|Tomatoes on the vine - the fruit of summer gardening|
A terrible confession this, but I've always bought my guacamole, presuming that it was a messy old dish to prepare. When one of our friends - a non-cook - served this up over the Summer at an impromptu garden party, I decided it must be a no-brainer.
Not only does the home-made version taste ten times better than the store bought version, have you also seen how cheap avocados are at Reading Terminal Market right now..?
The recipe below was provided by Dana Hall, a friend who was a devout non-cook until recently, but is now a cookaholic!
Says Dana: "When we have an unexpected visitor, need a little protein, or are moving slowly (and thus lose the ability to cook for four days), we prep delicious guac in less than five minutes. Adding onions isn't to everyone's taste, but it does add crunchiness and makes the guac a more substantial meal."
Prep time is minimal, but the recommendation from the experts at the Food Network is to let the guac sit for about an hour to ensure that the flavors thoroughly infuse the dip.
We also spotted a relevant hot tip on Iovine Bros. Facebook page.
Butch who is Iovine's front man - and fruit and veggie guru - regularly posts a tip of the day on Facebook and also on Iovine's YouTube channel.
He recommends keeping avocados, tomatoes and mangoes out of the fridge. According to Butch, not only do you slow down the ripening process, you actually destroy their flavor once you refrigerate these three staples.
Dana goes one better - she picks her tomatoes straight off the vine:
"We have avocados of all ripeness in the fruit bin all summer and typically have red onions and lemon in the fridge leftover from dinner and cocktails :)
"We walk out into the yard and pick our own home grown tomatoes!"
One large or two small avocados - soft to touch
1/4 small red onion, chopped finely
1 small tomato diced
1/4 lemon, juiced
sea salt to taste
Mush the avocado with your fingers or a spatula, throw in finely chopped onion and tomato. Squeeze on juice. heavily pepper and sea salt the mixture. Serve on olive oil ciabatta or with pita chips.
Aside from guacamole, the other side dish which knocks spots off the store bought version is a good salsa. The thing we like best about salsa is that aside from the citrus or vinegar or other acid ingredient, the onion and cilantro, you can pretty much mix and match any other ingredients in your salsa - depending on what's in season, or more to the point, what you have hanging around in your fridge.
It's a grab and go side that transforms a slab of grilled meat or a chop!
A Philly girlfriend swears by this recipe from http://www.foodrenegade.com/, which combines the sweetness of mango with sweet seasonal cherry tomatoes. Food Renegade is a great blog featuring healthy recipe ideas and devotes some space to the politics and philosophy behind Real Food, it's worth checking out.
In previous posts, we have featured other salsa recipes. One of our absolute faves is....
Jack McDavid's Strawberry Habanero Salsa - he recommends serving this lovely concoction on a meaty white grilled fish, such as a halibut steak.