guacamoleI generally don’t buy avocados in the grocery store, as much as I love guacamole. The avocados often seem to be either under or over ripe. I can depend on the packaged Wholly Guacamole to be reliable.

Recently, however, my sister-in-law gave me three avocados. I used one of them to make guacamole when I fixed carne asada tacos (with our homemade tortillas, of course).

I didn’t follow a specific recipe. Rather, I took ideas from a couple of different recipes and included a few different ingredients. I put in a splash of red wine vinegar and some lemon juice. I seasoned it with granulated garlic and medium hot chili powder then added some diced tomato.

I was quite pleased. Maybe Wholly Guacamole has something to worry about.

The Celtic World

The Celtic World coverThe Celtic World
Professor Jennifer Paxton, PhD
The Great Courses
Audio download $34.95 when on sale
If the course is not on sale, check back – the sale price will come around again

Jennifer Paxton is one of the most engaging lecturers at The Great Courses and the subject matter for this course is fascinating.

Paxton starts out by telling us that many of the conceptions that scholarship has had about the Celts have been proven wrong in recent years. She spends a good deal of time setting us straight. For example there was long a belief that the Celts of mainland Europe, the Gauls of Julius Caesar for example, were related to the Celts of Ireland and Scotland. Later evidence, including what we have learned from genetics, tells us that the peoples are not related. Paxton demonstrates that common culture and art does not necessarily mean a racial or genetic relationship.

Paxton busts other myths as well. She tells us that Celtic Christianity wasn’t that much different from mainline Christianity. She says that Sir William Wallace (of Bravehart fame) and his men would never have worn blue paint on their faces. She even disappoints aficionados of Scottish festivals by explaining that tartans originally varied by geographic region and not by clan. Assigning a specific tartan to a particular clan is only a couple of hundred years old and was a result of the Celtic revival of the nineteenth century.

If such material interests you, you will likely love this course. You might consider a video version, as I’m sure I missed a lot with respect to art and visual depictions of geographical locations.

chicken tetrazzini

We had some leftover slow cooker whole chicken in the freezer, so I pulled out this recipe for chicken tetrazzini. It was a little bit of work, but really not bad at all.

Chicken TetrazziniI made quite a few modifications to the recipe.The recipe called for egg noodles, but I used penne pasta as that was what I had on hand. It called for parmesan cheese, but I used Romano because the fresh parmesan at the grocery store was exorbitantly expensive.I used half-and-half rather than milk or cream, which the recipe mentioned as an option. I used water rather than broth since I was remiss in keeping the pantry properly stocked. I omitted the salt, of course.

As for seasoning, this recipe was seriously lacking. As you’re likely aware I don’t cook that way. I kicked things up somewhat by adding Harris Ranch lemon garlic spice. It all came together quite nicely and made for some good leftovers.

Bishop Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon

We preempt our regularly scheduled blog to bring you the royal wedding sermon by The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, the 27th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. It is well worth fourteen minutes of your time. You may want to have a Kleenex handy.

Sacred Music Friday: Hail Thee Festival Day

Sunday is Pentecost


When I make soft tacos I often buy the marinated flap meat at the grocery store. Our regional chain has a couple of really tasty marinades. Sometimes, however, I will make my own marinade. That was the case recently. I bought a London Broil for a Saturday dinner, but I only needed a third of it for that meal. I cut the other two-thirds into two pieces and froze them. One day I pulled out one of the pieces to chop up and marinate.

make a marinadeIn looking through the marinades in my recipe database I only had one true carne asada-style marinade and it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Then I saw I had saved an infographic entitled Make a Marinade from the Food Network. That image provided the elements for making your own marinades. Very simple: oil, acid, flavors, and salt. I thought that was very cool in that it in essence gives you permission to innovate and come up with your own creation.

Here’s what I did. For the oil I used olive oil (of course). For the acid I used red wine vinegar and the juice of half a lemon. For flavor I used granulated onion, granulated garlic, hot chili powder, adobo seasoning, and fresh ground black pepper along with a splash of passion/orange/guava juice from Sprouts. As for the salt, I omitted it. You know me. I let the meat marinate for over six hours.

The result was a very flavorful carne asada.

I now know that I can be creative with my marinades.

brown butter spicy garlic shrimp

This recipe for brown butter spicy garlic shrimp made for a very tasty Sunday dinner. We had steak the previous evening and I wanted to balance that out, so shrimp seemed to be a great choice for doing so.

It’s a very simple recipe. You sauté the shrimp in butter and season with salt and pepper, garlic, the juice of one lemon, red pepper flakes and parsley. I omitted the salt and parsley. The recipe says to serve with angel hair pasta, but I made yellow rice instead.

The dish was very tasty with bold flavors and the yellow rice was perfect as a side dish.