Quesadillas Cubano Amazing

In my previous recipe for guacamole I think it’s pretty clear that I have a love for all things on the Mexican side of eating, at least to the extent that Mexican food makes for great party and event finger food, or appetizers. Here I have a multi-cultural mixy-mix of Mexico meets Cuba – The Quesadillas Cubano.

8 small flour tortillas
4 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest ham
4 ounces thinly sliced roast pork from the deli
4 ounces thinly sliced part-skim Swiss cheese
2 good sized sandwich-cut dill pickles sliced
1/4 cup yellow mustard

The above is a good proportion for making four quesadillas, so add or subtract however you like for more or less. This couldn’t be easier, spread everything somewhat evenly on the tortilla, preheat your oven to 350, toss in the oven. Quick trick, I kind of like to shred the swiss cheese and then sprinkle on each side, helps to hold the big melty pile of delish together. Throw in the over on a baking sheet until slightly crispy. Yummy.

A Different Guacamole

Everybody loves Guacamole and most people seem to make the same old style that we’ve seen a hundred times in every cook book and granted its amazing!!! We love it, but sometimes it’s also nice to mix it up a bit and change things here and there. Here’s an easy one where we cut down a bit on the avocado and instead throw in some nice cannelloni beans instead. Give it a try, it’s very good.

1 can (16 ounces) white kidney beans / cannelloni drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeño chile – seeds removed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Vidalia (sweet) onion
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
2 plum tomatoes chopped

Most people just throw everything into a food processor and let her do her business, honestly it’s always better to do the chop and the mash by hand with a really sturdy fork, but maybe we don’t all have the time to do it or we’re making way too much for a dinner party and want to cut corners. Here’s a quick trick. First do the veggies by themselves, pulsed a few times, then clear those into a bowl. Then, no need to wash the processor bowl, do the avocado and beans with the lime juice. Then mix those together by hand (fork).

Dream Hotel: Giraffe Manor

If our last post on our dream hotel list was an arctic resort, the igloos of Finland, then I’m doing a complete about face and headed south, way south to Kenya. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve been dying to go. If you’re headed off to explore Africa, or more specifically East Africa on Safari you are going to need to find a launching off point from where to start, i.e. usually Tanzania or Kenya, where you can get international flights in. Which then means at least one night in town to meet up with your guides. So why not stay in a gorgeous old hotel, that has as it’s “butlers” Giraffe’s? Set on a property near Nairobi of 12 acres, the Giraffes freely wander in and about the hotel grounds, you are welcome to feed them a snack or simply marvel at how beautiful and graceful they are. Have a sundowner and think of yourself as Karen Blixen.

More On Them And Their Beautiful Property Over At Their Website.

Dream Vacation: Hotel Kakslauttanen

Want to hangout in an igloo? I do. While I’m not the type who loves, looks for or even particularly enjoys the cold, I think having a quick vacation in the arctic lands of Europe would be at the very least a tail to tell the kids, but also how much fun. The Hotel Kakslauttanen is one of those winter wonderland hotels that only the Norse would think of, or at least who got it right. Thermal glass igloos in the wilds of Finland near the Urho Kekkonen National Park a twenty room hotel with the very best ever views of the Aurora Borealis. While the Aurora Borealis is visible from August through til April, of course as you might expect, the best time to go is in the dead of winter. Eeck.

Check Out Their Website For More.

Quickie Shrimp Rillettes

This is a super quick recipe that will wow anyone around the table, it can easily be made and can also sit in the fridge over night (actually it gets a little better that way, mixing the flavors in). Best served in a nice jar, feel free to toss in some cilantro or other herbs that you might have for garnish, also feel free to swap out lime for the lemon.

6 tablespoons soft butter
1 pound shelled & deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons nice brandy or a dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt to taste

Butter and shrimp in a saucepan on medium heat til the butter is melted (not brown), sauté the shrimp for two to three minutes, basically until they become opaque. Add in the brandy / sherry for half a minute. From the pan, right into a food processor, chop on pulse for a couple seconds, then add in the Cayenne and lemon juice. Pulse again for a few seconds. You kind of want it to look a bit like pate, which is more or less what a rillette is anyway. Best served slightly below room temperature.