Friday night's dinner with A., my sister and her boyfriend went incredibly well. So well, in fact, that I hardly took any pictures (sorry)! We just sat around the table, eating and chatting about life and whatnot. It means so much that the four of us get along this great and can't wait to host dinner for us again soon. (Yes, guys, I do enjoy playing domestic goddess, blah.)
On the menu: carrots with garlic hummus, tortilla chips with guacamole, penne à la [pre-made] vodka [sauce], breaded lemon chicken breast (using this delicious lemon marinade recipe), steamed broccoli and salad, garlic bread, fruity cupcakes and a selection of drinks including beer, white wine and sparking strawberry lemonade. Now I may be a bit biased, but I have to say that my homemade guac and strawberry lemonade were off the HOOK! (My guests agreed though.) Below are the recipes for both. Oh, and I've been wanting to take pics since the dinner, but this week has been so incredibly gloomy that every photo I take indoors just comes out dreadful.
Kick-Ass Guacamole: This recipe is a combo of basic recipes I found online along with one gathered from Boudro's, a yummy bistro I dined at during a press trip to San Antonio.
- 2 ripe Hass avocados
- ½ red onion minced (about a half cup)
- 2 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- ½ tsp sea salt
- a dash of pepper
- ½ ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
1. Mash and mix everything except the tomatoes. Leave those until you're ready to serve and then gently mix in. For those who can handle spicy foods (I'm not one of them), feel free to add chiles to your liking. The Boudro's recipe also specifies roasted tomatoes and Serrano pepper, but I'm not fancy schmancy like that. Serves 2-4.
2. To store, cover with cling wrap directly on the surface on the guac to prevent oxidation and refrigerate until ready to serve. It doesn't keep long though.
Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade: I'd originally wanted to remake a drink I tasted at someone's house a few weeks ago that consisted of sparkling lemonade, vodka and a splash of peach juice with half a peach sitting at the bottom of the flute. When I failed to find that lemonade at any of my ghetto supermarkets, I figured I could make it myself. Luckily, a few online searches led me to this refreshing alternative that was so good and perfect for summer, I'm about to make another batch. I'm sure the strawberry portion could be substituted with a range of other fruits.
- 1½ cups simple syrup (recipe included)
- 6 freshly squeezed limes,* about 1 cup of juice
- 16 oz. container of strawberries, cleaned with stems removed (aka "hulled")
- 1 qt sparkling water (I used Schweppes Lemon Lime Seltzer Water)
1. Simple syrup is 1 part water and 1 part sugar so in a small pot, bring 1½ cups water and 1½ cups sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and then cool down. I'm an impatient beast so I popped mine in the freezer while I prepared the strawberries. (FYI: Simple syrup is used in many cocktail recipes so store any leftovers for future mixes. It'll keep for a few weeks.)
2. Pop strawberries and ½ cup simple syrup into blender and blend until smooth. You can strain the purée to remove the seeds, but I chose to leave them in. And by chose, I mean I totally forgot that this was even an option.
3. Pour the 1 cup lime juice, strawberry juice, another ½ cup simple syrup and 1 qt sparkling water into a pitcher and mix. For extra sweetness add more simple syrup. Chill and serve over ice garnished with mint or strawberries.
*You're probably wondering why I'm using limes for a lemonade. Well, growing up we always used limes in our homemade lemonade and will admit that up until a few years ago I honestly thought the green ones were the lemons! Silly, I know, but I still haven't been able to go for the yellow stuff. Plus, I've heard that limes are much sweeter anyway :)