Sunday, October 19, 2014

Where I've Been: When Life Gives You Guavas, Get Pasted.

   It's been a weird few weeks/months around here; a move, a remodel, a tango with campylobacter,  an earthquake, and just when shit was finally starting to get back to normal a routine mammogram at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco led to the discovery of a very small breast cancer and suddenly this 24 year cancer survivor was back in the saddle again.

   After lots of tests and prep, I had surgery this last Tuesday morning. Wednesday afternoon I was back home in Sonoma and if anyone had told me the same operation 24 years apart could be soooooo different, I'd never have believed them. The doctors and nurses kept telling me how easily things go nowadays and I said "no way! I've been there and I know what this is!" Well, I have to admit it. I was wrong. Yes wrong. So, so, so, wrong. I'm glad I'm not a gambling person because if I'd actually bet any money on this, I'd be a huge loser this week. Never take me to Vegas with you 'cause I really don't have a knack for this stuff. I'm back at home now, out and about and I want to thank everyone for all the prayers and good wishes you sent my way. I'm definitely on the mend and looking forward to getting back into the kitchen again. I'll be keeping you posted on my progress.

   Since I knew I wasn't going to be allowed to lift anything heavier than 5 lbs for a week or so, I did some cooking before I went into the hospital. Let's put it this way, I HAD to do some cooking before I went into the hospital as my guava crop started coming in and I was trying to get a jump on the piles of fruit before I was overwhelmed. I was looking for something easy and quick to make, something that would get rid of a lot of fruit fast. One thing I always serve around this time of year to put on holiday cheese platters is guava paste. It's great with Manchego cheese and a variety of other stuff, and since I knew I'd be buying blocks of it anyway, I thought why not save some money and make my own? It was easier than I thought.

Guava Paste

Here's What You Need: 
1 and 1/4 lbs fresh guavas
1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar

Here's What To Do:
Rinse and dry the guavas.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the guavas, and peel them.

Cut the peeled guavas in half and scoop out the insides.

Place the scooped out guava insides in a small bowl, and the peeled guava shells in another.
When all the peeling and scooping is done, pour 1/2 cup of water into the bowl holding the scooped out guava insides.

Set them aside to soak.
Take the peel guava shells, chunk them up and put them into a saucepan.

Add in 1/2 cup of water.

Bring the water to a boil, then turn things down to a simmer. Put a lid on things, and cook everything until the guava shells are soft. This takes about 30 minutes. Stir them every now and then to prevent anything from sticking or burning.

When the guava shells are nice and soft and creamy they're done.

Take them off the fire.
Strain the bowl of water and guava insides into a larger bowl. The water will have turned gelatinous.

Press the stuff that doesn't go through the strainer, pushing the pulp through, and leaving the seeds behind.

Stir the strained guava insides into the sauce pan of cooked softened guava shells.

Put everything though a food processor or blender.

Grind it into a puree.

Measure the amount of puree you have when done, and add an equal amount of sugar.
I had 1 cup of puree so I mixed it with 1 cup of sugar and put it back into the saucepan.

Using a wooden spoon, cook the mixture down into a thick paste.

This takes about 20 minutes or so.
When the paste is thick, line a small square or loaf an with waxed paper and pour the paste into it.

Spread the paste out into the pan and smooth it.

Set the pan of guava paste aside in a cool place for about 24 hours.
Un-mold the guava paste , cut it into blocks, wrap it in waxed paper, and store in the fridge.
When you're ready to use it unwrap and serve it up.

   There you go, guava paste! Now, once your guava paste is done, what can be done with it besides part of a cheese plate?  As it turns out......quite a lot. Guava paste is popular the world over and there are a lot of recipes out there as I'm finding out. Coming up next, a classic Central American guava cake. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

1 comment :

  1. Wow. Wishing you more cooking and more experimenting in the kitchen.
    We get really good Guava paste toffee in Goa they call it perada.



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