Big Avocado

A couple weekends ago, I found this:

That is an extra-large egg next to the avocado!

It was labeled as a California Avocado, but according to to avocado.org there are several other varieties. The one that seemed to match was the “Bacon” variety. According to the description, the seed should be large and the flavor should be mild. The avocado, true to the online description, had a giant seed.

And the flavor was mild. I made a quick little spread of the avocado (and it made a large bowl!) with a little tomato, cumin, and a diced shallot. It was absolutely delicious!

I couldn’t eat it all, so I ended up throwing half of it away the next morning when it had turned to gray mush. But it occured to me that I didn’t know any other recipes for avocado…. what does one do with lots of avocado?

Gewürztraminer

I first tried Gewürztraminer about 2 years ago, when I had no idea what kind of grape it was, let alone how to pronounce it. My mother, older sister, and I opened a bottle and finished the entire thing before we had finished cooking dinner. We loved it!! I immediately ran out to procure another bottle, but unfortunately the liquor store had closed 3 minutes before I had arrived!

Well, the first bottle I had was a  Chateu Ste. Michelle Gewurztraminer. It reminds me of ripe green pears. Generally, Gewürztraminer is a sweeter wine, but unlike Riesling Gewürztraminer is not overly sweet. Some I have tasted are dry but retain that enticing aroma that is reminiscent of exotic fruit.

When my mother visited, I picked up this bottle of Gewürztraminer for us to try. The bottle was a cheerful yellow, and the price was reasonable ($10, I think). I didn’t love it like the Chateau Ste. Michelle, but it was bright and the flavor was clean. It’s an easy wine to sip and enjoy with a some friends. Not the worst, but it isn’t my favorite either. Will I buy it again? Yes, if I have my girl-friends visiting and we’re just toasting the end of the week.

 


Links to Click

Pea Shoots

I wake up every morning and the first thing I normally see is my dog. Normally she’s perched on her little chair staring me down, but sometimes she’s doing funny things. Like sleeping on my bed… in this position

Seriously, how can you not wake up laughing?

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I found pea shoots at the local market and I loved them. I went back this weekend to purchase some more, because I was so enamored with the flavor, but I had no such luck. Regardless, the first go around with the pea shoots was simple preparation.

After rinsing the shoots, I tossed them with just a bit of sesame oil and garlic over high heat. Just as the shoots wilted, I’d add them to my meal. The flavor is similar to spinach, but it’s heartier and has a bit more crunch. I loved the simple prep and the fresh flavor. So, if you do see pea shoots – I highly recommend them!

 

Whole Wheat Pitas

 

(^Those are whole wheat ones)

Has anyone been to Lebanese Taverna? It’s my grandmother’s favorite restaurant because of the cute puffy little pitas that are served. The pitas are white, soft little pillows of bread that are served piping hot. She loves these pitas.

(^Whole wheat dough)

A few days ago, I was making pizza, when I just tossed the leftover dough into the oven, and it ballooned into a little pita. It was delicious! So I tried it again, and then again with whole wheat flour. And then again with some honey. I ate these little pitas with cheese and some avocado…. but then I wanted more! So I made more. The water added to the dough fluctuates depending on the type of whole wheat flour you use. Keep in mind that whole wheat dough requires just a bit more water than regular dough to keep the bread soft.

 

(^ Whoops! A plain dough picture… hehe)

Whole Wheat Pitas (Kaprise Kitchen, adapted from a cookbook, which I don’t remember the name of (and I’ll promise to update, but inevitably forget))

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  1. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water. Allow the yeast to soften and bloom for about 10 minutes
  2. Sprinkle the whole wheat and bread flour over the water. Sprinkle the salt over the flour (salt can kill yeast, but I find that this method works best.
  3. Drizzle the honey over the flours and salt and begin to incorporate all of the ingredients into a shaggy ball
  4. Using your hands (washed first!!), knead the dough to combine all of the ingredients. Add another tablespoon of warm water if the dough is stiff and hard to work with.
  5. The dough should be supple and warm to touch. It should be just a bit more moist than regular bread dough.
  6. Add the olive oil to a clean bowl and roll the dough in the oil to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dish towel.
  7. Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 3 hours, or until doubled.
  8. Once the dough has doubled,  knead the dough for 10 minutes to redistribute the yeast.
  9. Allow the dough to rise again, this time in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best.
  10. Allow the dough to come to room temperature before kneading and dividing into 16 equally sized balls
  11. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  12. Roll the dough into ovals, about 1/2 inch thick.
  13. Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet before placing the dough on the sheet (this helps prevent sticking)
  14. Bake the pitas for 8 to 12 minutes, until puffy and golden.

(The next two pictures are plain dough pitas)

(I forgot to take pictures when I rolled the whole wheat ones out)

Tickity Tick

I know! I said I would post every day for the remainder of February… and then look 7 days have elapsed. First it was this horrific oral presentation (which, if I had known everyone was going to be so well versed, I would have focused on memorizing footnotes instead of buying a new sharp suit!!) and then my momma (best mommy on earth) came and visited. She bought me new shoes. Pretty crackly gold flats and vampy kitten heel crocodile pumps.

Anyway, I’m revisiting some of my favorite recipes today and baking up a storm. I’ll be back in full force later, promise!

Cupcake Brownies

I love anything chocolate. But… brownies? Those must be perfect or I’d rather eat something else. They have to have the right amount of chewiness, the perfect plush and decadent centers, and the perfect crust on top that shatters as you eat.

I know some people claim to have these amazing cocoa brownies – but after trying all of the recipes I have decided that there is NO such thing as good cocoa brownies. You just don’t get all of the texture and delicious brownie essence. Plus, I’m tired of trying cocoa brownie recipes that end up being huge failures and wasting decent ingredients in the pursuit of cocoa brownie nirvana.

I make my brownies in mini cupcake tins, so I pretend I’m only going to eat 2 at a time, and not the whole pan. These brownies are easy and just enough to make a sheet of mini cupcakes – no pesky teaspoons of batter left to worry about. I don’t use muffin tins because I think it’s blasphemy not to get that chewy exterior, but if you don’t want to worry about prying your brownies out of the tin – then that might be the best way to go.

Kaprise Kitchen’s Chewy Brownies

  • 8 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips, plus 1 tablespoon of chips
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  1. In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Allow the chocolate/butter to cool for 20 minutes
  2. Whisk in the two eggs until smooth
  3. Stir in sugar and vanilla, it’s okay if your batter is a little grainy looking
  4. And gently stir in the flour until completely incorporated
  5. Fill muffin tin and bake brownies at 325 for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the side of the brownie cleanly.
  6. Cool and enjoy.

:)

Pesto, Brisket and all things Good

My paper was submitted last night and today? Today was amazing.

I went to buy a suit, and not only did I find that was suitably conservative and girlie (yes… there are little ruffles!) but it was on sale…. super sale. So $85 later, I hooked a pair of $10 sunglasses in the teen department of Nordstrom and headed to the supermarket.

I snagged some of those awesome raw chickpeas again, and a rosy red 2 pound slab of brisket. In addition to the plethora of greens, interesting vegetables, and some fruit. I got home at 3, but have spend the last couple hours sorting through everything and mushing my basil into pesto. Almond Pesto. (I also rubbed my brisket with some chili, cumin and pepper… peeled my chickpeas, cleaned my apartment, and marinated some kick-ass chicken)

I don’t have pictures yet, but here is my recipe

Almond Pesto (the Kaprise Kitchen way)

  • 1/2 cup of roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup of shelled edamame (I like the extra texture this gives my pesto)
  • 1/2 cup of good olive oil
  • 1 medium bunch of basil
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbl of minced garlic

I throw everything into the blender/food processor and whizz until creamy. I add a little more oil and salt as needed.

Notes:

  • I make big batches of pesto and store them in the freezer. I spoon about 1/3 of a cup into mini plastic bags and seal the air out. Then I stack them neatly and freeze. This way, whenever I want some pesto, I just grab a little bag and let it de-frost on the counter while my pasta boils and then just toss it with the hot pasta.

Procrastination Nation

This year, I didn’t make a New Years Resolution… but I decided to make one. No More Procrastination. Last night at 4 (or this morning… however you think of it) I realized as I was frantically researching for my paper (which I am still not done with)… that with all of my procrastination I am just setting myself up for failure, heartbreak and disappointment. And… why would I want to do that to myself?

I live my life under the theory of enjoying every moment, breathing in all of the good… so it makes no sense to put off my work and make myself so miserable.  So. From here on out. No more.

 

Okay. Back to work!

NaBloPoMO

Sounds like something I would garble to a friend while drinking a little too much wine. NBPM (as I will call it, because I can hear myself saying NAHHHH.BLAHHH.POOOO.MOOO at a bar just to be weird!) basically means you blog every day for a month. It might be a little late for the month of February, but I have decided to do it anyway. Mainly because I’m STILL procrastinating while writing my paper… but I figured I was allowed one solitary hour of serious procrastination this morning because I actually got to the library at 8:00am.

I don’t have anything particularly important to say this morning. Or anything food related to share… mainly because this entire week I have been consumed by this absurd paper that I can’t seem to get into. I can’t focus. I have been up until 3:00am most mornings staring at my screen and my research thinking “Wow. This is crap.” And yes, this whole paper is self-imposed. I could have opted out… instead I committed and now I’m stuck. And since the month of February NBPM is “CHARACTER” we can just write this horrible experience off as “character building”… or maybe the exercise of my horrible characteristics of procrastination (and propensity for falling asleep on my laptop).

Anyway, since I’m here, I’ll share with you how I prepare for a week of school in terms of food.

I buy just enough for 5 days, because by the end of 5 days I’m itching to run errands (yes. I like running errands). This week was busy, so I bought things that were easy. Salad, roasted chicken, and the makings for burritos. Eggs and a small loaf of bread. Some vegetables and fruit.

Fruit – This week I had grapefruit, red seedless grapes, pommello, blood oranges, and Korean pears. I wash and dry most of the fruit and pack it in containers so I can just grab and go. The Korean pear and grapefruit are harder to enjoy pre-sliced/washed so I just slice these in half and enjoy them while I’m working.

Vegetables - This week, in addition to the normal carrots and celery and salad greens, I had some bok choy and brussel sprouts and some Korean sweet potato. The bok choy and brussel sprouts were washed and packed into single serving sizes so I could just grab a package and toss it in a little olive oil and salt/pepper. The Korean sweet potato, I roasted at 425F for 90 minutes before cooling and refrigerating. I ate these for breakfast. The salad greens were simply tossed with a touch of vinegar and eaten with some kidney beans or chicken.

Chicken – I bought a roasted chicken, and then put the meat in a container. When I needed some protein for my meals, I just tossed a little bit of the chicken in. I, of course, shared generously with my dog.

Okay. Back to work. I have procrastinated for exactly 72 minutes now.

OoooF

I’m in the middle of writing this horribly long paper… It’s due on Friday and the sample we were given is 40 pages long of really well reasoned arguments. I was sick for a week, I procrastinated for 5 days, I napped at the library while researching and now I’m three days for the 6:00pm deadline and wringing my fingers and writing like a nut job. I also found this amazing article related to my research…. oh boy.

Anyway, I did just want to say oh heeyyy and tell you that I will be back with some great recipes this weekend after I’m done with my self-imposed torture. Yes. I know. I could have done more work earlier… but then you wouldn’t know that when I’ m in crunch mode I eat random things. Like rotisserie chicken I originally bought for my dog… but I just can’t be bothered to go find something else to eat. I’m anchored here in my chair until I’m done!!!!

RAWR.

Did I mention I don’t have internet at home, so I’m just gently borrowing someone else’s bandwidth? Oops.