vegan avocado cilantro sauce

Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce

As of late, I have turned to the magical Florida Avocado over its Haas counterpart. What’s my main reasoning? Well, honestly, my local C-Town supermarket has dozens upon dozens of Haas avocados in stock, all of them constantly hard as rocks. When I go grocery shopping after work, I want a ripe avocado, not an avocado that, if thrown at someone’s head, is hard enough to give them a nice concussion.

When it comes to being always perfectly ripe, a Florida avocado has never let me down. They are easily three to four times the size of your average Haas, and they are great when making an avocado-based recipe en masse.

Behold, my Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce!

vegan avocado cilantro sauce

One Florida Avocado is enough to help yield about two cups of this wonderful sauce. It’s so creamy, you’ll think there is yogurt or dairy in it. Nope! It’s absolutely plant-based!

What is great about this sauce is its versatility, no matter what your diet prefrences are. I have tossed zoodles in it. I have topped Triscuits with it.  I’ve put it on pan-fried chicken breasts. I have drizzled it on my soft-boiled eggs. It’s always a nice condiment to keep in your fridge, and I find its shelf life can be up to three days! Just think of all of the ways you can use it between now and then…

Honestly, the next few photos are just an excuse for me to inject some #yolkporn into your day. Ha! Though, I must admit, this sauce is great with soft-boiled eggs and cilantro. If that’s up your alley, I suggest you give it a try.

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Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce
(Yields roughly 2 cups)

Ingredients:

– 1 Florida Avocado, peeled, pit removed, and roughly chopped
– 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
– Small handful of cilantro, washed and de-stemmed
– 1/4 cold water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon

Before We Get Started…

– Honestly, I have never made this recipe with anything other than a Florida avocado. I would guess that, in lieu, two ripe Haas avocados would be an appropriate substitute if you can not find a Florida avocado.

– Add more water if necessary if sauce is too thick, one tablespoon at a time.

– Though this is a recipe about avocados, I feel that I’ve used the word “avocado” too much in this post. For that, I apologize. Ha!

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Combine until smooth. The sauce should hold some thickness, but be easily pourable. If not using immediately, refrigerate. This will keep up to three days in the fridge.

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Cheese Grits & Chimichurri Zucchini

Something about the title of this recipe already makes it seem very involved, yes?

Well, you’re right. There are a few too many parts to this recipe, but it’s worth it! I promise! Plus, you’ll end up with lots of chimichurri for additional recipes, or perhaps to just eat by the spoonful. (Guilty as charged.)

chimichurri

One of my favorite comfort foods is cheese grits topped with sautéed vegetables. I’m failing to remember the first time I cooked this, but I know that it’s one of my go-to “easy” dinners nowadays. Though the time spent stirring the grits over the stove is relatively tedious, the end result is worth it. Plus, it’s a good arm exercise. (Silver linings, people!)  My Italian roots automatically dictate my love for polenta, but I love grits because of their slightly heartier grain. Admittedly, the sautéed vegetables add bulk to the dish, but not always extra flavor. I usually spice up my veggies with garlic powder and a few red pepper flakes, but one night, that just was not cutting it. Finally, an idea dawned upon me: chimichurri! I happened to make a batch a few nights prior to serve on some steak, and after finely dicing up a mere four cups worth of cilantro and parsley by hand, I had a few spoonfuls to spare. The warmth of the garlic and pepper was replaced by the freshness of the herbs, and wow, it rounded out the flavor of sharp cheddar in the grits quite nicely.

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I would suggest making the chimichurri sauce at least one night before, as one, 24 hours in the fridge allows the flavors to grow, and two, if doing it by hand like I did (because I prefer big shiny sharp knives over food processors), it’ll take you a good 20 minutes to slice and dice everything up, at least.

cheese grits

Cheese Grits & Chimichurri Zucchini 
(Serves Four)

Before We Get Started…

Many cornmeal-based dishes, such as grits or polenta, tend to seize up and solidify rather quickly upon removal from a heat source. It is my strong suggestion that your zucchini is sautéed, dressed with the chimichurri, and ready to be served before the grits have finished cooking, so all can be served immediately.

Ingredients:

Chimichurri Sauce:

-1 cup cilantro
-1 cup parsley
-3/4 cup olive oil
-4 cloves garlic
-Salt, to taste
-Red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

Finely chop cilantro, parsley, and garlic cloves. Add to bowl. Add olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. If your sauce is too pasty, slowly add more olive oil until desired consistency is reached.

– – –

Sautéed Zuchinni

Ingredients:

-2 medium-sized zuchinni, unpeeled and diced
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-Salt, to taste
-Garlic powder, to taste (optional)

Directions:

Add olive oil to non-stick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add zucchini to frying pan and cook for five minutes or until desired consistency.

– – –

Cheese Grits
(Adapted from Alton Brown’s Cheese Grits recipe from Food Network)

Ingredients:
-1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
-2 cups whole milk
-2 cups water
-4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I prefer Cabot!)
-4 ounces butter
-Salt, to taste
-Garlic powder, to taste (optional)

Directions:

Add milk, water, and salt into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Upon boiling, slowly add in cornmeal, whisking after each addition. Once all cornmeal has been added, reduce heat to low and continue to whisk frequently, roughly every 3 – 4 minutes. Grits should have a creamy consistency after 20 minutes. Once grits have reached appropriate consistency, remove from heat. Add butter and whisk until incorporated. Slowly add in shredded cheese and mix until incorporated.

To Serve:

After sautéing zucchini, add two to three spoonfuls of chimichurri sauce; toss. Divide grits into four bowls or plates. Top grits with the chimichurri zucchini. Top with additional chimichurri, if desired.

cheese grits

Breakfast Bake

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

On my Instagram account a few days back, I posed a question to some of my followers in which I asked what I should put for my second blog post. A vast majority wanted me to post a recipe for Brown Butter Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats. This guy I know pretty well, Adam*, makes some pretty spectacular ones, loved by my friends, roommates, family, and co-workers alike.

…then the perfectionist in me didn’t like any of the photos I had taken of them in prior weeks and will wait until I’m blessed with better natural lighting.

Still, would y’all really complain if I decided to put a shredded potato, red bell peppers, and a baked egg in a cast iron skillet, would ya?

breakfast bake

Didn’t think so.

A few weeks ago, I had some of my close foodie friends over for a small brunch at my apartment. Though my brunch preferences always lean towards the side of French toasts and pancakes, I knew I was baking for fans of savory brunch bites and connoisseurs of Yolk Porn. I am a big fan of cast iron skillets, if I may sound like a somewhat typical food blogger AND a Millennial female. *sigh* But really, who doesn’t love cooking ware that can go straight from stove top to the oven? It saves me time and dishes! I found a recipe online for a cast iron skillet-cooked breakfast bake, and it’s hard to go wrong with a carb, vegetable, and protein cooked together in one felt swoop. It was a hit among my friends, even if I did overcook the yolks.** I found myself craving it again in the weeks after this brunch, but didn’t want to whip out a 13″ skillet just for myself. Thank you, Lodge, for the creation of your 8″ cast iron skillet. You know how to make a girl happy.

breakfast bake

* – He’s been stalking me pretty consistently for almost three years now. I’ve just given up. After all, he loves washing my dishes after I cook.

** – I hope my friends have forgiven me. If they haven’t, they’ve done a great job hiding their deep-seated animosity.

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

Ingredients:
– 1 Russet Potato, scrubbed and eyes removed
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 small white onion, diced
– 1 egg
– 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
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Before We Get Started…

– Preheat oven to 350 °F.
– This dish will work best as noted in an 8″ – 9″ cast iron skillet. Should you not have one, modify as follows: Complete Step #2 in a non-stick skillet. Add contents of the skillet to a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Continue with Step #3.

Directions:

1.) Shred potato and add to a large bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes; drain and pat dry.

2.) Melt butter with oil over medium heat. Add pepper and onion, sautéing for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Remove skillet from heat. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the potato and pepper mixture; crack the egg into this indentation.

4.) Move skillet to oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until eggs are set.* Serve immediately!

* – Baking for 20 minutes will get you a very hard yolk and delightfully crispy potatoes, if that’s your thing. For me, you’re damn straight it is!