Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Fun with SoCal Avocados

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun with SoCal Avocados

Growing up in South Philadelphia we never ate avocados. I don't even remember eating guacamole until I was away at college. I'm not sure if it was a cultural thing or a neighborhood thing.  But looking back and talking with old friends it was something none of us ever ate.

I'm sure this skewed my opinion of these uber healthy pear shaped fruits (yes, they are fruits not veggies) because until recently I saw them as basically just fillers for sandwiches and such; nothing special. This all changed in late January when my Virtual Potluck group teamed up with SoCal Avocados and we were all shipped a box of 20 hand picked avocados to create recipes with.

SoCal is a small family owned avocado ranch in Southern California.  They grow several varieties of avocados (who knew there was more than one kind) including the well known Hass.  My box of avocados included 4 varieties and a description card to help distinguish each by shape, texture and taste.  You can read more about the different types on thier web page....and I suggest you do because it's really quite interesting.  SoCal also offers a avocado of the month program be sure to check it out.  Want to WIN some SoCal avocados.....keep reading for details.

This was probably one of the most enjoyable and enlightening food projects I've worked on.  I was determined to experiment and bring avocados into the forefront of my diet.  And why not the health benefits are amazing.  They have no cholesterol, they provide over 13 grams of fiber, are low in carbs and can help you lose weight when you choose them over other sources of fat.

So what did I make with all these avocados?  I started with a Caesar dressing...experimenting on substituting avocado for the egg in my favorite recipe.  It worked well...maybe even better than the original.  I moved on to ice cream.  I've heard people talk about avocado ice cream in the past and thought why not.  I pureed the avocado, mixed it with cream, sugar and some rum until I got the taste and consistency I desired.  Topped with crushed pistachios the finished product was good...different for sure. (see recipe below)


 My favorite dish by far though was the Avocado Fennel & Beet Salad. Thin slices of fresh fennel, avocado and red beets layered over a bed of peppery arugula and drizzled with olive oil and a pinch of lemon juice. This was heaven in a plate.



Avocado Fennel & Beet Salad
1 SoCal avocado; peeled and sliced
1 package Melissa's Peeled Baby Red Beets; sliced
1 fennel bulb; thinly sliced
1 bunch arugula
lemon juice
olive oil
salt & pepper

Place arugula on a serving platter mix with shaved fennel. Top with alternating layers of avocado and beets. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Avocado Rum Ice Cream
3 SoCal avocados
4 tablespoon rum
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
crushed pistachios

Peel and pit the avocados. Add the avocados, milk, and sugar to a blender and puree. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl, add the heavy cream and rum; whisk to combine. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and chill about 4 hours.

Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. For soft ice cream, serve immediately. If desired, place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours for firmer texture. Top with crushed pistachios.


CONTEST
SoCal has agreed to send one lucky reader a box of avocados to try.  All you have to do is visit their site and choose the avocado you would most like to try.  Come back here and let us know and you'll be entered.

Want a few extra entrees.... Follow me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know here. Already a follower...thanks! How about following one of the other VP bloggers or SoCal

Contest ends 2/26/2012 at midnight EST.

48 comments:

  1. I only ever knew about Hass avocados, it was so neat to read about the others! I would love to try the Pinkertons!

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  2. I also am now following you on Twitter! =)

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  3. Hmm..avocado ice cream...I would be all over that. I would love to try the Gwen or Bacon variety.

    cereza25 at yahoo dot com

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  4. I follow you on Twitter @GoddessFoodie.

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  5. I've always liked the Haas variety. I'd like to try the Bacon avocado.

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  6. look so goo and want to try the bacon ones

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  7. You've been busy! The salad is beautiful - just got some beets from my CSA and I think I have one avocado left, so I'll have to try it. Love the idea of avocado ice cream - I made an avocado cheesecake that was a big hit too.

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  8. I wanted to grab that salad and it eat straight off my screen! the ice cream looks yummers too.

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  9. I want to try fuerte avocados!

    jfong1130 at yahoo dot com

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  10. I would love to try the Fuerte!

    larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

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  11. I would love to try the Gwen Avocado or the Zutano! All of them seem amazing! I love, love, love avocados. Thank you for directing me to their site.

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  12. I loved all of the Avocados especially the Fuerte! Your dishes look incredible! What time is dinner?

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  13. I would love to try the MacArthur Avocados. I didn't know there that many varieties. yellow_patricia at hotmail dot com

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  14. I follow you on twitter as yourpotofgold. yellow_patricia at hotmail dot com

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  15. Such a pretty salad! I need more avocados to make everyone's recipes!

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  16. Im not a fan of avocados. I remember I tried eating it before and then i got collapse for 10mins whew. but this post looks interesting.
    i like the style.

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  17. I love avocados. The Lamb Hass sounds especially interesting and I would love to try it.

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  19. I would love to try them all but the bacon variety looks interesting.

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  20. I also, never knew there were so many varieties of avocados. The ice cream looks delicious! Their sushi recipe lloks super easy too! I would like to try the fuerte avocado as they specifically say it has great taste. I am sure they all do, but it sticks out to me because it doesn't darken when ripe. Yum, all around, yum.

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  21. I would LOVE to try the Bacon Avacados! I have been experimenting with them as well. I absolutely LOVE them!!!

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  22. What a great salad. I love the combination.

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  23. That salad looks delicious. I'd love to try the Fuerte avocado.
    racblom@juno.com

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  24. Bacon Avacados!

    cass0289@yahoo.com

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  25. I follow you on FB

    cass0289@yahoo.com

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  26. I follow you on Twitter

    cass0289@yahoo.com

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  27. I am interested in trying the Gwen

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  28. I also follow SoCal on twitter, FB and e-mail

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  29. I friended SoCal on Facebook. Kate @kateiscooking

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  30. I friended SoCal on Facebook. kate @kateiscooking

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  31. Just have to tell you my funny about avocados. When I was three we moved to CA for a few months. My mother was thrilled to have fresh avocados ALL the time. Me, not so much. I finally looked at her and said, "I just don't go for those applecados." Now, I think about how many wonderful avocados I missed!

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  32. I would try the gwen, they had me at rich & buttery!

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  33. I follow you on facebook.
    racblom@juno.com

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  34. I follow all the other VP bloggers and SoCal Avocados on FB also :)
    racblom@juno.com

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  35. I'd like to try the Zutano and Bacon.

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  36. I'm one of your current followers on both facebook and twitter.

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  37. I am following Miss in the Kitchen.

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  38. I love Hass Avocados but would like to try the Bacon ones as they sound interesting.

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  39. I follow on Twitter as @southerncooker

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