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The Letter A

I'm participating in this letter meme via Girasoli's Shave Ice & Gelato who got it from Fizzy Thoughts. My assignment was to come up with 10 things I loved that began with the letter that she assigned to me. She gave me the letter A, and I decided to narrow it down to just food. So, here's what I came up with:

1. Abalone
This is a delicacy that I don't get very often, but when it's prepared well, it can be a real dream. Before I was I born my Dad spent a period of time as an abalone diver here in Santa Barbara. Later growing up in San Diego in the early seventies I can remember having abalone on special occasions. And abalone shells were everywhere—people used them as containers or ashtrays in the house or in the garden. But by the eighties the abalone were gone. Disease, sea otters or poachers, whatever the cause, an entire industry dried up. These days you see farmed abalone on restaurant menus and, though pricey, it can be a nostalgic and delicious treat.

2. Almonds
Almonds are indispensable when it comes to baking. I can specifically recommend this Italian Crumbly Cake with its almond topping and these Almond Fingers and this Toasted Almond Gelato.

3. Anise
Some love it, some hate it, but the licorice like flavor of anise has always been a favorite of mine. I used to make an anise pine nut cookie recipe that was completely vegan and delicious. I haven't made it in years, so it might be time to try it out again.

4. Apples
I once won an apple pie contest with my Caramel Apple Pie, and I make a tasty salad with roasted fennel, endive and apple. But the most unusual apple recipe I have ever tried was this very tasty Sweet Apple Omelet.

5. Apricots
Apricot season is fleeting, but apricot jam is year round. I especially like it in these Apricot Crescent Cookies, that I make during the holidays.

6. Artichokes
Artichokes are just one of those foods that you can never get enough of. I love the giant globe artichokes that are so big that you can barely get them into a pot to steam them. One per person is enough for dinner, served with aioli sauce.

7. Arugula
There is a fantastic book called The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation by David Kamp that tells the story of how we became a gourmet nation. I freely admit that I'm a lover of arugula, and I have the gene that enables me to quite happily eat an all arugula salad.

8. Asiago
There had to be cheese on this list, and this is a delicious Italian cheese that, when aged, hard and grated, is the perfect topping to a plate of pasta.

9. Asparagus
I've always liked asparagus even at the age of five when it was served to me out of a can (which kind of makes me shudder now). But I think I really fell in love with asparagus when I discovered what it tasted like when it was roasted. It needs nothing but the best olive oil, salt and pepper. There is something about those slightly charred tips that make this vegetable irresistible.

10. Avocado
I have grown up and lived my whole life in avocado country. Sliced avocados make their way into the majority of the salads I make, and guacamole is an essential side dish. In the summer I especially like my variation on a Caprese Salad, substituting avocado slices for the mozzarella you end up with a beautiful fan of sliced tomatoes, sliced avocados with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, pepper and scattered basil leaves.

Comments (6)

Yummy list, Krista. And I agree with you about anise. It's one of my favorite flavors.

Barb Cabot:

Krista, this alphabet MeMe is such fun. I like the way everyone interprets it a different way. Yours was clever with the A foods. I do like Abalone very much. We had a friend that lived in Santa Barbara long ago that used to bring us Abalone. What a treat.

Marcia:

My best friend's father used to dive for abalone when we were in elementary school, so back in the early '60's. I remember her mother making us dinner with the catch. Loved the foods.

Love your list! I knew you would have apples but didn't think about avocados. I remember the abalone shells. I don't think I have ever tried abalone though although I would probably like it since I love shellfish and seafood. The only things I really don't like on your list are asparagus and anise.

I liked your approach to focus your "A" words just on food. And it didn't feel like you had to stretch too terribly much! A is a good letter for food.

I'm also enjoying these "Letter" lists!

Very cool! I actually didn't know that Asiago was Italian, for some reason I thought it was Spanish.

First time I heard of abalone was in Omnivore's Dilemma. I really can't imagine what it tastes like.

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