Nice to Meet You, Al Fresco

I just got back from a walk today and the weather is perfect for lazing around.  The breezes are gentle and mild, the sun is out but not scorching, and the temperature is in that perfect mid-70’s range where you can sit outside in shorts and flip-flops and feel fine, but not so hot that if you’re working indoors you feel like shooting yourself in the face just to get some fresh air flowing.

It’s times like these you learn how delicious salsa fresco can be.  I’m serious, if you’ve never had good salsa fresco you are missing out on what may be the best thing to happen to you all year.  It’s refreshing, healthy, and 100% guaranteed to make you eat too many tortilla chips.  My Dad was gracious enough to instruct me in the fine art of salsa fresco preparation when I visited earlier this month.  Now, I’m going to be gracious and share with you!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped to bits
  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled and chopped to 1/4″ chunks
  • 4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped to bits
  • salt, pepper, cumin to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 toasted jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped to teeny tiny bits (use tongs and roast them over the gas burner)
  • the juice of 2 limes

Just mix all this stuff in a big bowl and make sure you don’t skimp on the lime juice!  It’ll keep the avocado from getting nasty and brown.  When you seal the bowl, smush the plastic wrap down so it’s flush with the salsa, this will keep your avocados fresh too.

I loved this recipe so much that I actually ate it for breakfast one of the days I was there.  With the right tortilla chips?  This dish will make your whole entire week.  I don’t even want to think about what this could do if you parked it right next to a well-mixed margarita.  You’d probably just get to witness the heavens opening up and a choir of angels praising your meal or something.

Now that summer is officially here (we started out this summer with a huge thunderstorm, because our weather is nothing if not always appropriate here in Washington) I hope this recipe gives you everything you need to justify eating tortilla chips for dinner.  Just emphasize the presence of fruits and veggies to any naysayers.  Once they have a taste they’ll shut up and start eating too.

Cookies and Calisthenics

First things first, before I forget because all the recent sunny weather has gone straight to my head and caused my brain to erupt into a million tiny little feathers: My chewy peanut butter cookie recipe from the book The Home Baker (as opposed to the restaurant baker, because those fools obviously don’t need any help with their recipes)

8 tbsp butter, softened

Generous 1/3 cup peanut butter

Generous 1 1/8 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

Generous 1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

  • Beat the butter and peanut butter together in a large bowl.  Gradually add the sugar and beat well.  Take some time to smell the delicious smell of peanut butter and sugar (Seriously, do this.  You won’t regret it).
  • Add the egg, mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into the mixture, mix until just combined, then wrap in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease cookie sheet, slap some rolled-up balls of cookie down on that rascal and do the cross-hatchy smushing thing with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.  These are pretty light brown anyway, so you’d better just poke them until they feel slightly firmed up.
  • Eat too many, regret it, and then realize since these have peanut butter they’re kind of healthy anyway and then stop feeling bad about the indulgence.

There you are.  The peanut butter cookie recipe I make whenever I forget to buy dessert ahead of time.  Enjoy!

It was quite the weekend at casa de Mitchell.  We spent Friday evening partying with my co-workers and I had my first introduction to the brutal reality that is Monarch vodka.  Please, take a page from my book: Monarch does not love you back.  Flee from it like the hounds of Hell itself are nipping your heels.  I drank one, maybe two shots at the absolute most and I still had the spins and nausea the next day.  No good can come of it, friends.

Saturday morning dawned bright and late for us and we awoke to find a nasty little surprise from Doc Holliday, puppy extraordinaire.  His chewed-up bone was sitting in his crate.  Wes asked him how he managed to sneak his bone into his crate but I was not convinced that Doc carried it in there.  I suspected a swallowing and later regurgitation episode, so I investigated.

The evidence confirmed my suspicions: Doc swallowed his whole bone, raggedy sharp bits and all, and later threw it back up again.  Lest you forget how determined our dog is to swallow things he oughtn’t, here’s the bone itself, outside my dog’s digestive system:

Admit it: You're impressed.

Admit it: You're impressed.

He’s obviously committed to his craft.  I don’t even want to know the calisthenics necessary to get a bone that huge to go down your throat without choking, especially without making a huge fuss since neither Wes nor I heard him doing it.  If there were a Guinness Book of World Records for canines, I believe Doc would be in strong contention for the “Most things swallowed in two years” category.

What to do with a dog like this other than make sure to throw bones away when they get nubby and love him in spite of himself?

I’m fully aware that I’m writing about peanut butter cookies and puked-up bones in the same post, and that some people might find that distasteful.  Sorry about that.  Maybe just don’t look at the picture while you eat the cookies…?