Watermelon Guacamole

by Jill Sites on August 17, 2014

You asked, I’m answering.

Yes, I do realize it’s been since my birthday…2013, that I wrote. That means, not since the following have I dared update this blogging home I used love so much:

Moving to St. Louis; starting my new job; moving into a new home; J having a new album…etc.

So, I owe you a lot, I suppose? As far as this blog is concerned, my “eating” and “drinking” has undergone some SERIOUS changes. I’m some weird combination of a Pescatarian and Vegan. Meaning? I eat fish (not a ton), but no meat and no dairy. I’m not gluten free, but I stay far away from it most of the time.

As for drinking? I’m still very much in the craft beer business, and therefore, still enjoying every minute of it. But I’m also diving into a world of spirits, as well as really not drinking very much of anything. There’s a running joke among my reps and friends: Who’s going to be Jill’s “DD” tonight? No longer does “DD” mean designated driver. It now means who is going to be the person to finish my drinks. I’ll always have one in my hand, of course…it’s my job. But someone has to finish those bad boys…

As for why I haven’t blogged, there are many reasons. But the largest is that when I cook–which is far less these days, due to the actual ability to pick up food or have it delivered for the first time in the 9+ years J and I have been together–I’m pretty pooped, and while the meal is generally lovely and nourishing, it doesn’t necessarily feel like something anyone else would care to hear about.

So why are we here now? Right. Watermelon Guacamole. The other night, I posted a photo of dinner–shrimp lettuce wrap tacos with a watermelon guacamole. (The only way any of you know I’m still cooking occasionally is via social media–thanks for sticking with me.) The instagrammers/tweeters went question crazy, and I promised a real live blog post.

Back story? I love fruit. As you all know if you’ve been reading this for the last few years. And? I had some farm fresh watermelon in the fridge from my newly discovered STL find, the Tower Grove Farmers Market. We also LIVE for guacamole all days, what with the I really love to eat vegetables and fruit. Generally, while making a taco experience (all too often) I’d make a fruity salsa “thing” and a guac. But not this night…

I decided to do some combining. One, we were out of some required ingredients. Two, the combination of watermelon and avocado seemed way too good to pass up. The outcome was priceless and beautiful, and it was one of those dishes I wished I had more of.

Cooks note: This would be also be GREAT not mashed up–the way I prepared it–but chunked up as a salad with the roasted shrimp I made for the tacos.

Enjoy! And who knows…maybe we see a trend?

Watermelon Guacamole
  • 1 ripe Hass Avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1 C diced watermelon, juice reserved
  • 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 C cilantro
  • coarse sea salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
In mixing bowl, place cubed avocado, grated garlic, and juice of HALF the lime. Lightly mash (be careful to not overmash.) You want the mixture to be slightly chunky.
Add in cilantro, salt, pepper, and lightly mix. Add in watermelon and gently fold together.
Add in small amounts of watermelon juice as you fold in until you reach desired consistency.
(I wanted mine to be spoonable.)
Add salt and pepper to taste–add more lime juice if you need.

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Vegan Shepherds Pie with Kale Chips

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you know I’m no stranger to a Shepherds Pie. In fact, I’ve written three (count them 3!) different recipes that I’ve shared here. In my opinion, life doesn’t get much better than a great Shepherds Pie. Perfect for leftovers that need a new life,  and easier than, well, pie to manipulate for what you need, this Irish classic is a big favorite in our house, especially between the months of December and April.

Wilt in kale with vegetables as they cook

Earlier this year, when J and I first began eating a Pescetarian diet, I used my basic recipe and omitted the meat, added some extra vegetarian friendly ingredients, and had what appeared to be a perfect (and healthy) version. If my math is correct, and I did a lot of actual measuring (ha!) in this recipe, there are 167 calories** contained in 1/4 of this recipe (you know, enough for me but you’d need to double that for J.) Add in the kale chips I made as a side and you’re only MAYBE 93 calories. That’s such a low-calorie dinner that you can feel ok having the glass of red wine I did AND an extra square of dark chocolate. I mean…come one come all.

Naked Shepherds Pie bathed in the most delicious (and VEGAN) gravy.

The entire thing took me less than an hour from start to finish, and the real delay was mainly because I was busy trying to take less offensive photos and dilly dallying a bit.

Cooked Kale Chips (made with Lacinato Kale this time.)

You must try this. I insist. Especially all of you that are on or plan to be on the 22 day vegan challenge that Jay and Beyonce are making so au currant.

If you miss the meat, I promise I’ll send you something good. Or Santa will. Not sure how this works…

**These calculations are according to MyFitnessPal and may be only as precise as said app allows.

Vegan Shepherds Pie
1 TBSP olive oil
3 large Portabella caps, stems removed, cut into large chunks
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped into large chunks
1 C kale, stems removed, cut into thin strips
1 TBSP Herbs de Provence (or use a combo of oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme)
2 TBSP gluten free (or All Purpose) flour
1 C vegetable stock, divided
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1/2 TBSP coconut butter
kosher salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a very large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil.
Put mushrooms in skillet* and allow to cook down about 4-5 minutes, until mushrooms have darkened in color, and reduced in size. Add salt and pepper.
Add onion and garlic to pan, cook about 1 minute, adjusting heat if necessary.
Add fennel and cauliflower to pan, seasoning each layer as you go, and toss vegetables. Allow to cook about 3-4 minutes. Add kale, begin to wilt.
Season with more salt, pepper (as needed) and Herbs de Provence.

Add flour to pan, sprinkling over vegetables. Allow to cook 1 minute, until flour is just cooked out.
Add balsamic vinegar, cook 1 minute.
Turn heat to high, add 1/2 vegetable stock, and stir mixture constantly. (This will form the gravy.)
Allow mixture and sauce to come together, thickening. Add more stock if mixture gets too dry.

Reduce heat to simmer, and let sit.

While vegetables are cooking, add cubed sweet potato to small sauce pot, cover with cold water and lid. Bring to a boil, remove lid, and cook until potatoes are soft and a fork/knife can easily slip into potato.

Drain potatoes, return to pot, and set on the burner on simmer/low heat. Add remaining vegetable stock, coconut butter, salt and pepper to taste. Mash until well mixed, and then stir vigorously with wooden spoon.
Place vegetable mixture in the bottom of casserole dish. Cover with sweet potatoes, making sure to “seal” all edges with potatoes.
Bake in oven for approximately 12 minutes, then broil 5-6 minutes until top is golden brown and gravy is bubbling. Allow to rest 1-2 minutes then serve (alongside kale chips if desired.)
*When browning mushrooms, allow to brown fully before adding salt and pepper. It will allow the mushrooms to stay more firm and flavorful. Or so I’ve been told and thus do.
Kale Chips
1 1/2 C kale, removed from stem and chopped into large pieces
1 TBSP olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If you’re making with Shepherd’s Pie, oven will be preheating already.)
Place kale on baking sheet, and toss with olive oil salt, and pepper.
Bake in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. WATCH CAREFULLY as chips can go from perfect to burned and disintegrated in no time.

Remove from heat. Serve immediately.


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