Recipes & Inspiration for Living a Joyful Life
I am a late-bloomer. That's not to say that I spent the better part of my life frittering away my time with little to show for it. I have always been goal-oriented and driven. Yet, certain things seemed to take me longer to achieve than I ever imagined possible. Take, for instance, love.
I didn't think I'd ever find it! When I did, I was inspired to write a book of poetry and essays to celebrate my new love. For added zest, I decided to intersperse my written works with recipes for some of the tasty dishes I enjoy preparing for that new man in my life. I hope you enjoy them as well, and that you will be inspired to share your own love stories and favorite recipes with me and my readers.
Rain tap-dancing on a tin roof.
A symphony of birdsong before dawn.
Cool sheets, warm breath,
the elegant drape of your body.
Two double-yoke eggs in a frypan.
A ruffled sleeve of orchids,
on the limb you’d meant to prune.
Sweet kisses in the doorway.
Your mid-morning text:
Be on the lookout,
GUACAMOLE Yield: about 1 ¼ cup
Including avocados in your diet can improve digestion, decrease the risk of depression, and protect against cancer.
2 – 3 ripe avocados
1 small garlic clove, minced (or processed)
1 small firm tomato, seeded and finely chopped (or processed)
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (or processed)
1 small lime, juiced
½ - 1 Tsp. salt (or more to taste)
¼ cup chopped or torn cilantro leaves (or processed)
Peel and seed avocados and mash with a fork or process in a food processer. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well or process to blend. Transfer to an airtight container and cover with plastic wrap, pressing down gently to ensure no air comes in contact with the surface of the guacamole. (This will help maintain the guacamole’s bright green color and prevent it fr.) Chill and serve with tortilla chips or your favorite Mexican recipes.
*Note: If hand-chopping jalapenos, be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your skin and eyes.
TAPENADE Yield: About 1¼ cup
Olives are very high in vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants. Studies show that they are good for the heart and may protect against osteoporosis and cancer.
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
½ cup pitted green olives or green pimento-stuffed olives
4 anchovies, drained
4 ounces capers
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
Process all ingredients in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Refrigerate. Serve with pita chips.
*Note: Experiment with a variety of olives, and, for a less tart tapenade, eliminate lime juice.
SALSA VERDE Yield: about 2 cups
1 ½ lbs. (8 – 10) tomatillos
3 tbs. olive oil
½ cup coarsely chopped white onion
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup cilantro leaves chopped or torn
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 jalapeño peppers or 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line baking dish with aluminum foil.
Cut tomatillos into halves (or quarters, if very large).
Pour olive oil in a foil-lined pan, and add tomatillos, cut side down.
Sprinkle chopped onion around tomatillos
Roast for 10 – 15 minutes until starting to soften, then remove from oven and flip tomatillos to cut side up, and roast for another 10 minutes.
Process all ingredients in a food processor.
Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or use in Chicken Fajitas Salsa Verde. (Recipe to follow in Auspicious Entrée Section.)
Note: If hand-chopping jalapenos, be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your skin and eyes.
FRUITS OF OUR GARDEN
MANGO SALSA Yield: about 2 cups
Mangos provide almost everything your body needs: essential nutrients and plenty of antioxidants.
2 ripe mangos, peeled and cut into small, half-inch cubes, (see how to cut a mango, below)
½ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup each red and yellow pepper, chopped
½ cup pineapple, cut into small (half-inch) cubes
¼ cup fresh lime juice (more to taste)
¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped or torn
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ tsp.sea salt (more to taste)
Mix all ingredients. Taste and adjust lime juice and salt to taste. Chill and serve as a dip with tortilla chips or as a side with grilled fish or chicken. This sweet and savory salsa is excellent on fish tacos or paired with your favorite Mexican dish.
*Note: I like to use kitchen shears on cilantro and jalapeno to obtain a fine chop. If hand-chopping jalapenos, be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your skin and eyes.
HOW TO CUT A MANGO
Okay, this is the coolest thing! You know that slimy peeled mango is just about as easy to slay as a writhing crocodile. So, here's the trick: do not peel that mango. Instead, take a look at it, put it on its stem end, and eyeball it. You'll see right away where that pesky pit lies. Slice down one side of the pit, then the other, and save the pit slice, too. Then—this is the brilliant part—score the halves, but don't cut through the peel. You can see that I do four scores both across and down. Here's the magic: invert the slice so that the mango cubes extend outward, like a porcupine extending its quills. Now, it's so easy to slice off the beautifully cubed mango from the peel. Voila! (You can thank me later!)
More poems and recipes to follow in my next blog. Till then, make yours an auspicious day!
Gretchen Rose is the award-winning author of the gripping memoir, "Dancing with the Devil," the children's "Dune Dragons" books series, and the contemporary fiction "Very Vero" series.