Tag Archives: avocado

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

16 May

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Foods can oftentimes lead double lives. A cake can masquerade as a bread (there are many instances of this), a breakfast can go undercover as a dessert, or vice versa, and a salsa can brand itself as such, when, in actuality, what it really happens to be is a salad. A hearty, healthy, super satisfying salad.

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The ever-changing identity of this salsa is, I think, one of its best attributes. Introduced to me by my sister-in-law, one of the first things I remember thinking about this salsa was, “I want to smear this on some bread and pile arugula on top of it.” I often think things like this, which is what, I assume separates me from people who just eat food that tastes good and then leave it at that. Sometimes I see food and immediately want to turn it into different food, but not because I think the original incarnation of that food is in any way bad. On the contrary, I am driven to play around with said food because it is so delicious, so multifaceted, that I think it should be given the chance to shine in every way possible.

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A salsa like this, hearty with savory roasted sweet potatoes and onions, can be moved in several directions. With chunks of fresh avocado and tomato, it certainly works as an appetizer to be scooped up by tortilla chip, but, piled on top of a bed of greens, it would also make a great salad. You can fold in some black beans and take it to a potluck as a summer salad to share. You can, as I mentioned before, slather it on lightly toasted bread and top it with some arugula and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Of course, you can also eat it as is, with no tortilla chips, which is what I initially did after mixing it together, taking a taste, then discovering that I was finding it difficult to stop tasting. Because even though this salsa makes a great starting point for many different dishes, it also happens to be pretty darn fantastic on its own.

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Last Year: Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Muffins and Spicy Ginger Garlic Potatoes and My Favorite Raita

Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa

Adapted from an Everyday Food recipe shared by my sister-in-law

1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and diced into small chunks

1 medium red onion, diced into small chunks

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium tomato, diced into small chunks

1 medium avocado, diced into small chunks

1 small jalapeno pepper, finely diced, ribs and seeds removed it you want to tone down the spice. Alternately, you can just add 1/8-¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes if you don’t have a jalapeno pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, toss together the sweet potato chunks, diced red onion, and olive oil. Roast in the center of the oven until the sweet potato is tender and browned in spots, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool completely.

When sweet potato mixture has cooled, add tomato, avocado, jalapeno or red pepper flakes, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and toss to combine.

Makes about 4 cups of salsa.

Avocado, Fennel, and Egg Salad

22 Mar

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I have an almost phobic dislike of mayonnaise. It wasn’t always this way. I can remember not caring one way or another about mayonnaise when I was a kid, but, as an adult, there are few food items that make me want to turn around and run more than the sight of mayonnaise. I don’t care for the odor, I possess no tender feelings about the taste, and, up until a jar mistakenly showed up in our refrigerator last week, I don’t think I had so much as touched a jar of mayonnaise for the better part of a decade.

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So, what is a person to do when the topic of egg salad comes up? Ordinarily I would just excuse myself politely and then shudder off any lingering thoughts of the m-word, but since I have taken it upon myself to help those who may be in need of some post-Easter-egg-dying recipes, ignoring the problem really isn’t going to help anyone. Besides, shouldn’t we all just face our fears instead of—okay, no, so I am not even going to pretend that I am planning on making friends with mayonnaise. I’ve lived this long without it, and I think I am doing just fine.

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Luckily for me, and lucky for the state of egg salad, one doesn’t need mayonnaise in order to whip up an utterly dreamy batch of egg salad. Looking for another creamy sidekick to help bind some eggs together, it occurred to me that I could just use the food that I have been using for years to adorn my sandwiches in place of mayo: avocado. Super smooth, wonderfully rich, and delightfully mild, avocados make a perfect addition to egg salad. Because I have been on a huge fennel kick lately, it seemed only natural to add a handful of chopped fennel to the salad, and, sprinkled with a shot of fresh lemon juice, it was just the thing to make this salad sing. Piled on slices of hearty, multigrain bread or nestled on top of a hill of fresh greens, it’s an egg salad I think anybody would greet with open arms.

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Last Year: Polenta Toast with Roasted Asparagus and Fried Eggs

And, in case you missed the link above, here is an article I wrote for Portland Farmers Market last year about naturally dying Easter eggs (those beautiful eggs seen in the picture above were dyed using onion skins!).

Avocado, Fennel, and Egg Salad

1/3 cup chopped fresh fennel

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ medium avocado, peeled and diced into cubes

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh fennel leaves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine chopped fennel and lemon juice. Toss to combine, then set aside while you prep other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine avocado, eggs, chopped fennel leaves, pepper, and salt. Toss to combine. Add chopped fennel, along with any remaining lemon juice from the bowl, and toss everything together to combine. Taste for seasoning. You may want to add more salt and pepper.

Serve on toasted bread, on top of fresh greens, or, if you are my husband and you like to use a tortilla chip as a fork, eat it as a dip with tortilla chips.

Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

24 Oct

Though an avid appreciator of salsa in its chunky, vegetable-laden form, I’ve never really been able to get behind salsas and dips of the creamy variety.  I don’t know if it’s a texture issue or what, but dipping a crispy fried chip into a bowl of creamy sauce has always felt sort of odd.  The two dispositions of the chip and dip are so different, and yet so uniformly rich, it just feels like gilding the lily to combine one with the other.  At least, that’s what I used to think, until I innocently whipped up a batch of this super creamy, super flavorful salsa and, oh, man, I now think there can never be enough of this salsa available in the world at any given time.  Mark my words, if I know this salsa is available anywhere, at any time, I am going on a one-woman mission to find it and eat it.  All of it.

This salsa is other-worldly.  The absolutely spot-on spiciness of the jalapenos is expertly balanced by the cool creaminess of the avocado and sour cream, and the tartness of the tomatillos and citrus works effortlessly to round everything out.  With bunches of fresh herbs and just the right amount of kicky garlic, I don’t think there is a more perfect creamy salsa in existence.  It’s cool, spicy, and complex, and it practically begs to dress up a crisp, cold salad.  I am also willing to bet that this salsa, folded into a pile of freshly poached or grilled chicken that has been shredded and combined with some punchy chunks of bell pepper, would make the best chicken salad known to all of humankind.  If I hadn’t already eaten all of this particular batch of salsa you see here, I would be making that exact chicken salad right now.  Which reminds me, I need to buy some more avocados.  And tomatillos.  And sour cream.  Excuse me, I have to go now.

I still can’t say I am a convert to all creamy salsas and dips (my preference still sits firmly in the chunky vegetable camp), but this entry into the fray certainly goes a long way towards persuading me that perhaps I should pay a little more attention to the world of creamy salsas.  If they taste half as good as this salsa, I can only imagine what I’ve been missing out on all these years.

Creamy Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

From Claire’s Corner Copia Cookbook

2 fresh jalapeno peppers

4 fresh tomatillos (or green tomatoes, if you’re looking for a use for them)

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

½ small yellow onion, chopped

1 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

¼ cup chopped cilantro

4 large cloves garlic, chopped

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lime

1 cup sour cream (the original recipe called for low fat, but I used full fat and it was just fine)

salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, cover the jalapenos and tomatillos (or green tomatoes) with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat, drain, and allow to cool slightly.

In a blender or food processor, combine the cooked jalapenos and tomatillos, avocado flesh, onion, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and lemon and lime juice.  Blend or process on low speed for 20 seconds until pureed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.  Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you desire a less spicy salsa (though this is not what I would call a super spicy salsa, it definitely has a bit of a kick to it), you can cut open the jalapenos after cooking and scrape out the seeds.  Your salsa will still have some spice to it, but it will be markedly less so than if you had left the seeds intact.

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