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Saturday, January 10, 2009

cook's night off




Peter is home for a break between his band's cruise ship gigs. He heads back out soon.
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How nice after the holiday busy-ness that he and his buddy Josh - his friend since 4th grade - wanted to buy groceries and make us Mexican pizza.



While I watched with the camera, became ravenous with the smell of Mexican seasoning and also made guacamole, I was thinking, "One pizza? There are four of us, and three are guys." So I quietly resolved to fill up on chips and guacamole if I was still hungry after my portion of pizza.



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They used one of the Boboli-type thin crusts (they're already baked and packaged in the store), ground beef sauteed with taco seasoning (if you don't have packets at the store, here's a recipe for it), vegetarian refried beans (no lard), and cheese, black olives, peppers and tomatoes, all on Josh's cool holey pizza pan that lets air circulate and make the crust crispy. Bake at 400° F for just under 20 minutes.
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So we each ooohed and aaahed while we served up our 1/4 of the pizza, dolloped on the sour cream, guac and salsa, and sat down. I dug in and after 2/3 of my piece I was so stuffed I had to push my plate away and took the rest to work for lunch the next day. The boys all felt just right after one piece.
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I'd like to get one of these high tech pizza pans for "cripsy crust," as somebody in my family used to say. Josh forgot to forget it and leave it.
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Margaritas were the perfect light accompaniment.


I ran a cut lime around the lip of my glass and dipped it in coarse salt for the photo, but we all prefer them without salt since it makes the drink too rich. Besides, salt ain't so good for you. Not that we were terribly worried about that.

Here's the guacamole recipe I use if you're interested, adapted slightly from one at Cooks Illustrated. (I can't link the actual recipe because you need a subscription, sorry.) I used four avacados for four people (yes, we are pigs).

guacamole
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1 ripe avacado
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
salt to taste - remember chips are salty
1 garlic clove, crushed
chopped cilantro leaves to taste
(*cilantro in the Western Hemisphere is the same as coriander in the Eastern Hemisphere, though when you think of cilantro you tend to think of leaves and when you think of coriander you tend to think of the dried seeds)
chopped red onion, optional
chopped tomato, optional
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Mush ingredients together with a fork to your desired consistency. I like it chunky, so I mush one half and cube the other half by slicing cubes right in the avacado shell, then scoop it out. Careful not to poke your finger with the knife through the shell.
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*This used to be me: I hate cilantro.com, then I was converted through one very delicious salad dressing.

71 comments:

Donica said...

Looks like a GREAT time! I make Boboli Chicken Pizzas (usually the small size) and love them!! I like that pizza pan...will definitely have to find one of those. Maybe I can convince Peter to bring the supplies to Amsterdam :)

Susan said...

Yum, that looks great! All that melt-y cheese on top. What nice boys! I used to make Mexican pizza a lot when my kids were young, but I made the crust from Bisquick. In fact, the recipe was in a Bisquick cookbook.

I love homemade guacamole with cilantro, but a little goes a long way and you don't want to get the stems in there. The flavor is strongest in that part. I planted cilantro in my herb garden a couple of years ago and it reseeds like crazy.

Anet said...

Besides all the great food and drink... what a nice evening with Peter and Josh! Very sweet of them to make you dinner. Is Josh a band member too?
My Caleb still hangs out with his buddies from pre-school and Kindergarten. It's fun to watch them grow into young men.

Loring Wirbel said...

We were sharing least favorite foods in some Flobots conference sharing activity, and a woman said "cilantro." I almost cried. How can anyone not like cilantro??!! There's some apocryphal story about how a Spanish viceroy in pre-independence times in Mexico told his Mayan servant woman to go gather greens. The yards were planted with coriander for the seeds, and she grabbed some of the leaves, and voila! The latest taste sensation.

I like my pizzas with cilantro, pesto, anchovies (double), habaneros, wasabi, anything to make the taste buds go whoom. Or frighten the horses, as it were.

Good luck to Peter on his latest cruise adventures.

Loring Wirbel said...

BTW, I just visited IHateCilantro.com, and these foul fiends now rank lower on my list that James Dobson's Alliance Defense Fund.

Ruth said...

Donica, yum with chicken, we'll try that. Wish we could join Peter on the Europe gig if he does it!

Ruth said...

Susan my dear, Bisquick is a mini-miracle.

Yes, we grew cilantro one year too! The deer loved it. I have a picture of one eating it, right here in the herb bed by the house. Actually, it was a fawn when we had twin fawn orphans hanging around the place.

Ruth said...

Hi Anet! We always have fun when Josh comes over. Nope, he isn't a band member - he is a med student at MSU. It seems like if these guys are still friends now - as Caleb is with his school buds too - they probably will be for life. I hope so.

Isn't the snow beautiful?!

Ruth said...

Loring, first of all, my feelings for cilantro are symbolic of other things in my life. What I once spurned I now love. (And vice versa.) Imagine the waste of our living in southern California five years and me hating Mexican food - especially cilantro! Poor Don had to eat Mexican with friends, never could with me, especially when I was pregnant. YUCK. Then one year in MI, I threw a potluck salad party for my office, everyone brought a different ingredient. My boss brought cilantro dressing from Villegas (Eric's, now gone) even though he also hated cilantro. And tasting that (why did I try it, I wonder?) changed my feelings about cilantro forever. I couldn't get enough of the stuff!!

Too funny about hating the ihatecilantro site more than Dobson's! Hehe.

Now your taste buds - assuming you have any - are wacked. Are you a smoker? I know smokers who need hot sauce because they can't taste their food's nuanced flavors.

Amy said...

ok that is my favorite kind of food and it always taste way better when someone else makes it! to be cooked for is the best..looks so good...and girl I eat tons of guac! a little bit of garlic or did I miss that in the ingredients I always add a little bit to mine:) I can't drink margaritas taquila made me sick once:) and you you can never go back to something that made you sick..I'll take a cold corona with lime with my pizza please:) xo

Ruth said...

Yum, Amy! Yes, I do put garlic in, could I live without garlic? No way, Jose. Yeah, I've heard that about taqulia too, I think I've heard it's easier to get sick on taquila than anything. I do like me a light Corona too - refreshing!

Oliag said...

Love those Boboli crusts! That pizza looks great and the whole meal looks yummy! Lucky you..a son that cooks for you! You have to put me in the "I love cilantro AND Margaritas with salt" category...

Ruth said...

Oh, and Loring, thank you for the bon voyage for Pedro. I'll tell him next time I see him, whenever that might be. I think he's visiting all his friends in one long sweep before leaving and we haven't seen hide nor hair of him for a few days. Besides which, it's been snowing like crazy, and I think he wants to schtay in one schpot.

Ruth said...

Hola, Oliag! It really was a treat, and one or two more times would spoil me I'm afraid.

What is it about those flavors that just dance on your tongue together!?

Loring Wirbel said...

Regarding taste buds, here's the real source of the problem - they're not blunted by overuse, it's just that sweet taste buds are my least favorite. I skip desserts because I usually don't like sweet, unless mixed with sour a la key lime pie. My fave sensations are bitter, spicy, sour, and salty, with sweet way down the list. I tell people that the only way I like chocolate is in Mexican mole sauce. So for everyone in IHateCilantro who I think is crazy, there are a dozen chocoholics who think I should be committed. All in the rank-ordering of taste buds.

shicat said...

I just love it when my kids come home. It's even better when they cook! Enjoy. The food looks great.What kind of pizza pan is that?

Babs (Beetle) said...

It certainly looks like a portion is more than enough. It looks very tasty too!

photowannabe said...

Ruth, this just isn't fair! My tummy is growling as I read this and not a pizza in sight to quiet it down. Thanks for the recipies. How nice to have your son home and doing some cooking for you.
Ok...its time to raid the frig!

Barry said...

Now that looks delicious!

When re you inviting us all over?

carl h. sr. said...

Sounds very filling.
So your eyes were bigger than your stomach!
Refried beans without lard.
Sacrilege!
Hey as I was looking up how to spell sacrilege I ran across something cool.
[ruthenium-a rare metallic chemical element of the platinum group.symbol Ru.]
Ok,ain't,mush-who really wrote this?! he he he
Thanks for sharing your good times.

laura said...

Oy, you're tormenting me with those pictures, Ruth: Peter and I are both trying to lose some of the weight that's been creeping up on us as we veer and waddle toward fifty. Lots of lettuce--so boring you get tired of chewing it!

rauf said...

oh its five in the morning Ruth and and i am hungry. Your pictures are making me more hungry. have to wait for an hour for my sisters to wake up. i have coffee in the flask thankfully. But i won't have a pizza at 5 in the morning. i never had more than 1/4th of a small pizza.
Normally i just have a bite.

No no just one bite thank you.

Are you sure ?

i'll ask my guruji and tell you
Of course i am sure. its too filling.

Loring Wirbel said...

Carl H - Solution to the lard-free refried beans dilemma:
1. Take down the large can of Crisco from the top shelf.
2. Grab a large ice-cream spoon.
3. Dig in with a Homer Simpson grin - "Crisco surfin' from the can - yummm."

Drowsey Monkey said...

Yummy, yummy! Oh that does look good. Plus it looks like everyone had a good time ... which makes food always taste better!

Ruth said...

Loring, oh! I never thought about it that way. Well I always gave preference to my salty buds.

But ohhhh, key lime pie.

Ruth said...

Hi Cathy, I don't know the brand of the pan, but here is one at Kmart of Martha Stewart's.

Ruth said...

Babs, it was yums. It's quite lofty too.

Ruth said...

Sue, I can't believe Peter's visit is almost over. We're going to miss him.

Ruth said...

Come on down, Barry, if you can get here through the snow!

Ruth said...

Carl, it was the guys who picked and told me about the lard-free beans. I never knew. I'm sure lard makes everything taste better (yuck, Loring!).

Ru - ruthenium. Do you suppose the discoverer of that element's wifee was named Ruth? Or was the discoverer herself named Ruth? Did you know Polonium was the name Madame Curie gave the element she discovered, for her homeland Poland?

Yes, my writing is getting more sophisticated.

Ruth said...

Ohh, so sorry, Laura. I totally relate, I don't have the metabolism I used to. It takes a lot of work to stay in my clothes and to keep limber enough not to walk with a hitch in my giddyup.

Ruth said...

I should have said it takes work to fit in my clothes.

:|

Ruth said...

rauf, this pizza is even more filling than other pizza. It is a feast in a piece.

Ruth said...

Drowsey, this is some sincere comfort food for winter!

And you're right, two things make food taste better: someone else cooking, and being with people you love.

Christina said...

Yum! I love bobili, so easy and good. Have I ever told you, Mexican is my all time favorite food. Shh.. I so would have wanted another piece. ; )

Loring Wirbel said...

NPR's The Splendid Table had a feature this weekend interviewing a British chef who had just written a book called Fat: The Misunderstood Essential. She discussed suet, pan drippings, salt pork (no lard). I bet you had to use angioplasty after every five recipes!

Wrensong Farm said...

Ruth, my stomach was growling reading and looking at the pics...and margaritas? Perfect! :)

Thanks for all the recipes, I'll definitely give them a try.

How wonderful that your son and his friend have remained close since 4th grade. I always think about my childhood friends but have no idea where any of them are.

Cilantro, I love it, and continue to eat it, but it makes me cough for some reason. (mild allergy? not enough to make me quit!)

carl h. sr. said...

Ruth,I think it said that the name was for a town in Russia.
Re: lard,on a very low budget concerning food,richer gives you more energy.When we have meat,most of my family eats the fat.
And if they don't,I will.
I do love my veggies though.
Ruth,it was fun to tease about some of your word use in this festive post.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, you made me so hungry... We have been working in the studio steady for the last few days creating new jewelry designs for the coming year... but I had to break away, run down to the kitchen and put a bath of pizza dough on to rise... Thanks for the inspiration..

Tell Peter and Josh they made my mouth water and the pizza looks delicious!!!

and that pan that makes the crust crispy.. I never knew about them!!!

Next week maybe we'll gather the ingredients for the guacamole... with Cilantro of course...

Thanks!!!

Oh what I would give to have a cook come to visit...

Don said...

That was such good comfort food. It was like a good lasagna, you love it and never get tired of it/

It was nice to have the boys back in town!

Peter said...

I think I'd like to make two next time...and maybe a side dish. Mmmm I want it again right now!

freefalling said...

Well.....there you go!
I live in the Eastern hemisphere.

Peter said...

The pizza looks exactly as I like them - thin with a lot of stuff and cheese on top! Now, where I live, just crossing the street, there is a small private pizza maker (no chain) and there you can get the best and cheapest pizzas in Paris, so I would hardly make them myself. Now, if they are offered...! :-)

Nathalie said...

Wonderful family atmosphere here. Is'nt it wonderful when our kids are old enough to do their own thing but still love coming home?

Cooking seems to be a perfect "homey" and family bonding activity. Glad you were conscious of how sweet the moment was.

Ruth said...

Christina, oh! Well, there is a lot to love about Mexican food. Too bad I lost all that good eating in Pasadena when we lived there and I didn't care for it then. :|

Ruth said...

Loring, we were talking about this in the hot tub last night, and Don said he'd heard from a professor back in the '70s that he believed many of our health problems would be solved if we ate more pork.

Ruth said...

Hi Tammy! We need all the filling food we can get in this weather, huh?

Ruth said...

Carl, you can give me a hard time about my word choice any time, if I can give you southern boys a hard time about your lard!

Ruth said...

Gwen! Ohh I hope you will be posting pictures of your new designs.

Wouldn't a cook be just the thing?? I do enjoy cooking sometimes, when I'm not tired at the end of a work day. Those days we keep it simple, but it's fun to cook on weekends.

Ruth said...

Gwen! Ohh I hope you will be posting pictures of your new designs.

Wouldn't a cook be just the thing?? I do enjoy cooking sometimes, when I'm not tired at the end of a work day. Those days we keep it simple, but it's fun to cook on weekends.

Ruth said...

Don, boohoo, the boy is leavin again soon. But he is having adventures on the high seas.

Ruth said...

Peter, are you kidding me? a) next time?? and b) TWO?

Mmmmm, me too I want it now.

Ruth said...

Letitia, yes Miss Coriander.

Ruth said...

Paris Peter, I should say you wouldn't make it yourself with the best pizza across the street. I imagine you and Loring could load up on anchovies there.

Ruth said...

You are right, Nathalie, some of our best family times have been in the kitchen. And happily our kitchen now is open to the family room, so whoever cooks is within sight of the other activity.

Bob Johnson said...

Ruth, you and your food pics, awesome. I had a choice of tv dinners(my turn to cook, off today)or pizza, I choose pizza now,lol.


ps, I love guacamole, my wife has an excellent recipe for it.

Nautankey said...

Looks yummmyyy...so nice of peter n josh.And I love the salt,it gives a quirky kinda taste :)

Ruth said...

Hi Bob, how was the pizza?

Oh, I wonder what's in your wife's guacamole? I won't pry.

Ruth said...

Nautankey, I like savory and sweet together very much. Once when we lived in Istanbul we drove our apartment neighbors mad with cooking chicken that had curry and honey in the recipe. "What's that smell??" they wanted to know. Such different tastes in the world, eh?

Sandy said...

That looks amazingly good and filling. Thanks for the guacomole recipe, I'm always looking for a good one. And ohhhh..those margaritas...personally I always request no salt because I don't like the taste.

Ruth said...

Bon appetit, Sandy!

Ginnie said...

Donica is right about those Boboli chicken pizzas with BBQ sauce. Fabulous. I can see how filling these Mexican pizzas would be and how great that the boys did this for you. A very nice memory!

Ruth said...

Boots, oh! I didn't know they had BBQ sauce! That sounds very yummy!

Chanel said...

Oh my god, I havent eaten all day and the sight of that melted cheese deliciously flowing over all that yummy mexican flavor almost made me jump through my screen. Be right back, gotta go get something to eat!!!

NJ said...

I love this post! Nothing sounds finer than having your grown child come home and take care of you by cooking dinner!

Really enjoying your blog! Love the comment about I'm 52 , learning to be a girl again. It hits home as I approach 50.

Ruth said...

Hehe, Chanel, sorry to do that to you. I hope you got something good.

Ruth said...

NJ, it was a big treat. I wish I had done better at teaching our kids to cook, but I was dumb and looking for quiet time in the kitchen. Now I wish I had them back at age 2 or 3 standing at the sink on a chair doing dishes.

Kass said...

I Hate Cilantro too!! Please let me know where to get the salad recipe so I too can be a convert.Thanks for the i hate cilantro website. What a giggle.

Ruth said...

I tried, Kass, but I couldn't find it, bummer. Maybe you'll discover something some day that will change your mind too about cilantro.

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