Avocados Are Here!

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I  grew up in Northern California with a zucchini bush and an avocado tree. We had avocado everything. It has taken me a long time to re-acquaint myself with the rich, nutty amazing flavor of avocados.

Avocados are in season winter and spring in Southern California and widely available in markets. Avocados are used not only in salads and the ever-popular guacamole, but also in breads, desserts, main dishes and non-culinary creams for facials and body massages. Some eat avocados with milk and sugar. Even the avocado tree leaves are used in some parts of Mexico. Both green and dried leaves can be used for wrapping tamales, or seasoning for barbecues and stews. I have even seen, but not yet tried, avocado ice cream!

The avocado is widely considered a vegetable, since it is commonly used in salads. However, it is actually a fruit that tastes like a vegetable. It should be soft to the touch, but not too mushy. Place an avocado pit in your guacamole so it does not brown. Try playing with this treat from nature and create some dishes of you own.

Basic Guacamole

6 ripe Avocados
3 vine ripe tomato, diced
1 red onion, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime
3 cloves garlic, minced and mashed.
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
Sal t to taste

Cut avocados in halve and scoop out flesh into a bowl. Fold remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Serve with chops, veggies or spread on sandwiches.


Chicken Tortilla Soup with Avocado

1/4-cup olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red, green and yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Carrot, diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon each cumin and chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes with juice (I like to use yellow if you can find them.)
5 cups chicken stock
1-pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can (15 ozs) black beans, rinsed
2 cups corn kernels
1/2-cup fresh cilantro
1 cup tortilla chips, crunched
Diced avocado

In a large soup pot heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers, garlic, carrots, onion, thyme, cumin and chili powder. Sauté, stirring continually for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, chicken and stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the chicken breasts and let cool then dice into bite size peaces. Return to pot and add the black beans and corn and bring to another boil. To serve add a handful of chips to the bottom of each bowl add soup and garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado.

Avocado and Mozzarella Penne

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-cup olive oil
1cup basil, coarsely chopped
Juice of one Lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (16-ounce) package uncooked penne pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, toss mozzarella cheese with tomatoes, avocados, garlic, olive oil, half the basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pan to keep warm. Add tomato mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Transfer onto individual serving plates and garnish with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil.

Avocado Bread

You can add grated carrots or chocolate chips to this recipe!

2 cups flour
3/4-cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
1/2-teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 large avocado
1/2-cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and avocado. Stir in the buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and blend well. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ginger and Avocado Sauce

This sauce is amazing over chicken or fish. I have even tossed it with pasta!

2 Ripe Avocados, peeled and seeded
1 Cup Dijon mustard
2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
1 shallot
1 tablespoon white wine vine
2 Tablespoons grape seed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed. Allow to rest 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.

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