Not Without Salt » avocado http://notwithoutsalt.com “Where would we be without salt?” - James Beard Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:25:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Salad of Cara Cara Oranges, Avocado and Feta http://notwithoutsalt.com/salad-cara-cara-oranges-avocado-feta/ http://notwithoutsalt.com/salad-cara-cara-oranges-avocado-feta/#comments Mon, 06 Jan 2014 17:29:22 +0000 http://notwithoutsalt.com/?p=5943 Read more »]]> Salad of Cara Cara oranges, avocado, feta // Not Without Salt

January 1st didn’t start the way I hoped it would: an early morning visit to urgent care after a sleepless night with my little one in pain still battling a sickness that lasted nearly all of his holiday break. “So this is how 2014 is going to be?” I heard myself thinking. Like a crazed Eeyore I began bracing for a rough year just because the morning didn’t exactly go as I hoped. Luckily, before the defeatist thoughts took root I determined that I get to say when the fresh start begins, not the clock or the calendar. And even if everyday in 2014 needs a bit of a fresh start so be it. We’ll begin again and again and again.

I’d like to credit this fresh outlook to lunch. Cutting into the Cara Cara orange I marveled at it’s soft pink flesh. The tint matches a grapefruit but the taste is much sweeter and reminiscent of tropical fruit. It’s floral, fragrant and because of its differences from the oranges I’ve grown accustomed to it feels special.

Ivy joined me in the kitchen while I assembled the salad. I slid my sharp knife around the curve of the orange to remove the peel and pith while she used her plastic 3 year-old friendly knife to cut the rosy segments into small pieces.

“I love making this salad with you, Mama.” She said while proudly tossing the jagged orange bits into the salad bowl. It’s amazing how quickly a little bump in the day can be smoothed out when I’m able to focus on something simple and good.

I made quick work of the avocado dressing, riffing off of Suzanne Goin’s version in The A.O.C. Cookbook. The creamy and softly green colored dressing tussled with ruffled ribbons of romaine and endive, chunks of avocado, Ivy’s cut segments of orange, crumbled bits of feta and toasted sesame seeds because, why not? At the last minute I remembered the cilantro and lunch was ready as was my fresh start.

With each bite the chaos of the morning became a whispered memory and in its place I found the space to think about the new year. There aren’t weighty aspirations and dreams of great success on this year’s list but rather nudgings towards being a finer tuned me.

Salad of Cara Cara oranges, avocado, feta // Not Without Salt

Salad of Cara Cara oranges, avocado, feta // Not Without Salt

Become good friends with my journal.

Promote others.

I will not care about the social media numbers.

Feel strong – eat well, exercise, practice radical moderation.

Care less about looking foolish, unwise, unimportant and imperfect.

Stretch – physically, mentally, spiritually, creatively.

The word “should” is kicked out of my vocabulary because it’s not a pang of guilt that motivates but a genuine desire stirred by passion. From that great work is made.

Live grace.

 

There are more. Some are less vague, others will be hard to measure but that’s okay because I’d rather focus on measuring butter and sugar and just live.

So here’s to fresh starts, whenever they happen, and a very happy, hearty and gracious new year. It’s going to be a good one, friends.

Salad of Cara Cara oranges, avocado, feta // Not Without Salt

* Quick reminder * Gabe and I are teaching a 2-day food photography workshop at Aran’s (Cannelle et Vanille) gorgeous new studio. We’ll shoot around Pike Place, in the studio, enjoy great food together and talk about lighting and editing. There are a few spots left. Snag ‘em. Sign up can be found here.

 

Salad of Cara Cara Oranges, Avocado and Feta

Salad of Cara Cara Oranges, Avocado and Feta

adapted from The A.O.C. Cookbook

serves 4

2 Cara Cara Oranges, peeled and segmented

1 head Romaine washed and cut into thin ribbons

2 heads of Endive (optional) cut into thin ribbons

1 ripe avocado

1 cup crumbled Feta

1 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Avocado Dressing

1 large, ripe Haas avocado

zest and juice from 1 lime

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup olive oil

pinch chile flake

salt

For the dressing:

Combine the avocado, lime zest and juice and water in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth. Pour in the olive oil and pulse just to combine as you don’t want to bruise the olive oil or it will taste bitter.

Add a pinch of salt and chile flake. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Combine the clean greens in a bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat. You will have leftover dressing. I like to give the greens a pinch of salt too. Seems strange but I assure you even lettuce perks up with a bit of seasoning.

Add the orange segments, avocado, cilantro and feta. Finish with the sesame seeds, if using.

Serve immediately.

Well covered, extra dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.

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grilled avocado salad + berries with honey creme anglaise http://notwithoutsalt.com/grilled-avocado-salad/ http://notwithoutsalt.com/grilled-avocado-salad/#comments Tue, 03 Jul 2012 19:47:30 +0000 http://notwithoutsalt.com/?p=4013 Read more »]]>

Summer is easy. It’s easy to be inspired by the vibrant rows of produce lining the crowded stalls at the farmer’s market. Flipping through the summer issue of my favorite food magazines it’s easy to create dinner plans for tonight, tomorrow and the weeks to come. Walking down the aisle at the grocery store it is easy to grab a half flat of strawberries on a whim as their perfume intoxicates to the point of near delirium. With no solid plans for them and paying no mind to the fact that I just used up a flat the day before, it is easy to get blindsided by the charms of this season.

The sun keeps us outside for as long as it decides to linger. There are lemonade stands to run, new bikes to ride and a small garden to painstakingly tend to. I’m called in only briefly to quickly assemble a simple summer dinner, one that requires little more than a hot grill (grill pan) and loads of fresh vegetables. It’s easy to be deemed a great cook in this season as much of the work is done for you in the freshness of the produce. The sun sweetens, the earth gives depth and heft and all that is left to do is assemble.

As the weather slowly warms up and the activities of summer take full swing it is the meals that don’t require an oven, that come together in a moment’s time and with each bite taste of summer itself that I turn to. Few ingredients brought together in creative ways served family style at the table or better yet, on the grass – this is the food of our summer. Easy.

Grilled avocado and Corn Salad

It was the latest Bon Appetit that brought my attention to grilling avocados and for that I can never thank them enough. If I could I would grill a stick of butter but since that seems improbable avocados are the next best thing. Their flesh softens under the heat giving them the texture I dream of when thinking on grilled butter. The smokiness from the grill does them well.

2 avocados, halved and removed from their skin (I find a spoon works best for this)
1 Tablespoon buter
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 scallions, chopped
1 Tablespoon diced jalapeno (more or less)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup crumbled feta (optional)

Add the butter to a hot skillet. To that add the corn, cumin and a pinch of salt. Saute until corn is just cooked, 2-3 minutes then turn off heat. Toss in the scallions, jalapeno and cilantro. Taste and add more salt if needed.

On a very hot grill or grill pan place the avocados on the grill. Let sit undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Flip the avocados over and grill the other side. Salt the avocados and place on a platter with the corn salad.

Grill some thinly sliced bread that has been drizzled with oil. Brush the grilled bread with a garlic clove. Served alongside the salad.



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Grilled Avocado Salad // Strawberries with Honey Creme Anglaise

Grilled avocado and Corn Salad

It was the latest Bon Appetit that brought my attention to grilling avocados and for that I can never thank them enough. If I could I would grill a stick of butter but since that seems improbable avocados are the next best thing. Their flesh softens under the heat giving them the texture I dream of when thinking on grilled butter. The smokiness from the grill does them well.

2 avocados, halved and removed from their skin (I find a spoon works best for this)
1 Tablespoon buter
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 scallions, chopped
1 Tablespoon diced jalapeno (more or less)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup crumbled feta (optional)

Add the butter to a hot skillet. To that add the corn, cumin and a pinch of salt. Saute until corn is just cooked, 2-3 minutes then turn off heat. Toss in the scallions, jalapeno and cilantro. Taste and add more salt if needed.

On a very hot grill or grill pan place the avocados on the grill. Let sit undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Flip the avocados over and grill the other side. Salt the avocados and place on a platter with the corn salad.

Grill some thinly sliced bread that has been drizzled with oil. Brush the grilled bread with a garlic clove. Served alongside the salad.

Strawberries with Honey Creme Anglaise

1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
pinch salt
¼ cup honey
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan combine the cream, milk, vanilla seeds and bean. Bring to a simmer. Then turn off the heat and let stand for at least 15 minutes to infuse the cream with the vanilla.

In a medium bowl whisk the yolks, honey and a pinch of salt.

Bring the cream back to a simmer then slowly pour that into the bowl with the yolks while whisking. Pour everything back into the saucepan and continue to cook on low until it thickens slightly (170-175*F). It should just coat the back of a spatula or wooden spoon.

Strain this mixture into a clean bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour warm, if the weather is gray and clouds cover or cold, if the sun persists over the clouds, over a bowl of sliced strawberries.

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a salad, or three http://notwithoutsalt.com/a-salad-or-three/ http://notwithoutsalt.com/a-salad-or-three/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2012 03:30:00 +0000 http://notwithoutsalt.com/?p=3612 Read more »]]>

We’re here in the in between. Winter is on its way out but Spring still feels a world away. We’ve seen the same offenders in our vegetable drawers for months and I, for one, am ready for a change. But the frozen rain and threats of snow persist, keeping the asparagus from venturing out of the earth and the Rhubarb from turning to its ready-to-use ruby red (unless it’s green rhubarb).

Within our current limited resources I’m trying to make our salads a bit more exciting. And as is often the case I find a bit of restriction a great exercise in creativity. I’m constantly looking for new flavor combinations and new methods of cooking the same ingredients I’ve been working with for months.

I’ve always been a fan of salad. I find comfort in knowing I’m not alone. It really wasn’t until I started stretching my imagination and moving beyond greens doused in blue cheese dressing (although, at times, nothing can be better) that salads started to really inspire me. Now I find myself dreaming of salads and enjoying them daily.

If I’m having this much fun with them now, imagine what Summer will bring.

 

 

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Orange Salad with Cocoa Nibs // Grilled Zucchini Salad // Avocado Salad with Warm Jalapeño Vinaigrette

Orange Salad with Cocoa Nibs

serves 1

1 orange

2 Tablespoons cocoa nibs

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons aged balsamic

2 cups fresh spinach

salt and pepper

Carefully cut the rind of the orange off, taking as much of the white pith as you can. Cut the orange in rounds.

In a small bowl add the spinach and place the orange rounds on top. Sprinkle with the cocoa nibs and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately.

Grilled Zucchini Salad
serves one

2 small zucchini
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil, mint, tarragon, and cilantro)
salt and pepper
lemon juice

Using a mandoline (or a steady hand and sharp knife) very thinly slice the zucchini.
Toss the zucchini in olive oil and salt and pepper.
On a hot grill pan or indoor grill, sear the zucchini until dark marks appear, about 30 seconds. Flip over and repeat on the other side.
Toss the grilled zucchini in a bowl with the fresh herbs and a hefty squeeze of lemon. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Avocado Salad with warm Jalapeno vinaigrette
serves 2

¼ cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
½ to 1 sliced Jalapeno, deseeded (depending on how spicy you want it)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
salt
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 avocado
greens (spinach, cress, arugula, cilantro) or 1 cup cooked quinoa

In a skillet add the coconut oil and shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just golden around the edges. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and cumin. Cook for 1 minute more then turn off heat. Stir in a pinch of salt and lime juice.
Pour ½ of the warm vinaigrette over half of an avocado that is sitting on greens.
If using quinoa stir some of the vinaigrette in the quinoa. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in chopped cilantro and cubed avocado.

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