An avocado is ripe when the green skin turns black and the little button in the center turns brown.
With a little salt and the juice of half a lime–to keep it from turning brown–that’s all it takes to make an avocado spread. Add a dash of Sriracha sauce to keep it interesting. Slivers of raw red onion add a bit of color and contrast. And also its sharpness lends flavor!
Asian Avocado Salad (adapted from epicurious.com)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups coarsely chopped trimmed romaine lettuce
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup 1/3-inch cubed, seeded Thai guava or green apple (can use jicama, also called munkaeo in Thai)
2 large avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes (for color)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and/or scallion, optional, for garnish
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon sea salt (kosher salt in original recipe)
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (use more if more heat is desired)
Stir sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic and light golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl to cool.
Whisk salad dressing ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add lettuce or watercress, green onions, and guava or jicama; toss to coat. Add avocados and gently toss.
Sprinkle salad with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro/scallion. Chill and serve.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover; chill.
*Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Japanese markets.
I love avocados but it is difficult to assess their ripeness. I’ve slit into an avocado only to discover it was either under-ripe or over-ripe. I have discovered that the under-ripe ones hold up well in stews and ratatouilles. The over-ripe ones I usually make into an avocado spread or guacamole. But this came as a revelation to me: to use an avocado to make chocolate truffles (recipe adapted from Christine@Apple of My Eye). The delicate flavor of avocado is overpowered by the chocolate, so its only purpose is to add moisture to the truffle balls. I call the recipe the
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Truffles
Makes 18-20 one-inch diameter truffles
1 over ripe avocado (save the best ones for salads and sandwiches!)
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, recommended (I used semi-sweet baking chocolate and chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided.
In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate over boiling water. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-40 second increments, stirring after each increment. Cool slightly.
Process the avocado until it’s a smooth paste in a food processor. Scrape the avocado paste into the melted chocolate along with the sugar, salt, vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Refrigerate or freeze the chocolate mixture until it is firm–about 1-2 hours.
Remove from the fridge or freezer. Using 2 teaspoons, shape the chocolate mixture into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Roll each chocolate ball in the remaining tablespoon of chocolate powder. Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
Baker’s Note: Though this simple recipe requires no baking, it does need to be thoroughly chilled before rolling in the cocoa powder. And when it is warm, as it is here in Bangkok, the truffle returns to room temperature rather quickly, and the cocoa powder will be absorbed. My sister-in-law who is an expert in all things chocolate, recommends freezing the truffles before rolling them in the cocoa powder. It worked beautifully. Thanks, Mimi!
My sister-in-law gave me five whole wheat buns. That was the inspiration and the basis for this recipe. I grilled breaded chicken tenders which were just the right length for these small buns, then topped them with a little chicken gravy, avocado slices, romaine lettuce and crisp bacon. It was the perfect light supper.
This salad can be served on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce too. I used fresh mozzarella cheese because it tastes better, and kalamata olives because the salad needed something sour. Emeril Lagasse’s Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette is easy to make too, full of flavor–I do love garlic. I made one addition to the vinaigrette– a tablespoon of Dean Ornish’s Little Italian Seasoning.
Tomato Avocado Mozzarella Salad (inspired by Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —
2 ripe Italian plum tomatoes
2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the tomatoes and avocados. Put them in a medium bowl. Chop the cheese into 1 inch pieces and add to the bowl. Top with olives. Pour the vinaigrette over all and gently toss. Add salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinaigrette (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Little Italian Seasoning (recipe to follow)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
In a small bowl or two cup measure, add the vinegar and oil. Use a garlic press to squeeze the garlic into the bowl or measure. Add the Little Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Whisk to emulsify the mixture. Store remainder, covered, in the refrigerator.
Little Italian (adapted from Dean Ornish)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: —
2 tablespoons each of:
- dried basil
- dried marjoram
- dried oregano
- ground coriander
- dried thyme
- dried rosemary
- dried savory
2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Blend all spices together and store in the refrigerator. Use it to flavor salad dressing, meat, chicken, or fish.
I had such misadventures with this cake. Never bake when you are tired and distracted! But I pushed myself to bake because I was filled with nervous energy and needed to do something positive. And because I was fading, I forgot to add the baking soda and skipped the almonds. I merely sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar. The cake came out more dense than it should be, the palest of greens, but it is still edible. I actually like it toasted, with berries on the side, for breakfast. With clementine sauce, it is heavenly.
AVOCADO-POLENTA POUND CAKE (adapted from Joy the Baker)
Makes 2 9x4x3-inch loaves or 1 10 inch tube cake.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (1 tablespoon vinegar with milk added to 1 cup line)
flesh of 1 1/2 ripe avocados, just over a cup to a cup and a half of avocado, mashed
Cake Topping (optional)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan(s) and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. Set the four eggs out on the counter to come to room temperature while you beat the butter and sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the avocado and beat another minute to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed.
On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after the addition of each egg. Don’t turn off the machine between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat just until combined. Give the batter a few turns by hand with a spatula to make sure it is completely mixed.
Divide the batter between the two loaf pans or scrape it into the tube cake pan. Smooth the tops. Tap pan(s) gently on the counter to eliminate air bubbles and place in the oven. Sprinkle the top of the cake(s) with topping mixture, if desired. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes or until the pan is cool enough to handle. Invert onto a cooling rack and turn right side up to cool completely.