Quick Enhancer – Avocado Butter

Posted: September 7, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I love avocados.

I also love butter.

The combination of the two is one of those things you never really think about, until one day, the lightbulb goes on, and you realize “Hey — buttery avocados….butter….holy moly!!”It’s one of those things that I feel silly giving a recipe for, because seriously, the name says it all — avocados and butter are the major ingredients.
Avocado Butter

To make avocado butter, as with all compound butters, I start with room-temperature butter. For me, there is only one kind of butter for this — salted. If you want to use unsalted, that’s ok, but remember to definitely add salt to the mixture — avocados love and need salt.
I use half a stick of butter to half an avocado. In the past, I have combined the butter and avocado with a fork in a bowl, although this time I made it in my Kitchenaid. Once the butter and avocado are combined, I add a healthy pinch of coarse kosher salt. After that, anything goes. I like to add lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Not much cayenne and cumin, because you don’t want to blow your head off while eating your morning toast. Just enough to make you notice it.

Once everything is combined, and you’ve given it a final taste, do your best not to eat it all at once, and wrap it up in plastic wrap or foil, squeezing tightly to make a cylinder. Or, alternatively, put it in a tupperware or other airtight container.

I put this on toast in the morning for an extra jolt of nutrition. You can also cut a piece to put onto a piece of grilled or sauteed fish, or use it to top a turkey burger. It would probably be excellent in a grilled cheese sandwich as well. Experiment, and play around, but know that all you need to make this worth it is a slice of crispy bread.


Posted: May 6, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Hello, friends. Have you missed me? Do you see how I tried to appease you by leading off with a picture of the lovely granola I made? Did it work?
Ok, I admit, you all have the right to print t-shirts, signs, and/or cocktail napkins that read “Joh disappears for two weeks, and all I get is this lousy granola!!” but before you do, you might want to know a few things.

#1 – I DID disappear for 2 weeks. I am ashamed. Except that a week out of the middle there was spent packing for, going to, being in, or getting home from Pittsburgh, PA, where I went with a few friends to do something….kind of amazing. You see, on May 2, I ran my first half-marathon. I’ve been training for it since January, and we spent Thursday night through Monday morning in Pittsburgh for the event. I battled a knee injury and pouring rain throughout the race, but still finished, and while I’m not thrilled with my time, I’m proud of it. I finished, and I did something 4 days ago that I couldn’t do 6 months ago. Something that I wasn’t confident 6 weeks ago that I could truly do. I did it. And I can’t wait until the Brooklyn Half Marathon, when I’ll get a chance to redeem myself, I hope.
#2 – This granola? It’s kind of a big deal. It’s not your average “lousy” granola. So even if you ARE upset at me for dropping off the face of the blogosphere to go running, maybe when you make your picket signs, say “Joh disappears for two weeks and all I get is this fantastic granola” or something like that. Ok?

Joh’s Badass Granola
adapted from several sources, and smushed into one.
1. Preheat the oven to 375, and line a cookie sheet with foil.
2. Combine 3 cups of rolled oats, 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut, 1 bag (1 1/3 cup) of slivered almonds, 1 cup of chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons of toasted wheat germ, and toss.

3. Season with a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of honey, and 1/3 cup of olive oil. Toss to combine everything, making sure that all the pieces have been coated a little bit with the olive oil, and spread it all out in a single layer on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake the granola for 15 minutes at 375, then stir, and keep an eye on it. You want the granola to be golden brown and toasty smelling, but baking times in the recipes I read varied WILDLY!! Mine ended up taking 20 minutes, total. I baked it for the 15 minutes, stirred, spread it back out, and checked it in 5 minutes, and it looked like this:

So I would say, after 15 minutes, check and stir your granola every 5 minutes. When it looks golden and toasty, and smells nutty and heavenly, pull it out and let it cool for 15 minutes.
4. Chop up 2 to 2 1/2 cups of dried fruit, anything that floats your boat. I used dried apricots and dried cranberries, but anything you want to throw in there would be delish, I’m sure. Stir the fruit into the cooling granola, and make sure everything is all combined and friendly. When it cools completely, put the granola in an airtight container, and stick it in the freezer.

I know, I know…. the freezer?! Yes. I’m not telling you to stash this granola and hide it in the freezer so you don’t eat it all, because honestly it’s super good-for-you. But here’s the thing. The baking and the olive oil and honey and brown sugar means that you’re going to get happy little clumps of oats all stuck together, and fantastic crunch and taste. And if you let the dried fruit sit and get too comfortable with the oats and nuts, the granola will get soggy, and lose its crunch. And that’s just a sad day. So stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to mix some with milk or your morning yogurt.
Also, just as an aside, granola is 100% customizable. You can put in sunflower seeds, or chia seeds or pepitas if you want. You can play with the proportions of nuts, and the type, for sure. You can pick your favorite dried fruits and any spices you want to use. Play around with it, and figure out what you like best when making this granola. I promise, it’s worth it. I’ll probably be making this again, and changing it up, several times, in the search for my own perfect granola.

The best of both worlds

Posted: April 14, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

During a recent conversation with my oldest sister, she presented me with a challenge.  We have all had chocolate chip pancakes, or blueberry pancakes, but how many of you have had BACON PANCAKES?  This was the challenge my sister set out for me, and I must say I rose to the occasion nicely (because its just as easy as any other kind of pancake :) ).

My parents didn’t have the full set of ingredients for making pancakes, so I had to use a mix for my test run, which was kind of frustrating but worked out fine.  Normally I use this pancake recipe though, which is super easy and delicious.

All you have to do is make the pancake batter, and cook the bacon to your desired crispiness.  I like mine really crispy, so I tend to cook it longer.  Once the bacon is cooked, cut it into roughly bite sized pieces, saving all the little crumbly bits that break off.  Pour the batter onto the griddle, and once the pancake sets enough to slide a spatula under, but not quite at the point where you are ready to flip it, add the bacon pieces.  Just sprinkle them on the top and poke them down a little so they settle into the batter.  Flip the pancakes and viola! you have bacon pancakes.  I recommend butter and maple syrup to finish them off because what could be more delicious than pancake, bacon, and syrup all in one bite?  These were super delicious and really easy to make!

I have promised that the next time I’m visiting I will make this for the family, so I think I will have to keep practicing in the meantime…somehow I don’t think I’ll have trouble finding some people to help me eat them :)

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.