Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lemony roasted broccoli and cherry tomatoes

You can never have too many recipes for easy veggie side dishes! This is a nice one with Mediterranean flavors. I love the depth that roasting gives broccoli and tomatoes, plus it's so easy to just stick everything in the oven rather than watching it over the stove. I used a mix of baby heirloom tomatoes, but you can use regular red ones too.

LEMONY ROASTED BROCCOLI & CHERRY TOMATOES
Serves about 4 as a side dish

INGREDIENTS
  • About a pound of fresh broccoli, tough stems removed and broken into florets (or 12 oz pre-cut florets)
  • 1 dry pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil (I used 1 Tbs but I think 2 would have worked better)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. 
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the olive oil, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Toss the broccoli and tomatoes with the oil mixture and spread it out on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is nicely browned. Check on it after 10 minutes and stir the vegetables if necessary.
  5. Immediately squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the vegetables upon removing them from the oven. Add more salt and pepper if desired and serve.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Avocado ice cream (sugar free, dairy free)

I have encountered A Problem upon moving to Northern California. That problem is an abundance of delicious locally-made ice cream. Humphrey Slocombe (via Bitter+Sweet), Snake & Butterfly, Bangalore Cafe (their saffron-pistachio is outrageous), Marianne's...I generally resist the siren call of desserts but if I decide to nutritionally off-road with something sweet, 9 out of 10 times it's going to be ice cream. One such time was after I ran the Golden Gate Bridge.
Decent location for a 5k run I guess
I passed by a sweet shop soon after, and was intrigued by a tub of slime green avocado ice cream. I got a scoop and it was one of the best things I've ever tasted; so buttery and rich and sweet and smooth. Back home, I eventually decided to reproduce it.

What's nice about pureed avocado is that it naturally thickens the ice cream base. Usually gelato uses corn starch and ice cream uses lots of sugar syrup, heavy cream, and egg yolks. Avocado is packed with fiber and monounsaturated fat, so while this is still a treat it's a bit more of a sensible indulgence. It also doesn't need to be pre-cooked on the stove, which means it doesn't need to be chilled, which means that you can have ice cream in a hurry!

If avocado ice cream seems strange to you I think you could use this as a base for mint chip or pistachio, anything with a stronger flavor where the green color would not be out of place.

AVOCADO ICE CREAM
Makes about a quart

INGREDIENTS
  • Two very ripe avocados
  • 1 can lite coconut milk (or use full-fat if you want), chilled
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 1 Tbs)
  • Equivalent of 1/2 cup sugar (options) (I used Truvia, coconut palm sugar would be delicious)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
DIRECTIONS
  1. Cut the avocados in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin and into your blender. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  2. Pour everything into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions. 
  3. If you can wait, let it firm up in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before eating. If you leave it in the freezer for very long (say overnight) be warned that it will get rock solid and you'll have to defrost before eating.

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