Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Amazing Hass Avocado (and it's simple summer salad)

Tomato, avocado, shallot salad. 
It's tomato time AND avocado time!!! My favorite time of the year. You'll be seeing a lot of tomato recipes throughout the summer and this one's so simple and so delicious, you'll serve it all summer long.

This is the quintessential summer salad especially here in Southern California where 90% of the nation's avocados are grown. The most famous of which is the Hass.

The Hass is the medium sized purple and black prune looking fruit that bears a rich creamy flesh and a large seed. That seed will provide you with another avocado tree if harvested correctly, which most of us learned in our 2nd grade classroom. The most amazing thing about the Hass is that every single commercial avocado that we eat today was harvested from one single tree from La Habra Heights, CA harvested in 1926!!

The flavors in this salad are so fresh they need not be bogged down with garlic or overloaded with spices. At the height of tomato and avocado season let the salad do the heavy lifting so all you have to do is eat!

1 package of ripe grape tomatoes
1 small shallot sliced thinly in rings
1 ripe Hass avocado
1 lemon
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs good balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp white sugar
salt & pepper

Halve grape tomatoes, thinly slice shallot and cube avocado. Toss lightly with olive oil, lemon, s&p and sugar. Enjoy!

Wanna grow your own? Click here for directions!

It's gonna be a good summer ya'll!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thai Peppercorn Bacon Maple Popcorn!

I bet you thought I forgot about my blog, but that is certainly not the case! I was out bringing home the bacon and now I'm back and speaking of bacon, how about a quick tasty treat with a salt and pepper kick and a bit of sweetness.
Thai Peppercorn Bacon Maple Popcorn
Our friends Natalie & Rebecca recently returned from Thailand with some fun spices for MiddleBar. The most interesting of which were Thai peppercorns. Now, peppercorns seem like a pretty normal spice, almost every American dish calls for salt and pepper, but.....

Thai peppercorns or "Prik Thai Sot" are slightly different from their American counterparts. Prik sot grows in all different regions of Thailand and each area has it's own distinct variety much like grapes. White and black peppercorns are purchased fresh at open air markets and ground in a mortar and pestle upon use. The black peppercorn adds a tingling to the tongue as opposed to a burn your face off spice. And the white variety which is the inner seed of the black peppercorn has a milder yet noticeable kick. 

Thai cuisine is all about blending sweetness with spice and this recipe for bacon maple Thai peppercorn popcorn does just that. If you don't have the Thai variety, fresh ground pepper will suffice but mix it up and take a trip to an Asian market, and maybe you'll find some Thai peppercorns!  

Bacon Thai Peppercorn Popcorn
1 bag of plain popcorn
8-10 strips of bacon
1/4 cup good maple syrup
1 tsp ground Thai black & white peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and begin to fry bacon. When crispy remove the bacon and pat dry. Mix the popcorn with maple syrup, pepper, salt, 2 tbs of rendered bacon fat and crumbled bacon. (The best way to do this is add a bit of pepper and the salt then the bacon fat followed by the syrup then the remainder of the pepper so that everything gets coated thoroughly) Toss in the oven for about 10 minutes and serve!

Welcome Back Ya'll!!!