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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.