Main Dishes

Healthy Avocado Dressing with Zucchini Spaghetti


What do you do if you have too many avocados around your house? You make a delicious avocado mayo or avocado dressing - a healthy avocado dressing. I started searching through Pinterest to get some inspiration and soon enough I came across Tiffany's recipe from Creme de La Crumb's food blog. You know that I like to try recipes from other sites and then write about them, so this was just another opportunity. Let me tell you she is a genius! This is one of my favorite and easy healthy recipes, especially if you are trying to cut on carbs like pasta or meat. You can't go wrong. I can see how this avocado dressing can be used for zucchini spaghetti, as a spread for sandwiches and also as an avocado pasta sauce. I am posting the exact ingredients from Tiffany's recipe below, with notes on what I did differently. I encourage you to visit her site to see more of her delicious recipes.
INGREDIENTS
  • 2-3 large or 3-4 small zucchinis. [Gin's notes: I bought them already cut in spiral at Whole Foods. They cost between $5.00 and $8.00. Well worth the money). 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 avocados [I added 2.5 to get a creamy denser dressing]
  • juice of 1 lime
  • large handful of cilantro (about ⅓ cup loosely packed)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • water, as needed [This helps if you want to have a liquid dressing, otherwise retain from water if you want a more mayo consistency.]
  • I added half tomatillo and it turned out to be a great addition. I just had it around the house. 

PREPARATION
I used the food processor, but you could use your blender or hand mixer. Put all ingredients together except for the water.  Mix together until super smooth. If it is too dense add water a little at the time. Taste for salt and pepper.

Place the zucchini (raw) (already cut from Whole Foods) into a large bowl or a plate. Pour the avocado dressing or avocado mayao(however you want to call it) on top of the zucchini spaghetti. You can use a spoon and just put a big spoon of the avocado dressing on top of your zucchini. Pour the remaining dressing in a small bowl in case your guests want to add more.

That's it. Again, I can't rave enough about this recipe. It's healthy, low in calories, delicious, vegan, and just perfect.

Pizza Dough: Making Italian Pizza 


PIZZA DOUGH

How many times have you tried to make home made pizza dough and it’s just does not taste like the one you buy at the store or in a pizzeria? I have become obsessed with pizza lately. I had posted previously how to make pizza dough using regular flour or wheat flour(all purpose) and following the typical Italian way of cooking. It was still good, but it was not the soft yet crunchy pizza I eat in Italy. The other day I was watching Test Kitchen and they were making pizza dough. I was skeptical because they did some weird things, but I gave it a try and it turned to be amazing. There are still few things I will change. I will talk about what I loved and hated about this recipe and whether it was easy to make at home.
This is the recipe: I strongly suggest to register for free on their websites because you get access to more details, but you can still watch the videos of the pizza dough. All credits go to America’s Test Kitchen. I will tell you whether I changed something.
Pizza Dough Taken from America’s Test Kitchen 
  • 3cups (16 1/2 ounces) bread flour, plus more for work surface (see note)
  • 2teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/3cups ice water (about 10 1/2 ounces) (see note)
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2teaspoons table salt
    • 1. FOR THE DOUGH: In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. (I used the KitchenAid). With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube (I slowly added water); process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes. (This was weird because my dough did not unified and it was all broken in pieces. I added some more water to fix the problem).

    • 2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. (I used the dough the third day. It looked sticky so I added some flour to work it. I divided the dough into two balls so two pizza. The recipe said to use a pizza stone and heat it up at high temperature. I think 500. Then to cook it at the very top of the oven. I did not have the stone so I used a metal round tray with holes at the bottom. I also could not place the tray at the very top. It was in the middle. My oven just is not that great I guess. The stove was at 500 when I cooked the pizza. Here something else I did differently. I always cook the dough before I top it with everything else. That is because otherwise it does not cook and the pizza gets soggy. I cooked it for 5 minutes but I would push it to 7 or 8. Then I added a full spoon of tomato sauce from a jar -did not have time to make it fresh- and added shredded mozzarella. I cooked it until the cheese melted and the crust was gold/brown. Also my dough when I work it is always thin. I like thin crust. 
      Verdict: the pizza is amazing. It really reminded me of something you buy at a pizzeria. The only critique is that I would not add sugar. The dough was too sweet for me. Very tailored to American taste. Also I thought it was weird to use yeast and ice water because of the process of yeast, but it worked. Another secret was the flour. I always used regular flour but the bread flour is magic because it allows rising of the dough and adds elasticity. I never imagined Americans would teach me how to make Italian thin pizza:)