Monday, December 31, 2012

Placencia, Belize: Sea to Plate

In Placencia we decided to go snorkeling in the ocean. We thought it’d be a neat experience and found a local dive shop to set that up. We decided to go snorkeling in an area that was a little closer in the cayes nearby. It was only about a 20-minute boat ride away.

Our snorkeling guide brought along a friend who was going to do some spear gun fishing while we snorkeled. The friend turned out to be Sol, a chef at a local restaurant called Hidden Falls. He was going to try and catch some fresh red snapper to serve at his restaurant. That’s definitely the way to keep food costs down, by catching it yourself and then you also know it’s super fresh.

The waters were a little choppy and the boat ride was definitely a bit exciting with it popping up on the waves and getting a bit rough at times. The snorkeling was a new experience for mom and I have been once before. Our guide didn’t really show us much in terms of the underwater beauty; he was most interested in fishing for lobsters.

Fresh lobsters ready to boil.

It was pretty interesting to watch. He had a long pole with a little hook at the end. He found big rocks or coral formations that the lobsters liked to hang out underneath. He was use the pole to pull them out and try to catch them with his hands. He would catch them by these long thin tentacle things that extended from there heads. The lobsters were the spiny lobsters, which have a painful spiny shell and don't have big claws like other varieties.

Well, I ended up getting a wee bit sea sick, so we headed back to shore. But the good thing that came out of this trip was we bought two of the lobsters from our guide to have for our dinner. We bought two lobsters for $7.50 US, which is quite a deal. And they were about as fresh as you could possibly get.



Now that is truly sea to plate. We served the lobster simply, boiling it in salted water and serving it with melted butter. We served it with roasted carrots, mashed potatoes and a small salad. It was simple and very tasty and was a good meal indeed. And to think we got to see our dinner caught in the ocean earlier that day.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bring in the New Year with Beet Napoleons

Here's an appetizer for your New Year's Eve celebration that can't be beat.

Okay, you may like beets but be a little shy of actually cooking with them. Try this appetizer--it's one you can make ahead and assemble when you want to serve it. A couple of things raise this appetizer to a foodgasmic  level. First, it's poaching the roasted beet slices in champagne wine vinegar and agave. Then, serving it on a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction just takes it over the top.

Give this a try and let me know what you think of it. 

           Mini Beet Napoleons

           Makes about 15 mini napoleons


INGREDIENTS

1 large red beet

1 large golden beet

½ cup agave

½ cup champagne vinegar


4 ounces goat cheese, softened

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped chives

1 Tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Dash kosher salt


1 ½ cup balsamic vinegar


Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste




DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


      Beets

Cut off green tops of one large red beet and one large orange beet.  Wash. Cut two pieces of aluminum foil and totally wrap each beat in a sheet of foil. Place on baking pan and put in oven for 45-60 minutes.  Check beet for doneness by inserting a knife into heart of the beet. When beet is tender, remove from oven, carefully unwrap and let cool for 10 or 15 minutes.



When beets are cool, peel them. Slice beets thin, approximately ¼-inch slices.

Bring the agave and champagne vinegar to boil in small saucepan. Lower to a simmer and poach beet slices for a minute. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on baking tray. Cover and refrigerate till cool.



Balsamic Reduction

In small saucepan heat balsamic vinegar over medium high heat until reduced by half and moderately thick. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over or burn. Set aside and let cool. The balsamic reduction will thicken more as it cools.



Cheese Filling

Mix together two cheeses either by hand or with a mixer. Mix in the fresh herbs, dash salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper. Using a rubber spatula, spoon cheese mixture into a piping bag with a large holed tip. (If you don’t have a piping bag, a plastic baggie can be used instead and just cut off the tip after the bag has been filled.)



ASSEMBLY

Spread out the chilled slices of beets on a cutting board. Season with a little salt and fresh cracked pepper. Using a small bite-sized round (or other fun shape) cookie cutter and cut out rounds from both the red and golden beets. Make sure to do the golden beets first as the red beets will bleed their color onto the cutter. Make the napoleons by layering the beets in alternating colors or all the same as you choose. Put on beet slice down, pipe a little cheese mixture, put another beet slice on top and pipe some more cheese mixture and put a final beet slice on top. Skewer from the top with a decorative toothpick.



For the presentation, drizzle with a spoon a little of the balsamic reduction in a decorative pattern on a plate. Place skewered beet napoleons on the plate. Serve and enjoy.

Watch the recent segment on WCIU.




Monday, December 24, 2012

Greetings


Farm to Table in Belize


Yes. In Belize people are concerned about eating locally.  Part of that may be the price of food and how much imported food costs. 

While bicycling a couple of days ago, we came upon a lovely garden. A huge, lovely garden.  Too curious, we hopped off our bikes and trespassed, asking a gardener when we saw him if we could look.

Turns out this is a chef’s garden, nestled up right next to the Turtle Inn.  Haven’t heard of it? You’ve undoubtedly heard of the owner. Francis Ford Coppola.




The garden that supplies this resort and restauarant includes herbs, greens, vegetables, and yes, even the chaya plant that we had been wanting to see in real life.

And, from talking to local chefs, part of being a locavore is just pragmatic. 

The chef next door to us, who is opening a new restaurant in Belize called the Sea Glass, is planning an opening on New Year’s Day.  One of his menu items in pepper garlic seared tuna canapés.

“I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get any from local fishermen. I may have to go out fishing myself.”

Another chef, Sol from Hidden Falls Café, has a farm about an hour and a half away from Placencia.  He grows food for his restaurant and supplies others around.

“Do you grow chaya?” we asked him.

Yep. In fact, he supplies Martha’s Restaurant in San Ignacio, where we first were introduced to chaya.



And today, he went out with a spear gun and nabbed a few red snapper. Guess we know what’s on the menu tonight at his restaurant.  And how fresh it will be!



Sunday, December 23, 2012

To Market, To Market

We rented a cabana with a kitchen because we wanted to cook on vacation. (Yes, that's what happens when you vacation with a chef.)

But in order to cook, one needs to get the necessary ingredient. No Jewel. No Whole Foods. No Trader Joe's.  No. Here in Placencia we have a variety of choices.

First there are the produce stands.  These, we found, are the best bet for fresh produce.  A quarter mile away there a stand that opens early in the morning til evening.  And another quarter mile down the road, an even better stand, that operates out of a truck, with even longer hours.



Now the grocery stores do have some produce, but not as much or as good as the open air markets.  The grocery stores are small and poorly lit. And, to tell you the truth, a challenge for a chef on a mission.

It's taken a while, but we've found six within a two mile walk. (Yes, we walk miles a day. No need for a health club here!)

Wallens, nearby with a half-way decent selection, exhibits some of the charm of the place, as evidenced by the signage.



Some things are hard to find--Dijon mustard for one, and thus the vinagrette suffered. Butter.  We found it, but it's expensive!  Yogurt. A search of all six stores until we found some plan yogurt, produced in Belize.


And that was an excellent accompaniment to the granola I made with local honey with floral and tropical flavors. The Chef pronounced it nearly foodgasmic.



Happy discoveries come from market trips. Like these tiny bananas, which surprise in delight. It feels like a banana but tastes like an apple. This is a hybrid being developed here in Belize but not yet exported. Apple bananas, the locals call them.


But now it's time for dinner, so it's either choose a local restaurant, or a trip to the markets.  Hmm. Which shall we do?


Friday, December 21, 2012

Our first dinner in Placencia, Belize


After a long day of traveling, my mom and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out in Placencia. We found a place near our cabana that looked promising and had lovely outdoor seating, so we could enjoy the beautiful evening air. The place is called Wendy’s (no not the fast food place). It had many fresh and local seafood options and especially some conch dishes. 

Mom and I have been both looking to try conch.  We decided to get two appetizers and one entrée to share. We got the conch fritters, conch ceviche, and then jerk grouper for our entrée. Also we had gin and tonics, Belizean style. It was made with a local made gin and a special pink Belizean tonic. It was a little less sweet and not quite as strong.   
Ashley enjoys a Belizean gin and tonic

Conch fritters



Conch ceviche
Ashley was enoying the jerk grouper so much, we almost forgot to take a picture of it
The conch fritters were good, but no foodgasms. They were a bit dense and not crispy on the edges. The dipping sauce, which was a lemony mayonnaise, was pretty good. Next was the conch ceviche was a little better (at least to me--mom and I differed on the appetizers). It was nice a zippy and had a good heat and was served with tortillas chips.

And the entrée, the jerk grouper, was awesome. It came with coconut rice and a small salad. The rice was subtle but cooked perfectly. The jerk grouper was tangy and spicy and so moist. It had just the right amount of heat. Definitely the best part of the meal. And since I do have a mini sweet tooth from time to time I tried the coconut flan. It was an OK flan, but I did end up eating the whole thing by myself……so maybe it was a little better than just OK.

Coconut flan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Planes, buses, and . . . boats?


It was going to be easy. Just walk out to the highway (hauling suitcases) and catch the bus to Belmopan.  Then at Belmopan take a bus to Placencia. Maybe 3 or 3 ½ hours.

Well, it started okay. Pulling our rolling suitcase four blocks down a dirt road. (Well, that was a little challenge.) But the bus cam right away.  And by bus, think school bus. Old school bus. Not painted yellow.

Well, not terribly comfortable but okay.  It was an express bus so we made it from San Ignacio to Belmopan in 45 minutes.  Then the surprise.  The next bus was only going to Dangriga and we would have to change buses there and board another one for Placencia.  That might take four hours altogether.


So, we lined up to wait for the bus. Signs said single file, and that people would load the bus eight at a time.  We were standing next to a snack bar selling sandwiches and plantain chips.  The chips looked good. Freshly made.  We bought a bag.

And we boarded the bus.  What was going to be a nice orderly boarding of the bus wash a free for all. And there I was two bags and a backpack in tow. Grey-haired. Would have thought that counted for something.  No. So even though Ashley and I were about the fourth and fifth in line, we were pushed out of the way, got in front of. And yes, we did get on the bus. The seats? Well, I got one half of a school bus bench seat. Ashley got a third.

By the time we made Dangriga, a couple of hours later, the crowd had thinned out and we both had our own seat.

Long story short.  We missed the Placencia bus and were advised to continue on to a town called Independence. And from there a water taxi ride of only 15 minutes to Placencia.

What they didn’t tell us was there was a two-hour wait for the water taxi, and it was a half mile or so from the bus station. Drag and pull.  And then the wait, and the plantain chips were oh so good.
We put our right feet in. We put our left feet in , , ,

When we finally made it to our cabana, we’d been on the road (or water) seven hours.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The rest of Day 2- Snacks, eggs, beer and more

After our amazing breakfast, mom and I walked (several miles) around into town and all about the San Ignacio, Cayo and Santa Elena area. I had many unique food experiences today that I wanted to share.

First I wanted to have a cold drink and stopped at a market. While searching for a chilled coconut juice I found this, sour sop juice. It looked interesting and very thirst quenching and I always love a food adventure. It tasted a little tart, very floral, crisp and creamy in the same moment and had a slight apple flavor to it. Sour sop is a local fruit and in my mind, quite tasty. I found that the sour sop fruit also has many anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties that are very useful in the medical world. So, tasty and good for you.

The very refreshing Sour Sop Juice
Also something cool that I found at the market were packets of coconut milk powder. It is a product of Thailand (so the package said) but it seemed to be pretty popular on the shelves. I’ve never seen it before. So I bought some and plan to experiment with it soon.
Super cool coconut cream powder

While walking around town in the blazing sun, I felt the call of something cold and sweet and gave in for a nice ice cream cone. For only one US dollar I got a single scoop on a sugar cone. I got the rum raisin. It sounded better than it actually was, but it was cold and sweet. And then halfway down the street I walked by a homemade gelato place and smacked myself for not waiting. Oh well. 
Hmmmmm, which ice cream should I have
In market after market I see this and it drives me crazy. Eggs on the shelf. No not a cold shelf or cooler, just the regular open-air temperature shelf. Not sure how safe this is, but it seems the norm here. To someone in the food business, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. OH MY!
Eggs on the shelf.......REALLY!
At night, since our hotel was so far away from the center of town and we were really up for the lacking menu at our hotel. We thought to grab some nice cold Belikin beers and some food for at the hotel to eat in our room. From the open-air fruit market we got some fresh pineapple and papaya. From the store market we got some whole-wheat rolls and cheese. One of the cheeses was a processed cheese that seems pretty popular down here, called Happy Cow (maybe a distant cousin to the laughing cow). The other was a red rind cheese we thought was Gouda, but in fact tasted more like Parmesan. Anyway, it was all very fresh and tasty.
Fresh papaya

Pineapple with very curly fringed leaves
Hotel picnic dinner

Make-shift cooler for the Belikin beers


















For the beers we tasted three different varieties of the Belikin beer. First the original Belikin beer, then the Lighthouse beer, and lastly the Premium Belikin. I believe the Premium one was my favorite. It was a bit more robust in flavor and super refreshing.

So with a full stomach and very tired legs, I will sleep very well tonight. We have a big journey tomorrow, making our way from San Igancio to Belmopan and then on to Placentia via bus. Hopefully more food adventures await us tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 2 Starts with Fry Jack


Two words. Well, three, really. Fry jack. Chaya.
We went looking for breakfast, and walked two miles into a neighboring town.


We landed at Martha’s Guest House and Restaurant in the town of San Ignacio.


Well, it was nearly one o’clock but our stomachs said breakfast. So that’s what we ordered.  


Fry jack was on the menu. We had faint memories of them from a previous visit to Belize.  (Note: some say the term fry jack is plural—one should never orders fry jacks.) So along with Martha’s Mayan Scramble there was an order of fry jack. 


Haven’t heard of them? Think beignets but savory. Like beignets, fry jack is simple. A dough of flour, salt, shortening and water. Fried in oil.


Traditionally fry jack is served with eggs, vegetables, refried beans, and meat.  The chef part of Ashley couldn’t leave the fry jack alone, so after enjoying it with eggs, she asked for a little honey and drizzled some on a fry jack, for a sweet treat.


 The second new thing? Chaya.  This came as part of the Mayan scramble. In taste and texture it resembled swiss chard.  

What we discovered is that chaya is more similar to other greens. A shop keeper we spoke with said it was something between a collard and a mustard green.



What was most surprising is how it’s grown. Chaya comes from a large plant that more tree-like. In fact it’s called tree spinach.  And it’s supposed to be even better for you than spinach.


The huevos rancheros I ordered came with freshly made hot corn tortillas!  Wonderful. I just wanted to each tortillas and fry jack!  Which I did. Along with my eggs.
Tasty breakfast. Came close to a foodgasm.  And we were fortified for the day and lots of walking.

Belize/Guatemala trip Day 1

So the director/producer of Foodgasm Etta Worthington and the myself the star/chef of Foodgasm (we are also mother/daughter) have decided to go on an adventure into Belize and Guatemala and blog about the experience and especially our encounters with food in these countries.

Well Day 1 of our travels have not gone as planned and turned a bit crazy. First we arrive at O'hare at 4am for a 5:15am flight to Houston which we barely make due to the very slow (one scanner) line at security. We have an very quick layover in Houston and have a few minutes in which to grab lunch and hop on another plane. I unfortunately could only find a subway breakfast sandwich, not quite the culinary delight.

Luckily we were saved (not knowing how long the walk was to our other gate) by a very friendly people mover operator. I really enjoyed zipping by people and horns blaring as we went by the other travellers. So, safely aboard the second flight headed to Belize City, Belize. Both Etta and I tried to sleep a little since never one of us had really gone to sleep the night before in the frenzy to get packed and ready to leave town. Not much sleep though, as plane sleeping is an art form I have yet to master.

Yay, we have reached Belize as we walk off the stairs right onto the tarmac. The heat was wonderful and it was so very sunny and green. Here is where the trip got a bit crazy. So to simplify it, I am putting it in bullets points. Imagine a nice beat rolling in behind it and some upbeat calypso music playing along.

  • Delayed/lost luggage
  • Waiting
  • United said our luggage "might" be on the next flight from Houston at 3:30 (our flight cam in at 11:30am)
  • Told by United we could catch bus and they would "send" our luggage to the hotel (which is about 5 or more hours away)
  • •decide that was not a "good idea"
  • Waiting
  • Missed 2:30 bus to Flores, Guatemala
  • Figure out new plan and try to make United pay for way to get us to Guatemala (since they lost our luggage and caused the delay...we had hotel reservations in Guatemala)
  • Waiting
  • Hungry so we ate a VERY expensive meal at the airport and had our first Belkin Beer (the local brew)
  • Meal was tasty and some more we waited.
  • Still waiting at 5:30pm and not even sure if the flight had our luggage for sure.
  • Around 6pm (as the tiny Belize airport was cleaning up and closing around us) the flight cam in.
  • Happily reunited with our luggage
  • United agent finally said they would pay to send us in a cab to our hotel in Santa Elena, Guatemala.
  • All seemed well as we drove along.
  • Cab driver even stopped to let us pick us some Belikin Beer to drink (it's legal) along the way.
  • Life was good for a moment
  • Stopped for a bathroom break and was charged .50 each to use the toilet (they woman gave us a few slips of TP). Seemed strange, but everyone has to make a buck.
  • As we are getting closer to the Guatemalan border the cab driver asks again for the address.
  • Cabbie says this isn't where he was told by United to take us. 
  • Almost dropped off at Guatemalan border at night.
  • Re-route to San Ignacio
  • Keep fingers crossed that the Aguada Hotel (which we've stayed at before and have reservations for on night #3) had a room.
  • Thankfully yes and room gotten.
  • Much needed showers!!!!
  • A semi OK dinner at the hotel (but no foodgasm)
  • SLEEP after being up (at least for me) for 36 hours straight.

Wondering now way Day #2 will bring :)



Ashley is smiling a little to big for 4am with no sleep.
Etta, all set to go for our Travel/Food adventure
View from plane......SOOOOO GREEN


Lost luggage report :(
Etta's a thirsty woman!


A 'homemade" hot sauce in a repurposed soy sauce bottle

Airport lunch:Beans/rice, fried plantains, grilled veggies, fried grouper and potato salad.










Tired of soooo much waiting.
Etta tried to multi-task in her very tired state.

Tiny Garnachas for an appetizer



Grilled veggie burrito with a ranchero sauce.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Another TV Appearance

Yes.  That's right. Saucy chef Ashley Simone will make another appearance on You and Me This Morning on WCIU.



The Date:         Friday, December 28
Time:               Approximately 6:40 PM
The Station:     WCIU
The Show:       You and Me This Morning

She'll be doing a demonstration of a wonderful appetizer, perfect for your New Year's Eve party.

Be sure to tune in or DVR this segment. If you're out of the viewing area, no problem.  We will post the episode later that day on our website and on the blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caramelized Onion Quiche with Portabella Mushrooms and Gouda


Who doesn’t love a savory pie in the form of quiche. I always love to make quiche for a quick dinner or maybe even for a relaxing weekend brunch. Simple yet still very elegant and can be easy dressed up with a simple salad to serve alongside. This quiche has some of my favorite ingredients; caramelized onions, portabella mushrooms and Gouda cheese. If you don’t have time to make the crust, you can always by a premade one. But I do find making a fresh crust oh so much tastier.

Now go on and open a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and let it breathe, throw together a quick green salad and enjoy with this tasty Caramelized Onion Quiche with Portabella Mushrooms and Gouda. A Foodgasm or two is sure to follow. ENJOY!


Caramelized Onion Quiche with Portabella Mushrooms and Gouda
                                                   •VEGETARIAN•

Makes 8 slices or 1 quiche
Ingredients
  • 1 pie crust (either use Pate Brisee recipe below, or store bought)
  • 2 c thinly sliced onion rings (about 1 large onion)
  • 2 T olive oil (1 T to sauté the mushrooms and 1 T for the onions)
  • 2 c small chunks of portabella or baby portabella mushrooms
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c whole milk
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2  t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  t freshly grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1  1/2 c (packed) coarsely grated Gouda cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
Preparation

 Preheat oven to 450°F.
Unroll crust completely. Press firmly onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter deep-dish glass pie dish. Bake until light golden brown, pressing on sides of crust with back of spoon if crust begins to slide down sides of dish, about 17 minutes.
Pull crust out and reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions;  sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Then reduce heat to medium low and stir occasionally as the onions begin to caramelize. Toss in a little salt and pepper to taste as you are doing this. When done, set aside.
Heat in another skillet the other 1 T of oil and saute the mushrooms until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 
Whisk eggs, half and half, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl to blend. Put caramelized onions, mushrooms, 1 cup of the Gouda cheese and the chopped basil into the prepared pie shell. Next pour the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over quiche.
Bake quiche until puffed, golden brown, and just set in center, about 45 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Cut into wedges.

Buttery pastry dough (Pâte brisée)
Makes a 9-inch pie shell

2 c  all-purpose flour
½  teaspoon salt
½ c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
5-7 Tablespoons ice water

This dough refrigerates well after baking and reheats to perfection. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Cut in with a fork or pastry cutter, half the shortening and butter into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Cut in the remaining shortening and butter until it is pea-sized. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water.

Blend the water gently into the dough until it just holds together; you may lift the ingredients with a fork, allowing the moisture to spread. If necessary to hold the ingredients together, add a few more teaspoons ice water.

Flatten and shape dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A tasty Holiday one-bite appetizer

Holiday parties are now in full swing. I have the perfect little appetizer that is original, super tasty, fun to eat and vegan.  Pinto bean, Mushroom & Avocado Tostada Bites are perfect little one-bite appetizers sure to make your friends super impressed. They are pretty to look at and exciting to taste with lots of different colors, textures and flavors all in one bite.

These tostada bites are so satisfying and creamy, that most folks won’t believe that they are vegan. And since they are served on a corn chip, they are also gluten-free. This is a perfect holiday appetizer for both meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike. I hope you and all your friends enjoy these tasty one bite Foodgasms!
Chef Ashley Simone making avocado puree or her appetizer.

Pinto bean, Mushroom & Avocado Tostada Bites
VEGAN • GLUTEN-FREE

You’ll need 1-2 cups small round corn chips
For the bean mixture
       •      1 can of pinto beans with liquid (about 1 ½ cups)
       •       ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
       •       ¼ cup chopped roasted Poblano pepper (roast the pepper in the oven or on a    
                grill till slightly charred)
       •       2 cloves of chopped garlic
       •       1 tablespoon olive oil
       •       ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
       •        ¼ teaspoon cumin
       •        ¼ teaspoon ground clove
       •        ¼ cup water
       •        1-2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
       •        salt/pepper to taste

In a small sauté pan put in the oil and heat over a medium flame. Sauté the onion, garlic, and roasted Poblano pepper till soft. Add in the paprika, cumin, ground clove and sauté for 1 more minute. Add in beans with liquid, water and lime juice. Sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat. Softly mash the mixture with a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

For the mushrooms
       •        1 clove of chopped garlic
       •        1 tablespoon olive oil
       •        2 cups medium chopped portabella mushrooms
       •        dash of cayenne pepper
       •        2 teaspoons lime juice
       •        salt/pepper to taste
Over a medium high flame heat the oil olive in a small skillet. Add the garlic, mushrooms, cayenne, and lime juice. Sauté till soft and slightly caramelized on the edges. Slat and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the avocado puree
       •        2 ripe avocados
       •        2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
       •        2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
       •        salt to taste
Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the flesh into a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix/blend till creamy. Set aside.

For the topping
      •        1 plum tomato, brunoised  (very finely diced)
      •        1/8 cup red onion, brunoised
      •        dash lime juice
      •        salt/pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix.

For the assembly
Take a corn chip; add a small dollop of the bean mixture and smooth to the edges. Add a little of the mushrooms on top of the bean mixture. Next add the avocado puree on top of the mushroom layer. The avocado puree can be added as a dollop from a spoon or piped on in a pastry bag. Then add a small sprinkling of the topping on top of the avocado puree. Repeat for the remaining chips and serve.