Fuerte Avocado

January 21, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
1 Comment

Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Fuerte Avocados!

Avocado Valentine

It’s that time of year again when we might be thinking about Valentine’s Day gifts.   Some people put a lot of meaning into the one day, hoping that their sweetheart will remember to shower them with roses,  jewelry,  or a special dinner out.   As much as I enjoy those romantic gestures on the one day set aside to celebrate romantic love,  I wouldn’t trade the everyday expressions of affection that come with a marriage that has lasted just over 33 years.

In the early days I spent weeks planning the Valentine dinner,  choosing the perfect little gift, and reading all the Valentine cards in the store to find the one that seemed to have special meaning just for us.   As the years have gone by,  there have been some Valentine’s Days when we were too busy with our four children or our jobs to come up for air,  much less celebrate with a romantic evening.   Now that the children are grown and have their own lives,  we have time again to put some thought into Valentine’s Day.

The funny thing is that after all these years the store-bought cards and the designer bouquets don’t have the same kind of romantic meaning that they once did.   At this stage of our lives we value an inside joke,  a creative whimsy,  or an extraordinary gesture of caring that really shows that our sweetheart knows what we like and genuinely wants to go the extra mile to please us.

mallards

Every winter there  is a flock of mallard ducks that swim in a pond on our ranch.  Sometimes The Famer makes a point to tell me  he has seen them on the pond.  Its’a a clue that he knows  I will want to see the beautiful colored males with the plainer brown females paddling along together,  so I’ll make it a point to walk out there.   I can’t get too close, because they’ll fly away!

green hills

During January our hills have been transformed from dry brown to vibrant green after the rains we had a few weeks ago.   We need snow in the mountains during the winter, and rain in our area to fill the reservoirs and aquifers.  Just a little rain can do a lot of good, saving the farmers from irrigating with expensive water.  It gives farmers a few days off…and just maybe the farmers’ wives will be treated to dinner out!

green grove

Besides needing rain to overcome the epic drought in California, I’m hoping we’ll have more rain this year so the  wild flower bloom will be spectacular.  We already have a few flowers in the meadow, like this bright pink wild sweet pea.  I’m sure these flowers have an official name, but they look like sweet peas so that’s what I call them.  They look like little Valentines!

wild flowersFor Valentine’s Day this year we’ll  probably do the same thing as last year. The Farmer will bring me a perfect cup of coffee at breakfast time, and I will make us both some  Avocado Toast,  with mashed avocado and cute little hearts cut out of fresh avocados.  I wrote a post about how to make Valentine Avocado Toast a few years ago  and you can read about it here.

Fuerte Avocado

My favorite variety of California avocados are the Fuertes, which are in season during the winter months. Fuerte avocados can be harvested from early December  into March.  Fuerte avocados are especially tasty around Valentine’s Day!    They’re such a pretty avocado too: pear-shaped,  thin-skinned,  delicately creamy fruit with full flavor.  The ultimate romantic when it comes to avocados!   “An Avocado A Day” has been promoted lately due to a study that shows a diet including  avocados can lower bad cholesterol levels.  Just another healthy reason to enjoy eating avocados and to give them as gifts to the ones we love!

Many of you already know that we have a website for our family farm.   Beginning today you can get a sneak peak at the new gift boxes we photographed today,  as well as the special pricing on Fuerte avocados while they’re in season.  Fuerte avocados are not available in stores throughout most of the  United States, but we will ship them direct  from our farm.  They’ll be picked to order, hand packed and sent Priority Mail to you.   Then you will be able to make heart-healthy and super-tasty  Valentine Avocado Toast too!

Fuerte on soup

 

Kerrygold cheese at Bookclub

January 20, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
0 comments

Love Books? Love Cheese? Have a Party!

Kerrygold cheese at Bookclub

It’s National Cheese Lovers Day!  Are you celebrating?

Today I’m sharing a fun and FREE kit from Kerrygold Cheese and Butter to match up the love of Kerrygold cheese with the love of reading  Spend a happy evening with friends, pairing cheeses with fruits, crackers, breads, wines and beers.   Last year my friend Judy used the kit to host her book club friends in her home,  and gave me her photos to show you.

 Kerrygold USA has a wonderful Book Club Kit that is free upon request,  including Continue Reading →

lemon curry chicken soup

January 11, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
5 Comments

Our Anniversary Getaway and a Pot of Chicken Soup

lemon curry chicken soup

There’s no better time to make a big pot of soup than a rainy Sunday morning here on the avocado ranch! Just chop up some onions, celery, and carrots…and take a look in the pantry to see what might be good with the chicken!

rain-in-avocado-trees

We’re so happy to have a day of rain … every drop helps us with the challenging drought here in California.  The other reason we love rain is that we can take some time away from the farm,  since the trees won’t need to be irrigated while the rain is falling!

This weekend we are celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary.  It’s hard to believe it has been such a long time since our wedding day!  Where did the time go?   Our children were born in the first 6 years,  and then we were busy doing the things that all busy families do.  Even when our children were young, we would try to get away by ourselves for a few hours or overnight to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  This year we decided at the last minute to drive up to  Huntington Beach,  only about an hour away.

Hilton Huntington Beach

About an hour before we were ready to leave on Thursday, I called the Hilton Waterfront Resort Continue Reading →

January 2, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
3 Comments

Crab and Corn Chowder with Really Good Bacon

crab and corn chowder

We’ve been having really cold weather for Southern California.  I don’t mind it … cold reminds me of Vermont in the winter,  except here we don’t have to wait for the snowplow to come before we can get out of the house.   The snow that fell for New Year’s Eve has melted, but the freezing temperatures are still threatening crops in the area, including our avocados.   There isn’t much to do about the weather except pray that the low temperatures will not last long enough to freeze the fruit.  I like to distract myself with soup.  Chopping up onions and celery is therapeutic.  Since I have some cream on hand, and some canned crabmeat…plus sweet corn,  it’s the perfect time for chowder!

The secret to good chowder is Continue Reading →

Double Chocolate Cake

December 31, 2014
by Mimi Holtz
2 Comments

Mimi Avocado’s Double Fudge Cake

 

Double Chocolate Cake

It’s New Year’s Eve and guess what happened last night!  Something that rarely ever happens in our neck of the woods, but I can tell you that it sent me directly into the kitchen to bake this rich chocolate fudge cake!   We had SNOW!

Palomar Mountain

Looking east toward Palomar Mountain, this is what we could see this morning!  Thankfully we didn’t have snow on the avocado trees, but there was a lot of snow on the hills that were higher in elevation.

snow in So California

The trees in the foreground are on our avocado ranch, and you can see the snow up in Hidden Meadows, a hilltop residential area.   We have been told to expect low temperatures tonight, and we’re hoping that our trees won’t sustain any damage from the freeze.   I can remember one year when our avocado trees froze more than once, and it wasn’t pretty.  We don’t want to lose our crop that we have nurtured over the past year … we want to be able to harvest those beautiful avocados!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

To take my mind off the weather (and to warm up the kitchen),  I decided to make this luscious double fudge cake to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  This one has buttermilk and  unsweetened cocoa in the cake,  plus a cup of freshly brewed coffee!  The ganache frosting was easy to make with semi-sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream as the main ingredients.

Mimi Avocado’s Double Fudge Cake

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot freshly brewed coffee

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer,  place the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  With the paddle attachment, slowly mix the dry ingredients until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture,  stirring only until the liquid is incorporated.   Then gradually pour the coffee into the batter, stiffing just until combined.

Pour the batter into the bundt cake pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out of the cake clean.  Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Frosting:

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Bring the cream to a boil.  In a mixing bowl, place the corn syrup, butter, and chocolate chips.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it melt for about 5 minutes.  Whisk the frosting until smooth.  Place into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and let it firm up before you frost the cake.  (Or pour the glaze over the cake if you like the glaze to pool around the cake.)

chocolate cake with whipped cream

This cake is rich enough by itself,  but a little whipped cream couldn’t hurt either!  The coffee helps to deepen the chocolate flavor of the cake,  and the whipped cream just seems to belong on the plate!

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year!  I appreciate everyone who visits me here and follows Mimi Avocado.  Thank you for your loyalty and friendship!

chocolate cake with ganache

 

 

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