avocado

quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

I’ve adapted this light and protein-rich salad from Plenty by Yotam Ottelenghi. It is flavorful and perfect for a barbeque party. You will enchant all your guests with this one, whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, or more omnivorous. The dish combines ingredients from both new and old worlds to become a beautiful international delight, just the way we like it 😉

quinoa, fresh fava bean and avocado salad

½ cup red quinoa
½ cup white quinoa
2 ripe Hass avocados
1½ cups fresh fava beans, from about 2 lbs fava pods
8 fresh multicolor oblong French radishes, quartered
1 cup frisée escarole, cleaned, cut into bite size pieces
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove crushed
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Aleppo pepper chili flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Add both red and white quinoa to a sauce pan, top with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature to medium and cook until soft and little seeds have partially burst. Drain, rinse and let cool down to room temperature in a strainer.

Using a sharp paring knife cut a tiny strip off the stringy part of the fava pod lengthways, pop beans out of their velvety pod. Repeat process for remaining pods. Add beans to a pot with boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain, shock beans with cold water, let them cool down. Remove outer membrane from around each bean, being careful not to crush them.

Cut avocados in halves, remove large seeds. Slice into wedges, transfer to bowl and sprinkle with some lemon juice to prevent oxidation. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix garlic, salt, peppers, remainder of the lemon juice, cumin and olive oil.

Transfer quinoa, fava, radish and frisée to a serving dish, pour dressing over everything and toss to combine. Adjust flavors if necessary. Gently fold in avocado wedges.  Garnish with some crisp lettuce leaves.

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I am trying to eat more healthily, but who isn’t really? I have this recipe for an omelet that I got from my acupuncturist. I’ve been going in hope of relieving a muscle spasm that has resulted from a bulging disc in my lower back.

spicy scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, celery, tomato and avocado

spicy scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, celery, tomato and avocado

He always lectures me about eating more veggies; taking proper supplements like MSM and vitamin D, iron etc.; and relaxation and exercise. It’s the same prescription for health and well-being you get across the board: eat right, exercise and relax. Life is usually good and in balance if you fulfill these basic requirements.

Anyhow, nutrition plays a big part in making the body work properly. So, I am constantly on a quest to achieve better nutrition. However, cooking omelets is still a challenge, as I can’t ever seem to turn them correctly, so inevitably I switch it up for a scramble. (I think that Julia Child had the same problem when she was starting out.)

key ingredients for spicy scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, celery, tomato and avocado

key ingredients for spicy scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, celery, tomato and avocado

I’ve been eating this quite a bit lately with pleasure and happy in the knowledge that I am following “Doctor’s orders.” My muscle spasm is improving. Who knows, maybe it’s the placebo effect. Whatever the reason, this dish is easy to make and I love to spice it up afterwards with Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper and coriander. My acupuncturist also says to eat as much raw garlic and cayenne pepper as possible too, so I am on board with that, no problem. It probably helps with inflammation or something.

spicy scrambled eggs with onion, garlic, celery, tomato and avocado

2 eggs
¼ onion
1 clove garlic
½ avocado
½ tomato
1 teaspoon oil
some sticks of celery
cayenne, coriander and Tabasco sauce for spice (optional)
salt to taste (optional)

Crack eggs and mix up in a bowl. Chop up tomato, celery, onion and garlic into small pieces and mix in with the eggs. Heat skillet and add oil. Poor egg mixture onto hot skillet. Cook. If you’re brave, try flipping to make an omelet. Otherwise, scramble. Serve with avocado. Salt to taste. Add optional spices. Get out a plate and have a nice meal!

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warm radicchio salad with mozzarella, candied walnuts and avocado

warm radicchio salad with mozzarella, candied walnuts and avocado

Steven got me an issue of The Complete Tassajara Cookbook: Recipes, Techniques, and Reflections from the Famed Zen Kitchen by Chef Edward Espe Brown. It has more than 300 vegetarian recipes without a lot of color pictures. I’m still absorbing this book.

The same weekend that I started perusing Tassajara, we got a few beautiful organic radicchio heads. I adapted this salad from the book.

I love bitter flavors; Steven, not so much. He likes sweet more than me. This salad is a compromise after the Rainier cherry almond cake. Now we’re back in flavor-balance.

Much to my surprise, cooking the radicchio didn’t relieve the bitterness. If anything, it might have intensified it. It tasted good, but this is definitely a recipe for people who know what they’re getting into.

warm radicchio salad with mozzarella, candied walnuts and avocado

2 small heads radicchio, washed, cored and cut into 2 inch pieces
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp sugar
1 fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mixed herbs (savory, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
1 fresh white onion, sliced thin
Stems of white onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 ripe avocado, pit and shell removed, sliced
freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
5 cherry tomatoes, halved

Begin by toasting the walnuts in a nonstick pan for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle sugar and a bit of salt over them. The sugar will melt right away and glue to the walnuts. Set aside in a small bowl.

Marinate mozzarella slices in half of the oil along with red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

Place remaining olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and onion and sauté for approximately a minute. Add radicchio, salt, black pepper and balsamic vinegar and sauté until radicchio wilts. Transfer to a serving platter. Top with cheese, tomato, avocado and walnuts. This makes a very flavorful and colorful dish.

Happy Independence Day Brazil!


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Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

I made this sandwich last week because I wanted to use tempeh in a different way than deep-fried with Seventies brown sauce or with Southeast Asian flavors. Not sure whether it was going to taste good, this was what turned out to be a successful experiment. I love tempeh, so I’m thrilled with the results. This is a breeze to make; it’s very tasty and nutritious, too. Just give it a try!

some key ingredients for Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

Mediterranean inspired tempeh sandwich

1 square block of tempeh, sliced horizontally to form large thin “patties”
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt
1 square roasted garlic/parmesan flavored Ciabatta, sliced horizontally to form a sandwich shape, inner part toasted in the oven
½ ripe Hass avocado
1 zucchini, sliced thin
½ eggplant, sliced thin
Slices of ripe heirloom tomato
1 red bell pepper
Handful of mache greens
3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
3 tbsp goat cheese (Chavrie)
Juice from a couple of Mexican limes
Black pepper
Jalapeño slices en escabeche (optional)

Turn oven to 435F and roast red bell pepper until blackened and about to collapse. Remove from oven, transfer to a paper bag and let it cool down for about 15 minutes. The paper bag sweat will help you remove the skin form the pepper. Peel skin away then discard ribs and seeds. Lay on a paper towel to drain.

some refreshing vinhos verdes

Toss zucchini and eggplant with a bit of salt, pepper and olive oil. Grease a large pan with olive oil. Lay thin slices of eggplant and zucchini on. Bake/Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from oven and let cool down.

Using a skillet pan-fry tempeh for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Toast Ciabatta.

To assemble the sandwich:

Spread goat cheese on one side of bread and sundried tomato pesto on the other side. Pile a slice of tempeh, avocado, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, roasted red pepper, mache, jalapeño on bread. Sprinkle with black pepper and a squirt of Mexican lime juice. Top with the other half of the bread. Using a bread knife cut sandwich in a triangular shape. Serve.

We had this sandwich with two refreshing Portuguese Vinhos Verdes. The first was 2008 Quinta da Aveleda and the second one was 2006 Trajarinho. Both were a bit effervescent and dry with aromas of peach, apricot and minerals.

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We´d been traveling in Brazil for a week or so when I was confronted with one of the food-related things about the country that most alarms me: sweet avocado juice. I´m not completely naive and do realize that this is not that uncommon, at least in other places far from where I live. In fact, a work colleague, H, tells me that something similar is fairly popular in the Phillipines. Be that as it may, this drink, on first hearing about it, made me anxious.

suco de abacate

To me, avocado is a fruit used primarily in Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, which are invariably savory and never sweet. I´ve travelled to Brazil several times before and generally avoided this drink. This time however, there was no getting around it: Hegui´s sister, Tinha, with whom we were staying at the time, made it for me specifically, apparently on request (though I cannot recall making such a request at any time. Hmm.)

Tinha used an avocado that seemed tremendously large to me–perhaps the size of an American football. I´ve seen similar ones here in the Bay Area though with more diminutive statures. The recipe is really easy: just mix the avocado with milk and sugar to taste, then blend it.

Tinha served this in tall glasses. She had refrigerated the avocado and milk so it was cool and quite refreshing. The milkshake looks whitish with a slightly greenish tint. It tasted grassy and mild. Really muito gostoso. Who knew?

this is a giant sized avocado though it's hard to tell with this pic

Suco de Abacate

avocado
milk
sugar

Blend everything together and adjust various constituent ingredients to make it the thickness and level of sweetness that you like. Drink on a hot day. Yum!

roadside avocado tree bearing fruit in downtown Ubatuba, SP, Brazil

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crunchy avocado salad

by Heguiberto on July 31, 2009

crunchy avocado salad

crunchy avocado salad

We do most of our grocery shopping for the week either Saturday or Sunday. That means that by the end of the week our fridge and pantry start to look pretty empty. I like this cycle because it means going shopping again for fresh and exciting produce for the following week. I usually enjoy having a salad along with my dinner main course when we stay home. Trying to make a salad for dinner last Friday was a challenge. Upon opening my fridge I only saw things that I did not think matched well for salad. However, there were a few promising ingredients among them: a bunch of parsley, a recently harvested sweet onion, a couple of fresh green cayenne chili and a jar of Spanish capers. On the kitchen counter I had two beautifully ripened Hass avocados which I “discovered” after I moved to the US.

The reason I say ‘discovered’ is because avocados in Brazil were never eaten in savory dishes. The way Brazilians enjoy avocados may scare Mexicans or Americans. In my home country, they’re blended with sugar and milk or cream and made into either an ice cream or served as a kind of thick sweet creamy soup with the consistency of oatmeal that’s eaten with a spoon. It’s an acquired taste that I was never really able to acquire. My neighbors used to have a couple of avocado trees in their backyard. These trees where immense and prolific with branches that would reach over the fence toward our own backyard. My mum hated avocados and especially these beautiful trees when the fruit started to drop and crash into our backyard. What a mess! Our chickens feasted on them but there were so many fruits falling off the trees between January and March that they could hardly keep up! We used some of the left-over fallen avocados to feed our pigs. What a waste!

I learned to enjoy avocados here in the US first by eating guacamole and then I pretty much went on adding it to everything: sandwiches, salads or, like in Colombia, on top of a warm bowl of rice seasoned with a good olive oil and salt: yum! With regards to flavor and texture I would say that fully ripened avocados are creamy, buttery, floral and nutty. They melt in your mouth just like a delicious chocolate truffle. The fruit’s supposed to contain “good fat” that’s packed in monounsaturated fats. As you can see, the avocado is versatile. This salad incorporates various textures and flavors. It’s crunchy, creamy, sour, sweet, nutty, pungent and savory. The crunchiness and pungency come from the onions and fresh green cayenne peppers. Don’t worry! This pepper is not spicy! The creaminess comes from the avocados, of course, with more flavors and texture from the rest of the ingredients.
Here’s how to make this salad:

Crunchy Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

2 medium sized ripe Hass avocado
½ bunch chopped parsley
½ small onion cut into slices rinsed in cold water for a minute or so
1 tsp capers with 1 tsp brine
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (I like the brand name Regina – to me it has perfect acidity)
1 and ½ green whole fresh cayenne* wrinkled peppers cut in rounds
Salt
Fresh black pepper
A long drizzle of a good olive oil

Just toss everything together, taste to adjust flavors and voilà!

*I was told at the market I shopped that this pepper is green cayenne pepper and it is not spicy when green. I am not sure if the name is correct. In any case here is a pic of the pepper used in this salad. Write me if you have more information about this delicious pepper.

fresh green cayenne peppers

fresh green cayenne peppers

Pablo Picasso “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”

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