Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Green Wonder

Sometimes I have mundane things for dinner, and I think, is this worth posting? But if this grabs you:

… then maybe you might be interested in my hum-drum dinner. I am currently obsessed with everything to do with this green fruit, and I find myself ordering anything on a menu that has avocado in it. They have the good kind of fat (I know, right? Good fat?! Yes, please!), they add gorgeous color to any dish (okay, not ANY dish), and they have such a brilliant, smooth, creamy texture that I could just bathe in them.

But I won’t.

That would be weird.

Anyway… tonight for dinner I created a burger-less version of my favorite burger: swiss cheese, bacon, and avocado. This is amazing on a ground beef patty, but I used sliced smoked turkey (on sale at my local grocery) and it was divine. Way better than the spoiled potato salad I had for lunch…

…I don’t want to talk about it.

Are you an avocado lover? Here are a few more ideas of what to do with this peerless pitted pod of perfection.

… Sliced up and wedged between scrambled eggs and mozzarella in a tortilla for breakfast

… In the standard guacamole with salty chips and margaritas (avocado, chopped red onion, lime juice, and cilantro – easy as pie!)

… Blended with powdered sugar and lemon juice as frosting for a yellow or white cake (seriously!)

… Sliced up on toast with a sprinkle of lemon juice and coarse kosher salt

… Cut into chunks, add chunks of honey dew, sprinkle with lime juice, and use as a salsa for white fish or sauteed scallops

… Sliced up on crusty french bread underneath a layer of watermelon (I know, this is a weird one, but it is SO GOOD… I’m a texture girl myself)

A few tips when using avocados:

In any type of recipe, once you remove the meat from the skin and the pit, it will turn brown unless you add lime or lemon juice (notice all the above suggestions that are not immediately melted on a sandwich have lime/lemon juice in them)

A ripe avocado can be cut in half, around the pit, and twisted apart. Stick a sharp knife in the pit, twist, and it should pull right out.

To remove the meat from the skin: scoop with a spoon starting at the narrow end of the half, or for a VERY ripe fruit, peel away the skin (this is my favorite way because it preserves that smooth rounded appearance)

If you’re only using half an avocado at a time, you can leave the pit in the leftover half and it’ll help it keep longer in the fridge.

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Did someone say free dessert?

If you live in New York, you want to see this

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A Tasty Nugget for Your Philanthropic Soul

Due to a red-wine-potato-pizza-pork-rhubarb-
ice-cream-chocolate-induced food coma last night, I neglected to write a real post before passing out cold in my snuggly warm bed.

In lieu of lip-smacking pictures, I am posting this because I thought it was so cool! If you don’t think it’s cool, then I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Non-profit Panera cafe in St. Louis puts human nature to the test

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America’s Favorite

I don’t have any solid research to back this claim up, but I’m pretty sure chocolate chip cookies are, across the board, America’s favorite. Everyone has their own preference, but being a cake girl myself I like a big, soft cookie with a crispy edge and without nuts. I do enjoy the recipe on the Nestle chocolate chip bag, but they’re just a little too flat and crispy for my taste.

Truth be told, I’ve tried at least a dozen chocolate chip cookie recipes, hoping to be able to post one to the blog. This is the first one I’ve fallen in love with enough to post. So enjoy! My blood, sweat, and tears went into this one. But not really. That would be gross.

On the menu:
Chocolate chip cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Recipe adapted from
this recipe on Allrecipes.com

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter with white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Dissolve baking soda in the hot water and add along with the salt and cream of tartar to the butter/sugar batter. Mix well. Add flour and chocolate chips, mix well by hand. Drop dough onto cookie sheets in 2 Tbsp size drops and bake for 12 minutes.

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Sun(ny)day Sun(ny)day Sun(ny)day!

Thank god the season of cheesy pasta is over. Seriously, my waistline couldn’t handle it anymore. Now that the sun is shining and the temperatures have warmed up, I feel like eating lighter. And nothing says summer to me like potato salad.

This very basic potato salad is easy to make, and even easier to eat a pound of. It’s light with a little kick from the celery seed. My friend Joe talks about this potato salad to this day, and he hasn’t eaten it since my mom made it for him in 2001. “My mom sends kisses!” I told him once. His reply: “Screw the kisses! Send the potato salad!”

On the menu:
Potato salad
Serves 4 as a side dish

4 medium sized potatoes (I used red potatoes, but you can use Idaho if you prefer)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes whole for around 25 minutes, until you can stick a fork in them and it pulls out easily. Let the potatoes cool for around 15 minutes. Slice into chunks and mix in a bowl with mayo and ranch dressing. Add the celery seed and salt, and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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ROC City Part 3: Wegmans

The Wegmans in Pittsford, NY

“What is it… a grocery store?” Wegmans is hard to describe. It’s more than a grocery store: it’s a destination. I was 13 (okay, 20) before I realized it’s called a plastic bag, not a Wegmans bag. If you need to grab a quick delicious lunch, you pop into Wegmans for a sub, a soup, a slice of pizza, a cookie cake, whatever. Need a new toothbrush? A kumquat? Fiddle head ferns? A bouquet of flowers for your mom’s birthday? A prescription? A place to drop the kiddies while you do your weekly grocery shopping? A DVD? An endless array of gummy worms, chocolates, or peanuts in bulk? A pint of Ben and Jerry’s at 3AM on a Tuesday? (no? me neither…)

You can literally find all of these things at Wegmans. And everyone is nice! And helpful! And there are ten people waiting to answer every question you might have about how to prepare a piece of their fresh produce, or a slab of amazing fish, or the endless Wegmans brand products they offer. No, they did not pay me to write this. They don’t need MY help. They are one of the very few American companies to NEVER have had to lay off a single employee. Did you hear that? Not a single employee.

When you ask an upstate-ex-pat what they miss most about home, they might tell you they miss the Garbage Plates, or the breakfast spots, or the festivals… but you can be absolutely certain that they will tell you they miss Wegmans. Everyone does.

A cookie cake from their phenomenal bakery

*Update: I had no idea this aired last night, but if you don’t believe me… Wegmans is getting press on Letterman. Look!

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ROC City Part 2: The Strawberry Waffle

Rochester has a great deal of history, especially in the downtown area. The George Eastman House is here, complete with a museum on the long and storied history of Eastman Kodak. The Mt. Hope Cemetery is the final resting place of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. And one of my favorite areas of the city, Highland Park, was designed in the 1880’s by famed landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.

May kicks off an entire season of outdoor festivals in Rochester, beginning in early May with The Lilac Festival in Highland Park, which is home to over 400 varieties of lilacs.

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After strolling through the seemingly endless lilac bushes, you might work up an appetite. And by “might” I mean “will.”

And what will you eat?! Where will you go?! The answer, my friends, is The Highland Park Diner.

Established in the 1940s, this diner has changed hands many times (and even did time as an OTB parlor… sick, I know) but still serves up the tastiest waffle topping I have ever inhaled calmly and daintily enjoyed: strawberries and sweet cheese.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post in which I try to discover the magic behind the sweet cheese… it’ll be blog gold, I promise.

*Update: in my haste, I forgot to take a picture of the inside of The Highland Park Diner and it is admittedly one of the coolest things about the place. According to a few pieces I found on the web, diners such as this one were made in a factory and then transported by rail to the site, hence the long and narrow shape that would fit on a train track. Sweet, huh?

Thanks to Roadfood.com for permission to use this photo.

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