Avocado Pickles, Nice and Easy to Make

Avocado Pickles

Avocado Pickles isn’t something I’d have thought of by myself, but listen up guys, these are interesting and a great treat. And they’re great for a little summer appetizer.

First, though, the only reason I came across the idea at all came from my daughter, who among other things likes to keep me posted on the food stuff she comes across as she finds them. This one came from a website, and that in turn came from another cookbook, which I adapted a bit. I haven’t looked at the original, so I can’t say how much this is different from the original, but it’s actually very simple to make and there are plenty of things you can do with this recipe, if you have a mind to try it.

The recipe starts with a brine made up of vinegar, sugar, salt, some mustard seeds and some pepper. I had some Anaheim chili’s in the fridge, so I used them to give the pickles just a little spice. You can probably use whatever you happen to have, and you’ll find it makes a slight difference in the finished product. The avocado’s are sliced and then the brine is added to the top in a quart jar. Use some not quite ripe avocados, the brine will soften them a fair amount.

The avocado pickles are something that’s a little spicy and delicious. It will keep in the fridge for about a month or so.

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Belgium Toast Cannibal

Belgium Toast Cannibal

Yup. Seriously. Belgium Toast Cannibal is what this is really called. I learned this from a new friend, when we got to talking (somehow) about steak tartare and how those in Belgium do it —  mainly for those tend to turn up their noses at raw beef. I love the idea of Toast Cannibal. It really kind of puts this where it should be, but with a bit of humor and without the “tartare” hanging around to scare people off.

The meat filling has a basic combination of beef (use a really good lean steak tenderloin) with some shallot, mayonnaise, egg and capers. Add a little Worcestershire and a bit of red pepper sauce for just a small amount of bite and serve it on a good sourdough bread. Add a few cornichons and you’ve got a great appetizer.

This is really good if you’ve got very few other items in the appetizer department. It’s kind of filling and very delicious.

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Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche. It sounds elegant and with just a little bit of work on the sauce-making front, it turns into something that’s actually tastes even better than it looks. The lovely white asparagus is nice to have and looks great on a plate, but this would work well with green asparagus and plenty of other veggies and quite possibly even a good fish dish, under the right circumstances.

There are a couple of things that have to do with the french way of making asparagus — mainly using a vegetable peeler to skim off the skin from the bottom of the sprout to the end of the stalk. That’s true whether green or white asparagus. But the real trick here is a great sauce gribiche, which it turns out is only a little work and takes the regular dish and improves it a lot. The main thing is that it requires a hard boiled egg, and it will be a lot better if you make it the night before and have it ready and nearly room temperature when you use it. I don’t know if that’s how the French do it, but I love it much more after it’s had a chance to sit around a bit.

Like a lot of recipes, this started as a blog I saw somewhere and after getting the recipe tested and adjusted a bit, this is what I came up with. I like it a lot.

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Garlic Honey Sockeye Salmon

garlic honey sockeye salmon

Sockeye Salmon is one of those wonderful things that — especially if you can get it fresh — makes all the difference between “ordinary” salmon (farmed with color added) and the real salmon, deep dark red and tender beyond delicious. But like most things with a really good fish, getting the sockeye salmon right means figuring out how to get the best of the salmon and add just a little added flavor, to set it off.

This garlic and honey salmon does just that. the flavors are perfect and there is no doubt that under the glazed coating on the outside, the salmon is perfect on the inside. The trick is to marinate the salmon for about an hour, then simply heat it gently in a pan until it’s done. The only thing to really worry about is how to avoid overcooking the fish, which means you can’t just let it cook and forget about it. You do have to watch it. Serve with a simple salad and you’re done.

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Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Paella is a wonderful summertime one-dish meal prepared on the grill. It evokes the essence of Spanish cuisine and is full of luscious seafood flavors tinged with smoky aromas and just a little spiciness.

To make the paella properly, you’ll need a paella pan, which is designed for use on an open fire or grill.

This version isn’t perfectly authentic. Personally, I’m not fond of dealing with peeling shrimp or messing with mussel and clam shells, so I pre-steamed the shellfish and peeled and deveined the shrimp before placing them into the paella mix, but you can do the more authentic version by skipping that step and placing the unpeeled shrimp and clams and mussels into the rice (just remember to remove unopened shellfish before serving). Some versions also include chunks of chicken, which is browned in the pan right after the sausage and added back to the mix when the sausage goes in. In truth, paella is kind of free form, meaning that you can make it from just about any combination of meat and seafood. I’ve even seen vegetarian versions.

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Walleye With a Wine Sauce

Walleye with Wine Sauce

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve officially arrived at Lake Erie, about two blocks from the actual water, and I’m now settling in. It’s much quieter here, and I really like living so close to the lake. Winter may tell a different tale, but hey, that’s life right? In any case, I’ve got something I haven’t tried for ages and ages, a nice Walleye with a wine sauce, that’s served with mushrooms and tomatoes over a little bucatini pasta.

It requires a bit of patience to get this to all come together at the right time (and by the way, this could also be done with several kinds of fish). You can make the white wine sauce and the bucatini ahead, but make sure that when it comes time to do the fish, you’ve got everything ready so you can focus on getting the walleye done right. The fish is prepared simply, with a light flour coating and some butter, the pan sauce and a hefty splash of wine sauce come at the very end.

I think I could eat this about three or four times per week. It’s an excellent way to make an all-in-one fish dish.

FYI, this dish started as a Food Recipe show (maybe Rachel Raye) but in the end, it really needed some flavor to suit me, so I played around with the recipe and this is what finally worked for me.

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Sous Vide Pork Chop with Brine

Sous Vide Pork Chop with Brine

I’ve no doubt mentioned this on more than a few posts, but you really have to try out a sous vide machine to understand what a great pork chop can mean. Seriously, I’ll never have a non-sous vide pork chop again, ever. But that said, there are a few things that can take even a good pork chop to a new level, and that’s with a simple, really good brine. With just a little bit of time, you can make a pork chop that has great taste, great temp control and with a broiler or one of those great little searing machines, you end up with something very special.

I’ve had brine explained to me a few times and while I understand how it works, to me it seems that some of the salt ought to be going into the pork, but the truth is, it really doesn’t. What the brine does do — and you can soak the pork for as little as a half-hour or as long as four hours — is add a lot more liquid to the chops and even a little flavor, if you like. Add the brined chops to a sous vide machine and the only thing you’re missing is a bit of color (which is where the broiler comes in). At about 140 degrees for about two hours, the chops are pretty much ready to go. And I promise, they are better than you’ve ever had. Period.

FYI: This brine came from @kitchn, but you can use any brine you like.

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