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Posts Tagged ‘green goddess’

Avocado Toast

In the last few years we have somehow become best buddies with quite a few Australians who along with great friendship have introduced us to their favorite breakfast, avocado toast and a flat white. Avocado toast became an immediate choice for me as my most memorable childhood treat was mashed avocado on a saltine and avocado toast is about as close a relative of that simple snack as you can get. For the easiest version you toast some great bread – I like to do ciabatta or baguette on the grill pan – and then simply slice some avocado over the top, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkle on some sea salt. There are other versions calling for mashed avocado seasoned with chilies or dukka (also spelled duqqa), an Egyptian spice mix comprised of ground spices, nuts, and herbs or with Mexican seasonings and chopped cilantro. Lots of New York restaurants are now featuring unusual “cheffy” versions and you can find any number of interesting takes on this simple and quite healthy breakfast on the web and in food magazines.

And should you want to do the whole Aussie breakfast, a flat white is a coffee similar to an Italian cortado, but the milk is softer and thicker and the coffee flavor more pronounced than it is in any of the milky Italian espresso beverages. I think that Starbucks now features a flat white which gives you a further sense of the Australian influence in our culture.

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If you’ve read my posts for awhile you will know that I love artichokes.  The baby ones I got at the farmers market the other Saturday made the best Roman Fritto Misto, but since I only fried the artichokes I guess it was a fritto without the misto. To make the misto, just combine an assortment of vegetables cut into a little bit larger than bite-size pieces. Sounds very fancy, but it is so simple to do.  Here’s how:
Clean the baby artichokes and cut them, lengthwise, into quarters.  Scoop out the fuzzy choke and rinse well.  Rub well with a cut lemon half and pat dry.  (Work quickly as the cut artichokes will rapidly begin to discolor.  You can always put them in acidulated (lots of lemon juice) water as you work to stop the process, but then you really have to make sure they are well-dried before frying.)

Combine the cut artichokes with salted flour in a resealable plastic bag, close, and shake well to coat generously.
Whisk 2 eggs together in a shallow bowl.
Heat olive oil in a deep fat fryer to 375ºF on a candy thermometer.
Place the floured artichokes in a sifter and shake to remove excess flour.  Quickly dip into the beaten egg and immediately drop into the hot oil.
Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.  If they cook too quickly, remove the fryer from the heat and let the oil cool to 365ºF before continuing to fry.
Lift from the oil and place on a double layer of paper towel to drain. 

Sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

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I bought a bagful of itty-bitty purple okra at the farmer’s market the other day and then just sat them in the middle of the table for décor so we could enjoy their slightly weird look.  Eventually I decided to cook them knowing full well that purple okra would become perfectly ordinary green okra once the heat hit.  That’s why you’ll get no photo of the finished dish – okra just ain’t real purdy when it has been cooked.  But, it is delicious – or it is to me.  Here’s what I normally do –
Heat a couple of spoons of olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add one chopped onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes.  Then, I add a basket of cherry tomatoes along with the okra (stems removed and left whole if tiny, sliced, crosswise, if large), a few leaves of basil and a hint of fresh oregano.  I don’t cook it very long – just long enough to get the tomatoes to pop and the okra to soften slightly.  Too long and you get a kinda slimy mix – still delicious, but not the greatest texture on the palate.

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If you’ve followed this blog through a summer or two, you know how much we like fresh fava beans.  I picked up a batch at the farmers market this other day, peeled them, and seasoned them with a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.  Since the grill was already flaming, I put the mix in a cast iron skillet on the grill – it took just a few minutes to soften them a bit and allow the olive oil and lemon to add a little zest.  We piled them on a cracker with a thin slice of ricotta salata to enjoy with a pre-dinner glass of wine.  Easy, breezy and delicious.

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Is there anything more spring-like than a bowl of fresh from the garden English peas?  I don’t think so.  Growing up, my most favorite springtime dish was my mom’s version of fresh peas and tiny new potatoes in cream sauce.  I don’t think I’ve seen this combination on a menu since childhood, though.  The French steam their spring peas with lettuce or make a light cold pea soup flavored with mint, Italians combine them with rice and prosciutto for risi e bisi, and Indians add them to vegetarian samosas.  I, on the other hand, enjoy them most straight out of the pod popped right into my mouth.  This only works when they are not only picture perfect, but absolutely totally and completely fresh.  Just like candy, they are!  And I have a sweet tooth!

 

©StephenKolyer_peas

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