Avocado Toast

Avocado ToastToast of the Town
Sometimes food trends make me laugh. Recently I have been rather amused by the phenomenon known as Avocado Toast.

Why is this a thing? It’s tasty to be sure, but avocado toast is not a totally new discovery. To my knowledge, people have been spreading avocado on toast for quite some time. Is it a spoiled Californian thing? I mean we do take our immediate access to tasty avocados for granted but, really?

To be fair, what I am seeing on menus and online is not just a smear of avocado on some sourdough. There are plenty of twists and creative combinations and sprinkled with exotic herbs and spices—even some with carefully poached eggs—now that sounds super good.

No matter where you stand on the craze, avocado toast is a great option for breakfast or brunch or any time, really. So, next time you grab your favorite loaf and a ripe Haas, congratulate yourself for being a culinary visionary. And, enjoy….

Now, one might argue that you don’t need a recipe to make avocado toast, and that’s a good point! However, the basic recipe is a showcase for ingredients, so you want the best available.

Those hipster joints that sell avocado toast for $4 a slice are really selling you amazing homemade bread and great avocados. If your ambitions lie in baking your own loaf, we recommend this Hearty White Sandwich Bread or this Vermont Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread. If not, pick up a big loaf of crusty bread, perhaps from Acme Bread Company.

Avocado Toast
Here is our recipe for a basic Avocado Toast. There are countless variations, and here we  recommend a few of our favorites. Be creative! Read more…

Egg Sandwiches

Egg SandwichesChicken And The Egg
As a family, we have reached that stage where making scrambled eggs means using at least a dozen. Usually more. (I have teenage boys.)The good news is that because we have chickens, we always have fresh eggs around. Until we don’t…

If it’s 6 AM on Saturday morning and everyone is awake, chances are I am at the stove making egg sandwiches to go because we are heading to some sort of event—baseball, softball, volleyball, music. And, nothing is as portable or easy to eat in the car than an egg sandwich. This past Saturday, though, tragedy struck.

There are 5 people in our family. We had 4 eggs in the fridge. This almost never happens. With 6 chickens and a busy weekday schedule we normally have way more than we need. But, see, we have that busy weekday schedule and sometimes pancakes and eggs for dinner is the fastest way to feed a hungry crowd. Yeah, that was Wednesday night…Remember what I said about the scrambled eggs?

So while the kids were getting dressed and putting their gear together, I was pacing the kitchen floor like some expectant parent anxiously waiting for the telltale squawk from the back yard. I knew it was coming. I just needed some patience and more time which was in short supply. The girls are pretty regular layers and there is always at least one egg in the coop by the time we go to let them out in the morning. But, we were up a little earlier than normal. So, I was at the mercy of the flock clock.

Now, I get that this might weird some people out. There’s fresh and then there’s really fresh and some people are just more comfortable with a little more time distance between the chicken and the egg. I totally get it. But, I will tell you that if you ever get the chance to eat a really fresh egg you will no longer have that issue. There is that much of a difference and they are that tasty!

So, the girls came through in the end. After a rather vocal commotion in the coop, we had five sandwiches in hand, five butts in car seats heading down the highway, and a fight for the sandwich with the really fresh egg.

Egg Sandwiches
Here are two delicious version of egg sandwiches that make a fantastically quick meal. Of course, the variations are endless…you can play with the breads, cheeses, meats, veggies, and sauces. Your creativity is encouraged. Read more…

Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos

Citrus Marinated Chicken TacosFiesta De Mayo
May is a month of celebrations. There are five birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day. It’s a busy month and the official kick off is Cinco de Mayo.

For the record, I do not have one single drop of Mexican blood in me. Not even a little. (I’ve done the Ancestry DNA test. I’m pretty boring.) What I do have is an insane love for Mexican cuisine, which is why Cinco de Mayo is a big deal in my house. My husband went so far as to remind me last night that Cinco de Mayo was this Friday. As if I hadn’t already started planning? Dude, it’s like you don’t even know me…

Cinco de Mayo falling on a weekday can be somewhat problematic. Sure, the fact that it’s on Friday is a good thing since you can sleep in on Saturday. But, it makes menu planning a bit more limiting. For a lot of people, Mexican food means tacos and burritos. And, while this is a part of Mexican cuisine, there is so much more to it. Mexican cuisine has boundless diversity and flavor that varies from region to region. You could spend years trying to experience all of its nuances and hidden tastes. Which is exactly the problem. Some of the best food Mexico has to offer takes time and does not lend itself to a Friday night meal after work.

So, tacos it is with fresh tortillas, preferably homemade. (If you have never made your own tortillas, grab a bag of Maseca and give it a try. You’ll never go back to packaged.)

This Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos recipe is one I made for my very first Cinco de Mayo celebration 20 years ago. It’s an oldie but a goodie. I have been known to add a little tequila to the marinade when I’m feeling sassy…

Citrus Marinated Chicken Tacos
Yields filling for about eight tacos

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Spring Pea Soup with Burrata

Spring Pea Soup with BurrataGolden
My parents celebrated their 50th Anniversary over the weekend. Stop and think about that for a minute. 50 years. How much of their world has changed and what have they experienced since 1967? (And not just the birth of my sister and me!)

In 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th President, and the Vietnam War was in full swing. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as our new Governor in January. A fire killed the crew of the Apollo 1 spacecraft while they were testing on the launch pad, and halted the space race in the US for almost 2 years. The Pirates of The Caribbean attraction opened at Disneyland, in California. The Bee Gees released their first international album. Lastly, Elvis and Priscilla got married. But that wasn’t the biggest wedding of the year. The biggest event, at least to my sister and me, happened March 18th in Oakland, CA.

To be married for 50 years is no small feat. It’s not as common an occurrence as it used to be. Frankly, the fact that my mother has survived my Dad’s snoring for that long without smothering him with a pillow is mindblowing…

There is no way you can let such a milestone like this pass like it is any other day. We celebrated as a family, in style. ‘Cause that’s how we roll. There was a limo and there were fancy clothes. And, because it’s us, there was food. Really good food. And plenty of good things to drink with it, courtesy of Boulevard in San Francisco.

If you ever have the opportunity to dine at Boulevard, do it. I have been there multiple times, and it is always fantastic. That particular night, I enjoyed a green English Pea soup that was amazing. Like, lick the bowl amazing. Alas, that particular recipe is not in their cookbook. (I happen to own a copy…shocking, I know) Nancy, if you or any of your fantastic staff are reading this (‘cause why wouldn’t she?) I would LOVE to have the recipe or maybe even and updated cookbook?

For now, I am on the hunt for something that might come close. I am working with the recipe I posted below—perhaps it’s the closest yet? But we’ll see. The first-of-the-season English peas should be in the market soon. Though, with the return of the rain, who knows? In the meant time some quality, organic, frozen peas will be used. When you do get your hands on some fresh peas, grab as many as you can. And try this cream-free soup as a perfect spring lunch or light dinner.

Spring Pea Soup with Burrata
Yields 4 servings

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Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers

Amy's Juicy Lucy BurgersBaseball Habit
When our kids first started to play little league, my husband and I swore we would not become those parents. You know who I am talking about. The almost obsessive, uber-involved people who live for game day, and volunteer for everything. We were convinced that would never be us. We were too laid back and easy going. No way would that happen to the two of us. Besides, we didn’t really even like baseball…

I’m not sure where it all went wrong. At first, it was just a little bit of tee ball a couple of nights a week. Just one or two innings here and there. No big deal. As the years went on, we found ourselves at the fields more and more often watching more and more innings. We just couldn’t get enough. It got so bad we even (gasp) starting watching baseball on TV! (Go Giants!)

Baseball was just the beginning, though. Softball came along and we were caught up in its tangled web of fast pitches. Now it’s to the point where our weekends are devoted to tournaments and our vacations are scheduled around potential plate appearances. I’ve even joined the league Board. We’re out of control. Can no one save us?

All kidding aside, this past weekend it was my pleasure to watch the sunrise at our fields as our league set up for our Annual Opening Day Parade and Ceremonies. Every year on Opening Day, the 1800 or so kids in our league and their parents gather to watch the teams parade through our city and end up at the fields where we are treated to a day of sunshine  (not always) and some great playing. It’s the one day of the year that you can bet that you will see literally everyone you know in the bleachers and it is a day that most of us look forward to with great anticipation.

It takes a lot to put something like that together, so dinners last week were not complicated. Friday night we had burgers ‘cause they are awesome. For me, I am all about the cheeseburger—the cheesier the better. This is why I am a big fan of Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers. (Juicy Lucy Burgers are a thing in Minnesota. You can Google it.)

If you have never tried your burgers this way, I highly recommend that you do. You may never go back to the ordinary cheese on top. This is one of the only times I will say that American Cheese is a must. But, mild or medium cheddar is an acceptable substitute.

Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers
Serves 4

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