Crab Louie Salad, the healthy San Francisco Treat?

Featured in menus of reputable San Francisco & Portland restaurants since the early 1900s, this crab meat salad is a typical example of a locally sourced West Coast salad.

In Canada we are about to embark on our first long weekend of the summer. Monday is called Victoria Day (or National Patriot Day in Quebec). The weather is looking relatively nice and I will do my first trip to the cottage on Sunday. It’s the perfect time to start eating a bit lighter to for the summer and enjoy lovingly prepared fancy salads. I came across this West Coast classic and just had to give it a try, the Crab Louie Salad.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Cool Cucumber Avocado Soup

Contrary to popular belief summers in Montreal can be incredibly hot and humid. Montreal is actually an island so when you are surrounded by water the humidity levels can skyrocket, both in sweltering summer and chilling winter. Right now we are in a second bought of a heat wave. it is currently 27 C (84 F) with a humidity factor that makes it feel like 34 C (97F).

At work we are freezing with the air conditioner (I am happy); in the buses and subways one wants to pass out, and at home well it depends on each person’s set up. Do you have an air conditioner? If so is it a window, central or portable one?

Cucumber Avocado Soup Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa

Let’s have a Friday quickie! Here is a nice little recipe that you can prepare in a flash. Great for a weekend BBQ as an appetizer. Never thought I would be grilling an avocado and it was quite a revelation. The Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa will be a guaranteed hit!

Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa 1

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Lemon Lavender Avocado Loaf and Cupcakes

It’s Food ‘n Flix time again! In this monthly group a ‘host’ picks a movie of their choice that pertains to food. Everyone watches the movie and then makes a recipe which the film inspired. It can be any recipe you want. This month’s pick is hosted by Tina at Squirrel Head Manor. Tina picked a movie A Good Year, which is based on a novel by Peter Mayle. Like most of his books, the setting is Provence, the land of lavender – my inspiration!

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 07

About 10 years ago I went on a Peter Mayle reading rampage. I read so many of his books I do not remember if I read this one. Apparently that would be a good thing not to remember as the book is very loosely based. That said it was a very cute romantic comedy movie.

Max, an unethical business go getter, inherits his uncle’s house in Provence, the house where Max spent a many summers as a boy. His trip for a quick sale becomes extend as he is in hot waters with the UK government. Well his presence upsets many people in this small French town, including the wine maker who works on the now for sale land and Fanny the lovely eventual romantic interest. What does the future hold for all three characters? Well I hope I wetted your appetite enough to get your hands on the movie.

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 02

There is lots of talk about wine and food in the movie but nothing for me really stood out. What did stand out was a “situation” that occurred twice in the movie: the cleaning lady chases away scorpions with fresh lavender to save the terrified visitors. So I looked it up online and indeed lavender is a scorpion repellant. Who knew!

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 16

That is when I knew my recipe would showcase lavender buds. I searched high and low for a really ‘out there’ recipe. Most people would find a lavender recipe exotic but I have actually use it in cooking several times. For this event I settled on the curious Lemon Lavender Avocado Loaf by Sheena on Allrecipes.

lavender fields 1

It so happens that this summer 4 of my friends and I headed out of town to visit a local lavender field. Walking along the 2 toned purple plants up and down the longs field was such an amazing experience. At the midway point the farm had set up a bunch of Adirondack chairs. Imagine 5 lovely ladies sitting in a row just enjoying the calming smell. We we so relaxed and happy, it was hard to leave the fields.

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 09

I had recently run out of edible lavender buds so I bought some while at the farm, perfect for this really creative recipe. I hope you were not to put off by this combination of lavender, lemon and avocado but actually it worked really well together. The avocado acts at the fat for the recipe and you only have hints of it on the palate. I will admit the lavender is intense here if you are not used to it. There recipe was for 2 loafs but since I only have one loaf pan I used half the batter for cupcakes which I topped with a pretty raspberry!

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 10

I found that the flavors mellowed a bit after a day, so if you have the willpower wait for the next day to try a slice. I brought only one cupcake to work for an adventurous colleague. When my other colleagues found out I was reprimanded quite severely for underestimating their open-mindedness. I made amends by bringing half the loaf in the next day. And they proved me wrong as I mostly got positive comments.

Yields 2 loafs or 12 large cupcakes

Lemon Lavender Avocado Loaf
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed avocado
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsps dried lavender
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the avocado and lemon juice with the last egg. Pour in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in the lavender and lemon zest; mixing just enough to evenly combine. Pour the batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (about 25 minutes for cupcakes). Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
7.6.4
72
http://cultureatz.com/lemon-lavender-avocado-loaf-and-cupcakes/

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 04

Such a gorgeous shot of the batter with the lavender and lemon peel

lavender fields 2 lavender fields 3

Total coincidence I was wearing purple nail polish, I swear.

lemon lavender avocado cupcakes 15

Seeing Green for St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s day is a religious Irish holiday but countries all over the world love to celebrate with parades, parties, lots of libations enjoyed while wearing your finest greens. Did you know the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day?

I just love a holiday that allows grown-up to behave like silly children. That can be interpreted in different ways on Saint-Patrisck’s Day. Have fun and be safe. And I also enjoy an event that invites us to consume foods that can be of an unusual and bright color. Here are a few fun green recipes you will find on Cheap Etnic Eatz.

Peach Monster Smoothie

Peach Monster Smoothie Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

SRC: Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This month I was assigned the blog Cooking With Chopin, Living with Elmo, which is authored by the wonderful Ginny. She is a very happy housewife and mother to two boys and the youngs certainly enjoy spending time in the kitchen with their mom.The array of recipes to choose from was quite vast and finding one in particular to settle on was tough. I was very tempted to try her Bacon-Spinach Pinwheels, Lavender-Lemon Roasted Salmon or Apple-Cinnamon Pull Apart Loaf, but in the end a dish I had to prepare for a BBQ potluck won out: I chose the intriguing Strawberry Avocado Salsa. If you want to skip the obvious corn chips, this sweet and savory salsa goes perfectly with chicken, salmon or trout, or pork tenderloin.

Ξ Strawberry Avocado Salsa Ξ

2 cups ripe strawberries, finely chopped
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 green onions (green part only), sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Juice and zest from one large lime
2 teaspoons finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and preferably serve immediately. If you plan on serving a bit later toss the avocado with someone of the lime juice to prevent from turning brown.



IIP: Lebanese Fruit Cocktail Sundae

It’s that wonderful time once again for an International Incident Party hosted by the wonderful Penny at Jeroxie. This month the theme is Sundaes! Oh How I love Thee Ice Cream! Yep I do eat ice cream 12 months out of the year…but Penny, who is down under, is laying in the hot summer sun right now while I am knee deep in snow! Maybe not the best time of the year for me. I guess it is time to play reverse psychology with myself and turn a negative into a positive….my Sundae will call out for Spring to arrive asap!

But quickly before, the randomly picked winner of the What is your Color TEArapy Mood Contest is…drum roll please….Kate from DietHood.com. Congratulations!

About 10 years ago I discovered a place in Montreal – in a lost industrial corner of the city – called Cocktail Antabli, a place that specializes in exotic fruit cocktails and waffles. It is owned by a Lebanese family. After my first experience there it became a mandatory yearly pilgrimage at the very least once a year. The fruit cocktails are ginormous and filling….they are more then a meal on their own. But so good, especially the big gooey white topping with pistachios drizzled in honey. And I always picked one with the amazing avocado purée.

So for this challenge I decided to recreate my favorite fruit cocktail from this shop. Now a Sundae does require ice cream and there is none in the original version, so I decided to turn the avocado purée into avocado ice cream. My post may look daunting because there are several recipes…but they are all short and very quick. I highly recommend you make this treat. The secret is picking perfectly ripe and sweet fruits. Oh ad that gooey white stuff I found out is called Ashta. The trick when eating it is to go a bit under the ashta and only have a small portion of it with each spoonfull so you still have ashta left with your last bites. I was very pleased to find a recipe for it on one of my favorite blogs owned by Joumana, Taste of Beirut. OK here we go with the making of:

Lebanese Fruit Cocktail Sundae

Ingredients:
mango, strawberry, banana…sliced or cut
avocado ice cream (see below)
mango purée (see below)
strawberry coulis (see below)
ashta (see below)
pistachio
honey

Directions:

  1. In a very tall glass layer a bit of bananas and mangoes then cover with a bit of strawberry coulis.
  2. Next layer strawberries and cover with a bit of mango purée.
  3. Add a scoop of avocado ice cream.
  4. Repeat the 3 layers
  5. Top with a big scoop of ashta, crushes pistachio and a liberal drizzling of honey. Find a very long spoon!

Avocado Ice Cream Recipe

250ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
250ml milk
3 ripe avocados

Peel and seed the avocados, put into a blender with the milk and make a purée. Pour the purée into a mixing bowl, add the sugar, lemon juice and cream and beat until creamy. Transfer the mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mango Purée

flesh of 1/2 a mango
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
Blend together to get a creamy purée.  If too thick, adjust consistency with water.

Strawberry Coulis

1 cup of strawberries, chopped
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
Blend together to get a creamy coulis.  If too thick, adjust consistency with water.

Ashta, makes about 1 cup

2 slices of American-style white bread
500ml of half-and-half or 1/2 milk and 1/2 heavy cream
2  tablespoons   of cornstarch, diluted in a bit of water
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of orange blossom water, 1 teaspoon of rose water

  1. Start by cutting the edges off the bread. Cut the soft white part in dices.
  2. Pour the half-and-half or milk and cream mixture (or whole milk) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the diced bread and let it soak in the milk mixture for as long as possible, a day if you can.
  3. Heat the milk and bread mixture, add the sugar; dilute the cornstarch in water; stir the milk mixture continuously until it starts to steam; add the cornstarch and keep stirring until the mixture thickens, making sure it does not burn (adjust the heat).
  4. Add the flavored waters if using, stir a few seconds more and remove from the heat. Pour into a bowl, let it cool and then cover with plastic and store in the fridge overnight to give the cream a chance to thicken.

International