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Sass up your supper

Monday, June 13, 2011

Under the Don't Call Me Chef column in the newspaper I work at, my co-producers and I started three new recipe series to coincide with the paper's revamp on May 27. Veggie Chick started off the first "Singled Out" segment with her sandwich recipes, and Hungry Caterpillar followed a week later with a food and travel story on Taipei in the segment called "On The Road". The last new segment is "Review", which is not really new because we used to review only cookbooks before but have now expanded the series to include other food-related items such as gadgets, recipe blogs and cooking shows on TV.

I was actually supposed to come out with the first Singled Out column for the initial revamp date on Feb 14, and I had fun writing about cooking for one on a day meant for couples. Unfortunately, the revamp was postponed, but I'm keeping my story on file. Maybe for Valentine's Day next year. (Actually, Singled out isn't just for someone cooking only for themselves; it also focuses on a specific ingredient, cooking method, or food item.)

Anyway, my new story appears in print today. The quick tomato sauce I feature is good on its own, but can also be transformed into other sauces with a few additions as shown in the two other recipes in the article. As promised in that story, here are a couple more recipes. For some reason, I went Mexican and made guacamole and salsa cruda (both recipes are adapted from 500 Mexican Recipes by Judith Fertig). Maybe because I happen to have all the ingredients at hand. In fact, I found some Roma tomatoes at my neighbourhood grocer and they taste really good. Italian tomatoes in a Mexican dish ­­– eating around the world at home.

The quesadillas in the picture above are made with the two condiments: Heat a little oil in a skillet. Place a flour tortilla into the skillet, spread with a thin layer of guacamole and salsa cruda, and sprinkle with grated cheese. When the cheese starts to melt, fold one half of the tortilla over the other into a half moon; serve cut into wedges.

Dip away!
Makes about 375ml. Serve right away as guacamole can discolour as it sits.

2 large ripe avocado
160g fresh tomatoes, chopped*
3 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
2 fresh jalapeño peppers^, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • Halve, pit, peel and slice the avocados into a bowl. With a fork, mash the avocados with the remaining ingredients until chunky but well blended. Serve with tortilla chips or as a garnish for other dishes.
* Use cherry tomatoes in red and yellow for colour.
^ Use long green chillies as a substitute.

Salad supremo
Makes about 500ml

2 cloves garlic, minced
40g finely chopped onions
75g chopped green pepper
75g chopped cucumber
1 fresh jalapeño pepper*, stemmed, deseeded and finely chopped
10g fresh chopped coriander
450g firm ripe tomatoes, stemmed and chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste and leave to sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
* Use long green chillies as a substitute.

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