Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

Remember when I made the Double Jalapeno-Bacon Cheeseburgers using Farmer John Jalapeno Bacon? The burgers were so baconlicious that plain ol’ fries just wouldn’t cut it.

Because once you decide to go big, you’ve got to go all in.

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

And in this case, going “all in” comes in the form of crunchy avocado “fries” that are wrapped with bacon. I know it sounds like a food stand at the summer fair but before you totally nix it, you’ve got to give them a try.

It’s the only Bacon thing to do, after all.

Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries

These “fries” have a great play on textures. Super crunchy from the panko breadcrumbs & crispy bacon balanced by the buttery avocado. Dunk them in a Roasted Poblano Aioli or a cool Cilantro Ranch Dressing and you have a perfect appetizer or side.

Have a Baconriffic Day!

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Crunchy Jalapeno-Bacon wrapped Avocado Fries
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 large avocado
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
4 slices jalapeno bacon, cut in half
vegetable oil

Slice the avocado into 8 equal wedges. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. Place the Panko breadcrumbs and flour into two separate shallow dishes. Season the flour with cayenne pepper, kosher salt and black pepper.

Once the avocados have chilled, take one wedge and dredge it into the flour. Gently shake off the excess flour before dipping it in the egg wash. Roll the avocado wedge in the Panko and gently shake off the excess. Set aside. Continue dredging the remaining avocados.

Take a 1/2 slice of bacon, wrap around each wedge of avocado using toothpicks to secure them together. Place back into the freezer for another 10 minutes.

Fill a heavy bottom pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.

Fry the avocado fries for 4-5 minutes, turning them from time to time until they become golden brown. Remove the fries and drain them on a wire rack or plates lined with paper towels. Season with additional kosher salt immediately when they come out of the oil and carefully remove & discard the toothpicks. Serve warm with Roasted Poblano Aioli or condiments of your choice.

 **Disclosure: I did receive products from Farmer John, but as always, my opinions are my own.**

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

I spent a good part of Saturday gallivanting around Old Town San Diego TAH-KEY-LA tasting with some fab friends. The beautiful California sun was shining and we were getting to know the lovely complexities of Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo.

But want to know my little secret? After all that “training” I still don’t know anything and will continue to judge different tequilas based on the following responses I give after tasting it –“Meh“, “ACKK!!”, or “MAKE IT A DOUBLE!”

Totally scientific.

But amidst all the tequila-shenanigans, I did get down on some delish Fish Tacos–a west coast treasure. And I am pretty much obsessed with all types of fish tacos— grilled, blackened, seared, and of course Baja style which is lightly beer battered then fried.

Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw

This is one of the ways I prepare Fish Tacos when I’m a tad short on time and are in one of my über avocado moods. Which let’s be honest, is all the time.

I make a quick cabbage slaw with a creamy and slightly tangy avocado dressing and pile it on top of fish that has been marinated and broiled. Super crunchy, super bright, super tangy, and SUPER DELICIOSO!!

I may have overdone it with the “supers” but you get the drift. :)

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Fish Tacos with Avocado-Cabbage Slaw
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Tacos
½ pound firm white fish fillets, such as cod or tilapia
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pinches ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
4 flour or corn tortillas
1 cup chunky salsa
lime wedges

Avocado-Cabbage Slaw
1 cup ripe avocado, diced
¼ cup Mexican crema or sour cream
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ jalapeno pepper, finely diced and seeded
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ tablespoon agave or honey
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cabbage

In a shallow dish, coat the fish with garlic, lime zest, cilantro, red pepper flakes, cumin, and oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

In a blender, puree the avocado, crema, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and agave until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with a few spoonfuls of the avocado puree until lightly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven broiler and arrange the marinated fish on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet a few inches away from the broiler, and broil the fish for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the fish becomes opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Warm the tortillas. Divide the fish, salsa and slaw amongst the tortillas. Sprinkle each taco with the extra chopped cilantro and serve warm with lime wedges on the side.

Roasted Poblano Guacamole

Roasted Poblano Guacamole

I’m rather, shall we say– “passionate” about my sports teams. When we win, I’m ecstatic and when we lose, I scream like a banshee. And if it’s the latter, it’s best to leave me alone for awhile.

You’ve been warned.

Roasted Poblano Guacamole

But at least this sore loser can make a helluva dish of Guacamole. And not just any Guacamole but one filled with smoky, roasted poblano peppers.

I’m not guaranteeing that I still won’t sulk and be fussy if my team doesn’t bring home the “W” but this Roasted Poblano Guacamole sure does make me feel better….and of course, the margaritas help too.

ps. And for all my peeps in the States–please Vote today!!
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Roasted Poblano Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 Large Poblano Pepper
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
3 Large Ripe Avocados, seeded and peeled
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 Shallot, finely diced
1 Serrano Pepper, seeded and diced
¼ Teaspoon Cumin Powder
3-4 Pinches Cayenne Pepper, optional
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Salt
2 Ripe Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon Cilantro, chopped
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Rub the outside of the poblano pepper with oil and place on a baking sheet. Place the sheet underneath the broiler and roast for 8-10 minutes, rotating the poblano every few minutes until all sides have been charred. This can also be done over a gas burner while holding the poblano with tongs directly over the flame. Once roasted, immediately place the poblano into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After the poblano has cooled, about 10-15 minutes, remove from the bowl and gently peel off the skin. Remove and discard the stem and seeds. Chop the poblano and set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the avocado flesh with a large fork or potato masher. Add the lime juice, garlic, shallot, serrano pepper, and chopped poblano. Mix in cumin, cayenne, garlic salt, tomatoes, and cilantro –being careful not to overly crush the tomatoes. Adjust seasonings with kosher salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with additional cilantro and serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

I could eat breakfast all day long. Savory items, sweet items….so many options! And what other meal can you order a dessert for your main entree? (French toast, pancakes and all other types of sweet goodness…)

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

My only problem is that I can rarely eat breakfast first thing in the morning. At most I’ll have coffee or a smoothie because it takes a few hours for my tummy to wake up.

But that is why Brunch is so brilliant!

You get the chance to enjoy all the delish breakfast-like dishes hours after you manage to roll out of bed. And the icing on the cake? It’s totally acceptable to start sipping on cocktails way before noon!

Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto

At brunches, I tend to gravitate towards any and all types of Eggs Benedict dishes. Rich and decadent hollandaise sauce with an ooey-gooey poached egg—how could you go wrong with that?!

This wonderful offering is a nod to my beloved Eggs Benedict with an attempt to make a slightly figure-friendly version by swapping out the hollandaise for pesto. Now before you start getting all worked up, I realize pesto isn’t totally healthy but it’s a tad lighter than the (mouthwatering) egg yolk and butter laden sauce. The bright herbaceous flavor also helps balance the rich egg yolk. And since I had some great veggies on hand, I thought they would make a wonderful base in lieu of the muffin.

The next time you host brunch, consider making this rustic beauty! It’s quite simple but really is a showstopper that will definitely impress your guests.

And of course, Mimosas are a MUST. Or a Bloody Mary. Or an Irish Coffee. Well…you get my drift.

Happy Friday Friends…and make time for Brunch this weekend!

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Poached Eggs with Vegetable Medley and Arugula Pesto
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Arugula Pesto
2 Packed Cups Fresh Arugula Leaves
1/2 Cup Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Pine Nuts
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegetable Medley
1 Shallot, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
2 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 Ripe Avocado, diced
Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Poached Eggs
1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
2 Fresh Eggs

Prepare the pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and pine nuts. Add arugula, basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.

Bring a heavy saucepan that has been filled with a few inches of water to a rolling boil. Add in the vinegar and slightly lower the heat. Crack an egg into a small bowl. Take a spoon and swirl it around quickly in the saucepan to make a whirlpool of the water. Slowly pour the egg into the middle of the whirlpool. The movement of the whirlpool will help the egg form but you can also use a spoon to help it along. After about 3-4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the other egg. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat down to low to keep the water warm.

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the shallots and garlic over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and continuing cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in the avocado and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and a few squeezes of lemon. Toss to incorporate.

To serve, add a few spoonfuls of the vegetable medley to a plate. Using the slotted spoon, dip one of the poached eggs into the hot water to warm the egg and blot dry. Place the egg on top of the vegetables and generously spoon the pesto on top. Repeat with the 2nd dish. Enjoy!

Gỏi Bắp Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad) & Giveaway Winner!

Gỏi Bắp Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad)

Ever had Gỏi?

Gỏi is a general term for “salads” in Vietnamese and can come in all forms using a variety of ingredients. Lately, my favorite Gỏi utilizes thinly sliced Banana Blossoms. I combine it with grilled proteins, pink grapefruit, creamy avocados, a ton of herbs and a healthy douse of Nước chấm “vinaigrette”. It’s absolutely delicious and epitomizes the balance in Vietnamese cuisines.

If you’ve never used Banana Blossoms before, they can be somewhat tricky the first time around. It’s best to remove the outer few petals as they’re quite tough (though you can save them as garnish), use a really sharp knife so you can get thin slices, and be sure to soak the cut blossoms in cold water that has been mixed with some type of acid–citrus juice or vinegar does the trick. The later helps removes some of that chalky flavor that the Banana Blossoms can sometimes have.

And although it sounds a bit laborious—it’s totally worth it and delicious!

 

Gỏi Bắp Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad)

And now to announce the winner of a fabulous Nambe Pasta Cradle Bowl

Drum Roll please………….

CONGRATS Serena Kim who said she would serve Shrimp Pesto Pasta in the Nambé Bowl. Sounds yummy and will look gorgeous in your new bowl! Serena, we’ll be sending you an email shortly so we can get your new Nambé artwork shipped out.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated! And THANK YOU Nambé !

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Gỏi Bắp Chuối (Vietnamese Banana Blossom Salad)
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
Nước chấm (Sauce):
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely minced
chili paste, to taste

Gỏi (Salad):
cups chicken breast, grilled and shredded
cups prawns, shelled and grilled
2 medium sized avocadoes, cubed
1 cup Ruby Red Grapefruit segments
4 cups banana blossoms, julienned
¼ cup loosely packed fresh Vietnamese Mint (rau răm), chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup fried shallots
¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed
cold water
black pepper to taste

Prepare the sauce. In a medium sized bowl, stir the sugar and water together until completely dissolved. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until combined. Set aside.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the rice wine vinegar. Peel off the dark colored and tough outer leaves of the banana blossom. Use a sharp knife or mandolin to julienne the blossoms. You can either discard the “baby bananas” or chop them up finely. Submerge the banana blossoms into the bowl of water/vinegar after they have been julienne. Allow the banana blossoms to sit in the vinegar water for 15-20 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the shredded chicken, prawns, avocados, herbs, and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a few spoonfuls of the sauce until the items are lightly coated. Drain the banana blossoms from the vinegar water and squeeze out any excess liquids. Add banana blossoms to the other ingredients and spoon in some additional sauce. Gently toss the salad with the fried shallots and plate. Sprinkle the top with crushed peanuts and serve.