Avocado Toast

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Happiness is a fresh seasonal avocado. I’ve met a few people who have mentioned they don’t like Avocado’s…those people cannot be trusted LOL. Avocados this year have been amazing so far, I’m happy it’s finally summer and I can have access to all of the avocados…if only I could get more than 2 for a reasonable price!

Avocados are a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates. Their potential health benefits include improving digestion, help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and are a very nutrient rich fruit with beneficial fats to keep you full and satiated. With an impressive list of health benefits, I don’t comprehend how anyone could say they are gross. Avocados are versatile and one of the freshest ingredients to work with in summer dishes. They make a great alternative to mayonaise and butter in many recipes, even dessert! I propose if you are one of the many people who don’t appreciate a fresh avocado, to eat least try it in this recipe listed below. Add a little salt & pepper, maybe some juice from a lime or lemon, give it a good stir and they try again. Avocados might just guac your world.

This recipe is a trend showing up on many menus around the country. I’m certain Avocado Toast is nothing new for you to get excited about. These are just (3) ways I love my avocado Toast. Do you have any suggestions of a good avocado toast pairing? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Avocado Toast with Fresh Strawberries and Balsamic Reduction:

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Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 2 Slices of Bread, Toasted (I use Whole Wheat, or English Muffins)
  • 4 Strawberries, Sliced
  • Balsamic Reduction, to drizzle on top
  • S&P, TT
  • Fresh Mint leaves, optional

Method of Prep:

  • Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and add to a bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Using a fork, mash, then spread on toast. Top with strawberries. Drizzle with a little balsamic. Top with fresh picked mint.
  • Enjoy!

Southwest Avocado Toast:

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Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado, sliced
  • 2 Slices of Bread, Toasted
  • 2 Eggs, over medium
  • 2 Tablespoons Chunky Salsa or Pico
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Add sliced avocado to toast. Season with S&P. Top with over medium egg. Garnish with salsa.
  • Enjoy!

Smashed Avocado with Hard Boiled Egg:

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Mise en Place:

  • 1/2 Avocado, Smashed
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 Slices bread, Toasted
  • Hot sauce, optional

Method of Prep:

  • Remove avocado from shell, mash with salt and pepper. Spread on toast. Top with Hard boiled egg. Garnish with hot sauce.
  • Enjoy!

**Not pictured: Avocado Toast with Crab dip

  • Same process as above, just top sliced avocado with fresh lump crab or a seafood crab dip.

 

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Old Fashioned Sunrise

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Infusing liquor has been a hobby of mine for over a year now. Last time I infused was spring of 2013 when I was in Florida. I did a cucumber vodka which made some excellent martinis, then played around with seasonal fruits such as peaches and watermelon and strawberries.

This time, I did five different infusions, four vodka based and one bourbon (Mint vodka, sriracha and cucumber vodka, lemon/thyme/rosemary vodka, vanilla vodka (extract), and lastly a maple syrup, orange and cherry bourbon.) Each of these liquors will have their own separate recipes and for each drink I create or repeat, I will include a recipe for you. I’ve been working on developing my own bar inside my house including all the proper tools, glassware, garnishes, and equipment needed to perfect my cocktails. If you enjoy a good cocktail now and then you’ve come to the right place.

While I work on future recipes, I’d like to start you off with this one featuring San Pelligrino Limonata and my old fashioned style infused bourbon. Cheers!

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Mise en place:

-3 Parts Old Fashioned style infused bourbon, See recipe below.

-2 Part Orange Juice

-1 Part San Pellegrino Limonata

-Splash Grenadine

-Orange slice or twist for garnish, optional

-Cocktail Shaker

-Ice

-Fancy glass

Method of Prep:

-In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except the grenadine, shake.

-Strain into desired drinking glass filled with either crushed ice or One large ice cube. Pour a little bit of grenadine over the top. Garnish with orange. Stir it up if you’d like and drink.

Enjoy!

**This also makes a great non-alcholic drink for the kids to enjoy. Mix everything together without the bourbon for a sweet and fizzy orange juice…it’s like a Shirley Temple with O.J! 🙂

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Old Fashioned Bourbon:

Mise en Place:

-Red Stag (cherry) Bourbon from Jim Beam, As much as you want to infuse. (for this recipe I just filled the bottle I was infusing in.)

-1/4 Orange, inside removed, keeping only the peel. Remove as much white off the peel as you can. Cut the peel in half again.

-2 Ounces Maple Syrup

-Bottle of choice to infuse in.

Method of Prep:

-Place all ingredients inside of bottle being used for the infusion. Seal tightly and allow to sit in a cool and dark place for 3 days up to 1 week.

-After a week, remove the orange peel from the inside. Keep sealed until ready to use.

Enjoy!

Pairing recommendations:

-This is a great drink to have for breakfast or Sunday brunch. I suggest drinking it with any of these breakfast dishes:

Fresh Fruit & Smoke Paprika Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pancakes

Apple & Sweet Potato Hash

 

Shakshuka

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There’s no doubt that with the weather being below freezing, everyone is fixing themselves a nice hot dish of something comforting, perhaps something that doesn’t require a lot of time to make. With breakfast being the most important meal of the day along with the coldest part of the day, I’ve got something hot and simple to wake you up and get you moving for the long day ahead.

This middle eastern dish called Shakshuka (pronounced shock-shoe-ka) is a very common poached egg dish usually in a tomato sauce served for breakfast or brunch. When I was working in Florida, we ran a Mediterranean influenced breakfast buffet with Shakshuka being one of the featured items. I made this the other day during breakfast for my dad and me, kind of as a thank you for him cooking dinner the previous night. He absolutely loved the idea of this dish. This is a great item to make for a family brunch with more than 2 people. However if it’s just 2 people eating it, no worries! Simply make the recipe as is, and only add the amount of eggs that you and the other person will eat. Save the leftovers and make more another day! This will hold in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

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Vegetarian/Gluten Free/Dairy Free/ Refined Sugar Free.

Mise en Place:

-1 Yellow onion, small dice

-2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic

-1 Can Plum Tomatoes

-2 Tablespoons Cumin

-1 Teaspoon Cayenne

-Salt & Pepper, TT

-3 Handfuls Raw Kale

-3 Splashes Franks Red Hot Sauce

-1 Cup Water

-Whole Eggs (Amount depends on how many each person wants)

Method of Prep:

-Heat oven to 350 degrees.

-Over medium heat, saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes in a medium pot. Add in dry spices, mix.

-Add in canned tomatoes, salt/pepper and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

-Add in kale, one handful at a time until it shrinks down. Cook for an additional 5 minutes over a simmer.

-Once all the kale is added, add in Franks. Taste and adjust if needed.

-Pour the sauce into a cast iron pan or baking dish of choice (sauce needs to be just under boiling hot).

-Crack eggs, one at a time into the sauce. Space out at least 2″ apart, season them with s&p.

-Cover with foil and place in the oven for 7 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking (I prefer a nice runny yolk). Eggs will continue to cook as they sit in the sauce once pulled out of the oven.

-Remove from the oven. Serve Immediately. Pairs great with toast!

Enjoy!

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Banana Bread Muffins

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If your looking for a fabulous quick bite in the mornings as your heading out the door, these mini muffins are the ideal breakfast you’ll love. Banana bread is one of my favorite things to nibble on here and there especially a few slices for breakfast. My Greek yogurt banana bread was a great hit and for as much as I enjoy the loaf version I wanted to try a different approach with making individual bite size portions to pair with my coffee on my commute into work every morning. I switched up the recipe a bit from the original by making this a friendly gluten free recipe and free of refined sugars. My use of Almond flour gives these little guys an awesome nut taste without the use of actual nuts!

If you like cake, I assure that you will enjoy these muffins. Although they don’t rise well, the muffins are super moist!

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Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 35 Minutes

Mise en Place:

-3 Large Lightly Browned Bananas

-1/2 Cup Honey

-1 Egg

-1/3 Cup Melted Butter

-1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

-1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

-1/2 Teaspoon Salt

-1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour (See below)

Additional Tools:

-Muffin Pan

-Mixer

-Vitamix or food processor

Method Of Prep:

-Set oven to 350 degrees.

-In a large mixing bowl, blend together the egg, melted butter, honey, and bananas until smooth.

-Add in your almond flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Continue to mix until well incorporated.

-Pour batter into muffin tin filling to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a butter knife is inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Enjoy!

**Note: To make almond flour, measure out 2 cups of blanched whole almonds and blend in food processor or vita mix until a fine powder forms.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cinnamon Butter

Your mother might of told you when you were younger not to play with your food. When I was told that I laughed but listened anyways, I never understood what the big deal was. Now my inner child cant help but play with food.  It leads to fun creations and awesome presentations, Oh If only momma knew.

Pancakes are delicious, except when your in Mexico (long story). 9 times out of 10 when people eat breakfast, pancakes are always included. I do enjoy the classic old school buttermilk pancakes but because I love everything about fall, I like to stay in season and eat pumpkin pancakes instead. They still have the same fluffy texture, and soft feel, just the color is darker and the taste is sweeter. If you have kids, you will make their day by making the pancakes into pumpkin shapes. I know as a kid I always enjoyed the Mickey Mouse cakes, and if I’m feeling extra childish, I will make them for myself every now and then. No harm in having a little fun with the presentation of your food. I made a maple and cinnamon butter to spread on top of the pancakes as well. Seriously, this is a great match. If you like your pancakes wet, drizzle on some more warm maple syrup! If you don’t have kids or a pumpkin cookie cutter (I found mine at Michaels for $1!) go ahead and make pancakes the round way. Breakfast is a lot of fun!

Active Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 20 Minutes

Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

-1 1/4 Cup AP Flour

-2 Tablespoons Sugar

-2 teaspoons Baking Powder

-1/2 teaspoon of each: Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Salt, Allspice

 

-1 Cup Milk

-6 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree

-2 Tablespoons Melted Butter

-1 Egg

Preparation:

-Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

-In a separate bowl, whisk together all the liquid ingredients.

-Whisk liquid mixture into the flour mixture until incorporated.

-Heat up a large skillet over medium heat.

-Spray with pan spray, or melted butter.

-Pour pancake batter into pan and cook for 3 minutes on both sides.

-Remove from pan, spread on maple butter and dredge in syrup.

Enjoy!

Maple Cinnamon Butter

-2 Sticks Butter, soft

-2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

-2 teaspoons Brown Sugar

-1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

-Add all ingredients into a medium bowl. Whisk until incorporated.

-If you want to get creative you can place whipped butter into a piping bag and pipe fun designs on the pumpkin.

-Save any leftover butter and batter for the next time you make pancakes!

**Note: To make the pumpkin shapes, you can either, place the batter inside the mold and let it cook, this is the harder way to do it, or you can make pancakes as your normally would, and then cut out the pumpkin shapes once finished. If you cook it in the mold be careful because the mold will get hot! Just flip it upside down when the bottom half is cook, only fill the mold halfway. When you flip it, some of the batter may spread out the sides, it wont ruin the shape though, just cut them off in the end.