basil oil and top with microgreens.

Ingredients for Heirloom Tomatoes with Lemon Tahini: (Makes 4-6 servings)

  • ½ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • 8 medium heirloom tomatoes, washed and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 3 cups Arugula
  • 1lemon,, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Freshly ground pepper


In the bowl of a food processor, place tahini, half the lemon zest, and lemon juice; pulse to combine. With the motor running, add 7 to 8 tbsp cold water and continue to process until mixture is thick and smooth. Add salt to taste, and refrigerate until cold.

Bring tahini to room temperature.Place arugula on a large platter and arrange tomatoes on top in a tight overlapping pattern; drizzle half the tahini over the tomatoes.  Scatter remaining lemon zest on top.  Tuck lemon slices around and between tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Serve remaining tahini on the side.

Ingredients for Jicama Ravioli: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 ½ medium-sized jicama, washed and peeled
  • 3 cups raw walnuts, sprouted
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Finely chop the walnuts and mix with chile, cumin powder and salt pepper to taste. Set aside. Take peeled jicama and cut into paper thin slices using either a sharp knife or mandoline.  Place in a large bowl of water with some fresh lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Ingredients for Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • ¼ cup jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp cilantro, minced
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and taste with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Avocado Crema:

  • 1 ½ avocado, pitted
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • Celtic salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Puree and strain ingredients into a large bowl, adjusting the consistency according to your preference–  if it’s too thin add more avocado, if it’s too thick add more water.  Adjust the flavors to your taste.

Take jicama slices and using a round cookie cutter, cut into desired sizes.  Lay one jicama round and spoon walnut mixture in the middle and top with another jicama slice.  Make 3-4 per plate and top with Corn Salsa and Avocado Crema.  Serve immediately.

Ingredients for Watermelon Medallions in a Chilled Mango Soup: (serves 4-6)

  • 4-6 Watermelon pieces cut into 4″ rounds 2″thick

Slice watermelon into 2″-thick slices and using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut out 4-6 rounds.  It would be preferable to use seedless watermelon so it is easier to eat for your guests.

Ingredients for Chilled Mango Soup:

  • 3 Champagne Mangoes
  • 1 ½ cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ vanilla bean

Peel and slice the mangoes, discarding the pit, and place in a large bowl with water and agave.  Using a blender or hand held blender, puree ingredients until nice and smooth.  Scrape vanilla beans from the pod and allow soup to chill for at least an hour.  To make mango stars, pour some of the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for 1-2 hours.


Ingredients for Tropical Fruit Salsa:

  • ½ pineapple, small-diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 mango, small-diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, crushed
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and allow fruit to macerate/marinate overnight. You may add a little agave or honey if the fruit is not sweet enough.

To assemble the dessert: place watermelon rounds in bowls and spoon chilled mango, filling bowls ¾ of the way.  Top with tropical fruit salsa and garnish with mint and frozen mango ice cube.

Holy Guacamole!


It’s crazy how fast time goes by when life becomes so busy you lose count of the days.  In just a blink of an eye, March is here, Spring has begun and I am on my way to Shanghai.  I can’t begin to express the utter excitement I am feeling now. I realize the older I become, the more I want to learn about the culture that I come from.

I realize the beauty of my original home, it seems that every time  I go back I grow to love it more and more.  I definitely had an adverse reaction when I went for the first time when I was 12.  Maybe it was the “awkward teenager” stage where everything sucks but I thought Shanghai was dirty, stinky and the people were rude, especially in traffic.  My second time I went back with my mom when I was a freshman in college.  I became much more immersed in the culture and felt more comfortable just being around the city.  I also randomly bumped into one of my close friends David (Hey Da ge!), while I was shopping with my mother in Cheng Huang Miao.  Funny story is, neither of us knew we would be in Shanghai then — all I heard was a familiar voice say “Joy??” The minute I saw him I started screaming and hitting him with excitement (his mother probably thought I was crazy) but I just couldn’t believe my eyes!  Truly, what a small world!!   We later met up and went to a bar, and at the time I felt super cool being  able to roam the city at night (by myself!), not only hanging out with people my age but being able to drink at bars (the drinking age was 18).  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a Paris Hilton kind of night but we definitely had our fun dancing to ridiculously mixed American pop music and laughing at all the awkward dance moves.

I have a feeling though, this trip will be one of the best ones yet.  I will be spending a lot of time in Shanghai, eating my way through the city, shopping until Collin cuts me off and learning more about where I originally come from.   I feel as I reach my mid 20s I have a sudden struggle for a sense of identity — a groove in life that I can fit in, understand and be comfortable.  As my friend puts it, your mid to late 20s is the “Junior High of Adulthood” and it’s true.  My god is it confusing sometimes.

All throughout college I felt completely lost.  I hated my major, I didn’t enjoy the stupid prerequisite classes, yet for some reason I felt I had to stick to it.  And I realize now, it’s because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.  I mean they are the two people I look up the most to, all I’ve ever wanted to do in life was to make them proud and happy.  They had held my hand tightly until I left for college and the entire transition was confusing.  It wasn’t until I finally graduated, it dawned on me– What am I doing here? Am I really about to commit 8 years of my life doing something I’m not sure I even like? AM I CRAZY?!!!

I think finally telling my parents that I wanted to pursue my passion in food, was one of the scariest moments of my life.  I thought the world was going to explode.  Thankfully, it didn’t.  And yes, they were disappointed.  But finally being able to stand up to them and make such a major decision in my life has really set me free.  One of the most important things I’ve recognized is that my parents are human (not superheroes like I thought) — they make mistakes, they don’t necessarily have all the right answers, and all they ever want is the best for their child.

I really have Collin to thank for it.  He was the one who pushed me to pursue my passions in life: Art and Food.  Life offers you all the right elements to become everything you’ve ever wanted to be and it’s up to you to make use of the opportunities that are presented to you.  My father’s strong passion for photography and my mother’s love for food has naturally placed me in the spot that I’m in today.  I could eat, shoot and write about food for the rest of my life, and not have it feel like work.  Perhaps it’s not the practical route in life, but I never thought life was meant to be easy.

I am packed and ready to go for Shanghai — I am eager to see my relatives and my grandma and I can hardly wait to be immersed in the crazy intense beautiful culture that is Shanghai.  Collin has stocked his bag full of antibiotics, anti and pro diarrheals, all topped off with a huge bottle of antacids.  I hope China will be good to him :).  For the 10 days I’ll be there I will:

  • Take engagement pictures
  • Make Collin a couple suits
  • Visit Wu Xi where my grandparents are originally from
  • Make my wedding gown
  • Go shopping for gifts
  • Visit Hang Zhou and see Xi Hu and visit tea plantations
  • Hug and kiss grandma every day 🙂
  • Eat, eat and oh yeah more eating…
  • A ferry tour at night of Wan Po River
  • Hitting up a couple local bars at night
  • Checking out and eating famous soup dumplings at Cheng Huang Miao
  • And too many other activities that my mom made me write down but I’m too lazy to type out, ha!

Since Shanghai probably won’t have Guacamole, I thought this would be a nice, simple recipe to share.  No cooking necessary, only six ingredients and it only takes like 10 minutes to make! The best part is, everyone freaking loves guacamole, so this makes the perfect pot luck item or perfect dinner appetizer or heck even during sports games and intense wrestling matches.  I uncontrollably yell “HOLY GUACAMOLE” every time I do a taste test when I make a batch of this stuff — partially because I am very silly but mostly because it’s so gosh darn good yall!  Over and out.

Ingredients for (Holy)Guacamole:

(serves 4-5)

  • 3 ripe avocados, pitted and skin removed
  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, small diced
  • a handful of cilantro, cleaned and finely chopped (omit if you do not like cilantro)
  • 1/2 medium purple onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juice only
  • 1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a mortar and pestle or large bowl.  If you do not own a mortar and pestle you can mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher.  Thoroughly mix the ingredients — if it needs more acid add more lime, a little at a time, same goes for salt.  Place in large bowl and serve with tortilla chips.  If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate.

You can also use Guacamole on sandwiches, salads, meats and use it for dips for pita wedges, pretzels, crackers, etc.  I actually use guacamole to make my chicken sandwiches so it omits the mayo — avocado has a nice creamy consistency that contains heart-healthy monosaturated fats so its a lot better for you.