Category Archives: New foods

Avocado Spring Rolls with Sweet Chile Garlic & Ponzu Sauce

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Happy Wednesday!

I made the most amazing spring rolls – it was my first time to make them and I totally impressed myself!

Soft, crunchy, creamy, herb-y & just that je ne sais quoi that I TOTALLY LOVE!

Here are the rock star ingredients:

  • rice paper wrappers
  • seedless cucumber
  • avocado
  • pickled ginger
  • butter lettuce
  • cilantro
  • shredded carrot
  • chives

Pickled ginger has become my new favorite ingredient!  It is spicy and sweet and vinegar-y.  It’s close to the top of the list of perfect foods for you to eat so it’s a win-win!  I have found myself asking for extra anytime I go eat sushi- who am I??

The funny thing is that I have never liked the taste of ginger- when I was little we would go eat at Uncle Tai’s in the Galleria and I would pick out the ginger piece by piece- if I accidentally got a bite, the face I made was horrid. I guess my palate is changing but don’ t think that means you will find blue cheese or olives on my plate any time soon- I have limits my friends!

The prep time on this is going to take some time but the pay off is so awesome!

Cut the cucumber in half and then cut the bottom off so you can stand it straight up and cut vertical slices

Once that is done you can cut the pretty matchstick pieces

Then you want to cut that GORGEOUS avocado in thin strips…..it’s like my favorite food EVER

I just need some salt and fork – YUM!

OK seriously- we need to wet the rice paper wrapper in a shallow dish of water.

Speaking of rice paper- you should be able to get it at your local market but mine was out so I went to the sushi bar and asked if they had any and he gave me several sheets for $$FREE$$ – which again makes the great point of talking to the people at your store and ask questions- they are there to help!!

The rice paper looks crazy when you get it- thin and crackly with a weird texture but when you submerge it in the water it magically transforms like shrinky-dinks in a hot oven

Just submerge it for a few minutes and then lay it on a big dry plate and get ready to fill that baby up

First- lay the avocado slices across so they are the superstar of the roll!

*disclaimer- please make sure to put lemon/lime juice on your avocado after slicing it so it doesn’t get brown spots like mine

Add the rest of the ingredients too

And then you start rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

The tighter- the better – it won’t rip- it’s super strong and you don’t want all your glorious veg pouring out when you bite into it!

Time to make the dipping sauce while that hangs out for a minute

  • Taste of Asia Sweet Chili Garlic sauce (best depth of flavor of all I have tried)
  • Kikkoman Ponzu sauce

If you haven’t tried Ponzu it rocks- it is a citrus soy sauce – soy sauce alone doesn’t work for me anymore

I am dedicated to new flavors like that

TAAADDDDAAAAA

Now go out and make these- they are awesome and you could even throw some shredded chicken or tofu in there if you need more protein!

Have a great day!

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Celebrating Spring Fever with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

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Here in Texas our winter has been non-existent

We have had a couple of cold days and even had some flurries one night but based on last years winter – it was disappointing to say the least….at least to my 4 1/2 year old!

The last couple of days have been in the upper 70’s and low 80’s – we are supposed to have another cold snap next week so this week I have Spring Fever BIG TIME!!

Yesterday, I wanted to make something that was completely sit on the patio drinking margaritas worthy

I think this definitely fits that description:  Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

This is zesty and creamy and saucy and citrus-y and cilantro-y…..it’s the best twist on shrimp cocktail!

I wasn’t on top of my game yesterday and I didn’t take my normal step-by-step photos so I hope you’ll forgive me.

There are 3 steps to creating this beauty…..let’s get to it

First you want to create the Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

4-5 small tomatoes , seeded and chopped (I used some heirlooms and the colors are beautiful)

1 small yellow pepper, seeded, chopped (orange or red peppers will also work)

1 small sweet or red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, ribbed, seeded & chopped (if you want the heat- leave the ribs & seeds in)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

zest of lime

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Mix everything together in a big bowl and let it marinate while you make the rest

The next component is the sauce…a zesty cocktail sauce

Zesty Cocktail Sauce

3 tablespoons Heinz Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

couple shakes of Worcestershire

couple shakes of Tabasco

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 tsp pepper

Mix everything in a small bowl and let the flavors come together while you assemble the rest

The last step is assembling the cocktail itself

The last 2 ingredients that you will need to grab are Shrimp & Avocados:

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

serves 2

16 large 31/40 cooked, frozen shrimp – thawed & halved (I thaw by running under water in my sink and then chill in the fridge while making other components)

1/2 – Avocado, cubed

zesty cocktail sauce (recipe above)

pico de gallo (recipe above)

Mix the shrimp, pico de gallo & cocktail sauce together so they are fully incorporated.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Best presented in a sundae or martini glass with some pico de gallo on top and a wedge of lime to garnish.  Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let all the glorious flavors do their magic!

Please enjoy this on a patio with your sunglasses on while drinking a fabulous margarita….you will feel like you are in Cabo!  Unless its snowing where you are…..then you will have to close your eyes and click your heels

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Knock Your Socks Off Fall Harvest Salad

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Happy Tuesday Friends!

I have been busy combing the interwebs for Thanksgiving inspired recipes.  I have been obsessed with butternut squash lately but when I saw the gorgeous brussels sprouts and perfect pomegranate at the store, my focus shifted.  I wanted to create a beautiful salad using these components.  I was not at all prepared for how well it all came together and the barrage of compliments from my family last night at my Mom’s birthday dinner.

The layers of flavor in this one hit wonder will leave you wanting more.  The tender leaves of the brussels sprouts, bright bursts of the pomegranate, smokey peppered bacon bites, and the crunchy glazed walnuts all bathed in the peppery, mustardy vinaigrette dressing….oh my.

Here are the players for the salad base minus the bacon because I came up with that addition while I was making the salad:

Fall Harvest Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, about 1/2 cup jeweled seeds
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced paper-thin on mandolin
  • small head of green cabbage
  • 3/4-1 cup glazed walnuts
  • 3-4 pieces peppered bacon

Before you dive into making the salad- go ahead and make the super simple dressing so it can come together while you prep the salad

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (I like my vinaigrettes strong so you can use less if you don’t want a strong vinegar taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (use fresh if you can but I didn’t have any so the plastic lemon will do)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Country French Vinaigrette base (buy here)

Put all the ingredients into an airtight container and then treat it like the shake weight and get your workout

**TASTE THE DRESSING TO MAKE SURE IT IS SEASONED CORRECTLY BEFORE YOU SET ASIDE**

Let’s get started on the salad

Cut your cabbage in half and thinly slice around the core- 1 used about 3/4 of the cabbage- it was a small head- you want the star of this show to be the brussels sprouts

How cute is this?  A wittle bitty baby cabbage

You need to chop off the ends and remove and course/damaged/dirty leaves

Then place them in a bowl of water to open them up a little and it let me get all the pretty outer leaves off to place in the bowl with the sliced cabbage.  Then slice the brussels sprouts

Then you will thinly slice the apples- my fav blogger Kristen, IowaGirlEats, shows the perfect way to slice apples

Click here to learn how to perfectly slice your apples

You will also now want to slice your onions on your mandolin and if you don’t have a mandolin you can use a vegetable peeler- but please be careful!  The point is you want those onions paperthin….you don’t want them to overtake this salad

I am sorry I don’t have a picture but apparently my ginkgo biloba wasn’t working….maybe I should ask for my money back…hmm

This is point where you need to pour the Mustard Vinaigrette over the apples, onions, brussels & cabbage and let it marinate for at least 3 hours.  This process really helps the flavors come together and the cabbage & brussels soften a bit.

~~2 1/2 hours later~~

Over low heat cook a couple of slices of peppered bacon.  The low heat helps with too things 1) it does not splatter all over your cooktop 2) allows the bacon to caramelize – drool

Here is the best peppered bacon I have ever had –  BACON 

Now is Nueske’s Peppered Bacon a requirement?  No, but I couldn’t very well go on in life harboring that secret…whew, I feel cleansed.

p.s. you will want to make extra as a BLT may be in your future after making said bacon

Look at this beautiful pomegranate

If you have never had a fresh pomegranate- you must run out and buy one NOW!  They are a lot of work to get the beautiful jeweled seeds out and the juice will stain everything…but my friends it is beyond worth it!!

I want to make these into jewelry for me to wear they are so so beautiful

And the burst of sweet flavor- OH MY GOODNESS

To finish assembly of the salad- chop up the bacon and toss it with the salad.  On top sprinkle the glazed walnuts and the pomegranate and it will look freaking AWESOME!

The looks will get you in the door but the flavor will have them asking for more at your next get together!

This is going to be on our table for Thanksgiving~ hope to see it on yours:)

Are you trying out any new dishes for Thanksgiving this year?

French Fries – the healthy way

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Ever since I saw a picture on FoodGawker of these french fries- I was mesmerized

(source)

not only did I LOVE the presentation….I wanted to eat them off the screen and then I found out the REAL kicker…..

They were NOT potato…..they were NOT even sweet potato…..they were

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

I can’t believe how amazing these are- honestly.  The prep time is a little lengthy but WELL WORTH the wait

Here is the prep:

Cut the long trunk off the squash- use the bulb for soup or hash

Then peel it – you have to put some muscle in it cause it is a thick skin but I have faith in you…

Then cut and dice it into strips

try to keep them as uniform as possible so the cooking time will be the same

the biggest step that you absolutely can not by any means miss is drying these out….they are full of water so in order to get that crispy, french fry texture you have to let ’em sweat!

There are 2 ways you can do this- lay them on a paper towel for 2-3 hours or a faster method is to sprinkle them with salt and in about 30 minutes they will be ready!

Make sure you dry them off before you get ready to use them

Toss in a bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil, some Penzey’s smokey seasoned salt & Penzey’s ground cumin

Place on a lined cookie sheet and place under a low broiler

They will take some time but keep a eye on them.  I can’t give you exact times because it really depends on your oven.  I would say they took about 10 minutes on one side and then I flipped them to ensure even browning.

When they came out they looked like this

Crispy on the outside….like buttah on the inside….

You see how many I made?  They lasted 3.5 minutes and now sadly they are gone

but the memories are still there

They really are that good….in fact I want to make them again tomorrow

Thank you to FoodGawker for posting this wonderful recipe I adapted from Urban Poser , who by the way has a lot of grain/dairy/egg free recipes on her site for all my friends who have those dietary needs.

Please go make these to go along your hotdogs & hamburgers!  All the pleasure– NONE of the guilt.

Off to eat homemade white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with vanilla bean ice cream….HEY Butternut Squash is one of the TOP TEN BEST foods you can eat so I can indulge LOL!

Happy Monday Friends!

It’s time for a party!

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Hello my friends!  Happy Humpday!

I have been a little crazed the past few days planning recipes and then we had our first soccer practice- look at my little soccer player 🙂

I will definitely be updating you throughout the season to let you know how things are going 😉

So as promised 2 surprises for you tonight!

Avocado Fries + a Labor Day Spritzer~

Today was a fun day for testing recipes!

Let’s start off with the Avocado Fries (adapted from dine & dish)

  • oil for shallow frying
  • 3 firm, ripe avocados
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • Cholula
  • eggs
  • flour
  • Penzey’s smoked salt
  • Penzey’s Northwoods spice (paprika, salt, tellicherry peppers, garlic)

First make your 3 dredging bowls:

1/4 c of flour

2 eggs, beaten w/ a dash or 2 of Cholula

1 1/4 c panko w/ smokey salt & northwoods

And away here we go~

in a deep pan put 1 1/2 inches of oil and turn on medium

cut your avocados in half & scoop the whole flesh onto the cutting board & slice them into 1-1 1/2 inch slices

mmmmm those are pretty….ok lets dredge those babies!

First flour them~

then put ’em in the egg~

then throw ’em in the panko~

then to check the oil…take a wooden spoon and turn it upside down and if it bubbles you are set!

put those babies in for ~60 seconds, turning halfway through

and you will have this…..

is that not just beautiful?!

I just drooled all over my keyboard….

I made some homemade ranch and added some hot sauce for a dipper sauce….it is really good!

Let’s make our cocktail now….

  • white wine (I chose Sauvignon Blanc because my mom spoke to her wine dude and he said that this particular one had nice grapefruit & gooseberry notes) or champagne
  • plumcots
  • lemon
  • fresh mint
  • tonic
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

then throw the sugar & fruit in the water in a pot on the stove and put it on medium to bring up to a simmer and watch the magic happen

you can simmer it for about 20 minutes to get that deep rich color & then you need to strain it but before you do….taste it so you can make sure you get the fruit flavor you want and then cool it down

get those champagne flutes ready and fill about 1/3 with the white wine + 1/3 of tonic + top it off with your fruit juice & a splash of lemon juice

Garnish with a slice of fruit. lemon & mint(not pictured- cause my brain had a spasm when I took the picture)

It’s a party my friends!  Crispy, crunchy, creamy avocado fries & a tart, refreshing perfect end-to-the-summer cocktail!

Have a fabulous night, ya’ll!

What is your favorite party food?

Hello Everyone + Hybrid Fruit Anyone?

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Today marks the beginning of my documented foodie adventures and I am so excited!  This has been a long time coming and with the support of my family and friends, I am finally taking the leap into the world of food blogging.

My food passion all started when I started watching Food Network in 1997.  My parents had the huge satellite dish that got what seemed 300 channels (a drop in the bucket now) but I thought it was cool because it had a the “WEST” channels so I could watch all the shows when they were airing in California…..again…I was thought I was cool!

At the time, my parents had a gourmet kitchen and it was really neat.  Gas burners, granite countertops, sub-zero fridge, warming drawer & a wine chiller.  I didn’t even drink wine but that totally added to the “cool” factor.

So one day I am watching Jacques Torres- chocolate/dessert extraordinaire, feeling brave, and I somehow think I can create this:

Note to adventurous foodies- PLEASE do not try to make spun hot sugar cages for your 1st attempt into the gourmet world- you WILL burn yourself and make a HUGE mess-  And if you live at home your mother will be mad when you mess up her beautiful kitchen…because you will mess it up.  Please take my word.

Lookie what Bella & I had this morning:

Plumcots!  Look at that beautiful color…it looks like a ruby!

They are a hybrid fruit that are 50% plum & 50% apricot and they are soooo insanely good.  I picked up a couple at Central Market (HEB) and so glad I did.  I had read about these and also Pluots which are also a hybrid plum/apricot but not a 50/50 mix and in my opinion–not as good.

You should definitely try Plumcots!

What hybrid fruits have you tried?