Glam up your guac: Here’s a recipe for National Guacamole Day!

Kicky mash up: Avocado Grill's ginger guacamole. (Contributed by Jennifer Martinez)
Kicky mash up: Avocado Grill’s ginger guacamole. (Contributed by Jennifer Martinez)

The unexpected can happen when National Guacamole Day falls on a Friday (which would be today). The craving for blinged out, creamy avocado dip and those unruly TGIF thoughts can build – and before you know it, you’re swigging micheladas and diving into a bowl of green goop.

Then again, the unexpected can involve something less basic. It can involve ginger, as does the Ginger Guacamole at Avocado Grill in downtown West Palm Beach.

How does one use ginger in guac? We’ve got the recipe. TGIF, indeed!

Avocado Grill’s Ginger Guacamole

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Julien Gremaud.

3 ripe avocados

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 tablespoons diced tomato

2 tablespoons diced jalapeño

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped ginger

1 tablespoon Sriracha

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Slice avocados in half. Discard the seed. Scoop flesh out of shell with a spoon and place in bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 of the lime juice immediately to prevent browning. Use a fork and mash to desired consistency.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomato, jalapeño, ginger, Sriracha, and cilantro. Stir gently to mix ingredients.
  4. Add remainder of lime juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir just slightly, until incorporated.
  5. Serve as a dip with your favorite tortilla chips, or use with your favorite dish.

Football food: Make tachos, the lovechild of tater tots and nachos

Tachos are the lovechild of tater tots and nachos. (Credit: Oxmoor House)
Tachos are the lovechild of tater tots and nachos. (Credit: Oxmoor House)

Only those who truly love football and food with equal passion can appreciate a heap of Tachos. The guilty pleasure mashup dish is, in effect, the well-accessorized lovechild of tater tots and nachos.

Tachos shares the newly published “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook” (Oxmoor House, $22.95) with other decadent, made-for-sports-watching dishes, such as Shepherd’s Pie Quesadilla Bites, an Irish-Mexican mashup.

BEST LOCAL SPORTS BARS FOR WATCHING FOOTBALL

The book’s author, sports mega-fan Daina Falk, who operates HungryFan.com, a site for sports-loving foodies, tapped into the game-day cravings of sports fans.

“There’s nothing better than cheering on your team at deafeningly loud decibels while chowing down on ‘sportsfood’ yummies,” she writes.

Which brings us to Tachos. Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome!

TACHOS

The following recipe and note are reprinted from Daina Falk’s “The Hungry Fan’s Game Day Cookbook” with permission of Oxmoor House.

“You’ve heard of nachos. You’ve heard of tater tots. Combining them creates sheer taste bud amazingness in the form of what I call ‘Tachos.’ The key to this recipe is that the tater tots must be served really crispy and hot. This dish is goopy, so you really want your tots to hold up to the cheesy yumminess like tortilla chips would.”

6 ounces dried chorizo, diced

1⁄2 cup Negra Modelo, or another dark beer

16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1 serrano pepper, seeds and veins removed, minced

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained

2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions

3 cups tater tots

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

1⁄4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper, optional

GDC full cover 0602acj.indd1. Cook the chorizo over medium in a large saucepan for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp and the fat has rendered. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain, and discard the rendered fat.

2. Heat the beer in the same saucepan over high for about 5 minutes to reduce it a bit. Reduce the heat to low, and add the cheese, stirring often as it melts into the beer. Once fully melted, add the fresh and canned chiles, 1 tablespoon of the green onions, and half the chorizo.

3. Bring to a simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bake the tater tots in a preheated oven according to package directions, making sure to cook them to their crispiest.

5. Place the tater tots on a large tray, and drizzle the cheese sauce on top. Dollop with the yogurt and salsa. Top with the remaining chorizo and green onions and the cilantro. Feel free to sprinkle with some freshly ground black pepper, too, and then serve immediately.

Makes 1 large plate

Lean, green and supreme: a belly-warming soup for drizzly days

Stray veggies mingle in this yummy green soup. (Photos: Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)
Stray veggies mingle in this yummy green soup. (Photos: Liz Balmaseda/ Palm Beach Post)

Here’s a soup that loves stray veggies, those dissed broccoli stems, the last of the spinach, that forgotten zucchini.

greensoup2 I call it my Random Veggie Soup because it transforms leftover, back-of-the-fridge produce into something delicious and healthy.

The beauty of this soup is that you can customize it with your favorite seasonings and stock. Of course, stock is not a required ingredient here. If you follow the flavor-building technique described below, you can make a luscious soup using just water.

One. Start by gathering and washing your random veggies, which can include herbs, stems, celery tops, even romaine lettuce. Separate the more dense veggies (carrots, broccoli stems) from those that will cook faster (spinach, kale).

Two. Chop aromatics (such as onion, garlic, celery, pepper, ginger) to taste. Drop aromatics into warm olive oil in a soup pot. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, plus your desired seasonings. (Sometimes I reach for warm spices like smoky Spanish pimenton, turmeric, cumin and/or Jamaican curry. Other times, I prefer lighter notes like coriander, cardamom, celery seed and dill.)

Three. Sauté aromatics over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. (Tip: I add chopped broccoli stems with the aromatics, so they can soften.) Once the onion begins to turn translucent, add no more than 1 cup of water to the pot, stir and cover. This is the flavor-building stage: flavors bloom as aromatics simmer alone, then in little liquid. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli stems are slightly tender.

Four. Add greens to pot, adjust seasoning and stir. If using zucchini, add now and stir. For a touch of acidity, add two or three grape tomatoes. Once veggies are well incorporated, add another 1½ or 2 cups of water to the pot, or just enough water to cover the veggies. Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.

Five. Taste the broth for seasoning and adjust as needed. Once veggies are tender, scoop them into a blender with a slotted spoon, adding just enough liquid to cover. Blend at high speed, adding liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency. Serve into bowls, and drizzle with good olive oil and, if desired, croutons.

greensoup10I love a smooth, velvety soup, so I use a high-powered blender at high speed. But if you like a chunkier soup, use an immersion blender.

If you crave a creamier soup, add a splash of half and half and/or a dab of butter. For a vegan version of creamy soup, add ½ cup of cannellini beans.

 

 

Celebrate National Fried Chicken Day with this crispy rendition

Fried chicken to remember. Autry's secret: a dip in lemony buttermilk. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)
Fried bird to remember. Autry’s secret: a dip in lemony buttermilk. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)

The realization that today is National Fried Chicken Day sparked a craving for a favorite recipe: Lindsay Autry’s addictive rendition of the Southern classic.

The North Carolina-born chef, who plans to open The Regional Kitchen & Public House restaurant in West Palm Beach this summer, gives her bird a nice, long bath in a zesty buttermilk marinade before dusting with a flour-cornstarch mixture, then frying.

Southern-born Chef Lindsay Autry at work. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)
Southern-born Chef Lindsay Autry at work. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)

Here’s the recipe: http://sp/cox/web/html_writer_shared.jshttp://sp/cox/web/html_writer.js //

LINDSAY AUTRY’S FRIED CHICKEN
    Serves 42 cups buttermilk
2 lemons, zest only (reserve juice for another use)
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano or fresh oregano
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

    1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces: 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts cut in half (or 10 pieces of your favorite cuts of chicken)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 quart pure canola oil for frying
    FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE:
1/2 cup Florida honey
2 tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce (we used sriracha)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped roughly1. In a blender, combine the buttermilk, lemon zest, oregano, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, black pepper and thyme. Blend until well combined. Place all the chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag and pour buttermilk mixture over chicken. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight to get the best flavor. Remove chicken from the buttermilk brine, drain well, and discard the liquid.
2. In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, kosher salt and pepper. Use a whisk or fork to combine well. Place the chicken into the flour mixture and press into the flour, making sure to coat well. Allow the chicken to sit in the flour mixture while the oil is preheating.
3. Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with the canola oil until it reaches 315°. Shake off the excess flour from the chicken pieces, and gently place in the skillet.
4. Fry the chicken for 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Use a thermometer to test the internal temperature of the chicken, making sure it is at 165°.
5. Drain the chicken on a rack or paper towels, seasoning with kosher salt as they come out of the fryer. While the chicken is cooling, combine all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Step away from the lard. Frying in canola oil yields decadent fried chicken. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)
Never mind the lard. Frying in canola oil yields decadent chicken. (Thomas Cordy/ Palm Beach Post)

   

Note: A small deep fryer can be used for frying the chicken, but using a large cast-iron skillet will give you better results.

 

Tot-ally different St. Patrick’s Day shepherd’s pie

Farmette's Tater Tot Shepherd's Pie. (Photo credit: Imen McDonnell)
Behold Farmette’s Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie! (Photo credit: Imen McDonnell)

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, a tale from the Irish countryside:

Before she was a farmer’s wife, Imen McDonnell lived the fast-paced life of an American broadcast producer in major U.S. cities.

The forces of love and Ireland changed all that. Nearly six years ago, those forces transformed McDonnell into the voice of “Farmette,” the popular lifestyle blog inspired by her daily life at an ancient, family-owned farm in County Limerick.

FarmetteCoverFood lovers and vicarious travelers everywhere have reaped the benefits of McDonnell’s lushly photographed culinary inspirations as she put her American city spin on Irish country fare.

Today, as evidenced in her newly released book, “The Farmette Cookbook,” she has stacks of stellar recipes to show for her kitchen experiments that include boldly hybrid dishes such as Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie. (For which she makes her own tots.)

Related: Best Irish pubs to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Palm Beach County

Dear St. Patrick’s Day revelers, what goes better with a pint of Guinness than shepherd’s pie? Perhaps a better rhetorical question is: What goes better with a big, frosty mug of green beer than shepherd’s pie topped with crispy tots?

Here’s McDonnell’s recipe. You’re welcome!

Read the full story on Farmette’s new book in The Post’s Food & Dining.

TATER TOT SHEPHERD’S PIE

“Shepherd’s pie was one of my first forays into the basics of Irish country cooking… More recently, I began experimenting with ways to reinvent this classic pie. Inspired by craving a tater-tot hotdish (a Midwestern American casserole), I lined the top of my shepherd’s pie with homemade tots, and it was much more fun than standard mash.”

Serves 4

1 tablespoon sunflower or canola oil, plus more for frying

1 large onion, chopped

2 to 3 medium carrots, chopped

1 pound ground lamb

2 tablespoons tomato purée

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

2 cups lamb or beef stock

For the tots:

4 large russet potatoes, baked and cooled

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons fine salt

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then cook the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until softened. Turn up the heat, crumble in the lamb, and brown, pouring off any excess fat. Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce; fry for a few more minutes until browned. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and shred them on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a large bowl, sprinkle in the flour and salt, and gently mix until combined.
  3. Scoop 1½ tablespoons of the potato mixture into a short cylinder, about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch wide. Press the mixture in tightly and then press the tots onto a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining potato mixture.
  4. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Pour ¼ inch of oil into a large frying pan and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Fry the tots in batches of 8 to 10 pieces (do not overcrowd the pan), turning once, until light golden brown on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tots to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and season with salt. Repeat for all the tots.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Put the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish. Top with the tots to completely cover the meat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tots are starting to turn golden brown and the mince is bubbling through at the edges. Serve with a salad of crisp garden greens.

Scullery Notes: You can freeze tater tots for future use: Let the fried tots cool, then transfer them to an airtight container or ziplock bag. Arrange them in a single layer in the container or bag and place them in the freezer. You can also just pile the shredded potato on top of the filling and bake as directed.

This recipe and the author intro are reprinted from “The Farmette Cookbook,” by Imen McDonnell, with the permission of Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, Colo.

Read the full story on Farmette’s new book in The Post’s Food & Dining.

Martha Stewart: I had a big, fun weekend in West Palm Beach

Cafe con leche in hand, Martha Stewart tours West Palm's GreenMarket. (Contributed photo)
Cafe con leche in hand, Martha Stewart tours West Palm’s GreenMarket. (Contributed photo)

Martha Stewart came to West Palm Beach and, in true Martha style, she flew away with something more stylish than a lousy souvenir t-shirt.

The businesswoman and lifestyle guru posted dozens of photos from her antiquing, thrifting and green market-shopping adventures on her “Martha Blog.” She also took the time to answer a few of our questions by email.

Read the full story here.

Stewart heads south this weekend to Miami Beach, where she is headlining the South Beach Wine & Food Festival’s sold-out rosé brunch with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. We took the occasion to ask her some brunch-centric questions:

We must ask: Is rosé your go-to brunch drink?

“Ever since my first trip to St. Barths, rosé has been my wine choice for brunch.  Year round, I think it accompanies most food perfectly.”

Martha shares her poached eggs secret below. (Photo: Andrew Purcell)
Martha shares her poached eggs secret. (Photo: Andrew Purcell)

What are the keys to creating and serving the perfect Sunday brunch?

“Do as much prep ahead of time as possible.  I have a secret way to make eggs Benedict. Poach the eggs the day before, then store them overnight in the refrigerator in ice water.  The next day, reheat them for a few seconds in simmering water right before you assemble them.  Perfect eggs Benedict every time.”

 

 

 

Jack and Barbara Nicklaus share favorite recipes in new cookbook

Barbara and Jack Nicklaus with daughter Nan O'Leary. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)
Barbara and Jack Nicklaus with daughter Nan O’Leary. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)

Food stories have a way of rising like a cheese soufflé in the Nicklaus family kitchen. They linger as long as loved ones around the kitchen island in the Lost Tree Village home where golf legend Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara have lived for nearly 50 years, raising four sons and a daughter and feeding 22 grandchildren.

Now those stories are tucked into their newly released cookbook, “Well Done! Life, Love & Food.” Peppered with favorite anecdotes and handed-down recipes, the self-published book offers a glimpse into the family that sat around the dinner table nightly for home-cooked meals, no matter the day’s bustle.

The family meals, inspired by Barbara’s stacks of community cookbooks and jotted-down recipes, unfolded just a stone’s throw from the stretch of State Road A1A that in 2006 was renamed Jack Nicklaus Drive.

Barbara Nicklaus' red velvet cake has a backstory the family loves to tell. (Allen Eyestone/ Palm Beach Post staff)
Barbara Nicklaus’ red velvet cake has a backstory the family loves to tell. (Photo: Allen Eyestone)

When the idea to publish a cookbook came up as a way to raise funds for The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, their powerhouse charitable foundation, Barbara turned to a trusty recipe binder daughter Nan O’Leary had compiled for her in the late 1990s.

“The book would not have happened if not for Nan,” she says. Sales of the book, which costs $39.99, benefit the charitable foundation.

Read the full story and find the recipe for Barbara Nicklaus’ red velvet cake (and how it inspired a favorite family anecdote) here.