avocado

Brussels Sprouts, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

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My daughter Gillian recently gave me a box of kumquats and I was really tempted to candy them, but candied kumquats are the kind of thing I can't stop eating once I taste the first one, so, no. Not now. Maybe when I lose a few pounds.

I looked around to see what else I had in my fridge and cupboards that I could use with the kumquats: a few Brussels Sprouts, a couple of avocados, some cheese, and came up with this salad (I made half with cheese, half without.) 

Perfect -- plus healthy and low-cal -- use for kumquats.

Perfect for Passover as a symbolic dish of "bitter herbs/greens."

I usually don't save salad overnight because it becomes soggy. But this was so good that I kept it and even with its discolored avocado chunks it made a most delicious lunch item.

Brussels Sprouts, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 18 kumquats
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion or 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts, optional

Shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor and place in a bowl. Cut the kumquats in half, remove and seeds and chop the fruit coarsely. Add to the Brussels sprouts. Add the onion. Peel the avocado, cut it into bite size chunks and add to the salad. Add the cheese, if desired, and toss gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar and maple syrup and pour over the salad. Toss to coat all the ingredients. Add the crushed red pepper and nuts, if desired, toss. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Makes 4 servings

Easy Guacamole

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Recently I posted a recipe for an Avocado, Egg and Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Mayonnaise, in which I mentioned that I eat a lot of avocados. In fact there are always 4-5 avocados in my house, some in the crisper bin of the fridge, others ripening on the counter top.

Besides eating avocados as a snack, I find that when I am at a loss for a vegetable side dish or when I am rushed, stressed or busy, an avocado comes in really handy (not to mention delicious and also healthy). Just peel and cut it up and serve with anything: chicken, beef, eggs, whatever. Maybe sprinkle a little lime juice on top.

But of course, as I mentioned in that previous post, there's always Guacamole! One of the tastiest, easiest, well-loved dips there ever was.

Here are some ideas for guacamole in addition to serving it with chips:

1. spread on top of toast for a sandwich (by itself or with tomato slices, chicken or turkey)

2. use instead of ketchup for burgers

3. use to replace the butter on a baked potato

4. tuck inside eggs within an omelet 

5. stuff inside hollowed tomatoes

Here's my easy recipe for guacamole. It will take you far.

Guacamole

  • 2 medium avocados
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small serrano chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional
  • 3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • chips

Peel the avocado and scoop the flesh into a food processor (or bowl or molcajete). Chop the tomato and add the tomato pieces, chili pepper, garlic, cilantro, if used, juice and salt to taste to the food processor. Process to desired texture using pulse feature (or mash with a fork or tejolete). 

Serve with corn chips.

Makes about 2 cups

Avocado, California's Big Winner

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When I was a young Mom I met another young woman for a playdate for our daughters. She lived in the same town in Connecticut as I did, but had originally come from California. We became friends, and so did our kids, and we spent time together talking about things most mothers talk about. School. Babysitters. What our children should/don't/won't eat.

We also talked about food. One day she mentioned avocado. 

What?

Please don't think I'm a dinosaur, but back in the late 1970s avocados were not a thing. REALLY! I had heard of them. In fact once, when I was a little girl my mother took me for lunch at Lord & Taylor in the city and I insisted on trying tuna-salad-filled avocado (which my mother let me do although she insisted I would hate it -- and I did). 

I hadn't had an avocado since that time.

And I had not yet heard of guacamole, which this women raved about. She said everyone in California made guacamole. So, I started to also.

Now, these many years (and thousands of avocados later) I can say I am well acquainted with avocados, not just for guacamole but for dozens and dozens of recipes

Many thanks to the woman who name-dropped avocado. Many thanks to California, thriving avocado country (in fact, according to The California Difference, the Hass avocado is a California native).

Today that state will have its presidential primaries. And no matter who you are rooting for, I can say without question, the avocado is the state's big winner.

Avocado, Egg and Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Mayonnaise

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 slices Tuscan-Italian style bread
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil and garlic and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use (may be made 2 days ahead). Toast the bread slices lightly. While the bread is toasting, heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, pour in the eggs and cook, moving the egg around slightly to allow wet portions to reach the bottom of the pan. When the egg is almost cooked, flip it over, cook briefly and remove from the pan. Spread some of the pesto mayonnaise on 2 slices of the toasted bread. Top each with half the cooked egg. Top with slices of avocado and tomato. Cover with remaining bread slice. Cut sandwiches in half.

Makes 2 servings

Tomato Salad with Herb-infused Croutons and Goat Cheese

Why would anyone make homemade croutons when there are so many packaged varieties to buy?  
  For me it’s because the store-bought ones I’ve tried are oversalted, over garlicked, overgreased and hard as rocks.  
  And I trust my own instincts about whether my leftover bread is stale but still fresh enough to be useful rather than some commercial firm’s where they’re looking to get every penny’s worth.  
  Besides, croutons are incredibly easy to cook and they are so versatile and tasty you can feel like a genius after you make a batch and use them for some recipe or other. And also because you can use almost any kind of bread, any kind of cooking fat, any kind of seasoning, depending on which recipe you will be adding them to.  
  For example — I make basil-infused croutons for fresh tomato soup, c  hipotle seasoned croutons for pea soup  . I prefer traditional garlic and herb croutons for Caesar Salad.   
  I’ve also made buttery cheese-croutons, which are wonderful as toppers for vegetable casseroles and have even stuffed some into an omelet when I was at a loss for some other ingredient. I’ve made a variety of croutons with fresh herbs to use as a bed for stirfried vegetables.  
  There’s no end to the possibilities.  
  Croutons are supposed to be the crispy, luxurious, contrasting crunch and flavor your tongue savors as it tosses around soft lettuce leaves or buttery avocado or tangy salad dressing. The hard-as-rocks kind from the package are always too distracting.   

     
  Tomato Salad with Herb-infused Croutons and Goat Cheese   
     
    4 slices 3/4-inch thick Italian bread  
  1-1/2 tablespoons butter   
  1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil   
  1 large clove garlic, sliced  
  1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil  
  2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves  
  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  
  1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved  
  1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite size pieces  
  1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese   
  1/4 cup chopped red onion  
  3-4 tablespoons olive oil  
  2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar  
     
     
  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Trim the crusts from the bread and cut the pieces into small cubes. Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the garlic slices and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic slices turn lightly brown. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the bread cubes, basil and thyme, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat all the pieces. Place the cubes on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cubes are crispy and golden. Set aside. Place the tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, red onion and croutons and toss ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and pour over the salad. Toss and taste, adding more olive oil or vinegar as needed. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Makes 2-4 servings

Why would anyone make homemade croutons when there are so many packaged varieties to buy?

For me it’s because the store-bought ones I’ve tried are oversalted, over garlicked, overgreased and hard as rocks.

And I trust my own instincts about whether my leftover bread is stale but still fresh enough to be useful rather than some commercial firm’s where they’re looking to get every penny’s worth.

Besides, croutons are incredibly easy to cook and they are so versatile and tasty you can feel like a genius after you make a batch and use them for some recipe or other. And also because you can use almost any kind of bread, any kind of cooking fat, any kind of seasoning, depending on which recipe you will be adding them to.

For example — I make basil-infused croutons for fresh tomato soup, chipotle seasoned croutons for pea soup. I prefer traditional garlic and herb croutons for Caesar Salad.

I’ve also made buttery cheese-croutons, which are wonderful as toppers for vegetable casseroles and have even stuffed some into an omelet when I was at a loss for some other ingredient. I’ve made a variety of croutons with fresh herbs to use as a bed for stirfried vegetables.

There’s no end to the possibilities.

Croutons are supposed to be the crispy, luxurious, contrasting crunch and flavor your tongue savors as it tosses around soft lettuce leaves or buttery avocado or tangy salad dressing. The hard-as-rocks kind from the package are always too distracting. 

 

Tomato Salad with Herb-infused Croutons and Goat Cheese

 

4 slices 3/4-inch thick Italian bread

1-1/2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese

1/4 cup chopped red onion

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Trim the crusts from the bread and cut the pieces into small cubes. Heat the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the garlic slices and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic slices turn lightly brown. Remove and discard the garlic. Add the bread cubes, basil and thyme, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat all the pieces. Place the cubes on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cubes are crispy and golden. Set aside. Place the tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, red onion and croutons and toss ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and pour over the salad. Toss and taste, adding more olive oil or vinegar as needed. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Makes 2-4 servings

Easy way to pit a ripe avacado

yumblrinmy:

This will come in handy if you make guacamole or guacamumus.

Wish I could have embedded the video here in this post, but the creator disabled embedding :(

Sometimes you know how to do something and don’t do it anyway.

Last weekend I went to pit an avocado and instead of using a chef’s knife, I used a small utility knife because I was too lazy to get the big knife that was in a drawer about 7 feet away.

And instead of hacking the knife into the pit sideways, I tried to use the point.

Yes, indeed, I missed and now I have a large cut in the middle of my palm. Hurts. I feel like a jerk.

Do it the right way folks!