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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Cinco De Mayo – Pork Loin Tacos and Microwave Mexican Rice

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So, a few weeks ago I was at the market and there was a package of Uncle Ben’s Taco rice in the Manager’s Special section. I thought, hey, why not? It might be good. I prepared it according to package directions on Tuesday. When Spane tasted it, he made a face. I tasted it, and I made a face, too. I even put Tapatio on it, and sour cream, and it still tasted like dirty, old socks. Mind you, I’ve never tasted dirty, old socks, but I imagine they probably taste like that rice – horrible. Moral of the story, don’t by Uncle Ben’s flavored rice.

After that debacle, I was determined to make good Mexican rice, but my stove, Bertha, is on the fritz. I had to find another way to make it.

I also had a pork loin roast, and I wanted to marinate it, but, it too, could not be roasted in Bertha. I had to find another way for that as well.

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Paula Deen in Glendale

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Paula Deen is going to be at Barnes and Noble to do a book signing this evening at 7pm. That made me think of how lucky I am to be living here in Glendale, California. We have things here that you just don’t find everywhere else.

This morning, I went to my favorite store, Best Grocery on Maple, and got two big, red tomatoes, a fat slice of smoked turkey and an avocado. I went home and made a wonderful stuffed tomato salad.

Turkey Salad Stuffed Tomato and Avocado

Turkey Salad Stuffed Tomato and Avocado

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Hot Tin Roof Salad – Composed Grilled Steak Salad

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I loved the movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives. It just seemed the weather was so hot and humid in that movie, kind of like it was today in Glendale, California. Spane, Amber’s children and a friend all had a wonderful time playing in the neighbors pool, and as I watched them, I thought that a steak salad would be the perfect end to a perfect day. I decided to call the salad Hot Tin Roof Salad because it was so hot and steamy here, just like in the movie.

With that being said, one of the wonderful things about summer is all the great, fresh vegetables. Tomatoes are sweet and pop juice into your mouth. Lettuce is really crisp and the greenest of green. The little Persian cucumbers I get at the local Armenian store are tender and flavorful – not like their large watery English cousins with the waxed skins that always seem to come up on you later. Buttery Haas avocados are also plentiful – did you know that all Haas avocados come from one single tree that died at the age of 76 in La Habra Heights, California?

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Red Pepper Stuffed with Crab Salad and Guacamole

Recipes in the postRed Pepper Stuffed with Crab Salad and Guacamole

I love this Red Pepper Stuffed with Crab Salad and Guacamole. Okay, so some of you who have been here before know that I am Roman Catholic. Some of you may think that Catholics don’t have to eat fish on Fridays, and you would be correct, they don’t. Continue reading

Suddenly Composed Salad

Suddenly Composed!Picture-2

Every year in Southern California, specifically in Los Angeles, we have something called June Gloom. It happens right after Memorial Day, which is usually hot, when the marine layer sits over the Pacific Ocean coming inland and keeps everything cool and gloomy. My mother used to call this kind of weather “sweater weather” because it wasn’t cold enough for a coat, but it would get warm enough after the clouds burned off to go in a sun dress, and wear a cardigan in between.

It is also the time when fruits and vegetables are springing up very fresh and flavorful in your local market. Just a few days ago, I was lucky enough to get green tomatoes to make Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Garlic Mayonnaise.

Today my corner store had ripe, red, tomatoes that cried out to be brought home for salad. There were also perky Persian cucumbers waiting to go into my basket, and a perfectly ripe avocado that felt great nestled in my hand. Spirited spring onions were also placed in my basket as well as three hearts of Romaine lettuce.

I also had some things at home to put in the salad. I had a little pastrami and swiss cheese left over from making Chicken Rubens with Saffron Rice. I had marinated sun dried tomatoes, black olive slices, real bacon bits, peperoncini and blue cheese. I decided that Girard’s Champagne Dressing would be perfect.

The real trick to making a composed salad is not so much what you put in it, as how it is presented. Each ingredient should be in its own little area, and artfully arranged. In my salad, for example, I fanned out both the tomato and avocado halves, and made a little flower out of sliced Persian cucumber. The black olive slices, crumbled bacon and blue cheese were in the middle, with one whole sun dried tomato propped up with a peperoncino sitting in their place of honor on the very top of the salad.

You are free to add your own ingredients, chick peas would be a good addition, so would chopped eggs, marinated onions, Kalamata olives, Chinese snow peas, grilled chicken, the sky’s the limit!

So enjoy these wonderful days of summer and remember that salads don’t have to be dull or ordinary.