Monday, May 05, 2008

Citrus and Avocado Salad
Here's a great refreshing salad combination that was inspired by a need to use a couple of ripe, juicy California navel oranges. I also decided to try my hand at Parmesan crisps. The salty, rich cheese was the perfect foil for the sweet salad ingredients. Though I did give the salad a hint of heat with a little minced jalepeño in the dressing and a few sliced garden fresh radishes.
Salad: Green leaf lettuce, orange segments, avocado, sliced radishes, sweet onion, sprout snacks and toasted walnuts. Dressing: 3 TBS olive oil; 2 TBS lemon juice, 2 TBS minced cilantro and 2 slices of pickled jalepeño, minced with salt and pepper to taste. (all placed in a small jar and shaken to blend.)
Parmesan Crisp

Kind of looks like a flat Rice Krispy treat, doesn't it? I've frequently read about cooking up some freshly grated Parmesan cheese as a quick hors d'oeuvre, which is particularly good with a glass of dry red wine, but I've never tried it.

I proceeded from what I could remember: I grated a little pile of Parmesan onto a piece of waxed paper (maybe a generous 1/2 cup), heated a non-stick saute pan over medium heat, and then carefully placed the grated cheese in the pan in two little flattened piles using my fingers, so they resembled small pancakes. While that was cooking, I proceeded with preparing the salad ingredients. You have to be patient with the cheese. At first it melts - don't mess with it. But after a bit, the bottom browns and is firm enough to turn over. Then let the second side firm up. The second side goes much faster than the first. When both sides were golden, I carefully lifted each out onto a cooling rack. Within a few minutes they had crisped up and were fragrantly calling my name. One per person, is really more than enough, bearing in mind the salt and calorie content. But it was just the right foil for the orange and avocado salad.

Bean Burrito

I had about 3/4 of a cup of refried beans leftover in the fridge - not enough to use for bean dip but enough to make a nice bottom layer on a burrito. I sauteed half an onion, a red cubanella pepper and a small jalepeno in some olive oil along with a minced clove of garlic. When the veggies were tender crisp, I pushed them to one side of the pan and carefully added the little mound of beans in the clear spot, to reheat. Once the beans had softened up a bit so they were easily spreadable, I placed them on the bottom third of a large whole wheat wrap (a tortilla would be fine, too). I covered the beans with a few thin slices of Monterrey Jack cheese and then covered the cheese with the onions and peppers. I rolled the wrap burrito style, and placed it in a dry non-stick pan over medium heat. Turn the burrito over several times so the tortilla or wrap browns evenly and the contents heat through and the cheese melts...this only takes 5 - 6 minutes.

Using a few odds and ends and a little imagination, it's easy to prepare some fast, tasty, inexpensive meals, especially when you're cooking for one or two.


Charissa said...

The salad looks decadent. (So does everything else) Now I want a bucket of avacados.

Greg said...

Mmmm, burrito. Feliz cinco de Mayo!