Shrimp Tartar w/Avocado & Quinoa

It’s Finally Friday Folks!

This little piece of work will sure to delight.

I have a friend coming over today for some chit-chat and thought it would be nice to whip up something quick. Nothing fancy, just a light lunch. Salad would definitely seem like the easiest way to go, but I was craving seafood as usual.  Those of you who know me, know that seafood is my second love with chocolate taking the top spot (that is a no brainer).  I thought about what else I had in the pantry to avoid a store run. You know we all have those go to items that are life savers in crunch time. Sometimes buried all the way in the back or right at our figure tips.

I can’t say that we eat healthy every time we get together. But for the most part we try. Whatever we eat, whenever we eat it, it always must be satisfying.

As I ravaged through the kitchen, a lightbulb came on. No, not a big bright idea but i accidentally flipped the light switch and saw the avocados sitting in the fruit tray calling my name. Still not sure of what i wanted to prepare, I looked into the refrigerator and pulled out the shrimp I bought the day before. I opened the pantry and thought I hadn’t had quinoa in a while. So I took that out too. Now sitting on the counter where 3 ingredients that would make up whatever would come to mind.

I immediately thought of shrimp cocktail with some type of twist. Then I thought a quinoa salad with shrimp and avocado could work too. My girlfriend is an artist and loves little cutesy things, so I thought to structure these ingredients in a mold like a tartar. That’s it, Shrimp Tartar!

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So here is what I came up with.

Ingredients

Bottom layerQuinoa

  •  1 cup dry tri color quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • Salt & Pepper

Middle layerGreen Goodness

  • 2 Avocado, cubed
  • 3 tbsp. Cilantro, minced
  • ½ lime
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ sweet onion, finely chopped
  • ½ jalapeno, finely chopped

Top layerShrimp Cocktail

  • pound medium shrimp, peeled;cooked
  • ½ tsp cilantro, minced
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Italian salad dressing
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 green onion, thinly minced (optional)

Directions

  1. For the Quinoa: In a medium pot, using vegetable broth, cook quinoa according to instructions on the package or cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, approximately 15 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow the covered skillet to set until any remaining liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add cilantro for garnish, and serve.
  2. For the Avocado Mix: In a medium bowl, with a folk, mash avocado roughly, add in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
  3. For the Shrimp: Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss combine. Refrigerate covered for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Assemble: Place large dessert rings on serving platter, for the bottom layer, add half cup of quinoa. Lightly press to compile. Spoon in half cup avocado mix and smooth top. Next add shrimp cocktail on top to finish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Gently remove the rings, garnish and serve.

You can use more or less of the ingredients with your personal preference.  Yields 4

 

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Polenta Cakes Topped w/Avocado, Poached Egg & Sautéed Tomatoes

Its Monday!

And I am so happy to be back with you guys! Last week I found myself a bit under the weather. Well more than a bit. Following doctors orders, I had to rest up. Still not 100% but couldn’t stay away another day. The weather is still kind of ugly, so why not make something pretty.

I was feeling a bit like polenta today.  Maybe because I was thinking of my childhood and how much I missed having grits and eggs with a side of avocado in the mornings.  Grits is a popular breakfast dish in the southern parts of America.  For those not familiar with it, its made from corn and is grounded into a coarse meal.  Seeing that it is not so popular here in Europe, I decided to use the next closest thing I could find; Polenta.  Polenta is also made from corn. It has a finer texture but does the job just the same.

In the mix, I have avocados. Avocado is a good compliment to any breakfast dish. The contrasting the flavors of mild fruit with the savory sautéed tomatoes and onions are superb. Atop a butter herb poached egg is a brilliant finish to a satisfying meal. Lets not forget that it is a good source of vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats we need.

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Ingredients

Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups instant polenta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter

Topping

  • 1 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Half lemon
  • Poached or Fried egg

Directions

  1. Grease lightly a glass rectangle pan with olive oil or butter and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Reduce to medium heat.  Slowly pour the instant polenta into the water while stirring until it thickens which takes about 1 to 2 minutes (follow directions on package).
  3. Pour polenta into greased pan and spread out to evenly. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl place half avocado, cilantro and a splash of lemon. Place to the side.
  5. In a sauce pan coat with oil and over medium high heat, sauté tomatoes, onions and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes. Just until tender. Set aside

Assemble

  1. Using a cookie cutter, cut the polenta into about 6 to 8 circles (you can use any shape you’d like. Let your creative juices flow).
  2. Assemble by placing the polenta circles on a serving dish, top each with a dab of avocado, then set the egg directly on the green goodness, and finish off with the sautéed tomato mix. I alternated with and without an egg for my picky eater. But you can dress these little beauties however you would like.

This dish can be served as an hors d’oeuvre or during brunch. The choice is yours. These will sure bring happiness to any table.

Enjoy!