Posts tagged Michael Symon

Bacon bleu cheese guacamole

Here in Cleveland, people utter the words bacon bleu cheese guacamole in hushed tones. Celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon featured this guacamole in a Food Network episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The place where he sampled the guac? Lopez on Lee an unassuming restaurant in Cleveland Heights where Rick Bayless once donned the head chef hat.

I haven’t been to Lopez on Lee (the night Mr. Squid and I decided to go we ended up at a Cambodian restaurant instead). But as a guacamole fan, it’s easy to imagine how to pull off this recipe: good guac IMHO is a matter of mixing together half of your ingredients first while saving the other half to stir in. The half-and-half method makes for a creamy guac that still has chunks of flavor tucked inside.

Here’s how we make bacon bleu cheese guac at our house:

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 (easily doubled)


Ingredients

2 avocados

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled

1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 clove garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded & minced (optional of Sriracha)

Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In bowl, add the inside from one of the avocados and the Greek yogurt. Mash and blend using a fork.
  2. Mix in the cumin, pepper, garlic, and half of the bleu cheese; combine until smooth.
  3. Slice the other avocado into small pieces, then stir into the smooth mixture along with the bacon and the rest of the bleu cheese crumbles.
  4. Adjust seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.

Kids’ reactions:

My teen liked the pungent flavor of the bleu cheese mixed with smoky bacon and creamy avocado. My younger two sampled small tastes but weren’t real anxious to try more. This guacamole is definitely for more grown-up taste buds. If you’re looking for a 4th of July showstopper, this is it.

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6 Favorite Spots at Cleveland’s West Side Market

With my crew overlooking the market

My kids each have favorite finds at Cleveland’s West Side Market, an indoor/outdoor food mecca that boasts about 100 vendors selling everything from fresh blackberries to spicy beef jerky.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the market so I thought I’d share some of my favorite food vendors there. Although I haven’t yet visited all of the booths—and we do try to visit a new place each time we go—these are my top finds.

You can download a map so that you won’t get lost when you visit. Then again, getting lost has its advantages—new discoveries.

Ohio City Pasta

One more pack of raviolis please.

What to buy: ravioli, yummy sauces & specialty butters

We usually buy a couple different kinds of ravioli along with one carton of sauce to make a meal at home. My kids love the asiago cheese-stuffed ravioli with the lobster cream sauce. There are also daily specials. The walnut butter was a hit, but the cilantro-lime linguine (my choice) wasn’t so tasty.

Theresa’s Bakery

What to buy: monk cake, pecan rolls

Monk cake is a West Side Market original. Chocolate cake with layers of mouse and raspberry filling are enveloped by a thick piece of chocolate. There are two bakeries that happen to be right next to each other that both sell monk cake. Cake Royale, created it, but

Say it with reverence...the monk cake

Theresa’s offers it too. I’m partial to Theresa’s version since it’s denser and less sweet than Cake Royale’s but I’m holding out a final verdict until I’m sampled it a few more times;) Maybe I also favor Theresa’s since I’m addicted to their pecan rolls.

Frank’s Bratwurst

What to buy: the best brats. ever.

I don’t like brats, really. Mr. Squid tried to get me to try Frank’s, but I wouldn’t budge until someone walked by me eating one and it smelled…heavenly. The folks at Frank’s make the brats using ground veal and then flash fry them before cooking. The result is a crispy brat outside and a moist, smooth inside. When they ask, make sure to get the hard roll versus the soft and even though the

Thank you for the handmade veal brats, Frank's

sauerkraut is good, I’d stick with just the meat and the roll to get the full flavor.

J+J Meats

What to buy: beef jerky, bacon, whatever’s on sale

My tween actually saves her allowance to spend on homemade beef jerky at J+J. The little mom-and-pop shop has been busy since it was featured in The Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” as Iron Chef Michael Symon’s pick. The folks who own J+J also own another food booth with the same offerings, Czuchraj.

Steve’s Gyros

What to buy: gyros

Steve's, 'nuf said

You have to get in line at Steve’s before about 11:15 a.m. to avoid the lunch crowd. And I mean crowd. And there are rules to Steve’s line. No cutting. No holding a place for someone else. No ordering more than one extra sandwich per person. Yeah, it’s that good. This booth solidified its fame in an episode of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food. I’ve eaten gyros off the street in Greece–these are better. Maybe it’s the mounds of meat that have been basting on the vertical spit all day or the warm, fresh pitas, or the creamy yogurt sauce. Whatever it is, a stop at Steve’s is a must (a regular sandwich IMHO will easily feed two people).

Crepes De Luxe

What to buy: sweet or savory crepes

Looking for a vegetarian meal? Or maybe something sweet that’s not too heavy? That’s when I head to Crepes De Luxe. Whether you choose a savory a crepe that’s piled with veggies and cheese or a dessert one filled with fresh fruit or Nutella (or both!), these huge crepes are folded so they’re easy to eat while you meander through the market. And each one is made right in front of you.

*If you go to the West Side Market (and you should) it’s open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday during the day. Check the website for hours and where to park. Keep in mind that some vendors are open different times than others.

I couldn't resist..one more monk cake shot

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