It seems a bit pretentious to call this a “recipe”, as it’s really more of an assemblage, but they are SO GOOD that I had to document it for the betterment of society (that’s not too pretentious to say, is it?) I brought a tray of the vegan version to my monthly potluck, and it has been requested with enthusiasm ever since! I may never get to bring a different dish 😉
I get on a kick where I eat one of these for lunch, every day. It brightens my day and gives me an optimistic mood for the afternoon!
Escabeche Stuffed Avocados (Vegan)
1 juicy lime
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
½ cup fermented escabeche, drained and coarsely chopped
1 ripe, medium sized avocado
Cut an avocado in half and remove the pit.
Mix the cilantro into the escabeche and spoon it into the little avocado cave.
Squeeze a lime over the avocado and eat it directly out of the skin with a spoon.
*You can make these in advance and refrigerate in a sealed container. The lime juice prevents the avocados from turning ugly 🙂
OH, how I love the Avocado filled with Escabeche…
OHHHHH, how I considered it the perfect food…
UNTIL I kept seeing photos online of baked eggs in avocados (like this one)… Finally I gave it a whirl, and gee-boy-howdy… not bad at all 🙂
Avocado with Egg and Escabeche (vegetarian)
1 juicy lime
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
½ cup fermented escabeche, drained and coarsely chopped
1 ripe medium sized avocado
2 medium eggs
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out a bit extra from the void left from the pit (you want a space that will fit about 2 Tbs).
Separate the eggs, dropping the whites into a small bowl, and plopping one yolk into each avocado half.
Spoon the egg whites over the yolks, just filling the void from the pit (do NOT overfill).
Balance the avocado halves in a pan, or ramekin, and carefully place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the whites are “set”.
**If you are not planning to eat these immediately, I recommend transferring the avocados posthaste to the freezer for 5-10 minutes, to stop the cooking process and cool them for storage.
Combine the escabeche and cilantro.
If serving the avocados hot, wait to cover with cold escabeche until RIGHT BEFORE consumption.
If you plan on serving/consuming the avocados cold, you can apply the escabeche/cilantro mixture at any point and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Squeeze lime over the escabeche and avocado.
Use a spoon and eat it directly from the skin. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm!!!!
*** DON’T FORGET: HEAT KILLS PROBIOTICS IN FERMENTED FOODS! If you want to keep the buggies from the escabeche alive and hoppin’, don’t let it linger with hot items. Always eat it cold or room temperature.
I drink a lot of coffee.
I drink it black.
I drink it all day.
Like the omnipresent “Waldo”, my insulated coffee cup will be visible in every candid photo taken of me within the last 20 years.
So you may be wondering, “why the f*ck is MilitantFoodie posting an Instant Cappuccino recipe?!?”
Well… it’s a secret. There is an exciting recipe in the works that cannot yet be revealed… and let’s just say, I found myself with a surplus of instant cappuccino mix on my hands!
It is SUPER simple to put together. My online research lead me to this instructable for cappuccino mix, and I made a couple of subtractions, substitutions, and suggestions to make it lower carb and/or vegan.
In the not-too-distant future I will be posting recipes that utilize this mix as an element. In the meantime, here are some options for it’s use:
Prepare it as a warm bottle with a nipple for your (so-called) friends who can’t tolerate the taste of coffee 😉
Store it in a cutesy container and present it as a super-cheap-and-easy-homemade-gift to a Starbucks-Addicted-Coworker who can’t seem to shed their excess holiday tonnage 😉
Pour some in a baggie, tie a festive ribbon around it and give it as party favors/treats for Trick or Treaters or Carolers… (because it’s not cruel enough to get over stimulated kiddos hopped up on sugar before bedtime… CAFFEINE will really take it to the next level!) 😉
Low Carb Instant Cappuccino
½ cup Instant Coffee**
¾ cup (or equivalent) sweetener (I used Pyure Bakeable Blend… it’s stevia that measures the same as sugar)
1 cup non-fat Dry Milk (or vegan powdered milk)
Run all ingredients through the blender or coffee grinder until finely powdered and evenly mixed. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
To Serve, dissolve 3 Tbs dry mix into 6-8 oz of hot water.
** Normally, I am ALL FOR saving-a-buck, but evidently when it comes to instant coffee you get what you pay for!
For my first attempt at this recipe I used a no-name-dollar-store-brand. BIG MISTAKE.
Second Batch I used Nescafe Clasico and had a much nicer result.
Go with your gut and your personal taste.
As Previously Mentioned, the concept of this dish is very simple.
Watermelon + Feta (or feta-like-vegan-cheese) + Balsamic Vinegar + Fresh Basil + Pistachios
Potentially, you could toss these things together in any arrangement and achieve a tasty result.
For this particular recipe I find it helpful to wick some of the juiciness away from the watermelon. These are the steps I took:
Cut watermelon into desired sized pieces (either discarding the rind, or saving it to make fermented watermelon rind pickles like these)
Spread the pieces of watermelon out over several layers of absorbent material (e.g. dish towels or paper towels) and leave in the open air for several hours (I prepared mine before I went to bed and let it sit out overnight. If you have a large container, you may line it with towels and spread the watermelon in a single layer and let it chill in the fridge, uncovered.)
Now, if you want to really Kick-It-Up-a-Notch, you could make your own Watermelon Balsamic Reduction Glaze!
Ingredients for Glaze:
1 cup Fresh watermelon
1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Instructions for the Glaze:
Puree the watermelon and the vinegar until smooth.
Transfer liquid into a large sauté pan, and bring to a simmer.
Allow liquid to reduce by (at least) half, stirring periodically.
Remove from heat once glaze has reached its desired thickness and allow it to cool completely.
See? Making your own glaze wasn’t too incredibly complicated.
Now if you want to want to make a salad, this would be the time to do it.
Example of Ingredients for Salad:
6 cups cut watermelon
1 cup shredded fresh basil
1 cup crumbled feta (or vegan feta-like cheese)
1/2 cup chopped pistachios (optional)
¼-1/2 cup balsamic glaze
Instructions for Salad:
Toss the watermelon, feta and basil, and allow to chill at least one hour. Toss with glaze and sprinkle with pistachios immediately before serving.
*tip: the fermented vegan cheese recipe I used made a super delicious SOFT cheese. It would not be ideal for the salad.
Or maybe you have loads and loads of energy and free time and want to take this recipe even further? Try these elegant and delicious hors d’oeuvre and Amuse Your Mouth!
Ingredients for Amuse-bouche:
20 large basil leaves
20 1-2 inch pieces of watermelon
¼ cup balsamic glaze (see recipe above)
1/3 cup fermented vegan cheese (OR feta with a dab of yogurt, blended to a moldable dough consistency)
½ cup chopped pistachios (optional)
3 cups water
Instructions for the Basil:
Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Submerge the basil leaves in the water for 30-60 seconds, then remove from water and run under a cold tap to stop the cooking process. Spread the leaves out on an absorbent surface and pat dry.
Instructions for Watermelon:
Cut watermelon into desired shapes. Follow tips described at top of blog for wicking moisture away from watermelon pieces. Allow watermelon to chill in the refrigerator while preparing the next elements.
Instruction for the cheese:
Form cheese into 1/2 tsp balls. If desired, roll them in ground pistachio nuts. If cheese is very soft, place in the freezer temporarily to allow it to firm.
Wrap a basil leaf around each cheese ball. I have found that a little dab of balsamic glaze under the ends of the basil leaf does a nice job of securing it in place.
Options for assembly:
If you have made your own watermelon balsamic reduction, you have had control over its final consistency, and therefore which options you have for presentation. You may choose to make a balsamic smear on a plate, then stack the watermelon and cheeseball on top.
OR You may choose to stack the water melon and cheeseball, then drizzle the glaze artfully on top.
OR You may choose to make a thicker reduction (this is my method), and use the glaze as a paste for securing the cheeseball to the watermelon.
Whatever the format, this dish is bound to delight!
Okay, I admit it… “Okra Bundt Pan Stuffing” was NOT my original plan for this recipe.
The ORIGINAL plan was to make a Salsa Verde using Pickled Okra instead of Tomatillos (Yes, I made the fermented okra and experimented with the seasonings which I could have submitted as an entry, but-it-seemed-too-simple-and-obvious-so-I just-HAPPENED-to pickle-it-as-an-element-in-the-Bigger-Picture [*breathe*]).
My Okra fermentation turned out nicely salty and pucker-y and I felt confident it would be a wonderful base.
I diced the onions, chopped the cilantro, minced the garlic, roasted-peeled-seeded-and-chopped the jalapenos and tossed it all together with the lime juice.
It seemed like this recipe was going to be a Big Winner, until I chopped the okra into bite-sized chunks and threw it into the food processor with the fennel.
Okra is creepy and disgusting and should be the star of a horror film!
I COULD NOT believe the gelatinous gooey substance that the okra became (*spunky blog writer throws-up a little in mouth*).
While letting my stomach settle I amused myself by sending playfully accusatory texts to Sherry about her choice of ingredient (one message read “So, it occurred to me that I’ve never actually worked with okra before… What is this?!? The a**hole of the vegetable kingdom? It’s being highly rebellious and uncooperative 😉 ”)
I gathered my resolve to refuse culinary defeat and decided this uber sticky-yet-flavorful blob would be the perfect healthy binder for bundt pan stuffing. I just happened to have a package of stuffing in the pantry, so this unexpected recipe actually came together quite easily.
I baked this dish ahead-of-time and stored it in the refrigerator overnight. Shortly before traveling to Somerland for the duel, I released the bread from the pan, brushed the whole thing with a generous coat of coconut oil and returned it to the pan. While we were grilling the rest of the meal over mesquite coals, I set the bunt nearby to reheat and absorb the mesquite smoke smell.
IT WAS FAN-F*CKING-TASTIC!
In a scene very reminiscent of the old “How did You Two Meet?” commercials promoting a certain Chocolate and PeanutButter Cup; once Sherry’s Ground Nut Stew bumped uglies with my Okra Corn Bread, they made beautiful, beautiful food babies!
AmbeR’s Okra Bundt Pan Stuffing (aka Okra Cornbread)
2 cup pickled okra (if you don’t already have a tried-and-true family recipe, this one is nice)
½ white onion, diced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 roasted jalapenos, peeled, seeded and diced (refresher instructions here)
3 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup lime juice
½ Tsp fennel seed
1 14oz package of pre-made cornbread stuffing (read the label carefully if you are preparing this recipe for strict vegetarians/vegans or people with food allergies. Most of the stuffing mixes I found had some kind of chicken stock/fat in them. I ended up using a Classic Cornbread Stuffing by Pepperidge Farms that was vegetarian, but not vegan.)
Oil and flour-of-choice for preparing small (7 ½ inch) bundt pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease 7.5 inch bundt pan (or pan of choice) with flour of your preference.
Thoroughly blend/food process the pickled okra and the fennel (this will quickly become a creepy gelatinous blob. Try not to panic.)
Stir together all ingredients until evenly distributed.
Press mixture into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes, until edges are starting to brown and it is firm yet springy to the touch.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before turning it out of the pan onto serving plate.
Turn the bread out of the mold, apply coconut oil or butter to the exterior of the bread and the interior of the pan, and return the bread to the pan.
Bring the pre-cooked dish to a camp-out or bbq and set on a rock or grate NEAR the coals (but not directly over the heat) to allow the coconut oil/butter to absorb and crisp the bread, and the smoke to enrich the flavors.
The first dish in our challenge is a ground nut stew. A creamy and filling soup with West African origins. Since dairy products are scarce in Africa, ground peanuts are used to give the dish its signature velvety texture.
Sherry’s Ground Nut Stew in Somerland
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter
1 yellow squash
1/2 egg plant
1/2 bell pepper
2 garlic cloves
7 pods of okra
water and salt.
Chop all vegetables to bite size and add all but the okra to the melted butter.
Sauté until translucent then add enough water to cover the vegetables.
Stir in peanut butter and stir until smooth.
Season to taste. Once half the water is cooked out add the okra & cook until your desired consistency.
*This stew may be vegetarian fare or you can add the traditional meat, chicken, to give it an extra bump.
**I would never have thought that okra and peanut butter would taste good together, but let me tell ya, It’s good!