4.15.2014

Avocado Toast




So let's talk about my recent (ok, now months-long because I haven't blogged in forever) obsession: avocados. Starting around February I began to eat avocados 3-4 times a week. While the pace has slowed a bit, it hasn't stopped yet - I'm still eating around 2-3 avocados a week and my vehicle of choice is avocados on toast. You got it, avocado toast. Avocados have a smooth, buttery taste that pairs so well with the acidity of a lemon and the spice of cayenne pepper and I can't get enough of it.

In fact, avocado toast has pretty much become my favorite work lunch of late. I pack an avocado, a lemon, two slices of bread, and some butter and off to work I go. In my office desk drawer I keep a paring knife, a small cutting board, and a little container that has a mixture of salt, cayenne pepper, and cracked black pepper. That, plus a toaster, is all I need. When it comes time for lunch I mash up the avocado in my office kitchen, squeeze some lemon over it, and add salt and pepper. Toast some bread and spread the avocado over it, and you are ready to go.

This obsession has been the source of some stares at the office and, in the case of some friends/co-workers, even a source of teasing (I'm looking at you, E.C.). But I don't care, I know they're just jealous. If you don't believe me then I urge you to try it out yourself - it's a delicious and healthy lunch or breakfast and will help you get through the day.

Avocado Toast

Ingredients
  • 1 avocado
  • juice from half a lemon
  • two slices of bread
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
Preparation

Toast two slices of bread.

Slice the avocado down the center and remove the center pit. With a spoon, scoop out the Avocado's center and throw away the skin. Place the avocado into a bowl and squeeze half a lemon over top. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste and then take a fork and mash the avocado together. Mash until the ingredients are mixed and the avocado is chunky (not too smooth). 

Butter the toast and spread the avocado on top. Enjoy lunch!

2.28.2014

Baked Potatoes


Last weekend was gorgeous and warm, but now we're back to the cold and I can't take it. I'm done with the cold and I'm kind of over cooking with winter vegetables. Last night, after working late I wasn't feeling up to cooking anything big so I decided to make something super simple - baked potatoes.

My sister lived in Edinburgh for a year and started eating baked potatoes for dinner filled with all sorts of interesting toppings. She taught me how satisfying baked potatoes can be even when they aren't just covered in sour cream and bacon. Greens, beans, grilled vegetables - it is all good on top of a hot potato and helps transform it from a side dish to a meal on its own.

I made three types of potatoes yesterday: one with hummus and roasted red peppers, one with a green salad on top, and another with beans and cheddar cheese. When you're feeling tired one night, bake a potato and see what vegetables you have in your fridge to add to it. I promise it will be a satisfying dinner.

Baked Potatoes

Ingredients
- Idaho potatoes
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- potato toppings of your choice

Preparation

Set the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven heats, wash the potatoes and rub them in some salt and olive oil. Pierce the potatoes in a few places with a knife.

Once the oven is heated, place the potatoes in the oven on a baking sheet and cook them for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Once the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, remove them from the oven and cut them down the middle. Add in a little butter and the topping(s) of your choice.

The three toppings I used here were:

1. Hummus with a roasted red peppers
2. Green salad with feta, tomatoes, and red onion on sunflower greens with a red wine vinaigrette
3. Baked beans with cheddar cheese

2.14.2014

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


There is nothing like an extremely long week at work to make you forget about your food blog, and that's what happened to me last week! Not to fear, this past weekend I was able to pull my life back together a bit, which also means I got to make food.

I had some friends over last Sunday and I made a bunch of carbonara because it takes no time to make, is super delicious, and is always crowd pleaser. The pasta sauce is made with pancetta, raw eggs, and lots of Parmigiano Reggiano - three ingredients!  Don't let the raw eggs freak you out, you pour them over the super hot and recently drained pasta and they cook on the spot.

Ingredients
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 6-8 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus more for serving
  • black pepper to taste
Preparation
Place a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. 

While the water is heating, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan medium heat and add in the pancetta.  After the pancetta has been cooking for about two minutes add in the garlic. Cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp, about 4 minutes. Once the pancetta is cooked, remove it from the heat and put it aside. 

In a bowl, beat the eggs, Parmigiano, milk, and some black pepper together. Put it aside. 

Once the water is boiling add in your spaghetti and cook until it is al dente (check the cooking time on your box). After the pasta is cooked, drain it and place it back in the pot. Put the pot back on the stove and add in the egg mixture and pancetta. Toss the pasta together, letting the eggs cook with the pasta for about half a minute. Then, remove the pasta from the heat and serve with added grated Parmigiano.

1.29.2014

Pulled Pork Sliders with Jalapeno Coleslaw


This week is Super Bowl week, so we are going to forget all the things I usually talk about like eating healthy and eating your vegetables. Instead, we are going to talk about a recipe that is sure to be a hit when you bring it to your neighborhood Super Bowl party - pulled pork sliders!!!

This recipe requires a slow cooker, but if you have one in your kitchen, then this is a fairly hassle-free recipe. The coleslaw takes a bit of work because you have to cut the vegetables, but the pulled pork basically cooks itself - all you need to worry about is seasoning.

Cooking in a slow cooker takes a lot of time, but zero oversight. I recommend putting all the ingredients together in a slow cooker before going to bed and letting it cook overnight. You'll wake up to a house smelling gloriously of spicy pulled pork. Yum!

Pulled Pork 
Makes about 20 sliders.

Ingredients
  • 2.5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can dark beer
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • barbecue sauce
  • slider buns
  • jalapeno coleslaw (see recipe below)
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Preparation

Chop your onion and garlic and place them in the bottom of a slower cooker.  

Mix together the salt, cumin, cayenne, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Remove the excess fat from your pork shoulder and cut the pork shoulder into large chunks, about 3 inches wide. Rub the spices onto the pork pieces (or just drop the pork pieces into your spice bowl to get the pork nice and covered). Place the prok on top of the onions and garlic in the slow cooker. 

Pour a can of beer into the slow cooker and set it for 8-10 hours (I cooked my pulled pork overnight and set the timer for 10 hours). When the pork is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and place it on a chopping board. Drain the slow cooker and toss the onions and garlic.  

With two forks shred the pork into pieces. Once shredded, add the pork back into the slow cooker and mix it with some barbecue sauce (as much as you desire!). Serve the pulled pork on a slider bun with jalapeno coleslaw.




Jalapeno Coleslaw

Ingredients
  • 1 small head of white cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head of purple cabbage, thinly sliced (about 1.5 lb. cabbage all together)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium-sized jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste
Preparation

Rinse your cabbage and remove the outer leaves.  Taking a sharp knife, quarter your cabbage.  Thinly slice the each quarter, horizontally and place the cabbage in a bowl.  Peel the carrots and julienne them into thin, 1.5 inch pieces. Thinly slice half of a red onion. Seed and thinly slice the jalapenos. Place the carrots, red onion, and jalapenos in the bowl with the cabbage. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise until the mixture comes together. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the vegetables and toss all the ingredients together. 

Let the cole slaw sit 30 minutes in the fridge before serving as a side or on top of sliders.