Monday, July 23, 2012

Avocado & chickpea salad (dip)

For those of you who are not Facebook friends of mine (I doubt they are any but who knows...) here is one of my wedding pictures, it took us a while to get them, over a month... but it was worth it I think. It makes me understand people who have professional pictures taken every once in a while. It is so American.... but I absolutely love the result. I am one of those people who love having pictures of loved ones framed around the house and on my desk at work. 

One of my favorite part of the summer is all the wonderful fresh fruits and veggies and what I discovered is that blueberries strive in Michigan ( I LOVE berries!!!!) but more on that topic later on. Today I want to share with you my love of avocados and one of my favorite lunches. I love avocado in any application, slices on a sandwich or burger, in guacamole, diced on top of a salad, or anything you can come up with, I even tried ice cream (!!!) but that's still a work in progress, a little too sweet but other than that absolutely amazing, even my not-so-avocado-lover-husband found it ok... Anyway today I am presenting you with with an avocado & chickpea salad, this is very versatile, it would be a great alternative to guacamole as a dish, you could add some jalapeno or corn, I added lump crab meat for some diversity. Feel free to add anything that sounds good to you, this is a fairly blank and delicious canvas :)

Avocado and chickpea salad
Recipe inspired by Two peas and their pod
- (15 ounce) can chickpeas
- 2 ripe avocado (medium, adjust depending on the avocado you can get your hands on)
- Half a bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced
- Juice from 1 lime (heavy hand on the lime will prevent it from browning if you prepare it for lunch the next day)
- Salt and pepper, to taste

- Drain the chickpeas.Mash them using a fork or a potato masher in a bowl, or a pan (for a flat surface)
- Add the the avocado and mash together
- Add in cilantro, green onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 Note: this is when you could add other ingredients such as jalapeno, corn, cooked shrimp or lump crab, I do encourage you to experiment with that!
Enjoy as is, as dip or in a sandwich!!! You can thank me later :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nutella & toasted hazelnut cookies

I am now back in Michigan, I had big plans for last week but it appears that it went up in smoke. I have no clue what happened, I had planned on catching up on my blog but as you can notice this obviously didn't happen. I did take care of my car and the paperwork I had to do. For those who don't really know me I am a car fanatic, my car is my baby and I am borderline OCD when it comes to it. I finally managed to pay it off (thanks to Matt) so to celebrate that I cleaned it, had it detailed, oil changed and inspected (that was a requirement more than a choice but still). It passed everything with flying colors. Here is a picture of my baby, isn't she gorgeous?!!! It's already 5 years old but I am getting more and more attached to it and trading it in would be really hard, it already broke my heart to sell my previous car, a '99 Mustang and I would cry every time I saw it on the streets. I also cannot find a better car for me than my current one, unless I am willing to spend 50k... I do drool on the Cadillac coupe, especially the luxury model that has a monster engine.... Anyway when you spend almost 2h a day in your car (and you are me) a very strong bond builds up. I also drove up and down the east coast more times that I care to remember, up to 22h drive straight on my own.

Anyway, you are probably not here to hear me ramble about my car and I could go on for hours so let's cut it here :). I am trying to go between sweet and savory to today I am presenting you with a cookie recipe (an AMAZING cookie recipe may I say...). My coworker Linda said it's her favorite cookie of mine so far, it's a toasted hazelnut, nutella recipe, it's like a brownie in a bite, chewy, chocolaty with a slight coffiness (I don't like coffee and loved it so please don't be put off by that).

Here we go... (FYI the recipe has to rest 2h so plan for it :) )
Nutella and toasted hazelnut cookies
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
- 3 c AP flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¼ cups Nutella
- 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/3  c sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/3 c milk
- 2 c hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped (by hand or in a food processor) 

- Combine the fry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl). 
- Wisk the Nutella, butter, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes (an electic mixer would help here but elbow grease works too :) ). 
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder and mix until incorporated. Alternate additions of flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour, and mixing until just combined after each addition. 
- Fold in ½ cup of the hazelnuts. Refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining hazelnuts in a bowl. Roll the dough into balls (about 1 to 2 tbsp, I like my cookies on the small/medium size), roll in the hazelnuts. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the edges are set and the middle still looks a tad soft, about 10 minutes, DO NO OVERCOOK if you think that they are almost cooked it's perfect (yes I will yell at you until you learn : ) ). Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, you won't be able to move them until then anyway. 
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Be nice and share, great with coffee (apparently) or milk (I confirm)!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Barbacoa (burrito bowl)

One of the cool things about working for a car manufacturer is the summer shutdown, which means that unless you apply and obtain the right to work you cannot work for the entire work of July 4th! I have to say this is AWESOME!!! My job is not perfect and being apart is not easy so this is maybe why this feels so good.

Since I have the girls I cannot travel, Matt is the only one who can visit. That is why we decided to come visit this week, I drove the 9h on Friday afternoon and here we are. One week to catch up on things I missed here and things I need to do (paperwork, car things, shopping, cooking, etc.). Michigan is great but I prefer the greater Philadelphia area, it's more lively and diverse in my opinion.

I will get back to that later, I will try to post since I have more time. For the time being I will share with you a recipe that is inspired from one of my favorite blogs and one of my favorite "fast food" places. Bev has the most hilarious food blog I ever came accross (Bev Cooks), she has an amazing sense of humor and great recipes, this is why when she posted a recipe for Chipotle inspired barbacoa I HAD to try (and modify it some since her level of spice is way off mine... ;) I am a total wimp!). Chipotle is definitely one of my favorite places to eat out at, I can literally eat there every week and barbacoa is always part of my burrito bowl. The barbacoa I present you with here is awesome in a burrito bowl as I showcase it here but it would be great in any of your favorites, burritos, nachos, tacos or my lates favorite taco cups!!! (recipe to come :) ).

Recipe inspired by Bev Cooks
- 2 lb beef chuck roast (any major fat trimmed)
- 1 (7 oz) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used only the sauce, discarded the peppers)
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
Suggested toppings: 
- fresh salsa
- grilled corn
- avocado/guacamole
- cilantro, chopped
- lime
- sour cream
- cheese
- shredded lettuce
- tortillas, tacos, etc
- Place the beef, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano into a Dutch over (or slow cooker). Rub the spices in the meat. 
- Place the Dutch oven on low heat, cook for 6 hours. Flip the meat every 2 hours or so. During the last hour (or when the meat falls apart), take two forks and shred the meat, right there in the pot. 
- Close the lid and let it finish cooking.
- Serve in your  favorite way with toppings of your choosing (should serve 4)


You can thank me later.... (I do suggest that you use only the adobo sauce in a fist time, it already has a nice kick that way).