IMG_1947

Avocado Fries

Boy, do I have a treat for you guys today!

Fried avocado slices. They’re delicious. They’re healthy(ish). And they’re totally what you’re going to be serving your guests on Saturday as they down copious amounts of margaritas.

For sure.

It all started as I was scraping the last bit of avocado from its shell while humming the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. It happens every time. Just ask GamerMan…

ANYWAYS, it was then that I realized I’d eaten at least three avocados that week and they’d all either been on salads or sandwiches. Talk about uninspiring. So I ran to the interwebs and stumbled upon this gem from Sunset which called for breading and frying avocado slices.

It’s like all my favorite things rolled into one! BINGO.

Go get yourself a bucket of avocados – we’re gonna par-tay!

Avocado Fries

(serves 6 – from Sunset)

Canola oil for frying
1/4 cup AP flour
About 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups Panko bread crumbs
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Preheat oven to 200F. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil to 375F.
Meanwhile, mix flour and salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates. Dip avocado in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then Panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.
Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Season to taste (pair them with Sriracha for an extra punch!)

IMG_1863

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

Yum!

 

Seriously, is there anything more delicious than a big bowl of cheesy noodles? Other than a massive boozy concoction, I can think of nothing I’d rather stuff in my face.

Oh, right. A big bowl of cheesy noodles topped with MORE CHEESE and PANKO. Yum, twice.

Jessica tipped me off to this recipe and though I adapted it to our tastes, she gets ALL the credit for these yummies :)

Macaroni and Cheese Skillet Bake

(serves 4-6)

1 pound pasta (we used rigatoni)
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces freshly grated gruyere cheese
8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces freshly grated fontina cheese
salt & pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375F. Grate cheeses and toss them together in a large bowl. Boil water and prepare pasta according to directions, cooking for 3-4 minutes less than called-for time.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in olive oil and butter, then throw in shallots with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add flour to the skillet then whisk constantly to create a roux. Let cook for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Pour in milk, stirring continuously for another 1-2 minutes. Add in most of the grated cheeses, reserving about 1 cup of grated cheese for topping. Stir continuously until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then taste and season more if desired. Add pasta to the skillet and toss thoroughly to coat.

Sprinkle the top of the mixture with remaining cheese, then breadcrumbs. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Enjoy immediately!

GamerGirl

IMG_1408

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

I’m a pretty serious procrastinator.

No, really. If you even knew remotely how long it took me to finish college, you’d understand.

Or even how long it took me to actually MAKE this recipe. A year, people. A whole, solid, 365 days.

For the life of me I can’t recall why it took so long for me to whip this up, but I can tell you it took about half a second for me to stuff my face in the pan. No lie.

This bread can’t wait another year to be made. It’s simple and delicious, and that’s really all you need to know ;) Now GO!

 

Grand’s Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread

(adapted from JoyTheBaker – serves 4)

1 package Grand’s Flaky Layers Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup casters sugar (superfine baking sugar if possible, but plain granulated white sugar won’t kill ya)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Enough Crisco to coat the inside of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan + AP flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease the inside of your loaf pan with Crisco. Tip: Don’t want to get your hands super greasy? Use the baggie method! Turn a zippy sandwich bag inside out and place over your hand. Using your bagged hand, scoop out a tablespoon of Crisco from the tub and smear around the inside of your loaf pan. It may take more than one tablespoon to ensure even, thorough coverage – be liberal because you do NOT want this bread to stick to the pan! To remove Crisco-laden baggie from hand, simply pinch your bagged fingers together and using your non-bagged hand, pull up on the zippy end of the bag. This turns the bag inside out, keeping the Crisco inside and your hand clean to tackle other tasks! Like…¬†Dust with AP flour and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside

Carefully open your Grand’s biscuit package. Pull apart each biscuit and place on a sheet of wax or parchment paper.

Using a pastry brush (or fresh nylon paint brush!), brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter. While still wet, sprinkle cinnamon mixture. Flip biscuits over and repeat the butter-cinnamon ritual until all surfaces of the biscuit are covered in goodness.

Turn your loaf pan on it’s short end and stack sugared biscuits in a staggered pattern. Return pan to it’s natural orientation, biscuits up, and pour any additional butter over the top of the biscuits. Follow with any remaining cinnamon mixture before popping in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden (looking too golden? cover with foil for the remaining time!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before inverting pan over a dish towel to pop-out bread. Pull apart warm bread and serve with a tall glass of chilled milk!

GamerGirl

IMG_1207

Mini Gala Tarts

Raise your hand of you’re that person who has to grocery shop in a specific order?

 

 

 

Oh good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just me.

You see, our local grocer has two entrances: one next to the bakery and one next to the beer/produce. I usually park closer to and enter in the latter, and work my way through the leafy greens, to the meats, to the cheese and dairy, through the bakery (because by this time GamerMan usually needs a snack since we’ve been in the store for 3.5 hours), then snake through the middle aisles we need, and back out the beer!

But Saturday afternoon there was absolutely NO parking so I was forced to park near and walk in the bakery entry.

Now you wouldn’t think this would be such a huge deal considering the majority of time I spend in the kitchen is dedicated to pastry, but let me tell you. I freaked out.
Where was I? What do I do first? Who are all these people standing next to me eating the free cookies!?

Somehow I made it over to the produce section and found these mini gala apples. And since I’d had such a traumatic experience, I decided to buy a bag full to calm and reward myself for not going postal.

I could have eaten them raw, but what fun is there in that!? No, this occasion called for sugar and cinnamon and copious amounts of butter. Sometimes you just need a fork-full of comfort :)

Mini Gala Tarts – FTY Original

(makes 6 tarts)

Tart Dough

(makes 2, you’ll only use 1 later on):
8 oz. butter; cubed and frozen
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar; white, superfine is best
3-4 tablespoons ice water + 3 tablespoons vodka; plain (Stolichnaya!), iced

Filling:

5 mini Gala apples
1 teaspoon cinnamon; ground
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c sugar; white, superfine is best
juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the dough…
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, and sugar until combined. Add in butter and pulse for 8-12 seconds until no bits of butter are larger than a pea. One tablespoon at a time, add in vodka and 2 tablespoons of water (do this slowly and pulse as you go! If your food processor has a drip reservoir, use it and pulse once a second until the liquid is incorporated.) After adding that liquid, check the dough for consistency – if a squeezed handful holds together without crumbling, you’re good. If not, add remaining water HALF a tablespoon at a time until the squeeze-test passes.

Divide dough among two sheets of plastic wrap and mold each into a rough disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

For the filling…
Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Wash and quarter the cored mini Galas. Slice each quarter into 4 equal slices. Working one apple at a time, add the slices to the lemon juice and toss to coat (the goal here is to ensure no cup apples turn brown while you’re slicing up their brothers). Once apples have been sliced, add sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to the mixture. Toss to coat and set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove a disk of chilled dough from the fridge and set upon the counter. Prepare a lightly floured surface, and if you have a marble rolling pin, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.

Grab two baking sheets and place upon them your tart tins (three to a sheet). Preheat oven to 350F.

When the apples are ready, it’s time to roll out the dough! Grab your marble rolling pin from the freezer, unwrap your dough, and place it on your prepared surface. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds that will fit your tart pans. Press into tart pans and cut off any overhanging dough, adding it to any scraps you have from your first roll-out. Repeat rolling out the dough until you’ve covered each pan.

You can do this next part however you want (it’s not like getting fancy changes the taste!) so you can a) plop a hand full of apple slices in each tart or b) carefully place apple pieces in a circular fan design. Either way you’re going to have some leftovers, so grab a fork and finish off those last slices. But DON’T throw away that apple-cinnamon-sugar-maple-lemon juice! Toss in the flour and whisk to combine. Pour a tablespoon of the mixture over the filling of each tart.

Optional flavor boost: Place a thin pad of butter atop each tart before baking! YUMMMM.

Bake for 20 minutes @ 350, rotating pans front to back, top to bottom, at the 10 minute mark. Assess for brownness (cover with foil if things start to get crispy) and return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes @ 300F. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing tarts from their pans.

Top with ice cream and enjoy warm!


GamerGirl

IMG_1731

Mini Calzones

Pizza. There’s just something about that gooey cheese and crunchy crust that gets our tastebuds tingling, so when Annie told us about making your own pizza bites, we were intrigued.

And of course since I follow recipes about as well as any 3 year old, I wound up putting my own twist on these babies…

Mini calzones! Small in status, but epic in flavor. Srsly.

Dough:
1 envelope of RapidRise yeast
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
3/4 cup of lukewarm water
1 3/4 cups of unbleached flour
1 tablespoon of garlic salt

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Set aside 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, mix the flour and garlic salt in a separate bowl and heat the oven to 400F.

Add wet to dry, and combine with a knife until everything is incorporated and you have a neat ball. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is sticky.

Pick off 1.5 inch balls of dough and set aside. Now is the time where you’d grab your favorite pizza ingredients and set everything out because we’re about to assembly-line these nomnoms!

Flatten each ball into a 4 inch long rectangle, place toppings of your choice on one end of the rectangle, and fold over the opposite side. Crimp the sides as you would a normal calzone, and place on a Pam’d baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of each mini and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and oozing with cheese (what, we’re not all perfect!).

These are totally worth going AFK for. Just don’t tell your raid group what you’re up to…

GamerGirl