Friday, July 29, 2011

Tips for finding, cutting, and pitting an avocado

When going to the Farmer's Market or the grocery store picking the perfect avocado can be a frustrating task. 

Finding the perfect avocado:

Give the avocado a squeeze and if it does not yield at all then it is too firm and not ripe just yet.  If you are able to press the skin and it yields a little, but still returns to its original shape then it is ripe.  However, if you press the skin and it dents the avocado, then it is bruised and past it ripeness. 

I also like to check to see if this fruit is still good by pulling of the stem.  If it is still green you have the perfect avocado.  However, if it is brownish under there, it is bad and will be filled with brown spots.  I do not recommend buying an avocado that has brown under the stem.

Cutting and pitting an avocado:
1. Cut the ripened avocado right down the center. Rotate the fruit right around the knife. That allows it to open it easily.

2. Take your knife and very carefully aim and hack the pit and it will pull right out.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hanover Bloody Mary Mix

Tis’ the season for Hanover Tomatoes. Hanover Tomatoes are hands down one of my favorites and I enjoy trying various recipes that allow me to use them. Why not make your own bloody mary mix with these homegrown wonders?!?

Hanover Bloody Mary Mix
3 Gals and a Kitchen

2 Hanover tomatoes
1 avocado
¼ c lime juice
2 TBSP prepared horseradish
2 TBSP chili lime hot sauce
1 TBSP ground mustard
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
¼ c water

Using a blender puree the Hanover Tomatoes. Peel an avocado and add it to the blender, continue to puree until mixture is smooth. Add lime juice, horseradish, chili lime hot sauce, ground mustard, salt, pepper, and soy sauce and continue to mix. At this point, taste the mixture to determine how spicy you like your bloody mary. I prefer to have a kick so I added 1 TBSP of crushed red pepper flakes. Puree the entire mixture to ensure all of the ingredients have blended well. Add water to help thin the mixture.

In a glass, add ice, 1 jigger of premium vodka, and Hanover Bloody Mary Mix.

Garnish with a celery stalk, dill pickle, or olives.

Serves 4 - Feel free to freeze and save any extra bloody mary mix.

Still have leftover Hanover Tomatoes? Give our Tomato Pie recipe a try.

Tips when cutting and pitting an avocado:

1. Cut the ripened avocado right down the center. Rotate the fruit right around the knife. That allows it to open it easily.

2. Take your knife and very carefully aim and hack the pit and it will pull right out.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Twist on the Turkey Burger

Growing up, a burger was a plain old burger at my house - usually topped with American cheese and a little mustard and ketchup. I don't recall my mom ever adding anything to the meat before grilling up the patties on the 4th of July. Boy were we missing out! Every time I turn around, I seem to find another great twist on the turkey burger. I served these with sweet potato fries, and the meal was a hit at my house.

I hope your summer is treating you well!
Allison Y.

Grilled Turkey Burgers
Adapted from

1 (1.25 oz.) package Jennie-O Ground Turkey
1/2 small onion, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon mayo - I used the light version.
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt, to taste

Don't forget to buy:
cheese slices

hamburger buns
tomato slices

Combine ground turkey with the onion, parsley, basil, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix well but do not over mix or your patties will get messy.

Use the mixture to shape 4 patties that are about 1 inch thick. Grill over medium-high heat until they are cooked through, usually 6-7 minutes each side. Top with cheese slices to melt cheese before serving on burger buns.

I topped mine with sliced avocado and sliced Roma tomatoes - although I bet many of you are itching to use your Hanover tomatoes, which would also be terrific! I also like to mix together a little extra mayo and Dijon mustard to make a creamy topping to spread onto the buns.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oven Fried Zucchini

One of my favorite things about the summer is collecting fresh veggies from all my friends who enjoy gardening. I am not a savvy gardener, and even if I were, the deer out where Wes and I live eat everything we try to grow! Anyway, these zucchini bites are really yummy dipped in ranch dressing. The bonus is they're oven fried, so you can indulge without the guilt.

Happy gardening (or shopping farmers' markets)!
Allison Y.

Oven Fried Zucchini
Slightly Adapted from Weight Watchers Weekly

cooking spray
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 1/2 flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried Italian style bread crumbs
3 large egg whites
2 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons Ranch dressing (I use the light version.)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Cut 2 medium zucchini in half crosswise. Then cut each half into 8 pieces lengthwise. I used larger zucchini, so I cut mine one extra time to make smaller slices.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix Italian seasoning, flour, and salt. Place dried bread crumbs on a large plate. In a separate bowl (use one large enough to fit your zucchini slices), whisk egg whites until they appear frothy.

One at a time, dredge each zucchini piece in the flour mixture. Then dip zucchini into egg whites. Finally, dredge it in bread crumbs. When finished preparing all of your "fries," place zucchini on the baking sheet. Use the cooking spray to coat the zucs with cooking spray. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn once halfway through. Allow a few minutes to cool. Serve with Ranch dressing.

Note: You may need to shorten your roasting time to get your desired crispness.