best homemade guacamole

January 17th, 2020 · 14 Comments

I love guacamole. 

In fact, the word ‘love’ might not be strong enough.  I’m enthralled, enraptured and a little bit obsessed with this recipe, in no small part because it’s one of the best-tasting good-for-you snacks I can imagine.  Avocados are full of healthy fats, and guacamole is basically just a combination of a few simple, fresh ingredients, tossed and served up.  It doesn’t get much yummier than that.

A few tips on storing guacamole without the avocados turning brown — first, don’t make this until the last possible minute.  But if you have to make it ahead (or, even more rarely, if this doesn’t get eaten in one sitting), save the pits and store them in the same container.  Rub some saran wrap with a little bit of lemon juice, and cover the top of the guacamole that would otherwise be exposed to the air, and then add an airtight lid. 

And on day two, throw this on some tortilla chips, add some sour cream and cheese, and viola — nachos!

Best Homemade Guacamole

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe avocados
1 shallot, minced
1 plum tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly grated black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cut avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a mixing bowl.  Add the chopped onion, cilantro, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper and mash with a fork until chunky and mixed.  Serve with chips or chopped veggies.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads · side dishes

Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Aioli

December 18th, 2019 · 19 Comments

At the end of winter, as spring is just beginning, before the raspberries and blueberries and apricots and plums, there was asparagus.  And weeks ago, with the first asparagus of the season, I made this dish.  And then somehow managed to forget about it until I realized, just recently, that I hadn’t seen asparagus at the farmer’s market recently.

So here is a great asparagus recipe, after asparagus season is over.  Don’t want to wait 9 months to try this?  Grocery stores have asparagus for much longer than the farmer’s markets, so you should still be able to find it.

This is only the second time I’ve made homemade mayonnaise, and for a girl who’s not much of a mayo-eater, I gobbled this up.  Roasting gives the asparagus a crispy outer layer, and creamy aioli is the perfect complement.  

I used hardneck garlic for this recipe (pictured below), which I definitely recommend if you can find it!  Otherwise, a small head of softneck garlic would work too. 

So here is a little dose of spring, in the middle of summer.

Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Aioli

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound of asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Ground pepper
1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2/3 cup canola oil

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss asparagus with 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper, and place it in a roasting pan.  Cut the top of the head of garlic off so that each bulb is partially exposed.  Pour 2 tsp olive oil over the head of garlic and place in a ramekin in the oven.  Roast the garlic and asparagus for 10-15 minutes, turning the asparagus once, until the asparagus is cooked through and crispy on the edges.  Remove the asparagus, and roast the garlic for another 25-30 minutes, or until tender.  Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolk, salt, mustard and vinegar.  Slowly, whisk in a few drops of the canola oil at a time, beating thoroughly to incorporate.  While continually whisking, add canola oil a tablespoon at a time, and eventually add the oil in a thin stream until it’s entirely incorporated.

With a sharp knife, separate the garlic bulbs from their skins and mince the garlic bulbs.  Whisk the minced garlic into the mayonnaise.  Serve alongside the roasted asparagus as a side dish or light snack.

Serves 2-3. 

Tags: food · side dishes

Seared Scallop Salad

November 8th, 2019 · 35 Comments

This post has been in my “drafts” folder for almost a week, but I didn’t want to post it because I felt like I owed you guys an at least somewhat sweet recipe, since my last dessert was in March!  But, with that out of my system, I am equally excited about this seared scallop salad.

And for you to fully appreciate this salad, I have to tell you a very cute story.  It involves the farmer’s market, and an adorably hungry dog.  Now, the fish stand at our farmer’s market is so popular that if you show up anytime after about 11 am, the only things left are scallops, mussels and cod.  All of which I like!  But it sometimes hurts to see their whiteboard of delicious fish options, 90% erased by the time I make my way down to Union Square.

But, as I was waiting on line one Saturday, suddenly this dog in front of me got up on its back paws and pressed his little nose up to the front of the fish case. As the poor owner was trying to get the (rather large) dog to pry its face away from the plastic divider, the man behind the counter plucked a scallop out of his bowl, and tossed it to the dog, who greedily chomped it down.  Too cute!  And, I thought to myself, “if that dog can get that excited about scallops, then I can find something really lovely to do with them (that does not involve eating them raw in one bite).”

I decided to try some of the artisan greens that were available, and they were very different from what I expected!  Corn shoots, which are the long, straight, very light greens in the salad, were intensely flavorful and just burst in your mouth — different from any lettuce I’ve ever eaten.  The other greens in the salad are white pea greens, pea shoots, and buckwheat greens, and there are some sunchokes thrown in because you know how much I love them.

In other news, I am very excited to announce that two blogs that I like a lot have given me awards (although I feel like I don’t deserve them after steering two people astray with the muffin/large loaf debacle)! Elle and Sarah have given me, respectively, the “E for Excellent” and “Blogging with a Purpose” blogging awards! Which means that I get to pass them on — and honestly, there are too many wonderful food and cooking blogs out there to choose from, and new ones popping up all the time! But here are a few of the blogs whose entries I am always excited to see:

  • Modern Beet – For her excellent focus on local, sustainable and delicious ingredients!
  • Gourmeted – Because I just love their site.
  • Cook & Eat – For the best website layout I’ve seen, and gorgeous recipes!
  • Steamy Kitchen – Because I can’t read this site at work, for fear that I’ll laugh out loud and seem unproductive!
  • White on Rice Couple – Because I’m so excited to make their homemade dog treats this weekend, and because their photos are always gorgeous!
  • Seared Scallop Salad

    INGREDIENTS:
    1 pound large scallops
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 sunchokes, peeled and chopped into matchstick slices
    1 pound mixed artisan greens (I used corn shoots, pea shoots, white pea greens, and buckwheat greens)
    2 tsp mustard
    1 tbsp white wine vinegar
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Salt
    Pepper

    DIRECTIONS:
    1. Salt and pepper the scallops and set aside.
    2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil until nearly smoking. When pan and oil are hot. add scallops to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. Sear for about 2 minutes per side, turning once. Don’t move them around when they’re on the pan, except to flip them once!
    3. Remove the scallops from the pan and set on a paper towel to cool.
    4. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper, as desired. Dress the greens and sunchoke slices with the dressing and set them onto plates. Place the scallops on top of the greens, about 4 or 5 scallops per plate.

    Serves four, as an appetizer.

    Tags: food · salads · side dishes