Written on May 8, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Kristin Porter
Although the Midwest received enough snow last week to cancel schools and build a new army of snowmen, they’ve all but surrendered to the sun, and warmer weather is our forecast for the foreseeable future. Why, I think we’ve finally turned the corner into spring!
(By the way, that is the 50th and final time I will be making that proclamation this year, mmkay, Mother Nature?!)
Anyway, I got in one good grilling session before the weather turned on us last week, and tried out a perfect grilling recipe for spring – Chilean Style Hot Dogs with Avocado-Chili Relish. Translation, grilled hot dogs with spicy avocado salsa, y’all!
There’s nothing I like better than firing up the grill on a warm spring evening, getting something sizzling on the grill, and then serving it up with a chilled, homemade salsa. Something about that fresh burst of flavor goes so well with a charbroiled grill offering – especially hot dogs.
I don’t turn to hot dogs too often in the fall and winter months, but they always seem to call when the grill gets going. There are tons of healthier options out there these days made without preservatives and with grass-fed beef, too. I really like Applegate’s Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs. They get me all fired up! (Sorry, had to.)
Anyway, back to this dish – I loved the way the salty, smoky hot dog tasted with this cool and spicy Avocado-Chili Relish, made with fresh jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, tomato, and one of my current obsessions – avocados.
Lately I’ve been finding any and every excuse to work tropical-tasting, creamy avocados into my day. From whipping up Lazy Girl’s Guacamole for a snack (mashed avocado with a squeeze of lime juice plus salt and pepper,) to topping sandwiches and toast with a few slices, and including a quarter or half in my morning smoothies, avocados add a rich and nutritious boost to many of my favorite foods, and are so versatile.
Tip: There are a number of ways you can get the flesh of an avocado out of its dark green jacket, but my favorite method is to cut around the pit and twist to separate, then simply peel the skin off.
If hot dogs just aren’t your thing, this sassy salsa would pair really well with grilled chicken or a firm, grill-worthy-fish like salmon or mahi mahi. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Enjoy!
Written on May 7, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Lisa Appleton
Hi all! It’s Lisa Appleton, Associate Editor with special interest media here again. It’s finally spring! I couldn’t be happier, but you should know a few things about me before I go any further. 1) I LOVE breakfast foods. I will make breakfast food any time of the day, but I always go out of my way to make something fun on Sunday mornings. 2) Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. Every spring when it’s back in season, I just can’t get enough. I will always go out of my way to find new ways to use asparagus.
It’s a wonder it even took me this long into the season to combine the two, but last Sunday I did just that. I had some asparagus on hand and some asiago garlic French bread I didn’t end up using for another recipe last week. I immediately thought of our Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. In case you don’t know, strata is a layered breakfast casserole that typically has day-old bread, eggs, and cheese with any meat or vegetables of your choosing. It turns out like a savory bread pudding.
I went straight to bhg.com and found this recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. I had a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, so I used that instead of the Gruyere it suggests. The only other element I was missing was ham. I had Canadian bacon and didn’t want to run to the store, so I substituted that too.
Not only was it delicious, it was also super easy to make. Asparagus is pretty simple to cook with. Just remember to snap off and discard the woody base of the spears by bending them. The spears can be cooked whole, but this recipe required chopping into 2-inch pieces. After you’ve chopped the rest your ingredients, blanch the asparagus for just a few minutes, and layer everything in a greased baking dish. Blanching is a cooking technique. Vegetables are cooked in boiling water for just a few minutes and immediately cooled in an ice bath to stop the cooking. It brings out the bright green color in asparagus. Whisk up some eggs and milk to pour over the dish, and you’re nearly finished.
This might be the best part. Strata is at its best when it’s chilled overnight. You don’t have to bother making this in the morning before a fun brunch with your friends or family. Prepare it up to this point and chill it overnight. In the morning, baking is easy. After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven to quickly add the six eggs to the top and then it’s right back in until it’s finished. This would make a great dish for Mother’s Day! You’ll spend more time with your Mom and less time in the kitchen on her special day.
In my mind, there is no better vegetable in spring than asparagus. This was perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast, and it’s already on my list to make again.
Get the recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata.
Written on March 20, 2013 at 8:04 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! Kate from Cookie and Kate here. Spring is quickly approaching, and so is asparagus season! Asparagus at its peak is a delicacy, if you ask me, and I can’t get enough of it during the springtime. It makes its way into salads, sliced into ribbons, as well as stir-fries, frittatas, and any recipe that calls for an assortment of vegetables.
That said, Garlic-Roasted Asparagus is my favorite preparation. Simply roasted asparagus makes a light yet flavorful side dish that can complement any cuisine. In the past, I’ve tried to dress up roasted vegetables with fancy dressings and sauces, but the truth is that they are best with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. A squeeze of lemon or dash of soy sauce will kick the flavor up a notch, but roasted peak asparagus hardly needs any help.
For this easy side dish, you’ll need 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, 2 to 3 cloves garlic, some olive oil, salt and pepper and good-sized baking pan. Simply preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stems, slice your cloves of garlic thin, and toss the asparagus in a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (I roasted mine for a full 15 minutes), until fork-tender. Serve warm.