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David Ross

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Everything posted by David Ross

  1. Ah, the avocado! For many of us, this humble little fruit inspires only one dish. Yet the avocado has a culinary history that is deeper than we may understand. The avocado (Persea Americana) is a tree thought to have originated in South Central Mexico. It’s a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant - yes, it's a fruit and not a vegetable - is also called avocado. Avocados grow in tropical and warm climates throughout the world. The season in California typically runs from February through September, but avocados from Mexico are now available year-round. The avocado has a higher fat content than other fruits, and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of consumers who are seeking other sources of protein than meats and fatty foods. Avocado oil has found a new customer base due to its flavor in dressings and sauces and the high smoke point is favorable when sautéing meat and seafood. In recent years, due in part to catchy television commercials and the influence of Pinterest, the avocado has seen a resurgence in popularity with home cooks and professionals. Walk into your local casual spot and the menu will undoubtedly have some derivation of avocado toast, typically topped with bacon. Avocados have found a rightful place back on fine dining menus, but unfortunately all too often over-worked dishes with too many ingredients and garnishes erase the pure taste and silky texture of an avocado. When I think of an avocado it’s the Hass variety. However, a friend who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, can buy Choquette, Hall and Lulu avocados in the local markets. This link provides good information about the different varieties of avocados, when they’re in season and the differences in taste and texture. https://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/10/18/know-your-avocado-varieties-and-when-theyre-in-season/ I for one must challenge myself to start eating and cooking more avocados. I think my recipe for guacamole served with chicharrones is superb, and the cobb salad with large chunks of ripe avocado is delicious, but as a close friend recently said, “one person’s ‘not especially new’ is another’s “eureka moment.” Well said and as history tells us, we’ll find plenty of eureka moments as we discuss and share our tales and dishes of avocado during eG Cook-Off #81: The Avocado. Fun fact: The name avocado derives from the Nahuatl word “ahuacatl,” which was also slang for “testicle.” See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
  2. That looks and sounds so incredibly delicious.
  3. Another dish using the avocado crema-Ancho Chile Adobo Roast Chicken with Avocado Crema. It a simple adobo of dried ancho chiles, sour orange juice (bottled from a local Mexican market), a bit of water, garlic, dash of sugar and cumin, salt and pepper. I marinated chicken quarters and roasted in the oven. Sorry, snow is still covering the bbq and patio so I'll have to wait another week or so before I can grill outside, (a better way to grill this chicken rather than oven-roasting).
  4. In January of 2016, I "retired" after 28 years of service for Horizon Air, a regional airline based in Seattle and the Sister carrier of Alaska Airlines. I put retired in quotes as it was actually the result of a corporate restructure. In any case, throughout my career I was on the inflight services department management team and for many years involved in the onboard catering. Now mind you, we were and the company is today, a regional carrier that flew primarily turbo-prop airplanes and just a few jets during my time. We didn't serve traditional hot meals in those days as our galleys weren't equipped with ovens, however, we did serve cold breakfasts, lunches and snacks and at times our food was actually better than what you'd find on other major carriers. Back when I started as a Flight Attendant in 1988, we served cold snack baskets and often ran promotions. I remember one summer when we offered a picnic basket of cold fried chicken, chips, an apple, a slice of apple pie from a bakery in Spokane and a small wide-mouth "Mickey's" beer. Well, as we know things have changed. In the time since I left, Horizon is starting to introduce a small regional jet with first class and hot meal service. The meals up front are basically the same meals one would find on Alaska Airlines first class. And while the menus read creative, like Southwestern scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa and corn tortillas, we all know what reads delicious on an airline print menu isn't always what ends up on your tray table. So let's have some fun here at eGullet and start a discussion of airline meals. Share your stories of grand meals from back in the decades when you looked forward to airline travel, especially the meal. (And I remember many a fine steak dinner served in coach on both Delta and United back in the 70's into the 80's). And are you dining on fine food these days when you fly? I regularly scan through sites dedicated to frequent flyers and I'm often impressed by the photos of first class meals on international long-haul routes served by Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, ANA, JAL and Swiss Airlines to name a few. (And while Delta is improving on that front in their business class cabin internationally, United is trying with their new Polaris business product, American seems to lag behind). Coach class throughout the world is of course a different story. So I'll be working in the coming months on going through some of my archives to show you some of the things we served on the little regional carrier up in the Pacific Northwest.
  5. This took some planning but it turned out to be some of the best recipes I've ever created. All of the dishes can be done separately, all together or in a combination. I'm really pleased at how the pickled avocado experiment worked out. I've been making avocado crema, "salsa de aguacate" for a few years now and it's delicious with both seafood and chicken. Some of the recipes have sa lot of ingredients, but the actual prep and assembling the ingredients takes a lot longer than the actual cooking. I'm having corn cakes with pickled avocado watermelon salsa for breakfast tommorrow with a poached egg! Pan Roasted Salmon with Pickled Avocado-Watermelon Salsa, Skillet Corn Cakes and Avocado Crema-Serves 4 Pickled Avocado-Watermelon Salsa-makes 3 cups ½ cup white vinegar ½ cup water 1 tbsp. Kosher salt 1 tbsp. sugar 1 tsp. coriander seeds 1 tsp. mustard seeds 1 tsp. cumin seeds 6 fresh cilantro sprigs 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 tbsp. finely diced jalapeno 1 tsp. lime zest 2 unripe avocados 1 cup, seedless watermelon cut into small cubes ½ cup finely chopped onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp, minced jalapeno ½ cup finely chopped cilantro 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 tbsp. olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander, mustard and cumin seeds and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the brine into a container. Add the cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and lime zest to the brine. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Cut the avocados in half then remove the pit. Peel off the skin and dice the avocado into small cubes. When the brine is cooled add the avocado cubes. Cover the container and refrigerate the avocado overnight. The pickled avocado will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Before serving, drain the pickled avocado from the brine. Place in a bowl and add the fresh watermelon and avocado cubes, the onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The salsa should be served the same day you combine all the ingredients. Avocado Crema-makes 1 ½ cups 2 large ripe avocados, peeled 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup water as needed ½ cup cilantro 1 tbsp. minced jalapeno 1 clove garlic, minced Salt and pepper to taste Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit and use a spoon to scoop the avocado into a blender or mini-food processor. Add the cream, cilantro, jalapeno and puree. Add water to thin the crema to a spreadable consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The avocado crema will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. Salmon- 4, 6-8 oz. salmon filets 2 tsp. mustard powder 2 tsp. chili powder Salt and fresh ground black pepper 2 tbsp. butter 3 tbsp. olive oil Heat the oven to 400. Rub each salmon filet with some of the mustard and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the salmon filets and brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the salmon for another 4-5 minutes or until the salmon is firm to the touch and done. Skillet Corn Cakes-makes about 16 3” cakes 1 cup corn kernels, (frozen corn works well, thaw before using) ½ cup melted butter ½ cup heavy cream ½ cup whole milk 1 large egg ¾ cup Masa flour 1/3 cup all-purpose flour ½ tsp. baking powder ¼ cup sugar 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. chili powder 2-3 tbsp. oil for frying Combine the corn, melted butter, cream, milk and egg in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the Masa flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt and stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients into the corn mixture and stir to combine and create a smooth pancake like batter. Add additional milk if the batter is too thick. Heat a skillet or pancake griddle over medium heat. Drizzle some of the oil into the pan and add 2-3 large spoons of the corn cake batter to make small dollar size pancakes. Fry the corn cakes until bubbles appear, 1-2 minutes and then turn over and fry the other side, about 1-2 minutes. Keep the corn cakes warm on a plate tented with foil while you finish frying. To serve, spoon some of the avocado crema on the bottom of a plate. Place one of the salmon filets on top of the avocado crema. Place one of the corn cakes next to the salmon and top with some of the pickled avocado-watermelon salsa.
  6. The pickled avocado experiment worked beyond my expectations. I chose fairly hard avocados because I wanted to make sure they would hold their shape during the pickling. I was surprised at how it turned out-salty and pickled yet a different flavor of avocado I hadn't experienced and they did hold their shape and weren't at all mushy. The recipe will follow once I finish the details, but this is what it looked like after two days in the pickling brine-
  7. Very impressive thanks for showing so many unique dishes using the avocado.
  8. David Ross

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    If I'm looking for a quick pastrami I'll buy a prepared corned beef then rub it heavy with a spice mixture for pastrami. I use a digital smoker on the patio that uses "bisquettes" and I like to use hickory or mesquite chips and let it go for about 4 hours at 250 degrees. Then I'll steam it a couple hours and slice for sandwiches. Works pretty good for me as I live in a region with nary a decent deli for a few hundred miles in any direction.
  9. David Ross

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    Thanks. I'm going to start one later this week.
  10. David Ross

    St.Patrick and his Corned Beef

    Just last week I was searching through my eG archives for a recipe for corned beef that I had posted. Lo and behold I found it from way back in 2008 during our discussion of corned beef at home. I'm too late now to make it for this week's celebration, but that's fine as a good corned beef is delicious any time of year. And I hope my food photography has improved over the past 11 years..... https://forums.egullet.org/topic/113064-corned-beef-at-home-recipes-tips-etc/?do=findComment&comment=1537296
  11. Well, the pickled avocado experiment begins. I'm starting with a recipe from Food Network. The avocados in the market were really small today and pretty hard. But I figured for pickling I wanted them hard rather than ripe so they won't turn into mush during pickling. I'll let them sit in the fridge for at least a day then figure out the recipe from that point forward. I originally thought of pairing pickled avocado with raw tun in a sort of tuna poke bowl, but this afternoon I shifted a bit to using raw and pickled avocado with salmon in maybe a grilled or poached dish. I doubled the recipe amounts and because I couldn't find whole coriander seeds, I substituted mustard seeds. 1/2 cup white vinegar 1 tbsp. salt 1 tbsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds, (substituted for coriander seeds) 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds 2 avocados, peeled, I cut them into small cubes, (the recipe calls for cutting the avocado in slices) fresh cilantro 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced 1/2 jalapeno, I sliced the jalapeno into thin rings, (the recipe calls for cutting the jalenpeno into matchsticks) zest of 1 lime
  12. That is a fantastic representation of avocado!
  13. I found a recipe for pickled avocado that I think I'll try but instead of cutting the avocado into thick slices, I'm going to experiment with trying to cut it into cubes. Then I'm thinking of some type of a Hawaiian-style poke bowl with the avocado and either shrimp or salmon. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/pickled-avocados-3797230
  14. I thought it would be interesting to see how a Chef is using avocado in dishes. This is a Sansho Crusted Ahi Tuna, Shiso-Yuzu Guacamole, Jalapeño . It looks to me that it's basically a type of sushi roll with an outer layer of nori, then a blanket of rice and the center is guacamole that's probably lightly dressed with shiso and yuzu. Then seared tuna on top. It's a nice presentation but I'm not sure I'd order this if I was in the mood for avocado. Looks good but for me it doesn't sound like anything really unique. I do like, and will try, mixing avocado with yuzu and some other ingredients. This is Chef Laurent Tourandel who I met some years back when he opened a small French Bistro at Caesar's in Las Vegas. This dish comes from Brasserie Ruhlmann in NYC.
  15. I agree and I also like it on a everything bagel rather than a plain bagel
  16. My guacamole isn't really special but I do use a couple of different techniques to add flavor. I started a few years back with a guacamole recipe out of Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibanez. I add garlic to my recipe and char both the garlic and onion in a hot cast iron skillet, no oil. And the Chef gave me an idea I had never considered-serving the guacamole with chicarrones. We have a very good local Mexican supermarket and cafe and they make the chicarrones fresh each day from the hogs they butcher at the restaurant to use in their other dishes. 2-3 cloves garlic, roasted dry, skin-on then peeled and smashed 1/2 roasted onion, finely diced 1/2 cup or so of fresh cilantro 1/2-1 small jalapeno, minced 2 large Haas avocados, coarsely mashed 1 roma tomato, seeded and diced 2 tsp. chili powder Salt and pepper to taste Crumble some of the chicarrones to garnish the guacamole and serve with the large strips of chicarrones
  17. My gosh that's something. It would be interesting to know the technique they used to coat it in the tempura batter and hold everything together during frying. It looks like lettuce was wrapped around the avocado? And I might add looks delicious.
  18. A friend posted a goat dish from Vetri that looked delicious and I'd order that in a minute. I like that they are doing some dishes that you'd rarely see on other Italian restaurants on the Strip.
  19. I also recommend Esther's Kitchen off-strip by Chef James Trees. All of my friends, experienced food writers and Las Vegas locals alike give it rave reviews. Creative dishes at affordable prices and you won't walk for miles from a Strip parking structure through a casino.
  20. Always love your reviews of dining in Las Vegas. The fine dining prices at the newer places seems astronomical even by Las Vegas standards. Le Cirque has always been worth the price for the food, service and the gorgeous dining room. I've always preferred it over Guy Savoy at Caesar's and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. I know Vetri is expensive, but based on what I read and hear from my local friends down there it's one of the new fine dining places that is worth it.
  21. Has anyone ever pickled avocado? I'm thinking the soft texture of diced avocado might suffer in a pickling liquid. I'm thinking about a fish dish using both raw avocado and pickled if I can pull that off.
  22. My avocado cookery is limited to guacamole, which by my own measure isn't very creative. I do like a blt with sliced avocado added along with the bacon, lettuce and tomato, yet again not overly creative. So I'll be looking to everyone for some ideas on how to experience the flavor of avocado in dishes that I wouldn't normally think of.
  23. David Ross

    Dinner 2019

    I'll eat just about any sushi or sashimi, but I also draw the line at uni. What's funny though is my Sister and Brother-in-Law, who aren't what I'd call adventuresome eaters, love uni and can eat skads of it at a local restaurant in the Bay Area.
  24. David Ross

    Dinner 2019

    For a few years now I've gotten more interested with Japanese cooking, triggered in large part with my fascination of watching Dining with the Chef, Trails to Tsjuiki and Tokyo Eye 2020 on NHK. Our local PBS station carries Dining with the Chef and Trails to Tsjuiki, (now the new seafood market), and I can catch Toky Eye 2020 on YouTube. Tokyo Eye features segments to promoted the Tokyo Olympics, but many cover food and dining. With that said, Miso Soup is now a regular part of my cooking. I especially like to make a breakfast of pickled daikon, steamed rice, a small grilled piece of salmon and miso soup. This is my home version of Dashi. I started with a recipe, but now I just vary it based on how strong I like the flavor. This was 6 cups water, two large pieces of Kombu and one 5g packet of dried bonito flakes. Then added to some of the dashi was red miso, shredded cabbage, clam meat, shredded carrot, a dash of soy sauce, Korean gluten-free rice noodles and a garnish of green onions. Really easy to make a good on a cold day with plenty of snow on the ground.