chilies

Avocado Spread: Winter Greens

On a recent cold weekend in Detroit, two of the restaurants that I visited were serving avocado in all of its creamy glory. Avocado’s rich green color is a welcome sight, much like the first shoots that peek through the snow and mulch as soon as the weather turns to spring. The velvety texture of avocado is just as warming to the soul as is a drizzle of melted cheese on soup during a wintry spell. Red Dunn Kitchen plated the avocado on toasted wheat bread under piles of arugula, crowned with a poached egg. Selden Standard served creamy whipped avocado framed with beets and micro greens.

During winter, the silky consistency of an avocado boldly stands up to hearty winter flavors — which inspired my pairing of an avocado spread with roasted vegetables. In summer, chunks of avocado are a fantastic complement to the sweet tomatoes used in salsa or they can be added as a welcome layer in picnic sandwiches. Avocado contains many nutrients, and wears its superfood status rightfully all year round.

Avocado Spread

Avocado – 1, ripe

Lemon juice – ½ tbsp

Salt – ¼ tsp

Serrano chili – ½, cut finely (optional)

  • Peel the ripe avocado just before preparing the spread.
  • Remove the seed (but keep aside) and dice the flesh into big chunks.
  • Add the chunks of avocado into a food processor and process until you have a creamy spread.
  • Store the spread in a bowl. Season with salt and lemon. Add the chili for a spicy kick. Bury the seed in the spread, if keeping the mixture refrigerated. The seed prevents some of the discoloration that occurs once the avocado has been cut.

Serve immediately. Spread a thick layer on toasted bread or serve as colorful sauce-like condiment around hearty root vegetables.

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Milk And Cookies

When I was young, my cousins and I would help ourselves to milk powder that was stored in the pantry for our baby cousin S. Milk powder had a fresh breadcrumb texture that dissolved to a creamy, slightly sweet, doughy taste at the back of your mouth, and made it a peculiarly addictive snack. Despite the many lectures, since milk powder was prohibitively expensive in those days, we couldn’t stop ourselves! Recently, I came across a great cookie recipe that uses milk powder to add both chewiness and that silky rich taste of the milk solids.

Christina Tosi, baker at Momofuku Milk Bar compares the taste of milk powder to MSG – it makes everything taste better without adding a detectable taste of its own in the final product. Milk powder didn’t taste as good as it did in my memory, but when added to a mixture of flour, white chocolate chips, and dried red chilies, the resulting chocolate chip cookie is both grown up and strangely comforting.

White-Hot Chocolate Cookies

Adapted from Christina Tosi’s milk chocolate chip recipe

Unsalted Butter – 2 sticks (225g), melted

Egg – 1

Flour – 1½ cup

Milk powder – 3 tbsp

Light brown sugar – 1 cup

Salt – 1 tsp

Baking soda – ¼ tsp

Baking powder – ½ tsp

Dried red chili – 4, deseeded and skins cut into tiny slivers

White chocolate chips – 6 oz

  • Heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Sift the flour and add to it the milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the egg and continue to blend into the mixture.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture, and mix until everything is well combined.
  • Add the chili and chocolate chips. Mix.
  • On a parchment-lined cookie pan, add two tablespoons of the cookie dough at a time, leaving sufficient space between them.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges turn brown.
  • Makes about 20 wafer-thin cookies.

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