Tag Archives: avocado

Tuna and White Bean Salad in Avocado Cups

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We have these free wall calendars at work and every month a recipe is showcased along with a large picture of it. After staring at this recipe/picture of this recipe for the last month I decided to make it. I love the main ingredients in this and figured this would be right up my alley and it sure was. It also took less than 10 minutes to make this from start to finish, which can’t be beat AND you don’t have to cook anything or heat up an oven so it is very heat-wave friendly as well.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

We sometimes get requests from our loyal readers for certain recipes and one we recently received was for chicken tortilla soup. This worked out perfectly because I happen to be a huge fan of tortilla soup  and I have never made it before. So, I happily took on this challenge and made it on a very cold Sunday afternoon.

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Seared Salmon Salad with Grilled Tomato and Avacado

Summer!

This was another summery grilling inspiration.  I had a hankering for seared salmon and figured to keep it light by having it on a salad with an oil based dressing.  I also decided to spruce up the salad with some methods that I had never tried and some that were truly experimental, but worked out.  This turned out much better than the last post, but we give you the truth here!

First off the primary ingredient, the salmon.

It did have the skin on it and I had an idea of how to get it off.  I have tried to cut it off, but I always feel like I lose so much in the difficult process.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

I sprinkled a store bought cajun seasoning on the meat side only.

Next was to prep some of the other salad ingredients.  The first was to prep a foil packet of walnuts, sliced garlic, oil, and salt and pepper.

Ready for the grill

I had never roasted walnuts and garlic on the grill like this but it worked out.  This packet went right onto the grill for about 6-8 minutes each side.  The flavors intermingled well and I threw them right on the salad though I know some would be weary to throw the roasted garlic on the salad.  Feel free to discard it or recycle it for another dish, but I think that it worked out well and was not too overpowering.

Post Grill

That was one of the new methods mentioned, the next is also a new method and one that was truly experimental and I was not sure if it would work out.  I sliced 2 tomatoes in half and an avocado in half, sprayed them with a little oil, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and then……

Whats next?

Probably not a big surprise, but right on the grill face down!

It worked out just fine and I would suggest it and try it again myself!

Maybe a minute or two less next time though

I wasn’t sure how the avocado would fare on the grill and it could have used a minute or two less but I was able to peel away some of the burnt parts sort of like peeling the blistered skin of a roasted red pepper.  I sliced them and added them to the salad.

Back to the salmon.  I was planning to sear it and placed it skin side down first.

Ok, I forgot my plan and put it down meat side for a second.

Once I flipped it after a few minutes, the skin came right off which was the hopeful plan!

Skin came right off. Nice!

Once the salmon was done, I sliced it and put it atop the rest of the salad ingredients.

We used some olive oil and vinegar as a dressing, though much wasn’t needed since there were so many great flavors.

In addition, I threw a little bit of goat cheese on the salad.  The warm salmon and grilled veggies melted it a bit and the creaminess tasted great.  Overall, was a good meal.

Roasted Corn Salsa Dressing on Peppercorn Steak Salad

This is Greg and this is my first Kitten post!  A teacher has some summer time so you should be seeing me around here more often.  The original idea for this was black and blue steak salad and I decided to really focus on the black part and made a peppercorn rub for the steak.  I used a porterhouse cut of about 1.5 pounds which is not the typical or easiest cut for a steak salad, but they are always on sale at Giant in the summers and was a great deal for some quality meat.  With the trimming off the bone, there were some convenient scraps that had to be tested too.  When grabbing the blue cheese, Gorgonzola was right next to it and I decided to switch up the black and blue philosophy though it is not a major change as they are pretty similar.

Filet on the right!

The rub was just a combination of some dried spices and whole peppercorns that I ground in our spice grinder.  It was very loud at first and I ran it until itwas quieter but not fully ground.  I wanted to keep the peppercorns a bit coarse.

Preground peppercorns and spices
Don’t be afraid to use your hands and get it well covered

It is called a rub because you are supposed to rub it into the meat, so pour half of it on and get to work!  Flip it over and make sure that the whole piece is thoroughly covered. Grill it as you normally would a steak.  If possible, it is best to plan some rest time once the steak is done to allow the juices to set and to allow it a bit of time to cool to cut it and serve on a cold salad.

Where the term blackened comes from

Despite how it looks, the meat was cooked medium rare.  The rub just really blackened it that much.  It did not taste over spiced, again despite it’s appearance.  I let it sit for about a half an hour and sliced it up.  I kept the filet separate to make sure we got fair shares and as mentioned, many samples had to be had while carving it along with cleaning the bone.

Once the steak was sliced, I placed it on a bed or romaine lettuce and applied the salsa/dressing that I was simultaneously making.

Could always stop here and add a premade dressing

I had a hard time naming the dressing because it is sort of a salsa mixture that we used as a dressing.  There were so many important ingredients also that it was hard to focus on a few to give it an identity.  No other dressing was added once we topped the salad with this.  I first wrapped the peeled corn in foil with some butter and salt and pepper and roasted it on the grill for about 45 minutes or so turning once in a while.

Good ol sweet summer white corn
Double wrapped and ready for the grill

While the corn was roasting, I combined the remainder of the ingredients.  The lemon juice, oil, and vinegar tied it together as a dressing consistency which spread well on the salad and held the whole thing together too.

All of the ingredients for the dressing except for the corn

Once the corn was roasted, I let it cool until it could be handled and removed the kernels and mixed it in with the rest.

Apparently the center was on the most intense heat

Once all of the dressing ingredients were combined and well mixed, we used it as you would a normal dressing on the steak salad and sprinkled a little bit of extra Gorgonzola on top and enjoyed.

The final product!

It was sort of a lot of work but was well worth it and we really enjoyed it.  The dressing was so good itself that salad bites without steak were still really fulfilling.  An added bonus was that about half of the steak bites were filet mignon which most would consider a sin to be placed on a salad but the price was so great that it was just fine.  Give some or all of it a try!

Recipe for Roasted Corn Salsa Salad Dressing

Recipe for Peppercorn Rub

Avocado Salad Dressing

One of our friends from college is doing an internship in Maryland for the summer (yay!). He arrived a couple of weeks ago and to celebrate Ashley invited us over for chicken tacos.  I offered to bring a salad, since all I had at home was some produce. I picked up a few extras, such as avocados, and decided to make a homemade salad dressing to jazz things up a bit (making homemade salad dressings is easy and they taste SO much better than store bought!). I wanted to stick to the taco theme and figured an avocado dressing would be fun and different.

This is about the best looking avocado you will find in Wheaton. It was certainly ripe and about a day away from being bad. At least they were ripe though, if not a little too ripe.

Limes are so pretty! I love them. They go hand in hand with avocados in my book and the citrus helps the avocado from turning brown. They also seem to help in the mashing process, as the acidity must break them down a bit.

So, after a good smashing, I added yogurt, half and half (you could use milk or cream if you prefer), garlic, onion, and salt and pepper. Oh, and  a dash of cayenne. The onion was grated- which created an interesting consistency and also left the house smelling like onion for a few hours, FYI. It was almost like onion pulp and helped distribute the flavor evenly and without adding much texture.

I wanted to make a festive salad full of color. I included romaine lettuce, rainbow chard, grape tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, and green onions. Twas delicious.

The salad dressing tasted extremely fresh and the flavor was pretty mellow. It lasted for another 1-2 days, but did start to turn brown by that point. It’s probably best served on the day you make it.


Recipe for Avocado Salad Dressing

Grilled Red Snapper & Swordfish with Fresh Guacamole and Cilantro

Well it’s official. Grilling season is upon us. Yay! We took full advantage of that and the seasonable weather and made a fabulous grilled fish dinner.

Harris Teater’s seafood selection is awesome. Greg got some really nice looking seafood while there and the prices were also very reasonable. This meal was entirely his inspiration and I am so glad it was!

On the left is the red snapper, on the right the swordfish.

He made some fresh guacamole for the topping. His recipe for guac is the same as mine (avocado, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper) though he also added a chopped jalapeno.

He (expertly) grilled the fish and topped each fillet with a hefty spoonful of guacamole, fresh chopped cilantro, and some chopped tomato. He placed the fish on a bed of wilted spinach.

Though this dish may seem a but underwhelming, I assure you that the simplicity and freshness of the ingredients makes this dish so amazing.  It was a light, but very filling meal at the same time. If you like guacamole, the possibilites seem endless in terms of what to serve it on or with. This is just another great way to use it. I preferred the swordfish over the snapper because it was stronger in fishy flavor. If you are open to eating fish, but don’t want a fish intense in flavor snapper is a great option. Both held up well on the grill so it’s really up to you.I can’t wait for more!

lettuce leaf tacos!

mmm tacos. Who doesn’t love a good taco every now and then? The beauty of the taco is that you can make it exactly how you like it and it’s still a taco (ie: hard shell, soft shell, choco taco 🙂 ). Although I do love me some of those pre-made corn taco shells or a soft flour tortilla to support my beef and cheese, we decided to go the healthier route for our taco night this time and use these large, beautiful romaine lettuce leaves.  We made some fresh guacamole to complement the earthy lettuce shells and topped the tacos with cilantro and lime for a tasty version of the classic beef and cheese taco.

First, the guac. I like to make guacamole with just a few ingredients ’cause I love avocados so much.

All I use are avocados, red onion, fresh cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper.

Chop, chop, chop…

…then mash, mash, mash…

…and you have one of the most easy, yet most delicious condiments on the planet.

From here all we did was brown some ground beef, mix in a little taco seasonings, and served it atop a large lettuce leaf with some cheese, chopped tomato, guacamole, fresh cilantro and lime. Nothing fancy, but downright delicious.

Nothing processed or refined in this spin on a Mexican? American? traditional dinner food. Whole foods and tons of flavor. YUM!

Sushi Party!

Sushi!

Last year on Christmas I gave Greg a sushi making kit- it was something I put together for him with all of the sushi making essentials and we have been making sushi ever since. Well, he has been making sushi and I have been the sous chef.  We decided to show off our skills and invited a few folks over to partake in a sushi party.  Greg has two friends that live in Japan right now and one happened to be in town with his Japanese girlfriend (as in, lived in Japan her whole life and only in the states visiting right now kind of Japanese!!).  The pressure was on! In preperation for this event, I contacted Melanie at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring to let her know we’d be stopping by the store to pick up some ingredients. She graciously met with us and was so generous! Thank you Melanie! We picked up some beautiful looking seafood, produce, and some odds and ends and headed home to begin making the sushi.

One thing I have struggled with as the sous chef is making the rice. Obviously, this is an essential element to the sushi, but man, I just can’t get it right! Our Japanese guests highly suggested using a rice cooker, which I have but did not use. I will definitely try that next time. For this go round, however, I made it on the stove top and used this:

I followed the directions to a tee. First rinsing it and cooking it exactly how the container’s directions suggested.

It looked pretty good and I was encouraged! It was a teeny bit crunchy still though- wtf?!

According to our Japanese guests, any short grain rice will do and you don’t have to purchase “sushi” rice. So American, right? They made a great analogy to their experience eating bread at Italian restaurants  in Japan. It’s bread, it tastes like bread, but it’s not as good as “real” Italian bread. That’s pretty much how this rice was for them-  standard rice, but not GOOD rice.  Next time, I may try to buy Japanese rice… eek!

While the rice was cooking we prepared the fixings, fish, and other fillers.

I purchased this wasabi and  pickled ginger at Whole Foods.

It’s powdered wasabi so in order to make it you combine equal parts powder and water to form the paste.

I made a lot!

I pulled out the shiso leaves because I never had them before. Pretty lame, I know.

We purchase three types of fish (tuna, snapper, and salmon) and some shrimp (for shrimp tempura rolls). The quality of the fish was excellent- look how pretty!

The (heart shaped) tuna!

The snapper ( I believe of the red variety).

The salmon (so gorgeous!).

Shrimp!

We tempura battered and fried the shrimp.

Everything needed to be cut down to size for the rolls. We sliced up the fish and also the cucumber and avocado that would go in many of the rolls.

So, now on to the fun, yet most difficult part. We used these nori sheets:

We added rice wine vinegar to the rice.

and the sushi rolling began…

This was a spicy salmon roll.

Uh, yeah! That’s a sushi roll on a Steelers plate.

Next, the making of the shrimp tempura roll.

The whole rolling process went on for nearly 2 hours- I kid you not! It takes a lot of time and hard work, but just look at these results! MMMMM….

The “everything roll” (above)- all three types of fish, cucumber and avocado and a crazy assortment below.

I could not get the camera in focus for these close-ups because I am clueless when it comes to cameras, but I wanted you to see the shrimp tempura roll (front) and the salmon roll behind it.

Below, another out of focus shot (grr!) of the tuna rolls.

There were so many combinations of rolls and we also made some nigiri.

All in all, TONS of sushi!

Everyone happily ate and we almost finished it all! We had about 8 pieces leftover, which is not bad at all! We also got the chance to open some Saki that had been given to us for Christmas, by none other than one of our guests tonight! I have never been into Saki, but this one was really good! It was served cold and did not taste like rubbing alcohol, which is always a plus :]

For dessert, we served tiramisu. Wait, what? That’s not Japanese. Yeah, I know, but I had most of the ingredients and everyone loves it. I followed my own recipe and it came out great! I actually made it two days in advance this time, which worked really well. Everyone scarfed it down, so I take that as a success!

Steak Chili

I love making chili in the winter time and there are so many different styles to try. I asked Greg to make chili for us one weekend and he decided to make chili with steak (beef chuck roast) instead of traditional ground meat.  He began by trimming the meat and cutting down the 3 1/2 pound roast into cubes. Coincidentally, this occurred during Maryland’s nail biter against Virgina Tech and provided him with a good outlet for all that anxious energy. Maryland won by the way!

We used the dutch oven again for the chili, like we did with the Cincinnati Style Chili we made several weeks ago. For this chili version,  start off by browning the meat on the stove top and drain the excess liquid.

It does not have to be cooked all the way through at this point, because it will go in the oven for another 3+ hours.  However, once you get a nice brown coating, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

At this point it is pretty chunky, but it will cook down over the next few hours and each part will be rather indistinguishable.

Before three plus hours in the oven (above) and after (below).

It thickened up quite a bit and all of the bug chunks of meat cooked down and became much smaller with an almost shredded like consistency.Similarly, most of the other ingredients (tomatoes, onions, peppers) also cooked down and created a thick sauce like texture.

We topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese, raw yellow onion, and avocado. YUM!

Chili is so good for leftovers too! Hope you like it!

Recipe for Steak Chili

Breakfast BLTs

Ahh nothing like a weekend morning…. this morning I made, yes I made something! I made a breakfast BLT- which was an open-faced sandwich with spinach, tomato, bacon, avocado and a fried egg. I had fun with this one.

I don’t eat bread very often, not because I don’t like it but because I LOVE it. If I’m gonna eat it though, I want to eat this delicious onion roll (from Giant) every time!

I figured why not put some wilted spinach underneath the tomato… it’s healthy and for this purpose it has a better texture than lettuce.

One last thing- the egg!

Well this was one of those meals that tasted as good as it looked. I was very pleased with the BLTs!

Recipe for Breakfast BLT

After breakfast, I needed a pick me up and decided to make myself a latte.

I still have not quite mastered the milk steamer and it wasn’t as hot as I wanted it, but it looked pretty and tasted good and more importantly, soothed my caffeine addiction for the day.

Recipe for Non-fat latte