Seafood Stuffed Avocado with Marinated Asparagus

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Shimp and Crawfish Nestled in Avocado - Asparagus Flanks Each Side

I am so happy that the warmer weather is here, and salads are the way to go. Composed salads made by stuffing a fruit or vegetable are a favorite in our house. I found crayfish at the store, and bought some shrimp to go with it. Since we usually eat seafood on Fridays, using the shrimp and crayfish to stuff an avocado seemed like a perfect idea. Spane and I also love asparagus, which looks lovely on a plate. It is also the year that Haas avocados are plentiful.

Avocados produce fruit prolifically every two years, that’s why they are expensive one year, and really cheap the next. Did you know that all commercial, fruit-bearing Hass avocado trees have been grown from grafted seedlings propagated from a single tree? The tree was grown from a seed bought by Rudolph Hass in 1926 from A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California. The mother tree stood for many years in front of a residence in La Habra Heights. The tree died when it was 76 years old and was cut down on 11 September 2002 after a ten-year fight with root rot. Two plaques by the private residence at 426 West Road mark the spot where it grew. Because of the avocado, just about any food with California in the name has avocados. I love ’em.

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Barbecued Potato Chip Tuna Casserole

Spane at the kitchen table

Well, it’s not the prettiest casserole in the world, but it tastes very good. My mother would make this if we had left over potato chips. My mother wasn’t much into snack food, so this was not something we had a lot, but it is one of those comfort foods that I remember fondly.

When I was four years old, my father got stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. My mother bought most of the food at the local farmer’s market and the local grocery store. We didn’t get a lot of American goods, I remember going to the PX only twice. The first time I had French fries, it was in France, and they were more like potato chips. I remember really liking them.

When we returned to the United States when I was six, I was surprised to find out that French fries were long rectangular potatoes fried in oil. I didn’t like them very much. The elusive, thin chip we had in France was actually a potato chip, and the brand my mother bought, that I really loved was Granny Goose.

When we moved to Los Angeles when I was eight, there were no Granny Goose potato chips. I really didn’t like the regular brands, except for the barbecue flavor chips. This leads me to my recipe. Granny Goose is out of business, and the only chips Spane and I really like are barbecue flavor. Of course, my mother used the Granny Goose salted chip for her casserole. That’s probably why the only time she made it was when we were living in Northern California.

But, I found out last night that barbecue chips make a really good casserole, and I’m going to share it with you here. When you make this, make sure you get a good barbecued chip, the Lays Tangy Carolina chips are particularly well suited for this.

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Lobster Rose Petal Salad with Lemon Butter Dressing – Great Grandmother’s Recipe

Lobster Rose Petal Salad

Dressed Lobster and Rose Petal Salad

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When I was a little girl, my mother used to go on about how she loved going to her grandmother’s house when she would serve Lobster and Rose salad. I was always hoping that my mother would recreate the recipe, but she never did.

When my great-grandmother was making this salad, lobster was a lot less expensive. I decided that for my birthday, despite to cost, I would recreate Christine Jorgensen’s recipe myself.

I went to the market and bought a small lobster tail. I broiled it and put it on the table to cool before putting it in the refrigerator. All of a sudden, I heard a ker-plunk, looked up, and there was our Maine Coon cat, Miss Rolo Louise Knocker-Offer Boswell, looking guilty, with the end of the hot lobster tail in her mouth, trying to run off with it. I ran up to her and said “Hey, you can’t have that. That’s MY dinner!” I grabbed it, and washed it off. I don’t think she had gotten a chance to eat any of it.

Spane and I had the lobster and rose salad for my birthday dinner. When I tasted it, I could understand why my mother had gone on about how good it was. The combination of buttery lobster and astringently sweet rose was an incredible treat for my mouth. It was truly amazing!

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Leftover Madness – French Onion Soup, Shrimp Scampi, Ham and Cheese Panini

The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.

When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.

I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.

I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.

I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.

We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.

So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.

What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.

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Salmon Croquettes and Martini Caper

Martini Shaker and Glass

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Every once in a while, I make too many mashed potatoes.  Yes, it’s true, even Spane and I cannot eat as many as I made the other night with liver and onions!  A long time ago, I discovered that salmon croquettes were particularly good using a left over baked potato as binder.  I had left over mashed, why not I thought?

These turned out so good I didn’t even have chance to take pictures!  Amber and I munched on them while we sat and talked over a Caper Martini.

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Shrimp Stuffed Wontons

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I Love Shrimp!

I wanted to make wontons for dinner tonight and stuff them with cream cheese and jalapeño, like I did with the Pope’s Hats. Since they have no meat, they are perfect for Fridays. But, on my way home from dropping Spane off at school, I stopped in at the local Hispanic market, where they had some lovely raw shrimp. So, I got some of that, and when to the local Armenian store to buy fresh cilantro, and fresh spring onions.

When I was a little girl, I had a severe allergic reaction to something, and I was tested and no one could figure out what it was. When I was in my twenties, I went to Encinada, Mexico and I again had a severe allergic reaction. Finally, a few years after that, I had one more allergic reaction. I thought about it, and realized that every time I had had a severe allergic reaction, I had eaten shrimp. But, I had been eating shrimp all my life, what was so different about those times? Then I realized each time that the sand vein had not been completely cleaned – I had eaten some of the sand vein. What is the sand vein in a shrimp? It’s their digestive tract, in other words, that’s where their poop is. There is also the “blood vein” (a euphemism for the ventral nerve cord) along the inner curve of the shrimp’s body that also has some nasty black stuff. I finally figured out after all those years that I was not allergic to shrimp itself, I was allergic to the sand vein, or to be more precise, the poop. I’m pretty much convinced that people who are allergic to shrimp are allergic to shrimp poop, not the shrimp itself, just like I am.

Why am I telling you all this? I am telling you this because, even if you are not allergic to shrimp poop like I am, there is still no excuse to leave the nasty digestive insides of shrimp intact. It may take a few seconds to clean, but it is well worth the effort, now that you know what that dark stuff is.

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