Friday, July 30, 2010

Guacamole Salad

Avocado is one of those foods I had almost no interest in until a few years ago. Now I feel like I'm making up for all those wasted, pre-avocado years... if an entree at a restaurant comes with a mere slice of avocado, I'll probably order it. I love to find ways to sneak it into my sandwiches and salads (Ever try a bacon, avocado, and tomato sandwich? Nom.). If you swoon over avocado too, you'll want to try this guacamole salad.

This is kind of a deconstructed guacamole (yes, I have been watching a lot of Top Chef): diced tomato, avocado, jalapeno, and onion are tossed in a lime dressing. And just to make it different, the recipe also calls for some black beans and yellow pepper. If you can get local tomatoes, try out the yellow ones... they are so sweet and tasty. This is one of those recipes where you can easily play with the quantities to suit your tastes (I used less jalapeno and onion than the original, and also added some fresh cilantro).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

It was 104 degrees earlier this week. What other option did I have?

This honestly wasn't the easiest ice cream I've ever made, but it was definitely best. There were lots of mixing bowls involved. It required making both a custard and caramel on the stove top. It took forever to chill the mixture before I could put it in the ice cream maker. But I'd do it all over again-this was crazy delicious.

Here's a tip for you other caramel-making novices: when you add the cream to the sugar, keep the heat at medium. It bubbles like crazy, so I made the mistake of turning the heat down a little bit, and the caramel siezed up. I almost cried got a little worried, but turning the heat back up fixed the problem. It took a little while to melt it all down, but no harm was done.

We just ate this by itself, but I think it would be amazing scooped on a brownie or alongside some apple pie.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Portobella Mushroom Burgers with Shoestring Fries

Tonight's blog post is a new favorite of ours, portobella burgers!  Since the farmers market opened over a month ago, I've made it a point to stop by the local mushroom guy's booth every week and buy some fungus.  Usually it's the oyster / shitake blend, sometimes its the giant portobella caps.  We made these a few weeks ago and sadly didn't take pictures (we do that a lot), and they were so good that we knew we'd be making them again.  The portobellas are nice and meaty and the combination of the dijon mustard, swiss cheese, and avocado is quite tasty!  I suggest anyone who's afraid of mushrooms, or isn't so sure they like them, to try this recipe, it's a guaranteed thumbs up.

We needed a side dish and what better side is there with a burger than french fries?  I've made these a couple times, and I'm a big fan.  They couldn't be easier to make, and are quite tasty with just salt and pepper.  You could go nuts and add all kinds of seasonings to them, but we'll stick to the tried and true recipe here.  The trick is to soak the fries in water before you bake them, it has something to do with the starches and helping them cook better, I don't know, but I know it works!  Hey, I read it in Cook's Illustrated, and I'll believe anything they tell me. ;)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

30 Minute Tortellini Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Pine Nuts

I don't know about you,  but I have no desire to eat a bowl of hot pasta when it's almost 100 degrees outside. I do, however, have no issue with scarfing down a bowl of cold pasta. This tortellini salad is a great meal for those summer nights when you can't bear to eat anything hot.  This is quick and easy to throw together, and it's got two of my favorite summer foods: tomatoes and basil. You could easily play around with this recipe to suit your tastes. Don't like arugula? Use baby spinach. Can't bear to have a meal without meat? Add some grilled chicken. And may I suggest some feta in place of the Parmesan?

It's supposed to be scorching hot all week, so give this one a try.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

Yes, these muffins are kinda healthy. They contain whole wheat flour, bananas, blueberries, and even wheat germ. I made them even healthier by swapping out half of the butter for yogurt (I needed the rest of the butter to slather on the finished product. Obviously.). And by some miracle, they do not taste like tree bark. In fact, they are delicious. It must be all of the sugar.