Avocado Toast

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Avocado Toast is becoming a popular thing these days. I love avocados and I try to incorporate them into as many meals as possible. Here is a recipe I found for avocado toast. I added a few things for my own spin on it.

Ingredients

  • One 8-ounce ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
  • Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain or whole wheat bread
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, softened
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

Mash the avocado with a fork in a shallow bowl until chunky. Season with fine salt and black pepper. * – I also added lemon zest 

Toast the bread until browned and crisp. Lightly rub 1 side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic until fragrant; discard the garlic. Lightly brush the toasts with oil, and season with fine salt and pepper. Divide the mashed avocado evenly among the toasts, and top with more flaky sea salt, more black pepper and red pepper flakes if using. * – I added a layer of sliced radishes for more crunch and topped it with scrambles eggs and chives.

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Fiesta Blend Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Whole Foods sells Engine 2 products and I thought I’d try one of their recipes. Engine 2 makes whole plant-based foods that taste good. They hope to help people rid themselves of refined and processed foods and live a more healthier lifestyle. I love stuffed bell peppers and this was a simple delicious healthy recipe to make.

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Ingredients:
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise through the stem end and seeded
1 avocado, diced and divided
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1 (13-ounce) package frozen Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Organic Fiesta Blend Grain Medley, prepared according to package instructions
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange bell pepper halves cut-side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and roast until just slightly charred and softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

To make the dressing, blend avocado, lime juice and cumin in a blender until smooth. In a large bowl, toss the Fiesta Blend Grain Medley with onion, cilantro and half of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing if desired; save remaining dressing for another use. Mound the mixture into the roasted bell pepper halves and garnish with cilantro.

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Crackers & Co. Cafe

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Crackers & Company Cafe is a scratch kitchen that has been serving the Valley since 1984. They serve both breakfast and lunch and pride themselves on fresh ingredients. I came here with a friend and got the California Eggs Benedict (an english muffin topped with fresh spinach, bacon, avocado, tomato, 2 poached eggs, and adobo hollandaise sauce). Crackers is also known for their homemade desserts. I hear the Augustinas Brandied Cinnamon Bread Pudding (photo below from website) is pretty amazing and hope to try it sometime soon.

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Crackers & Co. Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New Year’s Day Lab Party

At my job, we sometimes have to work the holidays. You can let it drag you down or you can make it fun (the time and a half pay always gives a nice few extra bucks to the paycheck). All of us in the lab got together and decided to bring some food and have a little party to start the New Year. Someone brought a tortellini pasta and some brownies. I kept with the tradition of New Years and made a chili with black-eyed peas. Eating black-eyed peas on New Years day brings good luck and is thought to bring prosperity. It was really good and I posted the recipe below.

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BLACK-EYED-PEA CHILI

Ingredients

  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) black-eyed peas
  • 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounces 90 percent lean beef
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 tablespoon chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1 lime, divided use
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse and drain peas. Combine half the peas and half the tomatoes in a food processor; blend until smooth. Heat a wide-bottom pot over medium-high. Add beef; cook and crumble until browned. Move beef to a bowl. Add half the onions and remaining tomatoes to the pot. Saute until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Return beef to pot. Stir in bean-to-mato puree, chili powder, ketchup, and water. Simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mash avocado with half the lime juice and half the cilantro; set aside. Stir the remaining lime juice and cilantro into the chili. Dish chili into bowls and top with the avocado mash.

Does leaving the avocado pit in the guacamole keep it from turning brown?

When I worked in the restaurant business, I noticed many of the hispanic prep cooks would put a avocado pit in the guacamole. Their reasoning was that is helps it from turning brown. I had never heard this and figured it was some old Mexican wives’ tale. I found myself going along with it and putting my own avocado pit in my guacamole that I make at home and I have been doing ever it since. Today I googled it to find out for myself what makes this work.

From straightdope.com: Most fruits and vegetables change color when their flesh is exposed to the air due to oxidation–that is, reaction with oxygen in the air. Some fruits and vegetables, such as the avocado, are more susceptible than others because they contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase. This enzyme works on phenolic compounds in the flesh of the avocado, changing their chemical structure and thus their color.

So there are two culprits in this browning process–the enzyme in the avocado, and the oxygen in the air. Logic suggests that if the avocado pits prevents browning, one of two things must be happening: Either the avocado pit chemically changes the guacamole, or it prevents oxygen from getting to the guacamole in the first place. I originally proposed to Ed that I do some hard-core experimentation with multiple guacamole preparations, but I was talked out of it, and referred instead to the book The Curious Cook by Harold McGee. McGee did experiments with guacamole and avocado pits and discovered that the secret was simply that the avocado pit physically blocked air from oxidizing the guacamole. In fact, the best way to prevent oxygen intrusion is to take plastic wrap and seal it over the guacamole, pressing it down into the surface of the food so no air is trapped above the surface.