To help consumers stay or get back on track with their healthy resolutions, the California Avocado Commission distributed a New Year’s Resolutions themed email blast to its fans showcasing the healthy attributes of California avocados.
In November, the California Avocado Commission joined R&D/product innovation executives, executive chefs, chain culinarians and menu decision makers in Atlanta, Georgia for the Third Annual Global Culinary Innovators Association Culinary Combine and the International Corporate Chefs Association Board and Sponsors meeting.
The California Avocado Commission conducts an annual tracking study to evaluate the efficacy of its marketing campaigns and measure changes in consumer preferences, avocado usage and attitudes concerning origins of the fruit. Findings from the study help the Commission adjust its marketing plans to ensure they operate efficiently and effectively and deliver maximum value to growers.
This is the time of year when someone in my family is almost guaranteed to have a cold, or some other lovely virus that one of the kids brought home from school to share with the rest of the family. That is when I pull out comfort foods that not only feed the soul, but the body as well. Congee is one of those meals. Congee is a rice porridge that is made in many Asian countries and is a popular dish to make for someone who is not feeling well.
Congee isn’t difficult to make, though it does require some patience. All you have to do is simmer some rice in water or stock until it soaks up the liquid and starts to disintegrate.
This particular congee is not only delicious, but it has some added nutritional benefits as well. I like making congee with brown rice, instead of the traditional white rice, even though it increases the cooking time. I like the nutty flavor that it adds and you get the added benefit of the extra fiber from the bran still being on the rice, as well as other vitamins and minerals! I also add ginger and garlic for their flavor and nutritional benefits.
But my favorite key ingredient to add is chunks of fresh California Avocado. Not only does the creamy sweetness pair beautifully with the congee, but California Avocados are a healthy superfood that provide “good” fats to one’s diet and act as a “nutrient “booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrient like vitamins A, D, K, and E. Avocados are also a good source of fiber and contain 3 grams of fiber per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). Consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease (and obesity and diabetes), which seems especially appropriate considering that February is American Heart Month!
California Avocado Brown Rice Congee Recipe
Makes 2 – 3 servings
5 cups vegetable stock, plus additional stock as needed
1 cup long-grain brown rice, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (or tamari), plus additional to taste
1 ripe California avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped
Toppings: thinly sliced scallions, fresh cilantro leaves, toasted sesame seeds, chile garlic sauce or sriracha
Mix the vegetable stock, brown rice, fresh ginger, and garlic together in a large pot. Bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer
Simmer the congee, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked through and the congee has a thick, porridge consistency, approximately 90 minutes. If the congee reaches this consistency, but the rice is not fully cooked, stir in an additional 1/4 cup of vegetable stock and continue to simmer, adding additional stock as needed until the rice is fully cooked
When the congee is finished, remove the pot from the heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or tamari), then taste. Add additional soy sauce if needed. Pour the congee into bowls and top with chunks of California avocado and any desired toppings. Serve immediately
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and if you’re in need of a dessert recipe for that special someone, then you must try this Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse. Ripe California Avocados, which are a healthy superfood, are the base of this egg-free, dairy-free mousse.
Cubes of pale green avocado are blitzed with melted dark chocolate, espresso powder, maple syrup, coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla and coffee liqueur. The finished mousse is rich and silky with an intense chocolate flavor and avocado undertones. Coffee and vanilla are minor additions that boost the chocolate flavor without overpowering it. Finish this mousse with an airy dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of shaved chocolate!
I would recommend preparing this mousse on Valentine’s Day, a few hours in advance of dinner. Luckily, it’s practically a no-cook dessert! You simply have to melt chocolate in a microwave, and the rest comes together in the food processor. Keep in mind that the mousse has to chill for two hours in the fridge before serving.
Did you know California Avocados are a good source of fiber and consuming foods rich in fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes? With it being Valentine’s Day AND American Heart Month, this sweet treat is a double win!
Dark Chocolate California Avocado Mousse Recipe
Makes 4 servings
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 ripe Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of Kahlúa (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
Whipped cream, for topping
Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for topping
Place 3/4's of the bittersweet chocolate in a medium glass bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir the chocolate. Microwave on high again for 30 seconds, then stir the chocolate. Stir in the remaining bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder until smooth. Microwave for an additional 15 seconds on high if the chocolate isn't fully melting.
Add diced avocado, maple syrup, coconut milk, cocoa powder, Kahlúa, vanilla, sea salt and melted chocolate to a food processor, and puree until smooth. The mixture won’t look completely 100% smooth, but the texture will still have a silky feel. Season to taste with additional salt.
Spoon mousse into 4 small bowls or jars, and let chill in the fridge for 2 hours (or up to 24 hours). Serve topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
Whether you’re looking for a decadent dessert to swoon the loved one in your life or just have a hankering for something chocolaty, this Chocolate Avocado Lava Cake recipe is for you!
Ever since I tasted my first lava cake, I’ve been obsessed. There is something so special (and somewhat magical) when you break open these delicate cakes and warm and rich chocolate flows out.
Now you can feel a little better about indulging in this tasty treat because I’ve swapped out half of the butter with some gorgeous green California Avocados. Avocados are perfect for subbing for butter in baked goods because it keeps the baked goods nice and moist and is not an overpowering flavor.
California Avocados may not be widely available right now but a number of growers sell them online. There is a list of these growers located here.
Chocolate Avocado Lava Cakes Recipe
4 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted
1/4 cup butter, melted
½ ripe, Fresh California Avocado, seeded and peeled
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 whole eggs
1 egg, yolk only
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. flour
Optional – powdered sugar for dusting, fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat 4 (4oz.) ramekins with non-stick spray and set on a baking sheet.
Combine the melted chocolate, butter and avocado in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs, egg yolk, powdered sugar and flour to the blender and pulse several times until the mixture is completely blended.
Divide the chocolate mixture between the prepared ramekins, smooth the tops and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
While still hot, carefully invert the ramekins onto a serving plate and lift the ramekins. Dust the tops with powdered sugar and serve with fresh raspberries if desired. Enjoy!