Friday, February 28, 2014

Food Blogger Cookbook Swap & a recipe to share

Guacamole Salad

Do you still use print cookbooks? Have we all converted to online sources exclusively? Can a cook have too many cookbooks? I'm not ready to abandon print on paper. Even though I own far too many cookbooks, I still long for more. January's cookbook swap announcement seemed the perfect invitation to set one of my treasures free, and welcome a new one to my overcrowded shelves. (link) A side benefit would be the introduction to two new-to-me food bloggers and their stories.

“Participating in the Food Blogger Cookbook Swap, hosted by Alyssa and Faith of , I sent a cookbook to a food blogger and received this cookbook in return!” That sounds easy enough, but it took more time than anticipated. I rediscovered cookbooks that I hadn't looked at in ages; books I read through once like a novel, perhaps tried a recipe or two, and then put aside for "another day". Well, another day is here and I've paged through w-a-a-a-y too many books, marking scads of recipes I really do want to try this time around. Sigh, too many cookbooks, too little time. 

What an interesting challenge to find "the" book, a book in near-new condition with no scrawled notes or food splatters decorating its pages, a book with an engaging story as well as recipes that might fit specific dietary preferences. I spent several days doing a little research, skimming through the recipe index on the assigned site and finally chose a cookbook for another blogger to enjoy. Book selected... book mailed... and then I waited. 

Anticipation grew as I waited to hear the "clunk" of a package hitting the mail slot. It didn't take long for my book swap package to arrive. Kristina of CucinaKristina shared Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa: at home as my cookbook swap treasure. Thank you, Kristina, for your friendly note and choice of cookbooks. 

The beautifully photographed book presents everyday recipes for family and friends, homecooking with great flavors and minimum fuss. It has been fun comparing some of my own tried and true recipes with Ina's versions of the same. I adapted Ina's Guacamole Salad to share here, a dish that mixes the flavors and ingredients of a great guacamole and a Southwest Corn Salad with Black Beans (without the corn).  

almost-Ina's Guacamole Salad
adapted from Barefoot Contessa: at home (my changes noted in red)
serves 6

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup mini sweet peppers, seeded and chopped
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can (10 oz) black beans; drained, rinsed and drained again
1/2 cup red onion, chopped 
2 Tablespoons jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

For the Sauce:

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 up lime juice, freshly squeezed (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil (I used 2 Tbs)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or chipotle chili powder to taste)

2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, 1/2-inch dice

Handful of fresh cilantro, rough chopped (optional)
Cajun Sunshine, Chipotle Tabasco and Salsa to suit individual tastes (optional)
  1. Place the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl, tomatoes through lime zest.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the sauce, lime juice through cayenne. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to coat.
  3. When you are ready to serve, fold the avocados gently into the salad with a wide rubber spatula. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve at room temperature with optional hot sauce and salsa on the side.
Note: Leftover salad worked well to fill Tostitos tortilla cups as an appetizer or snack.

Here are links to the other food bloggers participating in this cookbook swap:
A Baker's House
An Edible Mosaic
avocado bravado
Blue Kale Road
Blueberries And Blessings
Cheap Recipe Blog
Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Create Amazing Meals
Cucina Kristina
Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Cupcake Project
Dinner is Served 1972
Done With Corn
Eats Well With Others
Everyday Maven
Flour Me With Love 
From My Sweet Heart 
Great Food 360° 
Healthy. Delicious. 
I'm Gonna Cook That! 
Je Mange la Ville 
Karen's Kitchen Stories 
Kitchen Treaty 
Olive and Herb 
Our Best Bites 
Paleo Gone Sassy 
poet in the pantry 
Rhubarb and Honey 
Rocky Mountain Cooking
Shikha la mode 
Shockingly Delicious 
Sifting Focus 
Spoonful of Flavor 
Tara's Multicultural Table 
The Not So Exciting Adventures of a Dabbler 
The Suburban Soapbox 
The Whole Family's Food 


  1. Too many cookbooks? Here are some organizational solutions.

  2. Great recipe! Seems like a more socially acceptable way to eat guacamole, as I certainly wouldn't mind eating it spoonful after spoonful if I didn't get funny looks. :D

    1. This way everyone could have heir own bowlful - no race to the finish for guacamole lovers. :>)

  3. I love all things having to do with Ina Garten and would love to add this book to my shelf. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Thank you so much for participating in the swap and helping to make it a success! I love Ina's recipes and this salad looks amazing!

    1. Faith, this was a terrific activity, gaining each of us a new cookbook to enjoy and links to new and interesting bloggers. Thank you and Alyssa for co-hosting.

  5. What a great book - Ina never lets me down! Thanks again for participating in the swap!

    1. My pleasure, thank you for organizing this event. I'm still having fun exploring the other participating blogs.

  6. Ina is the best and so are her cookbooks! What a fabulous salad!

  7. Great adaptation and book to receive! It has been so fun to discover new blogs, and new treasures in cookbooks!


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