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How to Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers!

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

 
I love my guac! And if a big bowl is in front of me with fresh tortilla chips, I can eat the entire thing in one sitting. Just don’t expect me to share any of it!

To make a big bowl of guacamole (I love saying that word), you have to start with lots of perfectly ripe avocados. Not too soft, not too hard, with just that perfect give. I’ve been known to fondle every avocado in the store before selecting one. Notice I didn’t say squeeze, abuse or push … just a light pressure with the hands.

The first time I ever opened an avocado, I tried dislodging the pit the way that I saw fancy chefs do it on television. But thwacking a sharp chef’s knife into the center of the pit and then wrestling the slippery pit off the knife’s edge is a dangerous activity. I’m not going to go into detail on how that ended, other than we didn’t have guacamole that night.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Let’s start with these two lovelies.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Go ahead and make that first cut into the avocado. Have your hand resting on the cutting board to steady the avocado.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Go all the way around the avocado.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Now sing with me: “Twist! Twist! Let’s do the twist!”

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

And open! Okay, this avocado has a couple of brown spots. But that’s okay, you can either spoon out that portion or just leave it. When you mash it up for guac, no one will notice, I promise.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

You can hold it like this and thwack the end of the knife in the pit of the avocado—but it’s dangerous. What if you MISS??? The pit is slippery and round. The bottom of the avocado is curved. There’s lots of room for error.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Instead, hold the avocado in a thick towel and then thwack. You want the edge of the blade to lodge in the pit.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Twist again …

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

And pull out the pit. But how do ya get the sucker off your knife? The pit is lodged in there! Chefs will show you to use your thumb and push the pit away and off the blade. I’ve also seen people try to PRY the darn pit off with their bare hands. Yikes! I don’t know about you, but that seems mighty dangerous to me. Here’s a better and safer way.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Hold your knife just like so at the edge of your kitchen sink.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Put your thumb on the outside edge of the counter top.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

And PUSH using your thumb as leverage! The pit should pop right off.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open An Avocado and Keep All 10 Fingers. Guest post by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen.

Score! 2 points right in the basket.

This is a great method to teach kids, too. Anyways, that’s the way that I do it!

So, tell me, what’s your favorite recipe using avocados? Gimme some ideas! Send me links to your blogs if you have one or links to recipes here on Tasty Kitchen!

 
 
_______________________________________

Jaden Hair is a food writer, television personality, and food photographer based in Tampa Bay, Florida. Find more of her recipes on her blog, Steamy Kitchen, where you can also read more about Jaden’s new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, and the rave reviews it’s received!

 

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The Theme Is … Slow Cooker Recipes!

Posted by in The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Slow Cooker Recipes (Posole: Pork and Hominy Soup, recipe submitted by TK member Meseidy of The Noshery)

 
Because Ree is in the big city today, and will likely spend a good deal of her 48-hour stay there either rushing to go somewhere or being rushed somewhere else, today seemed like a good day to slow things down a bit. In many different ways, we’re all rushing. And sometimes, the last thing we want to do after a long day is figure out what to make for dinner, let alone begin the process of actually preparing it.

So today’s theme focuses on the Slow Cooker. You know, that big heavy crock with a lid that, if you’re like me, is probably sitting on a shelf collecting dust somewhere? The one that you only occasionally pull out, but each time tell yourself that you really should use it more often? Then you end up hauling it back to where you stored it before, and you forget about it all over again? Yes, that one. Well, today is the day it gets its time in the sun. Today, we’ll explore the various recipes available here that show us how we can just throw things into that big ol’ pot early in the day, go about our usual activities, and return to the wonderful aroma of food that practically cooked itself for us.

Let’s start with The Noshery’s Posole: Pork and Hominy Soup in the photo above. Can you imagine coming home to a pot filled with that? Bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.

Or perhaps you’re in the mood for some chili. Some Texas Chili, to be exact, served up jenjenk style.

Oh my goodness. That’s all I’ll say.

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Slow Cooker Recipes (Texas Chili, recipe submitted by TK member jenjenk of Devour the World)

 
 
 
Of course, although the slow cooking process works wonders for meat, there are many other uses for your trusty old crock pot. Vegetarian? Then try these Crockpot Gingered Chickpeas and Spicy Tomato Stew from cookincanuck.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Slow Cooker Recipes (Crockpot Gingered Chickpeas and Spicy Tomato Stew, recipe submitted by TK member Dara Michalski of Cookin' Canuck)

 
 
 
Or how about skipping the whole savory side of things and using your slow cooker to make lovely sweet treats? We’ve got those, too. Babskitchen offers us a lovely Mulled Cider In A Crockpot, seen below on the left. We even have cake! Check out monstermama’s Crock Pot Cake on the right. Or you could also try making a batch of Mommy’s Kitchen’s Homemade Spiced Applesauce, also seen below on the right.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Slow Cooker Recipes (Sweet Treats)

 
 
 
Now, a slow cooker recipe roundup wouldn’t be complete without a mention of some form of pulled pork. So here are two different kinds of slow cooker pork recipes.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Slow Cooker Recipes (Pulled Pork)

 
That’s Stephanie’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe you see on the left, and fujimama’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig on the right. I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready to grab some tortillas right about now.

And there you have it! All these are examples of the great choices waiting for you in our Slow Cooker category. I didn’t even get a chance to show you a whole Crockpot Roasting Chicken from stubleroots, or a wonderfully delicious Creamy Italian Chicken pasta dish from Angie Arthur. If you’re looking for a new slow cooker recipe to try, I think there’s a good chance you’ll find something you like in there.

Or am I late to the whole crock pot party? (It won’t be the first time.) Are you among those who are already making good use of your slow cooker? Were you shaking your head when I talked about my slow cooker gathering dust somewhere? (It won’t be the first time I’ve induced forlorn head-shaking, either.) If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?

Or, as in my case, is your slow cooker not even on your radar when you’re trying to come up with a plan for lunch or dinner? If that’s the case, then let’s dust it off and try some of the incredible recipes here! A warning, though: you just may end up upgrading your slow cooker from basement residence to premium countertop real estate.

You might want to warn your toaster or coffeepot.

 
 

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Delicious Thai Chicken Soup

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

For today’s Tasty Recipe, Erika sent me a link to a delicious sounding soup submitted by thekitchenpixie last September. The name was enough to rope me in: “Thai Chicken Soup with Cilantro-Infused Rice“. Who could possibly resist that?

The ingredients were simple (and I happened to have them all on hand), so yesterday I whipped up a batch.

I’ll give my verdict below. Meantime, here’s how you make it.

 
 
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Here’s what you need.

 
 
 
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Mushrooms, too. Forgot to put ‘em in there.

 
 
 

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Begin by dicing up some chicken breast. I made the pieces a little on the small side.

 
 
 

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Next, roughly chop an onion…

 
 
 
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And a few stalks of celery. Mince up some garlic, too, while you’re at it.

 
 
 

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Now heat some olive oil in a large pot.

 
 
 

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Throw in the chicken, onions, celery, and garlic…

 
 
 

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And stir them around for a minute or two.

 
 
 

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Next, pour in 7 cups of water.

Then bring it to a nice simmer and leave it cooking for about 20 minutes.

 
 
 

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Now comes the secret ingredient: lime juice! Who’d a thunk it? Pour it right on in there.

 
 
 

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Also add the cherry (or grape, in my case) tomatoes…

 
 
 

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Next, thinly slice the mushrooms…

 
 
 

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And throw them into the pot.

 
 
 

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Next comes a whole buncha cilantro…

 
 
 

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Stir it around and add 2 teaspoons of salt.

 
 
 

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Next, add a good teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

*Note that this quantity does result in a nice, spicy (but not overpoweringly so) soup. If you’re a little frightened of the heat factor, add 1/2 teaspoon at first, then work your way up.

 
 
 

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Stir it all together and allow this to cook for an additional ten minutes.

 
 
 

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While that’s cooking, let’s make the rice! Pour 1 cup of rice into a saucepan…

 
 
 

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Add 2 cups of water and a dash of salt.

Bring it to a slow boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and place on the lid. Leave for about 8 minutes.

 
 
 

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With a couple minutes of cooking time remaining, throw in a couple of sprigs of cilantro…

 
 
 

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…Then place the lid back on and cook for a couple more minutes.

 
 
 

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Serve the soup in a bowl…

 
 
 

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With the cilantro-infused rice on the side.

 
 
 

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The idea is that you take a little rice…

 
 
 

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And dump it into the soup.

 
 
 

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Then, as you’re eating the soup, if you find it’s too spicy you can just dump in a little more rice to offset the heat.

Perfect!

THE VERDICT:

I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious this soup was. I loved the ingredient list, but I wondered how flavorful it could be, cooking for such a short time. But honestly, the salt content is perfect…and the lime juice is absolutely delicious! It adds just a tiny bit of tang and dimension. The tomatoes are delicious, too—though they’re awfully hot right out of the pot.

The spice factor is all there—I think I’d back up to 1 teaspoon if I were serving it to kids or company whose spice tolerance was lower. But it was perfect for me.

This really was a treat, and it couldn’t have been easier!

Thai Chicken Soup with Cilantro-Infused Rice

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Meet Deborah

Posted by in Meet the Member!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Deborah Mele of Italian Food Forever.

 
Meet Deborah Mele, also known here as italianfoodforever. And those photos above are her recipes here at Tasty Kitchen. Yes, every single one, as of this writing.

With entries for drinks, salads, canapes, soups, main courses, desserts, and of course, pasta, you can theoretically print out her entire Tasty Kitchen recipe box and have an Italian cookbook in your hands.

Deborah also has her site, Italian Food Forever, where she shares cooking tips, cookbook reviews, travel journals, and of course, more recipes. She says that although she may not be Italian by birth, she is undeniably Italian by heart. While she does occasionally branch out, almost everything she prepares at home is either Italian or inspired by Italian ingredients, like her Panettone French Toast with Caramelized Apples below.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Deborah Mele of Italian Food Forever (Panettone French Toast with Caramelized Apples)

 
 
 
It was in Italy that Deborah says she “learned to prepare everything from breads to pastas, and anything in between.” Or, as we say here, from soups to nuts. Which, incidentally, she’s managed to combine in one bowl, in her Creamy Porcini Chestnut Soup pictured below.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Deborah Mele of Italian Food Forever (Creamy Porcini Chestnut Soup)

 
 
 
While Deborah believes in making everything from scratch in her own kitchen, she also understands that this may not always be possible for those who have limited time in their busy days. Mindful of that, she offers ideas for cutting steps whenever possible. But sometimes, shortcuts are unnecessary, and her Quick and Easy Zesty Sausage Pasta below is a 30-minute meal that tastes like it was simmering for hours.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Deborah Mele of Italian Food Forever (Quick and Easy Zesty Sausage Pasta)

 
 
 
Deborah maintains that the essence of Italian cooking is simplicity, using the freshest seasonal ingredients and basic cooking techniques to bring out the natural flavor of the food. And she shares many such simple, basic and incredibly heart-warming recipes, like the Warm Goat Cheese In Tomato Sauce pictured below. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Meet Deborah Mele of Italian Food Forever (Warm Goat Cheese In Tomato Sauce)

 
 
 
We’re truly happy to have Deborah here. From demystifying panna cotta to gorgeous dishes like those Herbed Goat Cheese Mini Flans that I can’t stop thinking about, Deborah has so much to offer us, and she does so in such a generous way.

 
 
So let’s jump right into the part where we ask her questions, and get to know the lovely Deborah Mele a little better!

 
 
Q: What do you enjoy most about cooking?
A: I love cooking with ingredients that inspire me and that are usually fresh and locally grown. When we are spending our yearly 6 months in Umbria overseeing our farmhouse rental, I visit the outdoor markets almost every day and look for my inspiration for what I will cook that day from the seasonal local ingredients I find there.

 
Q: Any favorite chefs or food celebrities? Who inspires you?
A: The person who inspired my love of cooking the most would have to be my Italian mother-in-law, who never measures anything and who taught me that being a great cook was as much from the heart as it was from the head. Of course, if one loves Italian cuisine, it is impossible not to be inspired by such celebrities as Marcella Hazan, Mario Batali, or Lidia Bastianich.

 
Q: What is your go-to dish or meal?
A: Pasta, of course! I LOVE pasta because I can create an amazing sauce in the time it takes to cook the pasta and have a meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.

 
Q: What if you had to eat something right now and had only 3 minutes to get it ready? What would it be?
A: It’d be a peanut butter and banana sandwich (a childhood favorite I never outgrew).

 
Q: Give us one of your favorite kitchen tips that you wish you’d always known.
A: That when making bread, weighing your ingredients is much more accurate than measuring them.

 
Q: What gives you the most trouble in the kitchen?
A: I am embarrassed to admit that I do not like—and am even nervous about—deep frying. I always worry I will end up with my entire kitchen on fire!

_______________________________________

 
Thank you for answering our questions, Deborah! And since cooking truly is a matter of the heart, thank you for sharing yours with everyone.

For more of Deborah, her cooking, travels, and her great love for the Italian kitchen, head to her site, Italian Food Forever. Her passion for food is such a joy to experience.

 
 

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How to Bake Spaghetti Squash

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

  I just came back from a week of blissdom at the famous Rancho La Puerta spa in Tecate, Mexico, where they’re known for their invigorating hikes and healthy, low-calorie, mostly vegetarian gourmet meals. It’s a place where you go to recharge, restore and get back in touch with how wonderful nourishing food tastes and […]

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The Theme Is … Main Dish Salads!

Posted by in The Theme Is...

  To atone for all the sinful chocolate I inflicted on you last week, today we’ll talk about salads. Healthy, hearty, satisfying Main Dish Salads, like Ree’s Ginger Steak Salad pictured above. The kind that even some serious eaters might be willing to consider a full meal. Main dish salads are a great meal option […]

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Meet Amy

Posted by in Meet the Member!

  Meet Amy Johnson, known here as missamy. You might recognize her pretty face as the one behind She Wears Many Hats, a blog she started less than a year ago. Which probably means you could add The Flash’s headpiece to her list of hats. Prior to becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom, Amy was a […]

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted by in Holidays, Looks Delicious!

  This Sunday is not only Valentine’s Day. It’s also Chinese New Year—the Year of the Tiger! Since the Chinese calendar is based on the solar and lunar patterns, every year the holiday falls on a different day. Luckily, the color red is popular for both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. It’s good luck […]