Crispy Baked Avocado with Lemon Aioli

 

Avocado

Crispy Baked Avocado with Lemon Aioli

Aioli: is a Provençal traditional sauce made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks. (Wikipedia)

I love eating avocados for its’ rich creaminess and health benefits.  Avocados are packed with carotenoids that help prevent eye disease, packed with fiber, are high in monounsaturated fats that helps keep your blood sugar down, and also lowers cholesterol.  I usually enjoy avocados in guacamole or mixed in salads but my new favorite method is coating them in bread crumbs and baking it.  This is a healthy alternative to deep fried fries and can be served with a dipping sauce such as lemon aioli.

Crispy Baked Avocado (serves 2)

1-2 ripe avocados
1/2 Japanese Panko crumbs or normal bread crumbs
1 egg white (I only use the egg white as the yolk is high in cholesterol but you can definitely use the entire egg)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut the avocado lengthwise and remove the pit.  Cut the avocados into slices and gently scoop it out with a spoon.  Dip the sliced avocados in the egg and then coat in the Panko crumbs.  You can use normal bread crumbs and add seasonings but I like Panko crumbs for its’ crunchiness that compliments the creaminess of the avocado.  I don’t like to add seasonings to the bread crumbs either as I love the taste of avocados but you can definitely experiment with different herbs.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lay the coated avocados on top.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until they start to brown.  Remove and serve with lemon aioli.

Lemon Aioli

1/2 cup mayonnaise
zest, juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove, minced (or you can use more depending on your preference)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt

Whisk the first 4 ingredients together.  Add salt as desired.

Kale Chips

Kale

Kale

Kale is a leafy green you may overlook at the grocery store.  However there are many benefits to eating kale that should not be ignored.  Some of these benefits, according to Wikipedia includes being high in beta carotene (necessary for healthy skin, immune system and good vision) , fiber, vitamin C & K, rich in calcium and blocks the growth of cancer cells.  Kale also lowers cholesterol which is a bonus for me.

There are many ways to prepare kale.  You can saute kale as a side dish, blend in smoothies, pureed in soups and many more options.  My favorite method is baking bite size pieces of the leafy green tossed with a bit of oil and seasonings.  If you are addicted to eating potato chips this is a healthy substitute as once you start eating it, you can’t stop.

Kale Chips

1 fresh bunch of kale
olive oil
garlic powder or any other seasoning you prefer (paprika, seasoning salt, etc)

Kale

Kale chips with garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Thoroughly wash and dry the kale in a salad spinner or paper towel.  Remove the thick stems from the kale and tear the leaves into bite size pieces.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil and toss to coat.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread the kale evenly so there is no overlap.  Season with desired seasoning and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the leaves start to turn brown but are not burnt.  Cool and enjoy.

Tarragon

When people think of the top 3 most common herbs, tarragon probably isn’t on that list.  Top 3 herbs usually includes basil, rosemary, and thyme.  Lately I have become more fond of tarragon the more I incorporate it into my cooking.  I have to admit that I didn’t discover tarragon until a few months ago.

Tarragon

Tarragon

Tarragon can be found wherever other herbs are sold, fresh or dried.  My preference is fresh tarragon as you can’t beat the taste of fresh herbs though in a pinch I’ve used dried tarragon.  Tarragon is quite aromatic reminiscent of anise.  The description on the back of the package I have describes it as “anise and vanilla scent and a hot, sweet taste”.  This may sound unappetizing but it really is a delicious addition to meals.  Only the leaves are used in cooking and is suitable with fish, seafood, eggs, chicken, meats and sauces.  From my experience, I love incorporating tarragon with chicken.  I find it enhances the taste of chicken without being overpowering.  I’ve used it when making brine, roast chicken, and tarragon chicken pasta.  if you’ve never cooked with tarragon I highly recommend it.

Pesto

One of the easiest, most versatile sauce/condiment to make is pesto.  Why anyone would purchase store bought pesto is beyond me.  The only reason I can think of having a jar lying around is the convenience if you can’t make it to the grocery store.  Pesto is packed full of flavor where it’s main use is in pastas.  However you can also use pesto in soups, hamburger dressing, butter, salads, fish, meatballs – the options are endless.  Pesto requires 5 main ingredients with basil being the star.  I highly recommend making pesto from scratch if you’ve never done so and experiment with different types of basil.

Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

Pesto

2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
2-3 garlic cloves (feel free to add more depending on your preference but note the garlic is not cooked so you don’t want to overpower the basil)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 Parmesan cheese
dash of salt *optional

I don’t measure the ingredients so the above is a rough estimate.  Once you have all the ingredients, place the first 3 in a food processor and pulse.  Drizzle in the olive oil until it is the desired consistency you want.  Stir in the cheese and add salt per your preference.  Mix with cooked pasta or whatever you want.