Mémé’s Avocado Carpaccio

Avocado-philes, this post is for you. I got this recipe from Serious Eat’s post, Mémé’s Avocado Carpaccio. It was fantastic. I made this a few times over. It’s easy and light.

Ingredients

2 Hass avocadoes
1 lemon
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
2 scallions, sliced on an angle
A few leaves of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
A few leaves of cilantro, roughly chopped
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Halve the avocados, and remove the pits. Turn the avocado over so the hole where the pit was is facing down to the cutting board, and the avocado is situated so the long length of the avocado is running north-south. Slice an array of vertical cuts, creating thin slices of avocado. Peel the slices out and arrange, layering slices half on each other. Repeat with the remaining 3 avocado halves.

Cut the lemon into sixths. Spritz each avocado half with one sixth of the lemon. Drizzle each avocado half with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon of fleur de sel, and divide the scallions, parsley, and cilantro amongst the avocados. Season with pepper to taste.

 

Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping

Inspired by a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse, this bruschetta recipe is vegan friendly!

Ingredients

20 (1/2-inch) slices French bread
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade, plus more for garnishing
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the slices of French bread on a baking sheet and lightly brush with half of the olive oil. Season with half of the salt and half of the pepper. Bake until lightly golden and crispy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the toasts are baking combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir to blend.

Serve each toast with a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture and garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Reference
Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping

Gong Bao Tofu

I found this recipe for Gong Bao Chicken on Serious Eats and I decided to do a vegan version of this by using tofu instead of chicken. It was pretty simply and it came out very tasty. For added spiciness, serve with some garlic chili paste toss in. Soooo good!

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
1 12 oz extra firm tofu, drained and roughly torn apart into chunky pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons unroasted peanut oil or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
1-inch knob ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
4 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
Cooked brown rice, for serving

Combine the tofu, corn starch, and half the soy sauce in a small bowl. Toss the tofu until it’s well-coated in the mixture, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a large, dry skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the peanuts and cook, gently tossing occasionally, until they’re golden brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Heat the oil in the skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu,  Sichuan peppercorns, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring continuously, until the tofu turns a light brown in color.

Add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and peanuts. Continue cooking until the tofu is golden dark brown.

Remove from the heat, pour the remaining soy sauce over the tofu, and serve immediately with rice.

Chinese Kasha Varnishkes

I have been so M.I.A. Life has been incredibly busy and I regret neglecting this blog for so long. I enjoy doing this and I have been taking pictures and notes on what I’ve been making but haven’t been posting. I suck. I have a lot of stuff that will be coming up here soon.

As for this recipe, I love it. So easy and delicious. I love the chili garlic sauce with it.

Ingredients

8 ounces dried bowtie pasta
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
Kosher Salt
1 cup kasha (buckwheat groats)

For the Dressing:
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced, about 2 cups, divided
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons Chopped cilantro
Chinese garlic chili paste or hot chili oil for serving

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and toss with 2 teaspoons oil. Set aside. Bring 2 cups water to boil and add kasha. Simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off heat and let sit covered and undisturbed until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, make the scallion oil: Set aside 1/4 of scallion greens for garnish. Cook remaining scallions in remaining oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the slivers of scallions are browned and sweet, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add soy sauce and sesame oil, and stir to combine. Add pasta, kasha, scallion oil, reserved sliced scallions, and cilantro to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve with garlic chili paste or chili oil.

Reference
Chinese Kasha Varnishkes

Cucumber Salad

After the first time I made this, I almost ate the whole batch in one sitting. It’s so easy to make and I had all the ingredients in my pantry except for the cucumbers, which I picked up at a Japanese market in Little Toyko. I made this a second time using regular cucumbers and it was just as tasty.
This can be served as an appetizer before serving sushi or another Japanese dish. Or you can do what I did and have it as a snack.
Ingredients

2 cups thinly sliced Japanese cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

If Japanese cucumbers are not available, English cucumbers can be substituted. The English cucumbers need to be peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded and sliced into thin half moons. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers and salt and mix well. Add sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and mix well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and mix. Let marinate for 20 minutes before serving.

Reference
Cucumber Salad

Smoky Fried Chickpeas

I saw this recipe a long time ago on Food 52 and it looked great. It’s looks like it can be an awesome snack to have at home while blogging (hi) or a hor d’oeuvre for your fancy party.

Ingredients

Two 1-pound, 13-ounce cans chickpeas
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, in thin strips
1 fresh thyme sprig
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot, depending on your taste)
Coarse salt

Drain the chickpeas and set on paper towels in a colander to dry thoroughly. (This can be done 1 day in advance.)

Heat the oil in a large pan (preferably cast iron) to 350°F, or until the oil makes bubbles around a single chickpea when you drop it in.

Add the lemon zest, thyme sprig, and chickpeas in batches so the pan doesn’t crowd. Fry each batch for about 5 minutes until the chickpeas darken and are crunchy.

Remove the chickpeas, zest, and thyme from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain well over a colander or sieve. After you’ve fried the last batch, add the garlic to the oil and fry briefly until golden. Remove and drain.

Toss the chickpeas and garlic with the smoked paprika and salt, adding more to taste. Serve right away while still warm and crisp.


Balsamic Vinaigrette

Over the past few years, I have come to love homemade salad dressings. They are extremely easy to make, and I personally think they taste better than the most expensive bottle of salad dressing that you can buy off the shelf at the market. I also noticed that when eating salads with homemade dressings, it encouraged me to eat salads more often. I typically pour this dressing over romaine lettuce with black olives, garbanzo beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. It tastes great!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bottle for later use. Shake well before pouring.

Reference
Balsamic Vinaigrette