Friday, August 23, 2013

Mother of Invention?

Okay, the title may be over the top but this little idea I had satisfied my craving for a $50 item.  I think the complete saying is "Desperation is the Mother of Invention".

I was skimming all my catalogs the other night and I came upon this nifty knife block.  I kinda wanted it bad.  Problem was, I already had a knife block....and, I didn't have $50 to spend.

Enter my idea.  Command hooks are just amazingly versatile.  In fact, has a great board dedicated to these nifty things. But, I don't think my idea was on there yet! Could this idea be so grand?  A gal can dream can't she?

So here goes.  The pictures are pretty self explanatory.  Is the $50 item better looking?  Of course!  But it's $50.  Verses $2.95 for a 2 pack, I think I'll take the latter.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Chipotle Lime Yams (Also known as "Sweet Potatoes")

These brought me back to some shrimp I made years and years ago (never mind how many years ago) for a party when I was fabulously 20 years old and living in San Diego less than a block away from the beach......yes, those were the days.  We were having a neighborhood party and I had made Chipotle shrimp I cruised around with a big bowl of them in my hand and a cowboy hat on my head.  I thought I was so cool.  The "cool" part has never been proven but the shrimp was a proven hit.

Now that I am going back to my roots with the whole "no shell fish" kosher rule, those little bottom feeders are no longer passing my lips.  But this creation really took me back-- in an uber good way.

This recipe has just about everything.  Sweet, salty, smokey, sour & spicy.  Right now the ingredients go under the 90/10 rule.  The "10" is the Embasa Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce.  A quick glance at the back label shows oodles of things I shouldn't be indulging in right now (vegetable oil, wheat flour, salt, caramel color, etc.). If there is another canned version of Chipotles in sauce that is healthier,  I unfortunately don't have that option living where I'm living. These are vital to the recipe though.

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (or "yams" depending on where the reader has grown up)
  • One Chipotle Pepper in Adobo sauce (I use Embasa canned Peppers)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chipotle Sauce  (from the same can that the peppers came in)
  • 2 Limes
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Peel yams and cut them into 2 inch chunks.  Place these on a parchment lined baking sheet and into the preheated oven.  Roast these for about 45 minutes or until preferred tenderness.
  3. Use a fork remove a chili from the can and place on a cutting board. With a chefs knife, mince up the pepper then slide it on into a large bowl.  
  4. Combine chipotle sauce, lime juice, lime zest, soy sauce, garlic and cilantro all into the same bowl. This is the sauce or dressing. 
  5. When the yams are ready, take them out of the oven and dump them hot into the large bowl with the sauce. 
  6. Using a large spoon mix the yams in the bowl until they are coated with the sauce.  
This makes a great accompaniment to any meal.  Ad some black beans and lay them on top of some salad greens or peppery arugula.  YUM!  Watch out though! These suckers are spicy and addictive. 

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Spicy Mango Avocado Salad

This one is another creation that can be eaten "as is" or it can be fancied up by rolling it up into a whole wheat wrap with some lettuce greens.  Better yet, skip the whole wheat wraps, add a can of beans of your choice (rinsed and drained), and wrap it up into a leaf of Romain lettuce! If you are a carnivore, lay atop some grilled fish, chicken or steak to ad a great flavor without any extra fat.

  • 1 large ripe mango (Peeled and cut into half inch cubes)
  • 1 avocado (Peeled and cut into half inch cubes)
  • 2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
  • Juice of a good quality lemon or juice of 2 not so good lemons (about 3-4 Tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 small white onion (finely minced)
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper (finely minced)
  • 3 cups or more of baby spinach (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix all the above ingredients until blended well.  Enjoy!

Some notes:  For information on cutting a mango click here

Regarding avocados, I prefer Hass avocados.  These have the darker skin.  For a tutorial on how to cut an avocado click here  Another quick note about avocados:  Even though the tutorial that I linked (and just about every tutorial on avocados that I could find) advises one to hack the knife into the pit of the avocado to remove it, I don't advise this.  It's dangerous and unnecessary if the avocado is ripe.  I've always been able to use my fingers to pull out the pit. It usually dislodges easily from the meat of the fruit.

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