Avocado Crema and Grilled Prawns

SNAP SUNDAYS.  I will explain where this idea came to be in a second.  I am sure I am not the only individual that feels like summer flies by.  From weddings/festivities to concerts and weekends out of town… there never seems to a free moment, especially with busy work days.  I have been sad that I have not been able to dedicate time to the blog (and all of you).  Well Andy being the loving and supportive man that he is came up with the idea for “snap” posts.

Quick picture.  Quick recipe.  Quick blog post.

I mean we live in a society that is always on the go and time is something we all could use a little extra of.  Snap Sundays might be my new favorite blog post day :)

Avocado Crema and Grilled Prawns

 

Avocado crema.  Also known as the poor man’s guac.  Let’s be real here, I wanted to make guacamole and did not have a few of the key ingredients.  Also, can you really find anything wrong with an avocado dip/spread/sauce of any kind…didn’t think so!  Grilled prawns are a summer favorite of mine and there is only so much grilled chicken, steak, or veggies a girl can eat.  These are a real treat :)

What’s your favorite, snappy recipe?  Also, snappy does not equal unappealing…presentation and plating make this recipe look like a fancy little hors d’oeuvres.

Avocado Crema and Grilled Prawns

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: less than 10 minutes
Servings: 20 shrimp appetizers

The Players:

For the avocado crema
2 large, ripe avocados
2 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of jalapeño
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
sea salt and pepper to taste

For the prawns
20 large or jumbo tail on shrimp, thawed and peeled
2 T butter

The Rules:

  1. Preheat the grill to 400F and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place 4-5 shrimp per skewer.  (Note: I used metal skewers.  If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling)
  3. Place shrimp on the grill and close cover.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, rub both sides with butter, then flip and grill other side for an additional 4 minutes.
  4. While the shrimp is cooking, place all ingredients for avocado crema in a food processor and pulse until smooth consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Serve shrimp with the avocado crema as a dipping sauce.  (Note: I place 1 tsp of avocado crema in the base of a white soup spoon and topped with shrimp)

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Solstice everyone :)  I don’t know if you realized, but yesterday was the longest day of the year?!?!  I find it odd that the longest day of the year is actually earlier on in the summer, but I’m not complaining.  I love summer and Seattle is getting longer, warmer days each year that I live here.  Seriously, the sun sets after 9 pm and we are experiencing highs in the 90s BEFORE “the official” start of summer in Seattle (aka 4th of July weekend).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Fremont, which is undoubtedly the quirkiest neighborhood in Seattle, and also refers to itself as, “The Center of the Universe” throws a fair for Solstice.  There is even a parade and this may be one of the most free-spirited parade routes in the country…it starts off with naked, body-painted, cyclists.   If that doesn’t welcome summer, I don’t know what does.  We kicked off the weekend with a mimosa brunch, build your own breakfast burrito bar, and spent the afternoon watching the parade festivities.  Andrew and I were lucky to be a part of a friend’s proposal later that night and continued celebrating into the evening.  Talk about  making the most of a long day!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Today, the day after Solstice, is all about relaxing and some meal prep for the week ahead.  Quinoa salads are a great, healthy, easy, and versatile recipe to throw into your meal planning routine.  With all the warm weather, there is so much yummy produce, and a light salad is one of my favorite work lunches :)  This is a twist on one of my favorite Bosnian dishes –šopska salata (Shopska Salad).

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This salad is a staple in many Balkan countries.   Traditionally, the salad is comprised of tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, peppers, onion, feta, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt.  Here in the U.S. it is difficult to find the green peppers that are custom to The Balkans, so I omit the peppers because bell peppers just don’t taste the same.  The quinoa and beans are great protein boost and the I love to change up the flavor by adding whatever fresh herb I have on-hand.  Today it was rosemary, but basil and parsley work nicely too.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I decided to have some fun with the pictures for this post and get a lil’ fancy since the rest of my day has been pretty casual ;)  I hope you all had a happy, safe Solstice and are excited for the rest of summer!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8-10

The Players: 

For the salad
1 C dry quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1/2 hothouse cucumber, sliced and quartered (~1 1/2 C)
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, diced (~1 C)
16 oz can 50% reduced sodium garbanzo bean, drained and rinsed

For the dressing 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced rosemary
1/2 C feta cheese
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T white balsamic vinegar
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. For the quinoa: Place quinoa and water in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to low heat, place lid on pot, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff quinoa, and replace lid for an additional 5 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your veggies and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once quinoa is cooked, transfer to the mixing bowl, and add dressing ingredients.  Toss well to combine.  Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and allow the flavors to enhance.  Serve cold.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Who else gets ridiculously excited about Cinco de Mayo and grilling weather?!?!  Cinco de Mayo was always a big deal in our household, because it is my dad and uncle’s birthday.  They were both born May 5th, five years apart.  How unique is that?  We always went out to celebrate their birthdays and oddly enough the restaurant of choice for this Bosnian family…was a Mexican restaurant.  Well now that I no longer live at home, I don’t go out for Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo, but I do love to host a good ole’ fiesta.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

In fact this year, a couple of girlfriends and I are hosting a  Not-so Cinco de Mayo Party with a guacamole-off!  Since everyone claims that they have the best guacamole…Andrew decided that there should be a competition and guests at the party have to bring their guacamole A-game.  There will be judging…and lots of eating.  Although the man-friend believes that one can survive on avocados and guacamole alone (he is seriously addicted), I decided to experiment with some additional recipes to bring to the party.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Mexican street corn is one of my favorite side dishes.  You can eat it as is, throw it in some tacos, sprinkle it over a burrito bowl, add it to a salad, or dip tortilla chips in the stuff.  It is simple and packed with flavor.  For a large group I figured serving the corn as a salad instead of on the cob is easier (don’t worry I’ll be tripling this recipe for the party).  As usual I added a healthy twist to the recipe and subbed greek yogurt for the traditional mayo.  But I didn’t completely skimp on the calories…I love butter on corn so I did rub some buttery love on before I grilled it.  You could easily use a non-stick cooking spray if you have more self control than I do ;)  The burst of the sweet grilled corn, heat from the chili powder, creaminess of the cotija cheese, and zesty lime are a combination beyond words.  Added bonus…the price tag for making this recipe at home is much cheaper than ordering from a food truck or restaurant.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

I also want to give a huge shout out to my friend, Sean.  He earned this meal since he spent 3 hours teaching me about my camera, food photography, and light room.  He is even sending me some blogs about photography and letting me use his tripod. Needless to say I have a long way to go, but it’s so exciting knowing that I have so much room for growth with this blog!  I promise I will share any tips I learn about taking food pictures once I am more comfortable with the technicalities.

Mexican Street Corn Salad

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

3 large ears of sweet corn
1 T butter (alternatively use cooking spray)
1 heaping T non-fat greek yogurt
2 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1/3 C chopped cilantro
1/3 C crumbled cotija cheese
1 lime, sliced into wedges

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat grill to 400 F.  Remove husks from the corn and rinse with water.
  2. Rub corn with butter and place on grill.  Cook corn for ~15 minutes, turning every few minutes, until kernels are golden-brown.
  3. Remove corn from grill and allow to cool until easily handled.  Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob.  Place kernels in a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients except lime wedges to bowl and toss to combine.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  Serve corn with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Alright, I have a confession.  Are you guys ready for it?  I splurged…big time.  I purchased my first, official pair of running shoes!  I tried to play it cool and wear my Nike Outlet and Nordstrom Rack Nikes while training for my first marathon.  I tried to convince myself that I did not need to walk into the new Brooks store (conveniently located off the running path…hello marketing genius).  But this Sunday, after a trip to the Fremont Sunday Market and Fremont Brewery (oops) I did the deed.

And I do not regret my decision one bit!  The sales associate was awesome and analyzed my gait and provided me with a few options.  I am so excited to continue my marathon training with my new shoes.  Also, SHOUT OUT to all the Boston Marathon Participants out there.  You are my inspiration.  Don’t worry seasoned vets, I will test drive my new kicks before I run my 17 mile long run on Saturday.  Mentally already exhausted.  But I get such a thrill running, especially with all the PNW beauty, that my running days are my favorite work out days :)

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Another healthy obsession of mine is Thai food.  Seriously, Thai recipes seem overwhelming, but really they require you to have the same key spices/ingredients on hand and then it all comes down to the balance of flavors.  Spring rolls are a great recipe to have in your culinary tool box for entertaining, using up veggies, or quick meals.  Honestly, you can combine a variety of proteins or veggies and if you dip it in peanut sauce…it’s going to taste AMAZING.  Hello happy taste buds and belly.  I decided to use spinach and quinoa in this variation since I had both on hand in the fridge.  But next time who knows what I’ll find in the kitchen and in my spring roll.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Let me know what you love to put in your spring rolls and what your favorite running shoes are?!?!

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls

The Players: 

For the shrimp: 
24 large shrimp, peeled
1 t brown sugar
1 t chili paste
1 t sesame oil
1/2 t fish sauce

For the spring rolls: 
8 medium-size spring roll wrappers
1 C cooked red quinoa
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves (alternatively use thai basil)

For the peanut dipping sauce
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 T coconut cream (alternatively use 2 T light coconut milk in place of coconut cream and water)
2 T water
1 t brown sugar (if desiring sweeter sauce)
1 t fish sauce (alternatively use soy sauce)
2 t chili paste (use less if sensitive to spice)
1/2 t sesame oil

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a mixing bowl and coat shrimp.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the veggies, and cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Set veggies aside and allow quinoa to cool.  (Note: I prepare quinoa in a large batch for the week and keep it refrigerated for later use)
  3. In a microwave safe dish, combine ingredients for peanut dipping sauce and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk until well-incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Set aside. (Note: For a thicker dipping sauce, use 1 tbsp water; for a thinner sauce use 2 tbsp water)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, until pink.  Remove from heat.
  5. Pour simmering water into a large pan or bowl.  Place the spring roll wrapper in the water and rotate until moistened.  Lay the wrapper on a damp, clean work surface.
  6. In the center of the spring roll wrapper layer spinach, quinoa, carrots, red bell peppers, shrimp, and cilantro.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking ends in, and set aside.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for remaining 7 spring rolls.  (Note: I used 3 shrimp per spring roll)
  7. Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  Store extra spring rolls in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love snacking.  I am pretty much a professional grazer.  I eat every 2-3 hours and constantly am perusing the grocery store for my next snack choice.  A snack connoisseur if you will.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus.  Now this is a snack I get down with every week.  I figure why purchase store-bought hummus, when you can make a healthier version in less than 5 minutes.   You can also make any flavor you want.   Avocado, eggplant, olive, pesto, jalapeno are just a few I have toyed with.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I will usually use garbanzo beans (chickpeas); however, white bean hummus has an amazing creamy texture.  Here’s a white bean recipe for you: https://bonappeteek.com/2014/10/12/reduced-guilt-hummus/

You can store the hummus in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, but it doesn’t last more than a day when Andrew joins me in snack mode.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

As always,

Bon Appeteek

The Players: 

15.5 oz can 50% less sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 roasted red pepper (I use Trader Joe’s fire-roasted red peppers)
1/8 C extra virgin olive oil
2 t ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth, creamy consistency.  (Note: you can leave the hummus chunkier if you would like)