Avocado Love

Last summer, my husband turned his routine annual medical trip to New York into a fun mini-vacation with our teen daughter. And ever since their trip,  this New York City-loving duo have been harping about the fresh guacamole they had at a Mexican restaurant.  

My engineer husband, who has been married to this ex-caterer/church cook for two decades, rarely talks about food.  Oh, he loves to eat good food, but he rarely has a full conversation about it.
So when he mentioned several times that he wanted to make guacamole like they did in that New York restaurant, (translation = Kay, please make it the way they did in that New York restaurant,) I listened.  

And to my delight, I spotted this handsome stone mortar and pestle at my favorite local Korean food store.  It was so heavy that the lady had to triple bag it. Now it's the most used piece of equipment on my kitchen counter.  

 And our avocado repertoire has expanded from simple guac to Edamame-Guacamole and Avocado fries.  Pretty fun and fancy, right? 

I know, it seems wrong to FRY a perfectly good avocado, but it really works, and they are just delicious: crunchy Panko exterior with the goodness of a soft, nutty inside texture.   
My kids begged for more.  

These avocado photos were also featured in
 Miss Sophie's column on Savannah Morning News today.

Panko Avocado Fries with Hoisin Dipping Sauce

2 firm but ripe avocados
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup+ panko bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon sea salt divided (in flour, egg wash, panko bread crumbs)

4 cup of canola or vegetable oil for frying 

In a small deep fryer or in a cast-iron pan, heat oil to 350 degrees F. 

In three separate shallow bowls or pans, put flour, beaten eggs, and panko bread crumbs in that order.  Add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in each.  

Halve the avocado, peel, and slice avocado into 10-12 wedges total per each avocado.   

Dredge wedges in flour, egg wash, and then finally gently roll them in panko.  

Deep fry in batches until golden brown.  Drain on a wire rack or on paper towels.  Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.  

Hoisin Dipping Sauce 

1/4 cup soy sauce 
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon green onions, chopped 
1 tablespoon water 
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 
1/2 teaspoon white sugar 

Combine all the ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Add more hoisin sauce if you want to thicken the sauce. Cover and refrigerate until needed.  

Gently warm in a sauce pan before serving. 


Makes about a cup

1  avocado firm, but ripe, peeled, seeded and diced in chunks
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeño, chopped
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lime, juiced

If you own a stone mortar and pestle, this is a great recipe to put it to use.  If not, use a food processor with a blade attachment.  First put into processor (or mortar) edamame, garlic, salt, cilantro, jalapeño, and pepper, and process until finely chopped.  Add lime juice and whirl a few more times to incorporate.  Add diced avocado and pulse 4-5 times until well blended.  

Serve this healthy guacamole in a pretty bowl with warmed tortilla chips.  You will need to double the recipe. It's never enough.  


Airsoft War and Simple Bar Cookie Recipe

"I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought
The wood began to move."
Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5

My little homestead is located in the midst of tall Georgia pines, a perfect rustic place for a large group of boys to gather and have an airsoft war.  

The weather couldn't have been better last Saturday: cool mid-60's with zero humidity.  It was exactly right for these southern boys in their full camo gear.   The whole day was spent running through the woods in teams or shooting at targets of chip bags, drink cups, and empty pizza boxes during their breaks.  

A few hours after their pizza lunch was devoured, I made these simple bar cookies.  Once the word circulated that the cookies were out of the oven, the forest began to move, and camouflaged soldiers abandoned their posts and forts for these warm chocolatey cookie bars.  

I couldn't be happier seeing my son and his friends romp in the woods, drinking in the fresh air.  Sure beats playing video games indoors, right?  And hearing them saying thank you's in between bites of these cookies really warmed my heart.  It was a great day.  

This recipe times two fed 20 hungry boys.  

Simple Bar Cookies

Makes one jelly-roll pan 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" x 1"
or Half Sheet Pan

1 C (8 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened
1 C (7 oz) Granulated Sugar
1 C (7oz) Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

2 C (7.5 oz) Oatmeal, ground in food processor
1 ¾ C (8.5 oz) Flour, all-purpose, unbleached
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt

2 C total of your favorite baking chips (I used white chocolate, peanut butter chips, milk chocolate, and Heath bar chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine together in a small bowl the ground oatmeal, flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together with a hand mixer the softened butter and both granulated and brown sugars until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla until well blended.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients until just combined.  It's ok if small patches of flour remain.  Do not overbeat.

Spray or grease the jelly roll pan with vegetable oil.  Spread evenly the cookie dough.  You can use a sheet of plastic food wrap over the dough to spread the dough.  Peel off the plastic wrap.  Sprinkle generously with baking chips of your choice.  Press down.

Bake until golden brown, about 22-24 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes and cut to desired size.


Simple Fried Rice

Happy Wednesday!
These fried rice photos were featured in Miss Sophie's food column in the Savannah Morning News today.  My children absolutely love fried rice (minus the peas and carrots) for breakfast, so whenever I start frying up the bacon, they all do a happy little jig anticipating their favorite dish.  

And of course, my church family, too, loves this dish.
  Click here for a previous shrimp fried rice post and step-by-step photos.    

If you have some left over steamed rice, try this super-simple recipe to make another meal.  

Simple Fried Rice
Serves 8

2 eggs, soft scrambled (Click here for the best scrambled eggs)
4 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or bacon fat
5 cups cooked rice, chilled, clumps broken
3 Tablespoons soy sauce mixed with 3 Tablespoons of chicken broth
4 pieces of cooked bacon, finely chopped, more if cooking for breakfast fried rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup carrots, diced small
1/2 cup green onions, finely diced
1/2 pound of cooked small shrimp
Optional Veggies: 1/2 cups of each cooked bok choy, Nappa cabbage, sliced mushrooms
Optional Meats: Diced ham, chicken, or pork

Cook eggs and set aside.

Heat wok or large non-stick frying pan to smoking point. Add 2 tablespoons of oil or bacon fat if using, roll it around cooking surface to coat. Add rice and stir-fry until rice is hot throughout and free from clumps. Add soy sauce and broth mixture, combining it well. Add bacon and remove rice from wok or pan and set aside in a large bowl.

Add remaining oil/bacon fat to wok/pan. When oil is hot, add carrots first, then frozen peas, then shrimp until ingredients are hot. Add rice back into wok/pan and mix well. Fold in scrambled eggs and diced green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.