Spring Bliss: Sugar Snap Pea, Avocado, Tomato, Mint

spring bliss soup, sugar snap pea soup, chilled pea and mint soup

Chilled Sugar Snap Pea & Mint Soup
Mashed Avocado with Lime, Tomato Concassé with Shallot
Fresh Mint, Chili Oil & Creme Fraiche Garnish

A vendor at the Farmers’ Market was handing out samples of fresh-from-the-vine sugar snap peas. Telling people just to eat them as is, no cooking necessary. They were sweet & exploding with flavor, crunchy, the color of spring. Few of us could pass up buying a basket or two. Once home, I turned to my favorite vegetable cookbook Charlie Trotter’s Vegetables for inspiration: Sugar Snap Pea Soup. A simple and refreshing chilled soup. With avocado for richness, tomato for sweet acidity, mint for brightness. Spring. Bliss.

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All GREEN Grilled Zucchini Tacos

Second in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos

green tacos

All GREEN Grilled Zucchini Tacos
Prickly Pear Cactus Tortillas
Butter Lettuce, Avocado, Shredded Green Cabbage, Cilantro, Serrano Chile
Lime Garlic Cilantro Sauce

The inspiration for these tacos came during a trip to the farmers’ market. One booth was featuring something I had never seen before, namely Prickly Pear Cactus Tortillas. Whether it be at the farmers’ market or ethnic local grocery stores, if I see something I haven’t tried before, it usually ends up in my cart. And many of those unique or interesting ingredients find a home here on Taste With The Eyes.

These green tortillas are made with organic nopal mixed with stone ground whole white corn kernels, water, lime, and vegetable plant extract. Two tortillas supply 100 calories, 3 g fiber and no cholesterol. I can’t say that they taste like nopalitos. If I close my eyes I’m not sure I could pinpoint the difference from other good corn tortillas, but I sure do love the color.

So now that I have a package of tortillas de nopal in my shopping bag, what shall I make with them?
The answer was all around me.

 farmers’ market + green tortillas = all GREEN tacos

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What are you wearing today?

Heart Healthy Spinach Salad
Tahitian Lime  Vanilla Vinaigrette
Honey Mandarin, Avocado, Roasted Almond

What are you wearing on Feb. 4?
We, the Ladies of Alpha Phi, suggest something red!
Feb. 4 is National Wear Red Day

Please join us along with the Alpha Phi Foundation, the American Heart Association, and other fine organizations in supporting women’s heart health.

Beginning on National Wear Red Day—Friday, February 4, 2011—millions will help spread the critical message that “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear—It’s the #1 Killer of Women.” The Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, was created by The Heart Truth in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. Everyone can participate in the national movement by wearing their favorite red dress, shirt, tie, Red Dress Pin, or another red accessory.

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Heart Healthy Chilled Avocado Tarragon Bisque


Heart Healthy Chilled Avocado Tarragon Bisque

A California Avocado Commission avocado bisque recipe was the inspiration for my heart healthy version made with non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt. Avocados contribute good fats to one’s diet and they’re low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Non-fat dairy ingredients in my recipe complement the rich avocado, resulting in a perfect balance that is good for the heart. The lovely fragrant tarragon, creamy colorful avocado, and tangy yogurt marry well together.  The method is so simple you can make it for lunch today, yet it is also elegant enough to serve at your next summer dinner party.

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White Asparagus, Shaved Avocado, Tarragon Mayonnaise

Peruvian White Asparagus
Shaved Californian Avocado
Tarragon Mayonnaise
I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today for meat to make a very Autumn-Style dish for a big party this weekend: Stout Braised Short Ribs, a two-day process which we will be starting tomorrow morning.
Walking into the produce section, I noticed this big display of asparagus, the quintessential Spring vegetable, right? Turns out this asparagus was from Peru. Where Spring has sprung! In solidarity with my Southern Hemisphere Cooking Compadres, I picked up some asparagus to serve along side a Whole Foods pre-cooked smoked chicken tonight. Their smoked chicken is really good.
White Asparagus

Trim off the end of the asparagus, then shave the entire stalk with a vegetable peeler.

Place shaved asparagus stalks in salted simmering water with a bay leaf. Cook until tender, taste for doneness. This was about 8 minutes. When tender, place asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then dry on paper towels.

Mix mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper, and a splash of tarragon vinegar. Tonight’s dinner had to be effortless, considering the upcoming party and all the cooking involved. But…
Mayonnaise aficionados might appreciate an “almost effortless” homemade version, compliments of Julia Child, that I paired with fresh swordfish here.

“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all.” Julia Child

Shave a slightly under-ripe avocado into strips with the vegetable peeler. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, ladle tarragon mayonnaise over the center, top with shaved avocado ribbons. Add a tarragon sprig for garnish. This side dish was really simple and quite lovely.
Happy Spring to My Blogger Friends in the Southern Hemisphere!


For more information on Peruvian White Asparagus, please visit Gourmet Trading Company here.

Avocado Cucumber Salsa

Avocado Cucumber Salsa over Panko Crusted Petrale Sole
  • Avocado – diced
  • Cucumber – peeled, seeded, diced
  • Spicy green chile pepper – finely chopped
  • Cilantro
  • Red onion – finely chopped
  • Lime juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

To equal amounts of diced cucumber and avocado add green chile, red onion, cilantro. Gently mix with a generous squeeze of lime juice and a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fish, shrimp, scallops, chicken? Or with a finer dice, great with chips, too.
The recipe for Panko Crusted Petrale Sole here.

Mike’s Produce Truck

On my way home from work, I just pull over to the side of the road and shop for all the vegetables for my fresh salsa.  Now that’s my kind of Fast Food!
Today marks the One Year Anniversary of Taste With The Eyes.
Having a food blog has been and continues to be a whole lot of fun, a learning experience, a terrific creative outlet,  a source of pride, and a way to make new friends. Thank you all.