Spiced Shrimp Cocktail w/ Avocado Dip

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warm shrimp cocktail avocado dip 57Shrimp cocktail. It’s classic. I love it, but sometimes cold bland shrimp just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you want to eat something that warms the belly and soothes the soul. Or maybe you just want some tasty shrimp and dip. Either way, you came to the right place. Kick back, relax and let’s get started.

For the shrimp you need the holy trinity of seafood:

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The holy trinity would be garlic salt, lemon pepper and Old Faithful, I mean Old Bay. Also I used coconut oil for this recipe because I love coconut and shrimp together and because it’s supposed to be healthy or whatever. 

For the Avocado Dip, you need the following ingredients:

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 Plus some spices: garlic and onion powder, cumin, and of course, S&P.

Roughly chop all the ingredients and place them in a blender or food processor. 

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Juice all of the limes.

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Then add the spices.

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Puree until smooth.

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Place in a cute glass.

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Chill while you make the shrimp. Chill the avocado dip I mean. You should also chill emotionally, not physically though, because you still need to make the shrimp. 

About the shrimp, get them deveined but with the tails still on. Or you can peel and devein them yourself.

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Season with the Holy Trinity of Seafood.

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Scoop out a tablespoon of coconut oil, sniff it and imagine yourself on a tropical island sunbathing and sipping on a refreshing drink served in a coconut. Then open your eyes and feel depressed. Only for a second. Then feel better because you’re making this amazing shrimp cocktail and you’re doing the best you can and that’s gotta count for something right?

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Then melt the oil in a pan.

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Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes on each side.

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warm shrimp cocktail avocado dip 38

Once the shrimp are cooked, arrange them around the rim of the glass with the avocado dip in it.

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This recipe is so simple and easy, yet it’s so elegant and tasty. Sounds corny but it’s true.

Make this the next time you have some shrimp!

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Heirloom Tomato Tart

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This is my Cheat Day recipe.

I’ve been avoiding carbs, grains and dairy for a few weeks now and I feel like it’s time to indulge in some cheese and carbs. Dear God, it’s a holy combination. The heirloom tomatoes are the perfect contrast and so gorgeous and colorful.

By the way, you need a naughty thing for this recipe:

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It’s basically butter and flour. Shhhhhhhhh.

You also need these items:

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After preheating your oven to 400F the first thing you need to do is slice the tomatoes.

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Heirloom tomatoes are the ultimate food porn (that’s an actual term, if you don’t know, I didn’t make it up. If you already knew that I’m sorry for wasting 2 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back. My bad.).

Then, you want to place the tomatoes on a few paper towel sheets and sprinkle them with salt. Allow them to drain for 30 minutes.

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This removes any excess moisture so that the tart doesn’t become soggy.

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Tomato residue.

Shred some mozzarella.

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Once the oven has preheated long enough and the tomatoes are ready, pull out your puff pastry and place in on a lined baking sheet.

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Using a fork, prick the puff pastry.

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Leave the edge unpricked. Unpricked is not a word. The red squiggly line just made an appearance. Twice.

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Top with the mozzarella, leaving an edge again.

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Top with the tomato slices.

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Drizzle with oil, and then brush the oil on the edges to coat it to help it brown evenly.

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Sprinkle on some oregano and black pepper.

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Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Finish the tart off with some fresh basil leaves.

heirloom tomato tart 36 Dig in with a glass of wine. Enjoy this Easter weekend!

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Almond Milk Horchata

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Mmmmm…..Horchataaaa. I first had this creamy drink in LA when I was at uni. I’ve had many different variations, but I find that I like my horchata heavy on the cinnamon and with an almond-y taste.

There is no rice in my version because I wanted to make it grain-free, which is the new guilt-free apparently.

You need the following items:

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The cinnamon sticks are optional, I just used them for garnish. The sweetener I used is the Skinnygirl liquid stevia, but you can use whatever sweetener you like, or have on hand. If you’re going to use sugar, I recommend using super-fine sugar because it dissolves easily in cold liquids. But of course, don’t stress out about it if you only have regular sugar, make it work boo boo.

Oh, and I ended up grating a bit of fresh nutmeg on top at the end. It’s totally optional, but if you already have some nutmeg at home, add a tiny bit. You won’t be sorry. But, if you are sorry, I’m sorry.

Pour the almond milk into a container of some sort.

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Add the vanilla extract.

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Then add the cinnamon. Am I the only one who used to say ‘cimmanon’ as a kid? 

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I like a lot of cinnamon, but if this amount scares you, add less cinnamon. 

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Whisk away. At first it may look like you’re whisking and nothing is happening:

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But keep going and eventually the cinnamon will blend into the liquid.

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Sweeten to your liking and taste. Adjust for seasonings until you get it just right.

Chill until you’re ready to enjoy!

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Saffron Popcorn

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So exotic. So pretty. So yummy. A great way to introduce yourself to saffron if you’ve never tried it. It’s also a great way to have saffron a different way if you’ve already had saffron.

Saffron is picked from flowers and is the most expensive spice because it’s so labor intensive to pick them from the flowers. They have a slight sweet and floral smell and taste and they give off the most beautiful golden color when added to rice, desserts or even tea. You gotta try it! For me? Pleaaaasseeeeeeee…..

This recipe is very easy and quick to make. It’s low in calories and the perfect snack to make movie night just a bit more special. I had this popcorn last night while hubby and I watched The Purge for the first time. By the way, that movie is fucking creepy. The chicks in the flowing white dresses and scary smiling masks swinging machetes and singing gave me the most fucked up nightmare. All I’m gonna say is I’ll never wear a flowing dress again.

Anyway, so you need these items:

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You can find saffron liquid at most Middle Eastern markets and if that doesn’t work you can get it online by clicking here. You can also soak saffron threads in water to make saffron liquid. The threads are optional if you’re using saffron liquid. I only used a few strands for garnish in this recipe.

You can also use regular salt instead of popcorn salt. I’m just a sucker for food items and tools that are made for one very specific purpose.

Let’s begin. You need a pot, preferably with a clear lid so that you can kind of see what’s happing inside the magical land where popcorn is made.

In the pot add two tbsp of oil and two tbsp of the saffron liquid. Throw in about 3-5 corn kernels, put the lid on and turn the heat on to medium/high.

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Shake the pot every now and then to ensure the kernels are coated and that they don’t stay in one spot and burn.

Once all the kernels have popped, you know the oil it hot enough. CAREFULLY, lift up the lid enough to toss in the rest of the kernels. (I used 1/2 cup of unpopped kernels which makes about 5 cups of popcorn).

Once all the kernels are in, keep shaking the pot often and listen to how often the corn is popping. Once there is about 1-2 seconds between each pop, turn off the heat. Keep shaking the pot until you don’t hear anything pop.

Toss the freshly popped popcorn into a bowl. It should have the slightest touch of yellow and smell like saffron. Swooon.

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If you like butter on your popcorn, or really love saffron, then drizzle some of the saffron liquid directly onto the popcorn while tossing the popcorn in your other hand.

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saffron popcorn 13

Now it has little spots of bright orange and the flavor and smell of the saffron should be in full effect.

Add some salt and toss again. 

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Yummy in my tummy. Let’s get a close up.

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Oh mama. I love popcorn. 

Please make this the next time you crave popcorn. Oh and making it yourself is so much better than using the microwave kind. First, it’s cheaper. Second, it takes about the same time and you can create any flavor you want. Third, you feel like a bad ass. And finally, you don’t want to eat nuked food, if you can avoid using the microwave as much as possible your body and brain will thank you.

That’s it. I’m done with my little speech.

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Mango & Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

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mango pomegranate champagne cocktail 7

Cheers! This chic cocktail is perfect for any occasion and can be made with several variations.

I love, love, love mango. Pomegranate doesn’t hurt that much either. If for some weird reason you don’t like mango and/or pomegranate then use any frozen fruit you like and your fav juice.

Only three ingredients are needed for this recipe:

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Throw or toss or place a cup of the frozen mangos into a blender or food processor. I just got a food processor recently and have been looking for any excuse to use it. A champagne cocktail seemed like a no-brainer.

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Pour an equal amount of juice. That would be a cup if you weren’t paying attention.

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Blitz the hell out of it. You want it as smooth as possible.

“As smoooooooth as eggs!” (If you can guess where I got that from I will be so impressed. If not, then I understand. I’m disappointed, but I understand. Hmph.)

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Pour a little bit of the puree in a champagne flute. The more of the puree you add, the sweeter the cocktail will be. It will also be weaker. Your choice. 

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Top off with the champagne.

(Side note: I used Rose champagne so the color is more pinkish brown than it would be with regular champagne.)

Happy Sipping!

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Stuffed Strawberries

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These ruby gems are the perfect balance. The almond butter is thick and the fresh strawberries cut through the thickness, then the drizzle of honey and cinnamon give it the perfect spice and sweetness. They. Are. Addictive.

They are perfect as a finger-food dessert with drinks for any party or for a well-deserved snack after a workout. Or for a snack in the dark when no one is looking.

Treat yo self.

Ok, so you just need 4 ingredients for this recipe. 

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If you’ve never had almond butter before it tastes like peanut butter, but with almonds. As long as you don’t hate almonds you shouldn’t have a problem with almond butter. Since peanuts are not actually nuts (shocking, I know, they are actually legumes), almonds are a great alternative for those of us who are gluten-freeing or paleoing.

After rinsing the strawberries, pull off the husks.

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Hollow out the strawberries by cutting around the top. Not sure if that makes sense. Here, look:

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Ok, so do that to all the strawberries.

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Now, cut the tips of the bottoms of the strawberries off. Again, here, look:

almond butter stuffed strawberries 2

Thank God for photographs.

Look, now the strawberries can stand up on their own! They’re growing up so fast.

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Spoon some almond butter into the strawberries. Use the smallest spoon you own.

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almond butter stuffed strawberries 1

Repeat with all the strawberries.

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They look so purrty.

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Awww. Cute.

Ok, so place them all on the plate or platter you will be using.

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Spoon a little bit of honey.

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Drizzle it on top.

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Grab some cinnamon.

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If you’re feeling a little OCD, grab a strainer as well so you can sift the cinnamon.

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Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

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Mmmmm. Lookin’ good.

Did I mention these are addictive? 

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Arabian Nights Burger

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This burger is so flavorful! The spice mix in this recipe is a great one to add to your collection. It’s great to rub on meat, poultry or seafood and even on veggies right before you grill or sauté them. 

So, as I mentioned in my Lucky #7 post yesterday, it was our 7 year anniversary and hubby had planned a surprise. He could not have done any better! He drove us to this little town called Tiburon to catch the ferry to Angel Island. The views on the ferry were breathtaking, I mean literally, I couldn’t breathe and I almost died. Jk, jk. Then we got to the island, had some mimosas and took in the sights and sounds. Then we hopped back on the ferry and back to Tiburon, where hubby took us into the city for a nice steak dinner, except I ordered the crab cakes, because crab. I love crabs, again, not the STD, the crustacean. All in all, hubby did good, very good 😉

Back to the burger. As the name states, it’s got an Arabian flair to it, by way of the spices. These are the spices you need, hopefully you have most of them on hand, if not then I would recommend purchasing them because they can be used for so many other recipes.

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 (The ras el hanout is an optional spice. It’s an Arabic spice mix that basically means “top of the shop,” it’s the best quality spices that the spice merchant has in his shop that he mixes together and sells as his “ras el hanout.” I use the one that Williams-Sonoma sells and it is absolutely amazing, about as close as you can get to the real deal in the US).

Oh, and these two spices are needed as well:

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I just wanted to show off my puppy. Is it obvious? He’s grown so much! Tear.

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That’s ground cardamom. I’m gonna guess that most people don’t have ground cardamom. It’s a great spice to invest in, as it can be used in savory dishes as well as desserts. If it’s a hassle for you to get some then leave it out. Otherwise, if your already going the Middle Eastern market, I would advise you to get the smallest packet of ground cardamom.

You need these ingredients also:

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You can make your own labneh by using my recipe, or you can buy some like the kind in the picture at any Middle Eastern market. I use Yelp to find ethnic markets. Same goes for the za’atar. If you can’t fnd it at the market, get some online, it’s very cheap and has a very long shelf life.

Start by making the spice mix (recipe at the end of post on recipe card).

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Finally, you need ground beef. Duh. I grind my own from chuck roast. Once you grind your own meat, there’s no going back. But if you are short on time, the pre-ground stuff is just fine.

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Whew. Ok. Let’s get cooking!

Chop up the mint and add it to the beef.

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Then add the spice mix stir gently. Do not over mix, it will result in a tough burger and nobody likes that. Mix it just enough to get everything combined.

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Divide the beef into 4 equal portions. I like to make an X to get equal sized patties without measuring.

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Form into patties and season with S&P on both sides. This helps develop that nice crust on burgers that seal in all the flavors (read: juices).

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Heat some oil in a skillet (only if using lean ground beef, less than 10% fat).

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Once the pan is hot, add the burger patties. A trick I like to use is using a spoon or your thumb to make a little indent in the center of the patty. This helps keep the burger from poofing up into a ball when cooking. 

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 When it cooks, it will poof up in the center. Since I made the indent it will poof up but still remain flat.


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 Perfectly flat. You’re welcome.

While the patties are cooking, make your labneh & za’atar spread.

It’s just a 1/4 cup of labneh:

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 2 teaspoons of za’atar:

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 And stir:

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 That’s your spread! 

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 Yum. Once the burgers and done to your liking, toast a bun (or grab a lettuce wrap if you’re paleo, low carb, gluten free or whatever the kids are into these days), and spread the spread. Ha.

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 Add the burger and whatever fixin’s you like. I just went for tomato because I was out of red onion and lettuce, but I really wanted to add the onion and lettuce. It was still good without it, so I think just put on what you usually like on your burgers. If you like cheese I would recommend a little crumbled feta on the hot burger right off the griddle. It will melt and ooze onto the burger. I’m drooling.

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 Dig in!

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Lucky #7

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Hey guys. So, today is hubby and I’s 7-year anniversary! Whaaaat? 7 years. It’s crazy to think I’ve known that stinker that long hehehe.

Hubby said he has something planned and to dress comfortably. So I’m fresh out of the shower now, dressed and waiting for hubby to get back from getting his hair cut. I don’t have time to post a full on recipe today so I just wanted to let you guys know that I will be back posting recipes soon.

I’ll let you know what we ended up doing and how it went, whether you care to know or not haha.

Happy Sunday Funday!!

Mystery Ingredient: Week 5

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pomelo avocado crab salad 3

Oh my. Whatever could this be? The bumps indicate it may be some kind of citrus, Watson.

Let me zoom out a little and see if that helps.

pomelo avocado crab salad 1

It’s a lemon … It’s a grapefruit … It’s superman!

Actually no, it’s pomelo!

pomelo avocado crab salad

Pom-who-o? You ask. Or maybe you already know what a pomelo is, in which case touché. According to the guy at the farmer’s market, pomelo is an Asian grapefruit that tastes just like regular supermarket grapefruit except a bit sweeter. He said it’s great in savory salads, so I decided to let that guide me in my recipe.

Then I asked him to pick out two good pomelos, which he so graciously did. For someone like me, who doesn’t like grapefruit, that was a big mistake. I should have just bought one because it yields so much fruit there is no way I could eat it all without my tongue burning off.

Anyway, I got home, opened up a bag of Easter themed chocolate and started googling pomelo and saw that the skin is sometimes used as a container for salads and then I got excited, and off my ass, and began cooking.

If you wanna make a pomelo bowl, start by making a zig zag shape with a knife into the upper part of the pomelo to create a lid. Hard to explain with words, so here are some photos:

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Once you’ve zig-zagged all around the pomelo, use your thumb to dig in between the skin and the flesh to separate them. Do that all around the pomelo a few times until the top comes off.

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Now you want to get the fruit out of the skin. It’s the same process as the top lid except you need to dig deeper, physically and emotionally, and go around a few more times.

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It looks like a pumpkin. 

Now you want to peel and separate the segments like you would an orange. Except you don’t want any pith at all, just the inner flesh.

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As you can see, all that flesh is just from half a pomelo. This fruit is a giver.

Now you have the pomelo all prepped. I decided to make a lump crab salad and a pomelo and avocado salsa to go along with it. Here it goes!

This is what you need:

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pomelo avocado crab salad 21

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pomelo avocado crab salad 23

To make the dressing for the crab salad you need some mayo, a few dashes of Worcestershire and a bunch of spices (found in the recipe card at the end of the post).

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Mix it all up.

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Add some green onions and cilantro.

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Stir and add the crab.

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Season with S&P

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Gently mix, leaving pure chunks of crab still intact. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Next let’s make the pomelo & avocado salsa. You need avocado. Obvi.

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Slice it into a grid, make sure you don’t cut through the skin and into your hand.

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Spoon it into a bowl.

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Mix in the pomelo.

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Squeeze lemon on avocados to prevent them from browning, then add cilantro and S&P.

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To make the dressing, squeeze some lemon juice into a bowl.

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Add in some honey.

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Trusty rusty S&P.

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A drizzle of oil. I used grape seed oil, that’s why it’s neon greenish.

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Whisk, whisk, whisk, until the dressing emulsifies.

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Pour onto your salsa.

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Add some chia seeds for good measure, if you have them.

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Place the salsa into a bowl, or hollowed out pomelo.

(Side note: I should have added some lettuce to fill up the pomelo a bit more. It still looks ok, but I think it could be better, so if you’re gonna go the hollowed-out-pomelo route, add some romaine lettuce to the “salsa” and call it a salad.)

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The next part is optional also. I chose to mold the crab salad. You can use a small bowl for a rounded top or a ramekin for a more spherical shape.

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pomelo avocado crab salad 59

Turn it over on top of the salsa in the bowl and pray like you’ve never prayed before. (The mayo dressing should help it slide out easily).

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Add a little garnish for shits and giggles and decoration as well.

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Awwwww. How cute is that?

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Angry Meat Sauce (a.k.a Arrabbiata Sauce)

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angry arrabbiata meat veal sauce gluten free pasta 59

Yum. This sauce is really pissed off. It’s all hot and bothered. It’s too hot to handle. It’s too cool for school. No. Wait. Nevermind. This sauce is spicy ok? That’s why it’s called angry, because Arrabbiata sauce means angry. Does anyone notice the link? It seems like Arab and angry always find a way to be connected. Hmph. Moving on.

So, this sauce is great without any spiciness, if you reduce (or completely omit) the amount of red chili flakes this sauce is a good basic meat sauce to have on hand, or foot.

First you need meat for the meat sauce. Shocking, I know.

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Ya, I used veal. Wanna fight about it? Obviously you don’t have to go down this politically incorrect path. But me? Ya, I’m fucking going there.

You also need these spices:

angry arrabbiata meat veal sauce gluten free pasta 1

I used about a 1/2 tsp of each spice (plus a pinch of sugar to offset the acidity of all the tomato product that I didn’t include in this photo because I’m not perfect but I still love myself.)

Finally, you need these items to make complete the sauce:

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Let’s get cookin’

Start off by finely dicing all the fresh veggies:

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Start by sautéing the onions, until they have browned.

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Then add the garlic and cook until softened.

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Add the fresh tomato or tomato. Oh wait, you can’t hear my accent when I’m writing.

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Cook it down, or up.

Once all the veggies have cooked through, add your ground meat and half of the spice mix (except sugar and bay leaves).

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Cook the meat through and break it down into little crumbles.

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Brown it thusly:

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Time for the good stuff.

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When you add the wine to a hot pan it should immediately bubble up and deglaze the pan (which just means it helps lift up all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan when you were cooking the meat), scrape the bottom of the pan to help loosen the brown bits of yummy deliciousness.

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Cook until you can’t smell the alcohol anymore and it has mostly evaporated.

Add  a bit of the parsley, and stir.

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Once everything is absorbed like in the picture above, add your canned tomato products and the rest of the spice mix.

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If using whole tomatoes, use the back of your spoon to crush them in the pan.

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Add the tomato paste.

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Then the spices.

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Add a pinch of sugar.

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Most of the shredded parmesan. Use Parmegannio-Reggiano (In Giada DeLaurentiis’ voice/accent) if possible. If not possible then fuck it.

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Add almost all of the rest of the parsley (save the rest for garnish).

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Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer and cook for an hour.

In the meantime, do this:

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After an hour, check for seasoning and adjust to your liking. I added a touch more sugar, a bunch more parmesan and a final sprinkling of S&P. 


I decided to enjoy this Angry Sauce over some Gluten-Free pasta. My bestie recommended I try a brand called Tinkyada. Life. Changing. This shit tastes like real fucking pasta!!! Sorry for all the cursing, I’m just so happy that I can be gluten-free and eat pasta! Oh joy!

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Look, even the package says “Pasta Joy!”

So, I cooked that up and made me a big-ass plate of pastaaaaaaa and and it went a little something like this:

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angry arrabbiata meat veal sauce gluten free pasta 73

angry arrabbiata meat veal sauce gluten free pasta 74

angry arrabbiata meat veal sauce gluten free pasta 75

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GET IN MY BELLY! (Name that movie)

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[yumprint-recipe id=’52’]