Tag Archives: avocado

California Breakfast Sandwich

California Breakfast Sandwich

With summer in full swing, I am enjoying the spoils of California produce, namely avocados and heirloom tomatoes. They are put to good use in this, my version of an egg McMuffin.

I used a egg ring to contain my egg while it was cooking, but it was only a modest success. I sprayed the egg ring and pan liberally with nonstick cooking spray, but the egg still stuck to the ring. All the same, it did reign in the cooked egg, making a prettier sandwich, but if you don’t want to fool with it, no worries!

California Breakfast Sandwich
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Heirloom tomatoes and avocado boost this morning treat.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 1
  • 1 Oroweat Sandwich thin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with a tsp of water
  • ¼ of an avocado, sliced thinly
  • ¼ of a medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 slice of Tilamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Put the sandwich thin in the toaster just as you are about to add the eggs to the pan. Add the eggs to the pan and scramble them, stirring constantly. Before they are cooked through, add the cheese to the top and cover to allow the cheese to melt.
  2. To assemble, place the egg and cheese mixture on top of the bottom half of the sandwich thin. Garnish with avocado, tomato and cilantro. Salt and Pepper to taste. Top with the other slice of sandwich thin. Eat immediately!

The Best Cinqo De Mayo Avocado Shrimp Tostadas

California Avocado Shrimp Tostadas

Cinqo de Mayo is just around the corner and we’re getting ready by enjoying California Avocados – back in season and perfect for bringing together your favorite Mexican flavors – lime, cilantro, and… avocado. Yum.

This shrimp tostada recipe, a light and healthy dish perfect for a weeknight or for a dinner party, was shared with us by the California Avocado Commission and was created for them by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, aka, the Too Hot Tamales of early Food Network fame. Known also for their fabulous Santa Monica restaurant Border Grill, the Too Hot Tamales have been partnering with the California Avocado Commission for some time now to bring fresh, flavorful, avocado forward dishes to all of us. Enjoy!

avocado commission

Avocado Trio

The Best Cinqo De Mayo Avocado Shrimp Tostadas
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Bold flavors come together in this fresh take on the shrimp tostada
Recipe type: Entrée Salad
Serves: 4
  • ¾ cup beer
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. celery seeds
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ lb. domestic, wild-caught jumbo shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 ripe, fresh California avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1½ limes, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, finely julienned
  1. Combine beer, bay leaves, celery seeds, cayenne and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just turning pink and cooked through. Remove shrimp from liquid, cool to room temperature, and cut into ½-inch dice.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked shrimp with avocado, tomato, onion, carrot, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir gently, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Meanwhile, pour oil to a depth of ½-inch in a small pan for frying. Fry the tortillas on both sides until crisp and drain on paper towels.
  4. To serve, divide julienned lettuce evenly between each crispy corn tortilla. Top with avocado shrimp mixture and serve immediately.
I substitute ¼ cup shredded carrots (in the bag) for the diced carrots in this recipe and I leave out the celery seeds.

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters

With Cinqo de Mayo around the corner, what better way to celebrate the flavors of Mexico than to try out new recipes featuring the avocado, now back in season, here in California.

This year, Americans will consume 81 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo alone! That’s more than 160 million avocados in one day. Get in on the fun by trying this recipe, created for the California Avocado Commission by celebrity chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, known as the “Too Hot Tamales,” and co-chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This dynamic duo were Food Network pioneers when their show “Too Hot Tamales” premiered in 1995. They’ve gone on to compete on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” and have now partnered with the California Avocado Commission to create innovative, fresh recipes featuring California avocados.

I love how this recipe is new and different and yet reminiscent of food I love. It reminds me of falafel of course, but there is also something very sushi maki about it too – like, if you were to take a california roll and fry it. Hey wait a minute. I think I’m onto something.

The recipe uses quinoa (pronounced “KEEN wah”), the high-protein, ancient Andean grain everyone is eating these days. It also calls for Cotija (pronounced “ko-TEE-hah”) cheese, a Mexican cheese with a grainy texture used as an accent by adding a tangy saltiness to dishes when grated on top. If your local grocer doesn’t sell Cotija cheese, order it on Amazon or substitute grated Parmesan.

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters
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Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 8
  • ⅔ cup white or black quinoa, rinsed and well drained
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup grated cotija cheese
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup canola or grape seed oil for frying
  • 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and cut in ½-3/4 inch dice
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Aji Amarillo Aioli (see make-ahead recipe below)
  1. Place a small, dry saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa and toast for about 5 minutes, shaking and stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Transfer to a large saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, flour, cheese and salt. Add onions, parsley, egg and yolk. Stir thoroughly with a spoon until the mixture has the consistency of soft dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, season avocado with salt and pepper to taste and toss gently to coat.
  5. Using hands, create round fritters about the size of a walnut shell with a piece of avocado in the center of each fritter.
  6. Working in batches, gently slide fritters into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning as necessary. Drain on paper towels and serve warm, topped with Aji Amarillo Aioli.
If cotija cheese is not available, parmesan cheese can be substituted Yields about 24 fritters

Aji Amarillo Aioli


1 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp aji amarillo chile paste
1 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley


1.    Combine ingredients in small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Not sure where to get Aji Amarillo Chile Paste? It is available on Amazon:

Avocado-Crab Gratinée

Avocado Crab Gratinée

Avocado Crab Gratinée

A few weeks after the amazing California Avocado Commission dinner at One Market, I flew to the south of Spain for a family wedding. We stayed at a small inn about 45 minutes west of Malaga called Hotel Rural La Paloma. Owned and operated by an Italian couple, Philippo and Elena took amazing care of us.

Hotel Rural La Paloma, Spain

The menu at the inn’s restaurant was a great mix of Spanish and Italian-influenced dishes. They were incredibly accommodating as well. My husband is a vegan, and they were happy to prepare separate, off-the-menu dishes for him. While I am moving towards a vegan diet, I took the opportunity to taste a few dishes on the menu that contained dairy and seafood. One of my favorites was “Aguacate relleno de pulpa de cangrejo gratinado,” or “Puréed avocado stuffed with crab au gratin.” We’ll call it Avocado-Crab Gratinée.

Hotel Rural La Paloma

I couldn’t wait to come home and try to prepare the dish myself. Elena was nice enough to share the recipe with me and both avocados and dungeness crabs happen to be in season right now. This dish is so easy to prepare, you could easily whip it up for weeknight treat for two.

Avocado Crab Gratinée

Avocado-Crab Gratinée

Avocado-Crab Gratinée
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Avocado, crab and cheese. Yum.
Recipe type: Appetiser
Serves: 2
  • 1 ripe California Grown Avocado
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz lump crabmeat
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the broiler. Cut the avocado in half. Discard the pit, but reserve the skins. Empty the flesh into a microwave-safe bowl. Mash it with a fork it and add salt and pepper, combining well. Add the heavy cream and the crabmeat and mix well with a fork. If the mixture is too thick, add additional heavy cream.
  2. Warm the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute. Add the grated Parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir it in completely. Spoon the mixture either back into the two empty avocado halves or into one or two small oven-safe dishes. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top.
  3. Bake under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the cheese has browned slightly. Serve immediately.
Avocado Crab Gratinée

Avocado Crab Gratinée

CA Avocado Commission Dinner at One Market

In late May, the California Avocado Commission hosted a dinner at One Market in San Francisco for a small group of members of the food media. The five-course tasting menu was prepared by Mark Dommen, chef-partner at One Market. We were invited to taste the wide variety of flavors and textures avocados can provide and to learn a little something about how they are grown. Did you know that avocados are in season in California for a full seven months? March through September. And did you know that California grows 90% of our nation’s avocados? For tips on how to best select and store an avocado, check out the avocado commission website.

avocado commission

I must admit. I am a fairly recent avocado convert. Growing up in Maryland in the eighties, I didn’t see an avocado until I was at least 20, so I was a little bit scared of them until recently. Ten years in California have warmed me up to them and now I can barely eat a veggie burger without smooshing avocado slices on top. The avocado commission dinner was well-timed for me. You could say I was ripe for it.

Here’s what was on the menu:

Avocado Soup
Chilled California Avocado & Pea Soup with Smoked Sable Fish and Shiso
Dungeness Crab Avocado Salad
Dungeness Crab & California Avocado Salad with Lemongrass Sorbet
Alaskan Halibut
Alaskan Halibut “Sous Vide” with California Avocado “Hollandaise,” Asparagus, and a Quail Egg
New York Steak
Wood Grilled New York Steak with California Avocado “Chimichurri,” and Fresh Corn Polenta
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Tart
Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Cake with California Avocado Ice Cream, Strawberries and Almonds

The Dungeness Crab and California Avocado Salad with Lemongrass Sorbet stood out that night as one of my favorite dishes. The recipe is available at the Avocado Commission’s website. As you can see in the photo above, you can prepare it with the avocado slices wrapped around the crab in an almost “sushi” style, or you can prepare it as it is in the photo below, piling the crab on top to make it “tall.”

Dinner Party Recap and A new adventure

Over the past six days, I’ve shared each course of a five-course dinner I cooked for my husband’s recent birthday party. Looking at the array of photos below, would it occur to you that this is a collection of vegan, gluten-free recipes? Think of it. No cheese. No pasta. No fish or fowl. If you had asked me on my husband’s birthday last year whether I could (or would even want to) make a dinner like this, I would have answered, “no,” flatly. Now, I can barely imagine eating any other way. Well, almost barely.

Marinated Olives with Fennel Cucumber & Avocado Ceviche Artichoke Velouté with Black Truffle Carpaccio
Roasted Asparagus w/ Grapefruit & Lemon Oil Saffron and White Wine Braised Spring Vegetables Strawberry Sorbet

Yes, we are happily joining the national craze of eating in a sustainable, healthful way. In fact, just yesterday, I planted a whole pallet of seeds which means we’re joining the garden-at-home craze too. Count on a whole host of blog entries about this new adventure. When I was on the outside looking in at this fad, I thought it was a bit of overblown malarky, and, well, just a fad. Now that I’m joining in, I can feel myself transforming into an evangelist. I guess 38 per cent of Americans (the number of people who had a vegetable garden last year) can’t be wrong. Well, sometimes they can, but not this time.

Seeds germinating after just 24 hours

I absolutely must thank Viviane Bauquet Farre for her inspiration and help on this birthday dinner project. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, you are really missing out. You can find her at food and style and please, go “Like” her facebook fan page. Viviane creates the most original and beautiful recipes. She also produces some of the highest quality cooking instructional videos on the web. See them all on StreamingGourmet.com. It took me months to figure out that her recipes are vegetarian, so they will appeal to you whether you are a vegetarian, a vegan, an omnivore or someone determined to subsist on truffles and scotch. Seriously. Thanks again, Viviane!

Viviane Bauquet Farre

Cucumber and Avocado Ceviche

Avocado and Cucumber Ceviche

It’s day two of my blogging event: “How to host an elegant, flavorful, vegan, gluten-free dinner party” for which I feature recipes created by the lovely and talented Viviane Bauquet Farre of food and style. This recipe was the first course of the dining extravaganza that was my husband’s birthday dinner this past weekend. This kicked off a wonderful five course meal. For course number two, you will have to check back tomorrow.

Avocado and Cucumber Ceviche

Normally, when one thinks of ceviche, raw seafood that has been cured in a citrus marinade is what comes to mind. Well, this is a vegetarian version ceviche. It’s an incredibly light dish, perfect for spring and summer gatherings and it is incredibly easy to make. I prepped all of the vegetables ahead of time except for the avocado because I didn’t want it to turn brown. I waited until just before I assembled the dish to cut the avocado. Drizzling it with a lime-based marinade helps keep it from browning, but it’s important for the avocado to be fresh nonetheless.

The tabasco sauce in the marinade does give it a little kick. If your guests like spice, you can heat up it even more by adding another 1/4 tsp. For me, it was just perfect.

I remembered having traditional ceviche served in a martini glass at a restaurant in San Francisco and I wanted to recreate that effect here, but you could just as easily serve it in a shallow bowl or on a salad plate. Viviane’s presentation is quite different from mine, but truly beautiful. Here is a link to her post.

First Course of the Dinner

Cucumber and Avocado Ceviche

by Viviane Bauquet-Farre of food and style
(I have changed the recipe slightly by chopping the vegetables differently. See Viviane’s version here.
serves 6

For the dressing
1 small shallot – skinned and finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the ceviche
1/2 of a (seedless) English cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium tomatoes – seeded and cut in 1/8″ cubes
1/2 ripe but not-too-soft avocado – pit removed, skinned and cut into small cubes
Cilantro sprigs as garnish


1. To make the dressing, place all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl and toss. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, beating continuously to create an emulsion. Set aside.

2. Toss a large spoonful of cucumber into a martini glass or shallow bowl. Place a spoonful of tomato cubes on top of the cucumber and a spoonful of avocado cubes on top of that. Drizzle with dressing and toss a bit to coat. Garnish with a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: This recipe can also be served as a side salad. Instead of serving it in individual small plates, serve it in a large platter.

Avocado and Cucumber Ceviche

Autumn Salad with Tangerines, Avocado, and Pumpkin Seeds

Autumn Salad

Autumn Salad

Day 28 of 31 days of pumpkin and I am craving salad, people! So maybe you’ll call it a cheat, but I’m eating a salad with pumpkin seeds in it and calling it fair game. And what a delicious salad it is. I found it in this wonderful little book, Halloween Treats: recipes and crafts for the whole family, by Donata Maggipinto. Published in 1998, it’s currently out of print, but is available from Amazon sellers:

The cumin-scented vinaigrette lends an air of mystery to this salad. The flavors of autumn come together beautifully. Frankly, I’m just glad to be eating something green.

Oh, and a word about roasting pumpkin seeds. I did a post earlier this month where I roasted the seeds with a rich, spicy coating, but for the salad, I just tossed them with olive oil and a lot of salt and roasted them on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, turning them every 15 minutes. These pumpkin seeds had sat out on the counter drying for about two days, which I think enhanced the flavor in the end.

Autum Salad with Tangerines, Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds
Serves 6


For the dressing

2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
ground pepper to taste

2 medium heads red leaf lettuce, leaves separated, carefully rinsed, and dried
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
6 Tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds


1. In the bottom of a large salad bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, cumin, and salt and whisk to dissolve the salt. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking as you do so. Season with pepper.

2. Put the lettuce, tangerines, onion, avocado, and pumpkin seeds on top of the dressing in the bowl. If you are not serving the salad immediately, cover it with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you are serving the salad immediately, toss the greens lightly with the vinaigrette and serve.

Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

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