The Weekly Avocado

May 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Okay. Made the best fish tacos last night… dinners like this make me very happy: it was easy, quick & super delicious!  My brother brought us up some fresh sea bass he caught last weekend down in Newport Beach which gave me the inspiration. I marinated the tacos for about an hour, sautéed up the onion, chopped up some cabbage and voila… amazing fish tacos!

I did make my own tortillas, which I think makes a huge difference, fry them up in some animal fat… yum. I like to make them on the small side and then have 3 or 4… seems like they last longer! I also made a watermelon salad with lime juice & zest, parsley and queso fresco… super simple… I think we ate a whole watermelon. And of course I mashed up some AVOCADO to spread on each taco! Oh, and must not forget a good bottle of rose to make it all come together!

I used this recipe… I varied mine a bit, didn’t put apple in the slaw, but pretty much everything else I followed. Enjoy 🙂

The Weekly Avocado

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mmmm, morels. I’ve had them a few times lately and can’t seem to get enough.  They pair great with all the spring veg: asparagus, peas & artichoke. Here are a few recipes that I’ve  really enjoyed, and as I always do, use it as a guide, feel free to add, take away, do what suits you…  Both are great for a tasty, healthy weeknight dinners, or impressive enough for guests and friends.

Ina Garten’s Chicken with Morels 

  • 1- ounce dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1⁄4 cup clarified butter
  • 1⁄3 cup chopped shallots (2 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup Madeira wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess. Heat half the clarified butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof casserole.

Add the rest of the clarified butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly. Pour the Madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and reheat slowly on top of the stove.

Poached Wild Salmon with Peas & Morels


  • 2 6-8-ounce center-cut wild salmon fillets (each about 1 1/2″ thick)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces fresh morels; sliced, stemmed shiitake; or other mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or 2 pea tendrils


Place salmon, skin side down, in a large high-sided skillet. Add wine, 2 tablespoons salt, and cold water to cover salmon by 1/2″. Cover pan; bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover, and gently poach salmon until just cooked through and barely opaque in the center, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer salmon and 2 tablespoons poaching liquid to a plate; tent loosely with foil.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup salmon poaching liquid and peas and simmer until peas begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add cream and bring sauce to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a spatula, transfer salmon, skin side up, to paper towels. Gently peel off and discard skin. Invert onto serving plates and spoon sauce over. Garnish with chives.
Recipe via Epicurious

The Weekly “Avocado”

March 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

My current favorite things:

1. Anything neon. (my green nail polish last week was amazing, along with Vieve’s hot pink!)… I want this color next!


2. Taking a bath with byNieves bath salts… they are super detoxifying and invigorating.

3. Over indulging. It really is necessary in life sometimes. Try this:

4. My slow cooker. Love making slow cooked chicken, beef and pork… so easy and endless possibilities.

like tacos, or…


5. Watching sister’s baby belly grow a little every day.

6. And last, but not least AVOCADOS in my morning smoothies. Serious.



The Weekly “Avocado”

February 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

To spice things up, this week I asked our dear friend Caitlin Dentino to guest blog for our weekly avocado. Many of you are familiar with Caitlin and her naturally creative abilities. Whether its cooking, entertaining friends, decorating her apartment or just being crafty she always has her hands (literally) in something!

One of our favorite things to do is cook together, we love to start the morning at the farmers market and then spend an evening listening to some music, drinking a little vino and cooking a great meal with friends. Caitlin always has a interesting new menu idea, that always turns out de-lish! I thought she should share some of her secrets with you… enjoy! Speaking of… what are you doing this weekend Cate?  xx

Chicken is an easy dinner staple around here, and while there are more than enough ways to prepare it – we can always use more good ones!  So here are two – one weekend version (decadent and a bit more labor intensive) and one ready for any night of the week.

As much as I love fried chicken, I had never made it at home – so dinner with friends last week seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I used the recipe from Tyler Florence, given that I love his version at Wayfare Tavern here in San Francisco, and have to say it was pretty out of this world! (Note – I did take some liberties from the Ad Hoc at Home version and dressed up the brine a bit).

And don’t forget the fried herbs – they really make it … well that, and the copious amounts of white wine that we may have washed it down with.

As for the weeknight version – buttermilk roasted chicken – it comes from an old favorite, Smitten Kitchen.  A simple buttermilk brine (which was a perfect use for the leftover buttermilk from the fried chicken) spiced with paprika and garlic and left to sit for at least a day – it might be tied with my favorite roast chicken for easiest yet delectable dinner.

Suffice it to say – they are both now part of the regular rotation!

Images:   1. Caitlin Dentino     2. Smitten Kitchen

Happy Hot Cranberry Mulled Wine..@ Carrots!

November 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

30 cups

1 1/2 quart cranberry Juice

1/2 quart apple cider

1/2 gallon Spanish wine

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

1 CUP= instant warmth!  Come by and sip while you shop.

Cold, Damp & Chili

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ahhh Fall.  It’s here.  It’s clear.  Get used to it.

Sunday morning brought gray skies, a light drizzle, and the promise of adventure.  The kind of morning that lattes and scones were born from.

First stop – the San Rafael Farmer’s Market.  And by now, the light drizzle had turned into a substantial downpour.  But alas, we were not deterred.   The rain only enhanced the colors of persimmons & pumpkins, asparagus & avocados and olives & orchids.  A hot cup of fresh-brewed coffee kept the chill at bay as we darted from tent to tent seeking shelter and sampling berries, nuts and cheeses from local, organic purveyors.

A few miles up the road we took a few minutes to stroll through Mill Valley’s Pumpkin Patch.  The rain kept most folks home, so we had our pick of the litter.  And we chose well, bringing home 2 Jacks for carving and 2 decorative beauties for the table.

Once home, a roaring fire and hot chocolate were the consummate remedy  for 2 1/2 hours in the rain!  But we soon sprang into action in a flurry of slicing, dicing, chopping and stirring as we turned our Farmer’s Market treasure’s into a bubbling caldron of vegetarian chili.  And what chili is complete without cornbread?  Our version included molasses for a rich, comforting and homey feel. Pumpkins were carved into ghoulish gourds, and the seeds were harvested, cleaned and baked with sea salt & chili powder for a fun fall treat.

Check out 101 Cookbooks Pierce Street Vegetarian Chili!

It’s safe to say we welcomed Fall with open arms, warm hearts and full tummies.

Dinner with mussels & friends

September 7, 2010 § 2 Comments

Over the sunny holiday weekend we had some good friends over, threw some newspaper on the dinning room table and and enjoyed what turned out to be quite a meal. Very simple idea, no recipe needed, especially working with fresh ingriedents from the farmers market.  We made mussels with white wine, parsley, shallots, and hot peppers. Fresh whole wheat pasta with a homemade heirloom tomato sauce, a little basil, parmesan and a perfectly crunchy italian bread. A few greens were tossed in a light dressing and had on the side which served as a lovely palate cleanser.  The night was fun, easy and didn’t require anyone to be in the kitchen the whole night…. will certainly make it again!

Put this one in your Recipe Book!

August 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Pasta with Prosciutto, Snap Peas, Mint and Cream

This recipe is amazing! We made it last weekend after stumbling upon some divine snap peas at the farmer’s market.  It was super easy and absolutely delicious.

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto shank, finely diced
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1 pint cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 pound fresh snap peas, whole, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 pounds (3/4 box) pasta, farfalle or orechiette

Images and Recipe courtesy of Food52 .

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