Take the creamy coolness of guacamole and combine it with the refreshing crisp crunch of cucumbers, zip of yogurt, and zest of lemon; assemble them and they form like Voltron into quite possibly the greatest dip ever.
Not to toot my own horn [beep beep] but this is really good - and since the cucumber lightens things up, you don't feel nearly as bloated or guilty when you devour and entire bowl with a half a large bag of tortilla chips to the dome.
This didn't last long enough to top a dish but I could see it being great on chicken or lamb. It is of course excellent with chips, especially tortilla chips, eating it with a spoon, or your fingers; just don't dip past the second knuckle because that's rude.
Caffeine has become so commonplace in our society that I'm starting to think it has become unavoidable. I'm a big-time coffee aficionado (RYO Coffee, Latte Art, (STARBUCKS)RED Whole Bean Coffee) but methinks sometimes marketing "gurus" take it a little too far.
Recently, I counted 14 different flavors of Monster Energy Drink at a Fry's electronic store in a cooler by the registers. Do any of them taste good? Unlikely. Maybe that's why they have to keep cranking out new ones, to keep the public guessing.
Here are some of the latest snacks that have been, shall I say tainted with caffeine:
Dried Durian ChipsI saw these at a local Vietnamese sandwich shop and I couldn't resist.
I've never eaten durian before and part of my instincts told me that, after everything I've heard about their odor, I shouldn't open them in my house...
but I did anyway.
To my surprise, there was not any unpleasant smell, let alone one that knocks the wind out of you.
Because of its smell, stories abound about how durian is banned in public places like malls and subways in many parts of South-East Asia.
It is also rumored to be forbidden in many hotels.
Sometimes referred to as the "King of Fruit," it is said to throw a pungent, sulfuric nose like an athlete's sock or a rotting corpse - but what makes people crave the fruit is that the horrible smell of durian is only to be outdone by its delicious taste.
Chef Andrew Zimmern compares the taste to "completely rotten, mushy onions."
Anthony Bourdain, while a lover of durian, relates his encounter with the fruit as thus: "Its taste can only be described as...indescribable, something you will either love or despise. ...Your breath will smell as if you'd been French-kissing your dead grandmother."
Travel and food writer Richard Sterling says... "its odor is best described as pig-s#!t, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away.
Henri Mouhot, Food Naturalist: "On first tasting it I thought it like the flesh of some animal in a state of putrefaction.
"The durian's smell is its outstanding feature - it is pungent, a bit like a clogged drain or rotten eggs." From the Financial Express.
"It has been likened to rotting onions, unwashed socks and even carrion in custard, but the most accurate description by far is that of a sewer full of rotting pineapples." - BBC
A company called Greenday makes these dried durian chips in Thailand. Inside the bag were 20 or so thumb-sized bright yellow moons. They looked freeze dried and had no moisture to them whatsoever. Some were a little porous, some were smooth.
They smelled more closely to banana chips than anything else, and they tasted quite similar too. There was a distinct sulfur, eggy-like note but balanced with a complex sweetness. Although they were dried, they yielded a creaminess when you began to chew them.
I tried pairing them with a lager and a Savignon Blanc. Both seemed to compliment them well. I think that the dryness of the drinks countered the sweetness of the durian. They weren't cloying like dried mango can be, but again, sweet like dried banana chips. Although the contents didn't look like much, the 50 gram bag was unusually filling.
Although this wasn't the fresh fruit, which I can't wait to try, there was nothing unpleasant to it at all. I wonder what makes durian so repulsive then before it is dried. We'll call durian chips a durian primer for me, unlike this 15 month-old who goes straight for the good stuff...
We received some boisterous radishes from our CSA box, both red and white, and decided that they should be consumed in a way more traditionnelles. In France, radishes are often consumed with sweet (unsalted) butter, and a little salt, sometimes on a piece of bread. What would go better with this than a glass of champagne? I don't know.
It doesn't have to be Champagne, mind you. Any dry sparkling white wine will do the trick. The piquant bite to the radishes would, in my opinion, pair well with a Spanish Cava, an Italian Prosecco, Asti, or Franciacorta, a Portuguese Mateus rosé or Vinho Verde, or a bottle of bubbles from California (just keep your André Cold Duck in the fridge for another day).
On a side note: according to the Gallo website, André is the #1 selling sparkling wine in America. Not surprisingly because it averages around $4 a bottle. But what's even more interesting is that they can legally call it "Champagne." Despite the fact that André is not made in Champagne France, is not likely made up of traditional Champagne vatietals, and it is most definitely not produced from the méthode champenoise, André was grandfathered in.
The radish (Raphanus sativus) is in the Brassicaceae family which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, Chinese cabbage, and horseradish. What gives radishes and many of its "cousins" their punch is a neat little system of the vegetable's version of chemical warfare.
Allyl isothiocyanate is the chemical responsible for the sharp peppery note generated by some members of the Brassicaceae family and it is what keeps animals from eating the plant. It is; however, harmful to the plant itself so it stores two otherwise harmless chemicals in separate containers within the cell walls. When something takes a bite of radish, the enzyme myrosinase is released and transforms a glucosinolate into allyl isothiocyanate.
Mmm, allyl isothiocyanate. Delicious.
Champagne, butter and radishes with some sea salt - what a great appetizer. For your viewing pleasure, I found a vintage André commercial, "Greet the season and your friends with the best, André"
The weather is warming up, the birds are singing, and the avocados are calling my name. It is the beginning of guacamole season; that beautiful time of year where people gather around a molcajete with a cerveza in one hand and a tortilla chip in the other, jockeying for position to get the very best scoop.
Some people are looking for the biggest chunk of avocado, that somehow avoided being pulverized. Some are looking for a particularly large dice of tomato. Some poor saps are trying to find a smedge with no clear signs of cilantro, because they live their entire sorry existence in fear of biting into one of its pungent leaves.
In any case, I'm a guacamole freak. If I found a big swimming pool filled with the stuff, I would be compelled to dive in. I make a mean guac. I make the kind that sings babies to sleep. I make a guac that people write songs about. My guac makes recent widowers momentarily forget to moarn. It makes rap-stars write lyrics like, "My guacamole brings all the boys to the yard."
Unfortunately when dining out, I am all too often disappointed. There's too much fluff, too much filler, too much salsa (if you're calling it guac, it's guac, not salsa with avocado - which is good, but it's not guac). Sometimes there's onion powder, or garlic powder, or cumin; or worse yet a combination of the three. Sometimes the color is off, it's green but it's awry - it's not natural, back away!
Too often I catch myself saying "hold the guac," not because I don't like guac, I love it, but because I like it so much, that I don't trust it in your hands... I feel compelled so often to explain - but that can get confusing. I can tell by the way you are moving your lips while you read this, you're about to taze my guac. Don't taze my guac bro. This is how it's done:
Don't Taze My Guac
4 Avocados, Haas are great but if you can find other varieties like the Bacon and the Fuerte, branch out
1/3 cup lime juice, about the juice of 2 limes, 3 if you're not getting much out of them
1/2 an onion, diced
3 tomatos, diced
1/4 cup of cilantro, coarsly chopped
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1 serrano or jalapeno, minced, is OK but not necessary
Open a fine Mexican beer. Lo ciento novato, pero Corona y Tecate don't count. Try Negro Modelo, Bohemia, or even Pacifico. Cut a slice out of one of your limes, insert into beer. Throw all your ingredients into a bowl (not the beer, keep the beer in your hand). Mix together, but not too well.
If you want to make this ahead of time, go ahead, but squirt more lime juice on top and then cover with plastic wrap. Oxygen will turn the avocado brown and acid prevents this (just like apples).
Lastly I'll leave you with a hilarious tribute song to the green (although we disagree somewhat on the accoutrements), "Some add in serrano, some like jalapeno, don't make it to hot though, when serving it to gringos"