Cook in the Moment: Summer Lettuce Wraps with Quinoa, Avocado, Mushrooms and Tahini Sauce

Summer Lettuce Wrap with Quinoa, Avocado, Mushrooms and Tahini Sauce (c)2012

Summer is here, and I am strangely pensive regarding her arrival this year. Maybe it’s because this is the summer I turn 30 years of age? Maybe it’s because I have a feeling this will be my last summer living in Colorado? Maybe it’s because I’m headed to the place where I was born to visit my family, who I only see once a year- if that. Most years I allow summer to pass me by without truly engaging in the season. I’m more of an autumn person, reveling in sweaters and fallen leaves. Somehow, this year is different. It seems I’m slowing down a bit, not pushing so hard. A lot of time in my 20′s has been devoted to running an exhausting race, seeking to please everyone around me and trying to measure up to a definition of success that I don’t really believe in. I’m looking forward to my 30th birthday. I don’t expect anything to change overnight, more like a gradual personal growth that’s been in the works for some time now.


10 Ways Tuesday: Avocado

Avocado on Toast with Scrambled Eggs, Basil, and Radishes (c)2012
1.  Avocados Love Breakfast

Avocados get on great with all things breakfast. One of my favorite healthy morning meals is toasted whole-grain bread topped with thinly sliced avocado, scrambled eggs, basil and shaved radish. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil provides the finishing touch. You could change things up with smoked salmon and crème fraîche or maybe use a fried egg and tomatoes instead. Sliced fresh chile is also a good friend of the avocado.

2.  Avocado Quesadillas

David Tanis shares his recipe for Avocado Quesadillas, a quick, last-minute appetizer, in A Platter of Figs. Ripe but firm avocados are thinly sliced and laid upon a flour tortilla, topped with mozzarella slices. What makes takes this recipe from simple to spectacular is David Tanis’ Onion Relish spooned over the quesadilla before adding the top tortilla. A mixture of finely diced sweet onions, minced jalapeño, cilantro, and epazote leaves. According to Herbs & Spices, the pungent Mexican herb, epazote, was a mainstay of Mayan cooking. The intensely flavored epazote is a combination of flavors: citrus notes, bitterness, and funk. Find epazote in Latino groceries. Serve Avocado Quesadillas with beer as an appetizer. They also make a nice lunch for one.


Ingredient of the Week: Avocado

Avocado (c)2012

This week at la Domestique we welcome summer by opening up the summer pantry. It’s officially hot outside, and we’re soaking up the sunshine by the pool. Most nights, dinner is cooked on the patio grill. The farmer’s market is our playground, and each week brings new finds- like the first cherries of the season! We’re craving lighter fare, looking for nourishing meals to give us fuel for bike rides and ballgames. Hearty salads and chilled soups are just the thing for days when temperatures soar into the 90′s.

The first ingredient of our summer pantry is the avocado. Full of nutrients like vitamin E, potassium, and monounsaturated fat, avocados make lighter meals more satisfying. Native to Central America, this pear-shaped tree fruit has a soft, buttery flesh when ripe, and rich, nutty flavor. A tough, dark, leathery skin surrounds the flesh, which ranges from pale yellow to green in color and holds a large brown seed. A diverse variety of avocados can be found, all originating from three strains: Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian. Hass avocados are the most popular here in the United States, and they grow year-round, peaking in the summer. Fuerte avocados are available in the U.S. during autumn. California is the largest U.S. producer of avocados, but the fruit is also grown in various areas across the world, including: Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Portugal, Spain, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. Avocados require a warm climate and will not tolerate frost.