I read in a magazine that a good way to shed a few extra pounds is to go vegetarian just one day out of the week. I’m not sure which magazine it was, but it had to have been either Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Food Network Magazine, or Women’s Day (more on that tomorrow…) since those are the only ones on my NOOK.
It took a lot of convincing for me to get Y to agree to having a meatless dinner– and to let it have so much tortilla in it– but I’m really glad that he gave in!
I love eating dinners that are light, and meatless dishes are rarely too heavy for me (unless it’s eggplant parmesan…). I decided to go with two recipes that I found on Oprah.com: Homemade Guacamole with Tortilla Chips and Mushroom Quesadillas on Whole Wheat Tortillas . My sister, L, made the guacamole for her birthday bash in NYC and I couldn’t eat enough of it (yes– I went 24 years without ever trying guacamole). She told me that she found the recipe in an old O magazine that somebody had given her, so I had no trouble finding it with a google search of “Oprah guacamole.” The website had a “more like this” feature, where I stumbled on the quesadillas.
I also really love making themed meals, and I had a recipe for Avocado Ice Pops which I found on the Epicurious app for my NOOK. I thought these would make a fun little treat to follow our vegetarian dinner.
I made the ice pops last night after we cleaned up from the Lamb and Asparagus. Hooray for making more messes!
If you look at the recipe, you’ll notice that it yields 8-10 popsicles and that you need a blender. I have 2 blenders and a food processor at my house. At Y’s house we have… a hand mixer. I totally underestimated how tough avocado flesh is. and I may have splashed green muck everywhere, but I think it all turned out okay. I also used different ingredient ratios, because I wasn’t trying to make 8 popsicles. So… all in all, I’m not even sure if I used that recipe, or just made it up as I went along. But here’s what I did:
*Note* Sometimes, cooking with me means that you take what you have and turn it into something that you need. It’s not perfect, and sometimes it’s a little ill conceieved, but it usually gets the job done! The following recipe is a testament to that!
Step 1: Make a simple syrup by boiling ¼ cup of sugar and a ½ cup of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Step 2: Slice your avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh into the syrup and chop it up a little bit. Try to cook the avocado in there a little bit to soften it up. Then remove from heat
Step 3: Add a pinch of salt and the juice from one small lime to the avocado and mix with a hand mixer. Be prepared for a lot of splatter (or just use a blender if you have that).
Step 4: If you use a blender for Step 3, then you can pour your mixture into your popsicle mold. If you are like me, and you are Macgeyvering the heck out of this recipe, then you probably have a lot of stubborn avocado chunks that won’t smooth out. Go ahead and push that through a mesh sieve. Or—do what I did, and use a collander for straining spaghetti.
Step 5: Divide your mixture between molds. I also don’t have popsicle molds, yet. But this fiasco prompted me to order these little babies, so you can surely expect to see more popsicle recipes with fewer complications. But for now, I used these styrofoam coffee cups. Put the cups or molds into the freezer for 3 hours until it starts to set, but isn’t totally frozen.
Step 6: Insert your popsicle stick. I didn’t get a lot of “batter” because I had to strain out huge globs of avocado, so these are small. Therefore, I decided to instert my “popsicle sticks” (they’re plastic knives. If you do this, be SUPER careful, and don’t give it to a little kid) into the side of the cup, so that when I tear the cup away it’ll be a little circle. Put back into the freezer and freeze overnight.
Step 7: Peel away the styrofoam cup and enjoy!
After I got home from work, I cooked dinner, set the table did the dishes, and sat down to start this post all before Y walked in the door! Talk about an easy, barely-a-mess meal!
Here what to do!
Step 1: Scoop the flesh of three avocados into a medium bowl with the juice of one lime, 1/4 of an onion (I prefer red onions, but I forgot to pick one up so I used a spanish onion that I already had at home), one very finely chopped jalapeno pepper, and some chopped cilantro–I used 1/2 a handful– and a heaping 1/4 tsp of minced garlic.
Step 2: Mash it all up!
As a side note. I wish I would have tried mashing the avocado for the popsicles before attacking it with a hand mixer. It may have helped my cause…
Step 3: On to the quesadillas! Cut up your mushrooms. We used these nice thick Portabellos from Stan’s Market. I guess we couldn’t resist throwing in something Italian.
Step 4: Toss the mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and thyme and saute until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add some cilantro leaves to taste (this isn’t in the original recipe, but I bought a huge bunch of it and figured I should do something with it) and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Step 5: Here’s the neat part! Heat up another pan and sprinkle a coarse salt in the bottom. I used sea salt (not ground up). By cooking the quesadillas on the salt, they won’t be as greasy as if they were cooked in oil.
Step 6: Put your tortilla in the pan and put 1/2 of your mushrooms on one side of the tortilla. Sprinkle on as much cheese as you’d like. I used shredded colby and monteray jack. Leave your tortilla open and wait for the cheese to get melty. The original recipe calls for you to add spinach here and fold the quesadilla over, but as I said in my first post, I don’t like cooked spinach.
Step 7: Move your quesadilla to a plate and top with Spinach, then fold it over and cut in half.
And that’s it! It was a simple and delicious meal, throughout which I could think of nothing other than Napoleon Dynamite saying “Dang Quesadilla.”
Tomorrow night we go back to eating meat! I’ll be making Lemon-Parsley Veal with Prosciutto-Melon Salad.