Friday, June 27, 2014

Alvocado-Lemon-Dill Potato Salad

Hi guys! Sorry I've been so bad at posting this month. I have a confession to make: I've been working on writing a review paper, and I actually missed my first deadline ever. I was supposed to have my part done almost two weeks ago, but alas! I am still putting the finishing touches on it. So that's why I haven't had the chance to write much here. Lots has been going on, even though June has been a light month for bike racing. I also will be moving from Cambridge to Somerville over the next month, so watch out! The madness continues. Really though, despite the added stresses my summer has gotten off to a great start.

Last weekend, my fiancé and I went to Vermont for his grandma's funeral and memorial service. This was my fiancé's mom's mom and I never had a chance to meet her. From the memories and pictures shared at the service, it was clear that she was a wonderful, loving woman who had a big impact on the family and it made me feel even more honored that my fiancé has chosen me as a partner, knowing that she was a standard to which I was held. The service, while lovely, was a bit awkward for me, because well, it was held exactly four years (to the day) after I had learned that my best friend passed away. So I was in a vulnerable state: the minute Aidan started crying it took every ounce of my willpower to prevent myself from sobbing. I managed to hold myself almost together, but I will confess I was very relieved to leave the church and put my sunglasses on.

Anyways, while we were in beautiful Vermont, I made my fiancé take a side trip with me for a short hike to see Ft. Dummer. The park was beautiful and it was nice to finally be out in the woods, however, only once reaching the lookout point did we learn that Ft. Dummer had been flooded when a dam was built in 1908. What a bummer! The view was still pretty though.

Somewhere under that water, lies the remains of Fort Dummer...

After the funeral, we took a day to go visit my fiancé's parent's and while there, I had a chance to look through the new Oh She Glows Cookbook. You should definitely check out the cookbook too, so many delicious recipes! While flipping through though, a recipe for potato salad using avocado rather than mayonnaise caught my eye. In Pennsylvania, potato salad is a delicious affair, and my favorite recipes are light on the mayo and heavy on the bacon and bacon fat (seriously, google "Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Salad" and you'll see!) As such, I've found potato salad lack-luster since becoming a vegetarian. However, a potato salad filled with crave-able avocado definitely sounded like something I could get behind! I changed the recipe from the book, adding celery for more crunch and chickpeas for more protein. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Alvocado-Lemon-Dill Potato Salad

1 ripe alvocado
5 scallions
juice of two lemons
1 bunch dill
freshly cracked black pepper
~1/4c water

2lb red potatoes
1 bunch asparagus
4 stalks celery
3 scallions
2 cans chickpeas, drained and thoroughly washed.
salt and black pepper to taste
(optional: olive oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Dice potatoes to 1/2" cubes, slice asparagus, celery, and scallions.
3. Add potatoes to roasting pan, adding a touch of olive oil, if you desire, and plenty of salt and black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and the desired consistency. (Pro tip: Microwaving lemons before juicing helps you get more juice out!)
5. For the last 10 minutes of the potato roasting, add in the asparagus.
6. Add celery, scallions, and chickpeas to a bowl. Add sauce, and once the potatoes and asparagus are done roasting.

Serving choices: as an entree, as a side, or on an arugula salad!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

It's that time of year again... the time of year when you come home from a hot ride, drenched in sweat and the thing that sounds best in the world is a jar of cool, crunchy, salty, dill pickles! I love pickles, and so does my fiancé. So much so, that the entire two jars I made were gone in the day between when I said they were "almost ready" and the day I was going to officially declare that they were ready. The key to these pickles are bunches and bunches of fresh dill, good apple cider vinegar, and a bit of patience. The best part is, you make these pickles up cold, so the cucumber stays crispy! Give this super easy recipe a try, but make sure to hide them until they are ready... once they're opened they will disappear quickly!

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

2 large cucumbers
1 large bunch dill
8 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1/4c sugar (brown or white. If you're brave you can try maple syrup!)
~2c apple cider vinegar
~1c water
sea salt to taste

1. Slice cucumbers (either into spears or chips) and onions. Dice garlic cloves.
2. Wash your dill and divide it generously between two jars. Add garlic, onions, sugar (2T to each jar for 1/4c total), and salt.
3. Pack in cucumber slices.
4. Fill packed jars 2/3 of the way with vinegar, then top with water. Shake jars to dissolve salt and sugar and taste your brine. Add more salt or sugar to your taste.
5. Let pickles marinate for 3 days in the fridge, then make your big reveal and enjoy!