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Cooking with David


Copyright © 2007-2009, 2013 by David E. Ross


Unlike some major commercial guacamole that is only 5% avocado, mine is mostly avocado.

2 ripe avocados
1 large or 2 small tomatoes
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
Tabasco or other hot sauce

Peel the avocados and remove the large pits. Slice the avocados and place them in a medium mixing bowl. Mash with the back of a large spoon or a potato masher. The consistency should be slightly lumpy, not smooth.

Remove the stem end of the tomato. With a sharp knife, chop the tomato into small pieces. Add to the mixing bowl.

From a large onion, cut a slice about 1/4 inch thick. (If the onion is only medium, cut two slices.) Mince with a sharp knife. You should get about 2 TBS of fresh minced onion. Add to the mixing bowl.

Peel the garlic. Dice finely with a sharp knife and place in a blender or mini-processor with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, chili powder, and 2-4 drops of hot sauce. Blend until the garlic is mostly puréed. Add to the mixing bowl.

Stir all ingredients thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap that is pressed down onto the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate for at least an hour while the flavors blend.

Serve with corn chips or wheat crackers. Spread on toasted wheat or rye bread. Use in a salad or to top a hamburger.

The avocados should be soft but not mushy. You should be able to handle the peeled avocados without your hands being coated with them. But you should be able to mash them easily in the mixing bowl.

Be careful with the salt. Some salt is needed, but the guacamole should not taste salty.

Placing an avocado pit in the guacamole does NOT prevent it from turning dark. Pressing the plastic wrap firmly onto the surface of the guacamole will preserve its green color.

Updated 29 September 2013

Shrimp Dip

This is based on a cookbook recipe for clam dip. Not only did I change the seafood, but I also changed the sour cream to yogurt.

3/4 cup plain (unflavored) yogurt
1 cup cooked shrimp
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves
black pepper
1 TBS fresh basil or 1/4 tsp ground dried basil
Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp salt

Take a slice 1/4 inch thick from the center of a large onion or two such slices from near the end. Peel the garlic and dice with a paring knife.

Place the onion, garlic, yogurt, basil, and salt in a blender. Grind a little fresh pepper on top. Add a dash of Tabasco sauce. Blend until the ingredients are well mixed and the onion is finely chopped.

Add the shrimp to the blender. Blend until only a few tiny pieces of shrimp remain.

Serve with any kind of chips or with miniature pita bread rounds.

Blending will take some time because the yogurt is thick. Try using a low speed and a lot of patience.

I prefer using very large shrimp, which tend to have a more distinctive flavor than small shrimp. The last time I made this, I used jumbo; colossal shrimp might have been even better.

I started with frozen raw shrimp after removing the shells from the tails. I took a small pot of water and added some herbs and spices. If you have dried pickling spices, a heaping TBS will suffice for a cup of raw shrimp. I didn't have pickling spices, so I improvised with some bay leaves, allspice, star anise, pepper corns, and fennel seed. After bringing the pot to a boil, I added the shrimp and cooked them until they began to turn pink. Then, I immediately drained the shrimp and ran cold water into the pot. Transferring the shrimp individually to the blender, I was able to remove the spices and herbs.

22 January 2008


This takes the classical Italian appetizer a few steps further. It is best if made that same day it will be served.

bruschetta sauce
mozzarella cheese
olive oil

Cut the bread into pieces about half the size of the palm of your hand (excluding your fingers). Leave the crusts on the bread.

Mix enough olive oil with the pesto to make a runny sauce.

Dip one side only of each piece of bread into the sauce. Toast the bread, sauce side up.

Spoon some bruschetta sauce on each piece of bread. Put a small, thin slice of mozzarella on top of the sauce.

For the bread, I used a small-diameter French baguette. I cut it at a 45° angle to make oval slices about 1/4 inch thick, each of which I cut in half (except for the smaller slices at the ends of the baguette). A cocktail rye or similar bread with small slices can be used. Do not use white or egg bread; whole wheat, rye, multigrain, or French bread are all good. Also, large crackers can be used.

As I dipped the bread, it soaked up more oil than pesto. Thus, I had to keep adding olive oil to the pesto.

Toast the bread or crackers lightly if this will be served within 4 hours. To prevent sogginess, toast the bread medium-dark if it will be held more than 4 hours. Either use a toaster oven where the bread lies flat, or else place the bread on a cookie sheet and toast only the top under a broiler.

I used fresh bruschetta sauce from the refrigerator case at my favorite grocery (chopped tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, garlic, sugar, and black pepper). Cooked bruschetta in a jar just does not taste right.

I used a log of mozzarella, cutting slices with a wire cheese cutter. Then I used a knife to cut each slice in half. You can't get slices thin enough cutting from the log with a knife, and mozzarella does not cut well with a cheese plane.

At first, I tried putting the mozzarella on the bread and then spooning the bruschetta sauce on top of the cheese. The sauce would not stick to the cheese and would fall off. With the mozzarella on top, I might experiment with placing everything under the broiler for just a few minutes, just long enough to start melting the cheese.

22 September 2009

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