Panko Baked Avocado Fajita Tacos

One thing (out of many) that I love about living in California is the produce. I understand that fruits and vegetables go through seasonal changes but we grow almost everything in this state. When I went to New York a few months ago, Bailey and I stopped by a random Whole Foods to buy a bottle of wine for our hosts. I noticed that almost of the signs in the produce area wrote “Grown in California”. Call me sheltered, because back home it seemed common sense that the food was grown within the state. Duh. Sustainability, right?

My oblivious, born and raised in CA brain did not realize that other cities and towns do not have the same perfect climate that we have to grow delicious fruits and veggies.

PS: Yes, I was also shocked that they do not sell alcohol in the same place as foods on the East Coast! I honestly have a beer maybe once a week so it is not a big deal to me but I never heard that kind of law before. The worker there looked at me like I was the biggest tourist (or crazy) when I asked him where the wine section was. He pointed out the doors and across the street to a wine boutique.

If I ever move to that side of the nation, how am I suppose to pair my wine with my cheese if I am in a rush? First world problems.

Just wanted to show off the nice weather from my roof top.

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I was kind of in a cooking rut, so I texted my b-e-a-utiful sister and hustled her for some recipes I could steal for the blog. She gave me a few great options and I headed to the market down the street to pick up a few ingredients. Turns out, they do not sell eggplants (weird) and I did not have time to drive so I had to make use of what I had.

My whole produce tangent was because of avocados. Yes. Creamy, delicious, good-on-everything avocados. And they are abundant here. Year round. I am afraid to move and have to pay $4 for an avocado. I get them here for 89 cents and it is such a bargain.

So I put my thinking cap on and a lightbulb came flashing through! A-ha!

Baked avocados! Breaded with panko! In a taco? Yes! AKA the food love-baby of my Eggs In a Hole (Avocado Style) and Panko Baked Eggplant Caprese recipes.

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Panko Baked Avocado Fajita Taco

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 12 Minutes

Serves: 3

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Hass Avocados
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño
  • 2 Eggs
  • ~1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ~1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Cooking Oil
  • Queso Fresco (or any kind of cheese but get QF if possible)
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Salt, pepper and oregano, to taste
  • Baking paper

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1. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees.

2. Cut your avocados in half and then each half in to fours (8 slices total for each whole avocado).

3. Set up your working station by having three different bowls. First bowl with flour, second bowl with two well-beaten eggs (with pepper and salt), third bowl with panko crumbs.

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4. Throw your avocado into the flour bowl and coat it thoroughly. They are more sturdy then you think, so just tap it against the edge to get the excess out.

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5. Dip the avocado into the egg bowl and let it drip until it is evenly coated and thin.

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6. Drop the avocado into the panko crumb bowl until it is coated enough that it blends in.

7. Put on a baking sheet with olive oil generously drizzled on top and bottom of the panko-covered avocados.

8. When oven is done preheating, slide the avocados in for twelve minutes. Flip them over half way (6 minute mark).

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9. While avocados are baking, wash and chop the bell pepper and jalapeños into thin slices.

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10. Cook them in a large pan with cooking oil, oregano, salt, pepper and fresh parsley until soft but still retaining the firm texture.

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11. Heat up a few corn tortillas on your tortilla griddle.

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12. Garnish with parsley, queso fresco and a splash of lime. Amazing. Seriously.

Was walking on Valencia St today and saw this transporting truck. Pretty badass, no? In a crime noir sort of way?

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Are you allowed to buy alcohol in supermarkets in your area? What’s your favorite taco combination?

Thai Basil Pesto

This week I feel like I’m cheating you out of a recipe because this one only has one step in the instructions. Okay, it has two steps but the second one doesn’t count.

Thai Basil Pesto

Prep Time: 10 Minutes (+30 mins-1 hour to let the flavors mesh)

Serves: 6-8

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Basil Leaves, packed
  • Handful of Roasted Peanuts
  • 3 Thai Chilis
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Lime
  • 1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

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1. Combine all ingredients in the food processor and slowly pour the olive oil in.

2. Put in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse.

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This pesto was the perfect goodbye to summer and basil. I think the weather agrees with me because it was Fogtown USA almost the whole day, I had to break out the sweat pants while studying at home.

(Or shall I say Karltown USA?)

We finally used up the last of the prosciutto. I do not mean to offend it, but holy moly did it last forever. I wasn’t sure if it was going through mitosis in my fridge overnight but it seemed never ending. It also doesn’t go bad for a long time so I had no excuse to throw it away.

I give myself two weeks before I find myself craving it again…but don’t let me buy it until then. Please.

(Also had to use up the last eggplant, so I remade the Panko Eggplant Caprese. Just not as fancy.)

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Taylor and I had the bright idea last week that crepes after a huge lunch would make us feel better. On our way to the Richmond district, I found out that she has never went to Twin Peaks. I can’t believe she has never been to Twin Peaks. As a good friend, I detoured over the hill and showed her one of the most incredible views of San Francisco.

It also helped that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

PS: I never really felt like a tourist in my own city until I paid to use one of the sight-seeing machines.

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My favorite crepes are at Genki Crepes on Clement St., they are the only place I know of that will put cheesecake inside. You have not lived until you tried a crepe with cheesecake.

Strawberries, bananas, nutella, cheesecake and light whip cream.

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Double-fisting the crepes Jersey style. I forgot the reason for this picture but I believe it is because I wanted to show you how huge they are. To be honest, we only ate half before feeling like a mistake was made. They were so delicious but these crepes are definitely for sharing.

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Have you tried these Asian drinks? It comes with a marble at the opening and you have to use a tool that comes with it to pop it in, then everything carbonates and the marble is stuck in the middle of the opening. I made it much more complicated than it actually is but they so remind me of my childhood.

Taylor lives the dangerous life. She picked the Melon flavor which we both never heard of before.

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School has been really hectic and I find my thoughts going back and forth if I should keep blogging or not. Believe it or not, it requires at least 20 hours a week if I’m doing it the proper way and not half-assing everything (like I have been doing the past month). Between recipes, taking pictures, writing, editing, commenting and behind the scenes problems, I sometimes feel like a unpaid intern at my very own show. However, I love communicating with all the other bloggers in the world. It really gives me something to look forward to early in the morning. I love going back and reading my old posts and seeing what I did or ate that day. I love seeing how my direction of a writer has went left, right and into a completely different direction. Finally, I love hitting the goals I made when I first started blogging. It’s like a PR for runners. I feel accomplished.

Bloggers, do you ever feel run-down? Anyone want to share their pesto fusion concoctions?

Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Summer, do not leave

There is still so much to do

They say ask and you shall receive

But simply, that is not true

How is that for an introduction? Yes, those four lines took all of thirty seconds to write and I’m already feeling high on the ranks of T.S. Eliot and his love song of Prufrock. Just kidding, I wouldn’t disrespect one of my favorite poets like that.

Today was an eventful day. I had an 8 AM O-Chem test I rather not talk about, picked up these awesome antique lamps for my sister, ate a feast (more about that on Friday) and almost cried at Whole Foods.

Trust me, I love Whole Foods as much as the next stereotypical organic loving, non-GMO girl. I really do. But every time I leave, I feel like I get stabbed in the nonexistent dark alley on the way to the parking lot and robbed for my money by the cheerful and diverse group of employees. Today at the devil’s market, I spent over $60 on ONE (underlined) bag of groceries! While waiting in line, I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t mind splurging today. All this must cost around $40 dollars”. The cashier gave me an enthusiastic, “that’ll be $68.72!” and I started to take my wallet out of my satchel until I finally comprehended what she said. However guys, I just bit the bullet. I had too much pride to put away my $8 organic heirloom tomato.

Whole Foods: 1 Tara: 0

And that’s even not the end of it. While unpacking my (more expensive than gold per gram) tomatoes, my sister sent me a satrical article on Whole Foods which I really loved. Oh, the irony. I wanted to go through the screen and give the author an e-hug. She understood the struggle. The overprivileged struggle, that is.

Take the time to read the article and come back to me. Understand that I was nodding with every paragraph and telling her ‘preach!’ in my head. That was until I got to the end and looked down to see my Namaste tattoo staring at me. Ugh.

Now, what was this tangent about? Oh yes, tomatoes and summer. This week’s recipe will feature a delicious end of summer treat for all your guests, including yourself!

Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Prep Time: 40 Minutes (20 minutes waiting)

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 3

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Stem of Basil
  • ~1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ~1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs (not pictured)
  • 1/2 Lb Mozzarella
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper

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1. Optional, but take the skin off the eggplant in stripe formation.

2. Cut the eggplant in 1/4 inch disks.

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3. Salt the eggplants by putting a generous amount of salt on each of them individually and stacking them with baking paper in between. This sucks out the extra water and takes out the bitter flavor. Place something heavy on top and let them dehydrate for 20 minutes. A brown colored liquid will come out but that’s okay, because that’s what you want gone.

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4. Rinse well and pat each one dry.

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5. Set up your working station. One bowl each for the flour, panko bread crumbs and egg (sprinkled with salt and pepper). Put baking paper on a baking pan and drizzle olive oil to cover most of the surface.

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6. Lay the eggplant disk in the flour, front and back.

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7. Next, dip it in the egg with a fork. Be sure to let the excess run off back into the bowl.

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8. Cover the eggplant in the panko crumbs. You will have to mix everything around and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top until the eggplant is fully covered. Repeat with all slices.

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9. Drizzle more olive oil on the top.

10. Bake for ten minutes. Turn the eggplants around and drizzle more olive oil on top. Bake for another ten minutes for a grand total of twenty minutes.

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10. Cut thin slices of tomato and mozzarella and place on top of the eggplant. Garnish with avocado and basil.

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11. Enjoy outside before summer leaves us for the year.

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Doesn’t that look appetizing? My roommates gave me the blogging equivalent to a Michelin star for this dish.

Back to what I was talking about earlier, I reread my commentary and wanted to mention that food is the one thing I don’t mind spending money on. I’m sure you realize that with the disgusting amount of times I eat out and I always am willing to pay more for something I know was grown naturally with high quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love Whole Foods. It’s like a sibling love going on, I can’t love but hate them. But maybe I will stick to Farmer’s Markets and Rainbow Grocery for produce. Sometimes I just like being melodramatic. That is all.

What are you going to miss the most about summer? Where do you do most of your food shopping?

Sauteed Mushrooms

I know this has nothing to do with a list of things you might possibly care about, but I really want to share.

A distant family member of mine sent over a newspaper clipping from April 5th, 1973. Connoisseur was my dad’s pipe shop back before he moved to San Francisco! Isn’t that amazing how I’m able to see it online at this day and age? I truly love how simple the ads were back then compared to how flashy everything is these days. Now I need to try to find someone to recreate it so I can frame it in my house.

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Now that we got that out the way, I’ll introduce this week’s recipe. I love mushrooms and usually eat them in a stir fry with veggies. This time I wanted to try them in a different way and just rounded up a few ingredients I already had in the house.

Sautéed Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Serves: 2

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Ingredients:

  • ~15 White Mushrooms
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 Medium Onion
  • 1 Serrano Pepper
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 2-3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Tsp Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Oregano
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

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1. Wash the mushrooms and cut the stems. Dice the white onion and pepper, mince the garlic and chop the green onion.

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2. Pour two tablespoons of red wine vinegar into a measuring cup and fill the rest with olive oil.

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3. Heat up a pan on medium low and throw in half of the oil/vinegar mixture and all of the chopped vegetables.

4. Put all of the mushrooms into the pan and let them cook for 5 minutes and pour in the rest of the oil/vinegar mixture. Toss in the rest of the dried herbs, salt and pepper.

5. Cook the mushrooms until they are tender, stirring frequently.

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I served this in a mini cast iron skillet and ate it as an appetizer with a baguette. 🙂

Short post today, but I still want to show you a cool place I ate at earlier this week. After class, I met up with one of my favorite people ever and ate dinner at Mission Rock Resort. It started getting cold, so we opt for a table inside. However, this view is pretty amazing, no? One of the many faces of San Francisco.

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I love my V, you might of seen her in past posts. We have been best friends since middle school! She knows everything about me. I wish she lived a little closer so I can see her more than once every few months.

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We had this jaw dropping Mac and Cheese (w/ tarragon bread crumbs) to start. I was a little leery because I must of ate Mac and Cheese three times in the past two weeks, but the regret vanished as soon as I took a bite. The whole table really enjoyed it.

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One more with me and my V. The white screen behind us was the first game of the NFL season. Go Niners!

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I’ll see you back on Friday! Today has been a busy day and I need to hit the sheets, ASAP.

Football fans, who are you going for? (Don’t disappoint me). Favorite way to cook mushrooms?