Avocado Egg Salad

I’ve been craving egg salad, which is weird because I don’t usually like egg salad (I have this thing against mayonnaise…). But on a few blogs recently (Closet Cooking and never home maker), I’ve seen recipes for avocado egg salad. Mmmm, now that is something I can get behind. Artie doesn’t like eggs, no matter how they are prepared, so when he was out of town a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and made some egg salad. It actually turned out pretty good!

First, I had to google how to hard boil eggs. It’s actually pretty easy (you know, as easy as boiling water). I followed the directions on this website.

Place the eggs in a pot. Cover with cold water. Salt the water generously. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 15 – 16 minutes. While the eggs are doing their thing, you could chop/prepare the other ingredients (see below). (I chose to unload the dishwasher but dinner would have been ready a whole lot quicker if I had prepped my ingredients. Lesson learned.)

 

 

Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water until they are cold enough to handle. 

Peel, trying not to get shell all over the place. <– Most annoying part, by far.

 

Dice eggs finely (sorry, no picture). Combine four diced eggs (yes, there are five above – I ate one in the process of preparing dinner!) with the following:

A few handfuls of diced peppers (I like the crunchy texture and I’m not a fan of celery, which is typically added to egg salad). A handful of diced dill pickles (perfect crunchy, briny bite). A few dollops of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (better tasting and better for you than mayo). I ended up not adding any mustard, but I’m sure it would have been tasty if I had. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Don’t worry – I didn’t forget the avocado! At this point, if you are going to save any egg salad for later (like lunch tomorrow), put that in a container in the refrigerator. Because of the avocado’s propensity for enzymatic oxidative browning (yeah food science!), it will turn your egg salad a yucky brown color. To the portion you are about to eat, add 1/2 of a small avocado (about 2 ounces), diced.

Stir until well combined. And that’s it!

There are a few options for serving. On a sandwich thin with a few spinach leaves (which is how I ate it the first night I prepared it for dinner).

Or on a salad with crackers on the side (which is how I ate it the next day for lunch at work). Just pack the avocado separately and stir it in right before serving.

This was excellent – crunchy bits of pepper, creamy egg and Greek yogurt, salty pickles, and buttery avocado. The protein from the eggs and Greek yogurt kept me full. The avocado made egg salad much more palatable to me. I may never be a fan of traditional egg salad, but this is a recipe I can see myself making again and again.

 

 

 

 

 

Chickpea Curry with Arugula

I’m always on the lookout for healthy, affordable, vegetarian recipes. This is a great vegetarian meal that goes together quickly, uses White house pantry staples, and tastes even better for lunch the next day.

I modified this recipe slightly from one I saw in Everyday Food: Quick Chickpea Curry. Since we don’t typically keep cinnamon sticks on hand, I substituted a few shakes of ground cinnamon. Instead of curry powder, I used Balti seasoning from Penzys Spices (so good and flavorful). I may have doubled (or tripled) the amount of garlic (that’s how I roll).

I served the chickpeas over a bed of cilantro rice and arugula. To cut the spiciness of the seasoning, I topped the whole dish off with a dollop of plain yogurt. Flavorful, fast, and delicious – my kind of weeknight dinner.

Savory Butternut Squash Pie

For my office’s Thanksgiving grazing day, the company provided ham and turkey and each person in the office signed up to bring food to share. I volunteered to bring a side dish to go with the ham and turkey. Not sure exactly what to bring, I searched the Whole Foods iPad app for inspiration. The recipe for Savory Butternut Squash Pie with Hazelntuts caught my eye. I really like savory pies, like this tomato pie, as well as butternut squash. I checked and the recipe is also available on the Whole Foods website.

Ingredients for Savory Butternut Squash Pie
Ingredients for Savory Butternut Squash Pie with Hazelnuts

The recipe calls for butternut squash to be cubed, coated in olive oil, and roasted. With the sweet earthiness that that develops as butternut squash roasts, I use roasted butternut squash for the base of many Fall inspired meals.

Roasted butternut squash
Roasted butternut squash

Like in the tomato pie recipe, this Savory Butternut Squash Pie also calles for caramelized onions. After cooking the onions down, a little white wine is used to deglaze the pan. The aroma released from the onions and the deglazing of the pan is wonderful.

Caramelized onions
Caramelized onions

Hazelnuts are added to provide a crunch to an otherwise soft pie. I toasted the hazelnuts in a pan until the skins loosened. After letting the hazelnuts cool, I removed the skins and coarsely chopped them.

Toasting hazelnuts
Toasting hazelnuts

The recipe also calls for breadcrumbs. Not having breadcrumbs on hand, I decided to make my own from leftover bread. Yesterday’s baguette becomes today’s breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumbs
Yesterday's baguette becomes today's breadcrumbs

Assembling all of the ingredients together, I can tell that this pie will be delicious. Unlike sweet pies made with pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash, the cubed butternut squash and the hazelnuts make this savory pie quite chunky and hearty.

Assembled Savory Butternut Squash Pie
Savory butternut squash pies ready for the oven

After baking, the pies looked perfect. I was very glad that I doubled the recipe — one pie to share with coworkers and one pie to eat at home.

Cooked butternut squash pies
Finished pie

If you are still looking for something to cook for your Thanksgiving dinner, consider this recipe for a delicious accompaniment to your ham or turkey.

Cooking with My Mentees, part 1

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to post this!  I need to make a New Year’s resolution to be a more timely blogger…

As part of the work I do, I serve as a mentor for students in the Service Scholar program.  Early in the fall semester (in September, I think?), I got together with three of my mentees to cook and share a meal together.  I’ve had several students ask me if I would teach them to cook a particular dish and this was my first foray into cooking instruction.  The only request was tofu (my kind of request!) so I made a menu that was fun and diverse, if a bit ambitious.  Before the girls came over, I set out the ingredients in different stations:

White bean dip served with sliced red peppers

Tofu two ways: BBQ and honey glazed

Spicy Baked Macaroni (I made few changes to the Giada DeLaurentis recipe.)

The first thing we did was get cute aprons on all the cooks.  Then we got to work, picking eggplant, sautéing garlic, blending up bean dip, seasoning tofu, cooking veggies for the macaroni, grating cheese, and generally having a great time while we prepped the meal.

Marisa and Abby picking eggplant from Artie's garden
Amy sautéing garlic in the tiny skillet with the tiny spatula
Marisa seasoning the BBQ tofu

 

Abby adding the sauteed veggies to the pasta for the macaroni
Tasting the white bean dip with the tiny spoons

The finished product was excellent:

Don’t think that I forgot dessert!  This post already had so many pictures, I thought I would break it into two parts.  Check back tomorrow for part two and see what delicious confection we made for dessert  (a tasty, fruity treat that looks like it took forever to make, but it was a snap!).

Cooking Stuffing in My Cubicle

Every year, my office hosts a holiday party called the Tweener.  There used to be a Thanksgiving potluck and a winter holiday potluck but it got to be too much potlucking so the between holidays part, or the Tweener, was created.  Last year, I had the idea to prepare my contribution in my cubicle.  I documented this last year on an old blog but thought it was good enough to share again this year:

I was really busy and didn’t have time to go to the store this week so I checked out what was in the pantry.  We actually had everything to prepare dressed-up Stovetop stuffing but it was late so I thought I would just make it at work the next day.  How hard could this be, right?  Turns out, it was a piece of cake!

This is what you need: hot water kettle (I ❤ my Bodum electric kettle), measuring cup, cutting board, knife, two boxes of stuffing mix (whatever flavor you like best – I used herb flavored), two apples, one red onion, 4 slices of turkey bacon (which Artie kindly cooked for me while he made the coffee in the morning), a bag of dried cranberries, and a big bowl.  I know it sounds crazy, but this was a cinch!  Sorry the pictures are so blurry – I was using a point-and-shoot camera and trying to document the fun while cooking.

Cranberry, Apple, and Red Onion Stuffing (makes a double batch)

Add the contents of two boxes of Stovetop to a large glass bowl with a lid.

Boil 3 cups of water in the kettle.

While the water comes to a boil, dice two apples (I used Honeycrisp – my favorite), half of a red onion, and four strips of cooked turkey bacon.

Add the chopped apple, onion and bacon, along with a generous handful of dried cranberries, to the stuffing mix.

Pour three cups of boiling water on top of the stuffing, fruit, and bacon.  Stir to combine.  Cover with a lid and let sit for five minutes.  Stir again.  Serve hot as part of a delicious holiday feast.

A few notes:

I forgot to add the butter (each Stovetop recipe requires 1/2 a stick) but I found that the flavor was fine without it.  I did add a small pat when I reheated the leftovers and it provided richness, but with all the mix-ins, it really wasn’t missed.

If you don’t like the flavor of raw onions, leave them out or saute them in olive oil before adding to the stuffing.  Ditto to the apples – they got softer as I microwaved the leftovers, and I personally enjoy a little bit of crispness, but you could cook the apples before adding them to the mix, if you were making this recipe at home.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from White House Dinners! I hope your Thanksgiving was as great as mine.

In typical Southern Georgia style I enjoyed the following foods with seventeen family (immediate family, extended family, and friends).

Turkey and Salad

 

Ham and Dressing

 

Beans and Sweet Potatoes

 

Turnip Greens

 

Apple Pie

Tasting Plate for a Hungry Girl

Anyone who is my friend on Facebook or follows me on Twitter knows that for the past six months I have been enthusiastically riding my bike, preparing for the Miles for Miley ride 🙂  I feel like I’ve come a long way: my first ride in May was a slow 10 miles and two days ago I rode a speedy, solo 40 mile ride (which would have been 50 miles if I hadn’t run over a piece of glass and popped my back tire).  One thing I’ve noticed about training for an endurance ride is that I am hungry (well, not right after a long ride but during the next day or two, my belly is growling)!  Food is fuel for my long workouts.  Today, my belly has been rumbling since right after breakfast but I wasn’t hungry for anything in particular, so I made what I consider a blog-worthy tasting plate:

My lunch nibbles included (clock-wise from top):

A few thin slices of sharp white cheddar cheese

Crackers: two sweet and two savory

A spoon of sunflower nut butter (read about my love for nut butter here)

A Honeycrisp apple (best apple variety ever!), cut into slices

1/2 of a medium avocado, cut into slices

2/3 of a red bell pepper, cut into slices

A small pour of Annie’s Goddess dressing (so yummy!)

Served with my favorite beverage: grapefruit flavored La Croix

What a fun lunch!  I enjoyed putting together different yummy bites: apple with sunflower butter on a sweet cracker, apple slice with cheese, avocado with cheese on a savory cracker, red pepper dipped in dressing, red pepper dipped in sunflower butter, etc.  I didn’t finish the avocado, cheese, or sunflower nut butter, but everything else was eaten up!  On the nutrition side, this was a great combo of fruits/veggies, carbs, and healthy fats.  I’m not sure why I don’t eat meals like this more often – it was easy, affordable, versatile, and fun.