Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thanks for the bacon jam!

I have not been cooking much lately. And by lately, I mean for weeks. Months, even. I've been microwaving a lot, and assembling sandwiches, but even that second part is a lie because Murdo has been assembling sandwiches, and I've just been eating them. The inspiration to cook anything new just hasn't been striking, even with all the vegetables and fruits coming into season. The most creative I get in the kitchen nowadays involves me standing in front of the open fridge, wondering what to spread on this sleeve of crackers. The other day, it was spicy mustard. Before that, kimchi. I keep telling myself this rut will pass. I hope I'm right.

Until then, I'm perfectly happy pigging out on other people's delicious creations, and sharing them with you. For example, bacon jam.

A few weeks ago, our friends Nolan and Catie had us over for a barbecue. There were pulled pork sandwiches, with pork that had been slowly smoking overnight in Nolan's garage.

smoked pork
summer on a plate

There were baked beans, cooked under the smoker so that the pork fat dripped onto the beans and when you took a bite, it was so rich and flavorful that one bite was enough, really, to know that they were the best beans ever.

beans

There was homemade blue cheese coleslaw and tomatillo salsa. Cheese, prosciutto, crackers. And bacon jam.

bacon jam!

The bacon jam wasn't really jam consistency, but more like a thick spread, with hits of salty bacon that told you yes, you're spreading bacon on a cracker, with a hint of sweetness that kept you coming back for more. I do like bacon jam. And they're much better on crackers than kimchi.

You can find the recipe that Catie used here. Thanks for the awesome food and hospitality, guys!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I drink your (avocado) milkshake.

I vaguely remember eating my first avocado. I was grade-school age, standing in the kitchen, next to the fridge, and my dad had presented me with a bowl of something creamy, sweet and refreshing. It was richer than any ice cream I'd ever had, with a mild buttery taste that lingered on my tongue. It was a smashed avocado, mixed with milk, sugar and ice.

avocados

I grew up associating avocado with a dessert, and nothing else. When I discovered avocado in guacamole, sandwiches, sushi and salads, and learned that it wasn't "normal" to combine sugar with avocado, I put the memory of that dessert in the back of my mind to become just that: a memory.

Turns out, in many places around the world, the Philippines included, avocado is an ingredient in more sweet dishes than savory. No one ever thinks to throw an avocado into a blender with ice cream and milk. Which is a shame, because if you love avocado, you should be loving it in all forms.

Today, I'm here to bring avocado desserts back into my life, and to introduce it to yours, in the form of a milkshake.

avocado milkshake

It's easy. Throw a small handful of ice, a half a scoop of vanilla ice cream, milk, a teaspoon of sugar and a ripe avocado into a blender, and blend. There you have it. The flavor is subtle -- not too overpowering, but there. The after taste is the best part, with a creamy avocado taste lingering on the tongue, just like that first time.

This shake is even better when enjoyed on a hot, humid day, with your feet propped up, and nothing to worry about except spoiling your dinner.

avocado milkshake

Avocado Milkshake (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
This is a very loose recipe, and should be adapted to your tastes. I even thought that the final product was a little to vanilla-y for me, so next time, I might skip the ice cream altogether. It won't be as thick, but I'm willing to take that risk. Plain yogurt might also make a good substitute.

4-5 cubes of ice
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 scoop of vanilla ice cream (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced

Throw everything into a blender. Blend until it reaches desired consistency. Pour into a glass, take outside and enjoy on a hot summer day. Makes 1 (small) milkshake. Drink it up!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer, and turkey burgers.

Summer.


Summer.


Summer!


That's really all I have to say. Well, except this: Add these turkey burgers to your summer grilling menu. Seriously. They are juicy, and flavorful, and even Murdo said he liked them, and he's one of those "Give me beef or give me death" kind of guys. We ate them last weekend in Michigan, when cool weather and rain forced us indoors, and Monday brought sunny blue skies and a quick boat ride and a slight sun burn, and summer finally, finally said hello.

Happy Summer, folks!


Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burgers (from Oprah.com)
Laurie, my sister-in-law, got this recipe from her mother-in-law, and starting making them last summer in Michigan, and hasn't really stopped. Thanks for the recipe, Laurie!

1/8 cup canola oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
4 pounds ground turkey breast
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. Tabasco® chipotle pepper sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney, pureed

Heat canola oil in a large skillet, and saute the garlic, green onions, celery and apples until tender. Transfer to a plate or bowl and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey, sauteed items and remaining ingredients. Using hands, mix until well combined. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper. Place on a preheated, lightly oiled grill. Grill each side for 7 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Makes 8 yummy burgers.