Cravings: Avocado, Tomatoes, Berries

Simple Tomatoes

Simple Tomatoes

Simple Berries

  Simple Berries

We all crave something, affection most of all. I love to snuggle down with a warm bowl of berries, my love, and a good movie. I’ve been trying to watch my sugars as diabetes runs in my family and it’s easy for my blood sugars to run high. Berries have a low glycemic impact and are high in antioxidants, and are yummy, so all around, they are a good pick. They taste like cardboard if I get them “fresh” at this time of year or cost $6 a pint, so I’ve had to make do with frozen, and wait for them to thaw.

I’ve also included two of my mid-day craving snacks here. The tomato is light on your system (as long as you don’t have an allergy to nightshade produce) which means it won’t give you a stomach ache like a bag of potato chips could. The avocado dip is my favorite recipe from Heidi Swanson’s book super natural every day. I’ve paired it with Food Should Taste Good multi-grain chips (which I wish had no sweetener) and a slice of peeled grapefruit.

Simple Tomatoes

  1. Heirloom or vine ripened tomato (don’t waste your time with anything else)
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1 pinch of salt
  4. 1 pinch of dried basil or 1 large fresh leaf

Wash tomato and remove stem. Slice into 8 equal pieces and arrange on a small bread plate. Peel garlic clove and crush by laying your knife flat side down and pushing down on the knife with the flat of your hand. Mince the crushed garlic and scoop half of it into a tiny spice bowl.  Add the pinches of salt and basil to the garlic and smash together in bowl.  Sprinkle garlic mix over the tomatoes.  This is so good you’ll want to lick the plate.  However, you’ll need to brush your teeth before you talk to anyone after making your breath this garlicky.

Simple Berries

  1. 1/4 pint of your favorite mix of berries
  2. 2 Tbls. unsweetened coconut flakes
  3. 10 tiny fresh mint leaves

Turn your oven broiler on to 500. Wash mint leaves and tear them if they are not tiny.

Heat a salad bowl either by filling it with boiling water for 5 minutes or in the microwave for 2 minutes (with water in it). Dry bowl and rinse berries and place in warmed bowl. Sprinkle mint on the berries.  Cover with a kitchen cloth to keep warm.

Scatter coconut flakes on a baking sheet and place in oven. Do not leave the kitchen! These things toast very quickly. After about a minute, open the oven and stir them with a wooden spoon. Remove them as soon as they are golden and toasty. Top the berries with the flakes and eat immediately.

Avocadoes and Mustard Seeds

Avocadoes and Mustard Seeds

As recipes go, tweaks happen for each family. Heidi tweaked this recipe from Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking.  I have a few tweaks of my own.  I’ve substituted olive oil for the clarified butter (so it will have to be roasted at a slightly lower temperature) and I like it better with a red onion than the white she uses.  I admit, I’m scared to buy chilies.  I’m afraid I’ll get one that’s too hot and ruin a good recipe. One of these days I’ll become braver, but for now, I use chili powder.  Lastly, I think the flavors need a little nutty crunch, so I add roasted peanuts or pecans to the top. These work great as hors d’oeuvres because all the flavors are best at room temperature or warmer. I always make sure there is as little bitterness as possible in my grapefruit, so I note how I remove all the membranes and pith here as well.

Avocados and Mustard Seeds for the less brave

  1. 1 pink grapefruit
  2. 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, washed
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 2 tsps. fresh lemon juice
  5. 2 ripe avocados
  6. 1 small red onion
  7. 2 cloves garlic
  8. 1 Tbls. olive oil
  9. 1 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds
  10. 1 tsp. Indian curry powder
  11. 1 tsp. chili powder
  12. 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  13. 5.5 oz bag of Food Should Taste Good multi-grain chips

Slice a thin piece off the top and bottom of the grapefruit.  Set the grapefruit on a cutting board with a stable cut side down.  Slice from top to bottom in a curved line to remove the peel, working your way around the grapefruit until all the skin has been removed. Working over a medium kitchen bowl, use a paring knife to remove each section from the remaining membrane. (All of the membrane should be removed.)  Break each section into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Finely chop the cilantro, removing all the stems. Mix cilantro in a medium bowl with the salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Slice the avocados in half and twist to pull apart. Use a butcher knife to cut into the seed with a swift chop. Twist butcher knife to loosen the seed and remove. Score the avocado with a grid pattern cutting all the way to the skin.  Scoop the avocado into the bowl with the cilantro and stir to coat.

Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Heat olive oil over medium heat in skillet and pour in the mustard seeds. Cover with a lid. Do not leave the stove! These will only take a minute to pop and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned around and left them to smoke!  Once they’ve popped, immediately add the onion and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more and then add the curry and chili powder.  Heat for another minute, until fragrant. Remove from heat and pour over the avocado.

Return the skillet to the heat on medium high for 1 minute.  Add the peanuts and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until you smell them roasting. Remove from heat.

Stir avocado mixture gently to incorporate spices, then open chips and arrange on a platter. Top each chip with a bite of grapefruit, a teaspoon of avocado mixture and a peanut.

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