Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples every which way.
Today: Erin Gleeson from The Forest Feast invites avocado to every dinner for a week.
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When I lived in Brooklyn a couple years ago, I loved our seasonal CSA subscription, but it was limited at times. Since moving to a cabin in the woods of Northern California, I am blown away by what comes in our CSA box every week! Citrus all winter, tomatoes in the spring -- but I'm most impressed by the avocados that come year round. Since I get a bag of them weekly, I've really had fun sneaking them into lots of meals. Here are some of my favorites.
Sesame Tofu Noodle Bowls with Almonds, Avocado & Cilantro Top quick-cooking rice noodles with a handful of fresh herbs (I use basil and cilantro), browned tofu, and an entire half of an avocado. Yes, an entire half. I dress everything with a snappy, savory vinaigrette of olive and sesame oils, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, and throw a few slivered almonds on top for crunch. Pay attention to the cavity of each avocado -- it deserves a little extra dressing.
Grapefruit Edamame Salad with Avocado & Pomegranate This is a fresh and colorful salad that's filling, thanks to the edamame and avocado. On a bed of arugula, place chunks of pink grapefruit, slices of avocado, a handful of edamame, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries work, too). For the dressing, mix olive oil, a squeeze of grapefruit juice, a pinch of salt, and a bit of honey, to taste. If you're going all out, serve alongside this Carrot Ribbon Fettucine.
Whole Pepper Tacos with Red Quinoa & Avocado I got these sweet peppers from my CSA box last week and roasted them up on a baking sheet for 20 minutes at 400º with just a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt. So much flavor comes through when that's all you use! They weren't as big as bell peppers, so one fit perfectly inside each corn tortilla. (If you use bell peppers, just trim a bit.) Add quinoa to each taco (I had some leftovers in the fridge -- that stuff multiplies!), along with avocado slices and your favorite hot sauce. Salt to taste and enjoy, perhaps with a cocktail or two.
Avocado Pesto Stuffed Peppers This is the fastest side (or party appetizer) I know. (I serve mine alongside this Heirloom Tomato and Parmesan Quiche.) Just mash 2 very ripe avocados in a bowl with a few tablespoons of pesto, and pipe it into cleaned, seeded sweet peppers. Steal a few as you prep.
Quinoa with Avocado, Tomato & Sausage I love this dish because it's so simple -- quinoa is usually faster to cook than rice, and I like it better, to boot. This dish is also great for a barbecue or picnic because it works equally well at room temperature and warm. Cook and brown slices of sausage in a pan, then top the quinoa with them. Add fresh slices of avocado and tomato. Dress up the dish however you like -- I found grape leaves at the farmers market recently and went wild.
Avocado Pesto Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4 to 6
10 small sweet peppers 2 ripe avocados 2 tablespoons of your favorite pesto
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
Erin Gleeson is a food photographer and blogger for The Forest Feast, www.theforestfeast.com, which she started after moving from NYC to a cabin in the woods. Her photos have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and cookbooks including The New York Times Dining Section and The James Beard Foundation, and her first cookbook, The Forest Feast, comes out next year (Spring 2014, Abrams). More of her work can be seen at www.theforestfeast.com.