Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Avocado Egg Toast

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Weeknight dinners can be tough.  Some days, just a full day in the office is enough to do me in.  For the past three months, I've been training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler , which has left me with even less time for cooking.  I followed a specific training program, so at first, the runs were pretty short and could be accomplished in the morning before work.  As training progressed, the runs got longer, and, not being a morning person, I started fitting in my runs after work.  On Monday, I ran my last long run before the race and logged a whopping 8 miles.  Not much to some, but it was a new personal record for me and I couldn't have been more pumped!

As I've plodded along through my training, I've found myself making avocado egg toast at least once a week.  It's super easy to buy avocados when they're on sale and store them in the fridge once they're ripe (they last 3-5 days in the fridge).  It even makes a great breakfast too!

You can whip this together in under 10 minutes, and there are minimal dishes to wash.  Start with some butter, an egg, a slice of bread, and an avocado:

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First, cut a circle out of the bread.  I prefer to use a knife, but you can also use a drinking glass or biscuit cutter to form a more perfect circle.  

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Melt 1/2 a tablespoon of butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat and place the bread in the pan.

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Crack the egg directly into the hole and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the underside is golden brown.  If you like your yolk running (a runny yolk really is delicious here, but if you're not a runny yolk person, I get it), cook it over heat that is a bit higher.  This way, the bread will toast more quickly without cooking the inside of the egg as much.  Add the additional 1/2 tablespoon of butter, flip, and cook on the other side.

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While the bread and egg are cooking, prepare the avocado.  Slice it in half and scoop the flesh from one half, saving the half with the pit for another night.  Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork and set aside.

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When the bread is golden brown on both sides, remove to a plate.  Top with the mashed avocado and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a green salad and fruit and enjoy immediately.

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Avocado Egg Toast
Adapted from Pioneer Woman and Heart of Light

An asy weeknight dinner,  this dish is ready in under ten minutes and yields minimal cleanup.  Serve with greens and some fruit for a well balanced, delicious meal.  

1 tablespoon butter
1 slice of bread
1 egg
1/2 avocado

Over medium high heat, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a medium frying pan.  While butter is melting, cut a hole in the center of the bread with a knife, biscuit cutter, or glass.  Place bread in the frying pan and crack the egg into the hole.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Add additional 1/2 tablespoon butter and turn both pieces of bread.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

While egg and bread are cooking, slice the avocado in half.  Scoop the flesh from one half of the avocado and mash in a bowl.  When the egg is cooked and bread toasted to a golden brown, remove to a plate.  Spread the mashed avocado over the egg and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Soda Bread

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With St. Patrick's Day this weekend, I wanted to find a creative way to branch out from traditional Irish food.  Of course, I'll still be cooking corned beef and cabbage and serving lots of Guinness, but instead of the usual soda bread, which I often find dry and bland, I'm going to be making chocolate chip soda bread.  It's moist, sweet, and chocolatey, with a pink raspberry spread, and will be the perfect dessert.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, let me explain that St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays.  After being lucky enough to meet some family members in Dublin last year, it truly feels like a celebration of my heritage.  Plus, you get to drink lots of Guinness and listen to this song and this song, so who wouldn't be happy about that? And if we're really lucky, we'll have a sing-a-long!

If only we could celebrate here, then the holiday would be complete:

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To make the most of St. Patrick's Day 2012, I'll be hosting dinner with a few friends and can't wait to share this chocolate chip soda bread with them.  It's quick and easy to throw together, tastes delicious, and looks beautiful.

To start, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda:

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Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or a fork and knife.  When it's done, the mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.
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Mix in the chocolate chips, followed by the yogurt.
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Knead together until a ball of dough forms.  Be sure not to mix too much!
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Pat the dough into a circle and place it on a greased cookie sheet.
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Bake it at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and firm to the touch.  Let it cool on a rack.
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To make the raspberry spread, let the butter soften at room temperature.  In a small bowl, mash it with a fork, then add the raspberries and sugar.  Blend all three ingredients together, mixing well.  I mixed as if I was beating eggs, which did a good job of incorporating all the ingredients together.  Transfer to a pretty bowl and refrigerate.

Slice the soda bread and serve with a hearty smear of raspberry spread. 
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Enjoy with a big glass of Guinness.  Sláinte!
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And a special thanks to Jana for photographing this endeavor!

Chocolate Chip Soda Bread
Adapted from Whole Foods

A sweet adaptation of an Irish favorite, this soda bread is moist and delicious. Paired with a beautiful raspberry spread, it's the perfect St. Patrick's Day dessert. 

Soda Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt 

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup + 2 tablespoons plain yogurt (low fat)

Raspberry Spread
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup raspberries
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
To make the soda bread, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into the flour mixture (using a hand-held pastry blender or a fork and knife) until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Mix in the chocolate chips followed by the yogurt.  Knead together until the flour is incorporated and a ball of dough is formed. 

Form the dough into a rounded loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes, or until firm and browned. 

Next, make the raspberry spread.  In a small bowl, combine the butter, raspberries, and sugar and mix well with a fork.  Spread on slices of bread and enjoy immediately. 

Bread will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 
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