It’s time for another 5 Star Makeover Challenge! This month our ever-imaginative hosts decided to do something different and challenged us to have some fun with Junk Food! The mission, put forth by our hosts: the lovely and talented Natasha of 5 Star Foodie and Laz, that vortex of creativity at Lazaro Cooks, was to take our favorite Junk Food and transform it into a gourmet dish.
I’ve never been a junk food junkie so it wasn’t difficult to decide what my junky ingredient would be: one of the convenience food reincarnations of the potato – French fries, waffle fries, or tater tots. When I splurge, it’s more often on fries than dessert and, back in the day, Carl’s Jr. waffle fries would occasionally get the better of me, so I went for the waffle fries.
With a trip to Hong Kong approaching (we’re leaving tomorrow), I knew I would be a little crazed but didn’t want to miss this month’s challenge – it’s always so inspiring to see what everyone in this talented group creates and I thoroughly enjoy participating. But, things got really crazy this past weekend when all of a sudden we found THE house we’ve been waiting for. We’ve been looking for the past year, but hadn’t seen one that was near the beach, met our criteria AND was in our price range – until Saturday…
That started a whirlwind chain of events: we met with our realtor Sunday morning, made an offer, after a few days of nail-biting – our offer was accepted, and now our house is on the market – just like that! So, not only am I packing a suitcase, this trip might take two suitcases, but frantically preparing to have our house shown while we are in Hong Kong. Fun times! I think I need some waffle fries
But, no excuses here, after a visit to SoCo Farmers Market on Saturday with The Ardent Epicure, I was armed with a painter’s palette of produce including my muse: multi-colored organic radishes – crimson, white, black and purple; ready to put some healthy on those waffle fries! My process is similar to “stream of consciousness” writing – the components just sort of come together as I’m working. I was pleased with the outcome: crunchy, slightly salty waffle fry crostini topped with lush, creamy avocado pesto, thin wafers of crisp radish and sweet notes of apple-y Star fruit. The Za’atar seasoning adds a subtle Middle Eastern flavor along with a dash of heat from Harissa; all together, a bright springtime appetizer with a hint of exotic. College Girl made several trips to the kitchen, in the end, she and her friend polished off nearly a dozen – all the validation I need
Spring Radish and Avocado Crostini
1 bunch assorted radishes*, trimmed and sliced thin
1 California avocado
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Za’atar seasoning*
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 Star fruit, finely chopped
juice of 1 tangerine or other sweet citrus
ground Harissa or cayenne spice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Prepare waffle fries according to package directions. Bake a little longer if you like extra crispy like I do
2. While the fries are baking, prepare the avocado pesto. Cut the avocado in half, discard the seed, and, using a spoon, remove the avocado flesh from the skin and transfer to a bowl or mini food processor (or blender). Blend the avocado with the Za’atar, lime juice, and half of the parsley. Add the olive oil slowly and blend (or whisk) until almost smooth.
3. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the radishes into thin slices.
4. Trim off the ends of the star fruit (you don’t have to peel star fruit), slice into 1/4 inch slices and finely chop. Drizzle with whatever citrus juice you have on hand.
5. Remove the waffle fries from the oven. Allow to cool slightly. Top with a dollop of avocado “pesto”, place several different colored radishes, top with star fruit, a sprinkle of parsley, and a dash of Harissa spice.
*Note: This was a junk food challenge – you can substitute toasted baguette slices for the waffle fries for a more traditional crostini Za’atar seasoning is a Middle Eastern spice mixture of sumac, sesame seeds, and herbs (Mediterranean thyme, Greek oregano, and marjoram). I purchased mine from Savory Spice Shop.
Check out the roundup of all the gourmet junk food creations on Natasha’s or Lazaro’s site and see how your fave has been glammed up!