Wanna see my buns?
You know you do.
Y’all always have your minds in the gutter, geez.
These little beauties were inspired by my good friend, Joanna, who made a grilled cheese with avocado and swore it was so good I would want to go slap my mom. Like, literally slap her in the face. That good.
Ok, fine, so she didn’t say that. But that’s what she meant, I’m sure of it. I know her, damnit.
I have to admit, I still have not made that grilled cheese. BUT, today I came close. I had some of my leftover pizza dough from last night AND an avocado (this seems to happen quite often) that was going to go bad soon. So, I got a bright idea. I’m going to make that avocado grilled cheese a stuffed bun!!
I did a test run this morning to see if my pizza dough was the right consistency – it worked. So, I made several and I was trying to get pictures, but I couldn’t stop “testing” them. Good thing I made several. Imagine how happy I was when I got to break these bad boys open.
And obviously, yes, Joanna was right. Avocado and melted cheese on bread is luscious.
- 1/2 batch pizza crust (keep the rest in fridge until ready to use)
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 1/2 cups Muenster cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Using about a fist full of dough, gently stretch it out as flat as you can. Place a few chunks of avocado in the center, then a tbsp of each cheese. Fold all sides upwards and pinch together to seal. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly brown. If you like crispy bread, leave it in a few minutes longer!
So, now I’m thinking of all kinds of combinations for these…chicken, meatballs, veggies. How awesome would a Reuben Bun be??
That would be the shiznit.
Oh, Dear Lord. That last statement would so embarrass my kids.
You know you like my buns.
There is something about Greek flavors that I am so in love with. As a kid, my dad always made this salad that he called “Indian Salad” (not sure why), but we also called it Greek Salad. It was green lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers and feta cheese – and some sort of dressing that I can’t remember. I was smitten with feta cheese very early on.
As far as quinoa, I discovered this about four years ago when I declared myself gluten-intolerant, even though I wasn’t – I think I was being over dramatic. However, I will say that abstaining from gluten did make me feel pretty good for a while. Then that wore off, and I went back to real ass bread.
Speaking of quinoa, did you know that it’s a “pseudocereal”, and related to tumbleweeds?
I know, right?
Nevertheless – it’s really good stuff.
This salad is incorporating the Greek salad concept and combining it with quinoa. People love this stuff right now. You see it everywhere, in muffins, in soups, cookies…hell I even saw where someone made a pizza crust out of it.
What a versatile little “pseudocereal”.
Here’s your printable -
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water (or chicken broth for more flavor)
- 1 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/4 yellow onion, diced
- 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled
- Handful flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed to moisten)
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the quinoa and water or broth to a boil in a sauce pan. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. The quinoa will look translucent when done. Remove from heat.
- Combine the quinoa with olives through Feta cheese.
- Whisk together the parsley, olive oil and balsamic vinegar; pour over salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
- Add more olive oil if needed.
Oh, and the more feta, the better. You can always add more than my recipe.
I don’t mind.
Your quinoa would ask you to.
I think I have an obsession.
With sesame oil.
Yes. Have you ever smelled it?? It’s probably one of the most luxurious, delicious smells ever. It’s almost an aphrodisiac. Stay with me here – you’ll thank me.
It has a fragrance that is strong, but it’s a good strong. If you’ve never had it or cooked with it, stop by your local grocery store, open a bottle and inhale. If somebody asks you if you’re crazy, tell them I told you to do it and immediately direct them to my website. I’ll set them straight.
I got your back.
Anyway, you will love this hummus (especially if you agree with me on the sesame oil) – it’s such a fantastic twist on the regular stuff.
- 1 cup garbanzo beans (I used dry but you could use a can if you want to make it easier)
- 4 1/2 cups water, divided
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp prepared wasabi paste
- 1 tbsp salt (more if needed)
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
- Soak the beans by putting the beans in a large bowl covered with water. Let them soak overnight at room temperature.
- Drain, rinse and add the beans and 4 cups of water to a dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain any water from the beans and add to a food processor.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, including 1/2 cup water, and pulse until smooth. If it's too thick, add more water by 1-2 tbsp at a time until it's the consistency you want.
- Top with Sriracha. (Optional)
The sesame flavor combined with wasabi is the bizomb.
I said it.
I could have said biznomb but, look, I know my limits – I have two teenagers. There’s only a certain amount I can get away with.
I also have a thing for Sriracha, obviously.
I dipped this with pita chips, but you could use whatever. Like, even a spoon.
OMG – could you imagine this in a tortilla with avocado, Jack cheese and even more sriracha??
Need some recipe or menu ideas for Cinco de Mayo?? Let me help you out.
‘Cause that’s my job.
And I love y’all.
Kahlua Grilled Chicken, of course.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I have a ton of cookbooks.
Seriously. Here, I’ll show you.
These are only my favorites. I have a bunch in a cabinet that even though I don’t really use that much, I can’t let go of. And, yes, I keep cooking magazines.
Like a true hoarder.
Recently, the publisher of The New Jewish Table sent me a copy for review. I got excited; I love getting fun mail – and as you may (or may not) know I married into a Jewish family 8 years ago. I have really enjoyed learning about real Jewish food and so far, this is what I’ve learned:
- You can’t get a real bagel with lox in the state of Alabama. I’ve officially tasted the difference.
- Rugelach – a Jewish pastry – rocks, you can do so many things with it – here’s an example of what I did.
- Matzo ball soup fixes every ailment, especially when 1) It’s cooked in a pot handed down from a cherished grandparent and 2) Your husband makes it for you and brings it to you in bed. My last virus is proof that it works, people.
- I suck at making latkes.
Now, onto the book.
The New Jewish Table is written by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray – owners of Washington DC’s Equinox Restaurant. Their marriage, a union of a Jew and non-Jew, have been together for 20 years. As they say in the book, it’s “a blending at our table in the truest sense”.
I love that.
That’s real romance.
To begin with, it’s a beautiful, colorful hardcover book with a sturdy spine. When you first open it, you see the “bookplate”, which is a picture on the inside cover of their Cabbage Stuffed with Ground Beef and Onion.
It made me want the cabbage. I won’t lie.
The recipes are divided by seasons, and each section includes Brunch, Starters, Lunch, Dinner, Sides and Desserts. At first, I didn’t think that approach to a cookbook would be user-friendly. Once I got through the book, I really liked it. Not only do you have the contents section in the front, which are divided by seasons, but you have an entire alphabetical index in the back with every recipe. After going through it many times now, I think the idea is brilliant; they are laying out for you seasonal dishes/ingredients – and finding something specific is a no-brainer. They also include a Holiday section near the end of the book that gives you menu suggestions for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah and Passover.
I love their “interview” which continues throughout the book that lays out for you how they met, their love of food, family snippets, along with personal details about recipes.
To accompany my written review, I decided to make their Smoked Salmon and Sweet Corn Beignets.
I followed the recipe exactly as written in the book. Now, I won’t say these completely blew me away - but that being said – they are very good. I loved the lime sour cream that accompany them.
If I made these again, I would add several dashes of Tabasco to the batter – but that’s just me. The combination of salmon and corn is a fantastic idea.
Here’s the recipes – taken from The New Jewish Table:
- 2 medium ears of corn, husked
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup finely diced cold smoked salmon
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, including the green parts
- Canola oil for frying
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp mayo
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbsp chives
- Blanch the corn in a steamer basket over boiling water; cover and steam for 5 minutes.
- Slice the kernals from the cobs when cool enough to handle.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in large bowl.
- Add eggs and sour cream, whisk to combine.
- Whisk milk into egg mixture.
- Fold in corn, salmon and scallions.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour 4 inches of oil into heavy saucepan, bring to 350 degrees (medium heat).
- Drop balls of batter into oil using a soup spoon or ice cream scoop, working in batches to avoid crowding the beignets.
- Fry until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes total.
- Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.
- For Lime Sour Cream:
- Whisk together sour cream, mayo and lime juice in a small bowl. Add zest and 1 tbsp chopped chives.
- Serve with beignets.
I love the fact that this book combines recipes from Ellen’s traditional Jewish upbringing and Todd’s love of Mediterranean food. The grilled lamb burgers with olive tampenade look amazing. I’m going to need to make those very soon.
To sum it up – the format is nicely laid out, pictures are great and recipes are easy to follow. I love the engaging family stories.
Thanks so much to Sarah Goldstein of St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of the book.