Are you a food blog junkie? Do you stop your friends from eating your culinary creations before they’ve been thoroughly photographed? Do you wake up and check your feed for new posts from your fave food blogs? Most importantly, have you made online foodie friends?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it must come at no surprise that you’re a foodie.
Continue reading “Foodies (not so) anonymous”
As a blogger, I spend a substantial amount of time perusing other people’s blogs. Being that I blog about food, I confess that I frequent the token food porn sites on occasion (read: tastespotting). Who can resist?! Perfect scoops of ice cream, decadent cakes, oh my! This weekend, however, I did – I resisted. I stepped away from my computer and celebrated the 4th of July with the rest of America.
Continue reading “Inspiration, planted on my deck”
Although I’m sure many of us enjoy the rich flavors of a 6-hour Bolognese sauce (the way nonna used to make it) or the flaky homemade texture of Baklava, there are just not enough hours in the day to indulge in these treats on a regular basis. Since I would never advocate resorting to fast food, there are always ways around this pickle. I knew I had to create a variety of dishes that I could rely on when time was breathing down my neck. College was the perfect place to develop this habit because it wipes your bank account clean and works you till the wee hours of the morning.
One of my favorite go-to dishes (and the one I decided to feature in today’s entry) is focaccia sandwiches. I make the focaccia at home using store-bought pizza dough and keep it in the fridge for easy access throughout the week. Also, the topping combinations for focaccia are as endless as the ingredients you can pair with it. A panini press is not required; but if you have been thinking about getting one lately, you definitely should (it’s probably one of my favorite toys in the kitchen!). Before I got mine I used toast the sandwich on a grill pan or in the toaster oven if I was feeling particularly lazy.
Continue reading “Tastes like way more than a sandwich”
Living in the godforsaken Ithaca tundra, I realized that despite how bad the weather is, there are always things to look forward to. In the spring, for instance, it’s regaining the sensation in my fingertips and the opening day at the farmer’s market. Last Saturday, the latter of the two was realized. The weather is still too cold for my liking; but a 40-degree high is certainly appreciated after such a brutal winter.
Luckily, the rest of America is right on schedule with the commencement of spring and so I was excited to find ripe avocados calling my name at the store last week. After poking all of them to pick the ripest out of the bunch (don’t judge, I know you do it too) I bought 4; I used the first one to shoot the Avocado Milkshake Video, and the rest to experiment on an Avocado Pesto I dreamt up recently. Believe me, just like the milkshake, it’s a lot tastier than it sounds.
mise en place
The ingredients are similar to a regular pesto, but with minor alterations. The bulk of the greenness now comes from the avocado while the basil is merely a supporting actor in the whole production (I didn’t have the heart to exclude it). Then I decided to add lemon juice for zing and milk for a creamy touch.
No, the sauce will not curdle because the natural fats in the avocado help keep everything together (clever, huh?).
the spoon test
After processing everything together you’ll have a super thick sauce. No panicking is necessary as you’re only a couple steps away from pesto heaven at this point. The sauce will later be brought to consistency with pasta water, so just remember to reserve a cup before draining it.
vibrant green color
One of my favorite components of this dish is the vibrant forest-green color that the spinach takes on after sautéing. Of course, I keep it Italian by throwing in some toasted pine nuts. And if you don’t dig spinach, you can substitute arugula for a more peppery flavor that works out just fine (especially if you’re a big fan of arugula, as I am).
Once the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of the cooking water and toss the pasta with the sautéed spinach and sauce. You’ll notice that the sauce is still very thick and this is completely normal. Incorporate the pasta water a little at a time until you reach the perfect consistency you’re looking for.
Avocado Pesto Pasta
Avocado Pesto Pasta
(yields approx. 4-6 servings)
- 1 lb. pasta
- 1 hass avocado
- 1/3 cup milk
- 10-12 leaves of basil
- ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
- 2 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 oz. pine nuts, toasted (approx ½ cup)
- 6 oz. baby spinach
- salt & pepper, to taste
Putting them all together
- In a large pot, cook pasta to specifications as directed on the package and set aside a cup of the cooking water.
- Blend the avocado, milk, basil, Parmigiano, 2 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and ¼ of the pine nuts until smooth to make the sauce.
- Using the remaining olive oil, sauté the spinach and the pine nuts just until the spinach wilts and turns a vibrant green.
- Toss the cooked pasta, sauce and sautéed spinach together and add a little of the cooking water at a time until you reach the consistency you like.
- Serve with some extra Parmigiano shredded on top
This entry is dedicated to Anna (Grazie Cosmos), my host mom from Florence and Queen of Tuscan Cuisine: Grazie di tutto l’aiuto che mi hai dato in cucina e di tutte le meravigliose ricette che hai condiviso con me.
Biscotti, literally translated, means twice-cooked in Italian. This crunchy confection of sheer goodness formed a significant part of my diet while I was in Florence this past winter. Undoubtedly, it is a cookie worth blogging about.
Continue reading “What’s life without the occasional dunk?”