Fans of Food Network's Iron Chef know Cat Cora as the no-nonsense Iron Chef who whips up creative dishes on a dime during the heat of competition.
But she also has a passion for getting folks cooking in their own kitchens. In her latest cookbook, Cat Cora's Classics With a Twist (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), she shares the recipes that she makes at home -- favorite dishes whipped up a little faster, fresher and more flavorful -- including chicken stroganoff with tarragon and mustard, grilled chile-lime flank steak soft tacos with pineapple salsa, and pineapple upside-down lavender cake.
Cora will lead a cooking class at Central Market Fort Worth at 7 p.m. June 9. Reservations are $65 and include a copy of the book. (The class has sold out, but a waiting list has formed; she's also teaching a class at Central Market Dallas that day.) For information and reservations, call 817-377-9005 or visit www.centralmarket.com.
In case you miss out, here's one of Cora's classic recipes "with a twist" that we can't wait to try: grilled guacamole, perfect for summer patio get-togethers.
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Great with tortilla chips, raw veggies or any kind of Mexican food, this grilled guac stays green longer than guacamole made from ungrilled avocados. Go figure!
Makes 4 cups
3 large avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small unpeeled white onion, halved
1 large or 2 small fresh jalapeño peppers
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup diced tomato
Warm chips (see note), tortillas or quesadillas
1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal grill about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. Brush or spray the avocados with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Grill the avocado halves, onion halves and jalapeño until grill marks appear, 2 to 3 minutes per side for the avocados, 3 to 5 minutes per side for the onion and jalapeño.
3. Remove from the grill and let sit until cool enough to handle. Cut the avocados into large pieces. Peel the onion and cut into small dice. Mince the jalapeño. Mix the avocados and the vegetables in a medium bowl with the remaining ingredients. Taste and add more salt (about 1 teaspoon) or lime juice, if you like.
If you aren't serving it right away, cover, smoothing plastic wrap against the guac, and refrigerate. Serve with warm chips, tortillas or quesadillas.
Cat's note: This is especially good with fresh lime tortilla chips (the recipe is found in the book).
Nutritional analysis per 2-tablespoon serving: 39 calories, 3 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, no cholesterol, 3 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 24 percent of calories from fat.