avocado mayonnaise on ham sandwich

March 23, 2015
by Mimi Holtz

Homemade Avocado Mayonnaise and a Giveaway!

avocado mayonnaiseI have never considered making my own mayonnaise as something worthwhile.  The mayonnaise that my mother bought for us is the same mayonnaise that I buy for my family.   Besides,  real homemade mayonnaise is made with raw eggs, and it just isn’t safe to eat raw eggs, right?  Wrong!  Use pasteurized eggs!  Today I’ll share my recipe for Avocado Mayonnaise using fresh lime juice and cilantro.

A few weeks ago I attended the Natural Products ExpoWest in Anaheim, California and had a chance to talk to the folks at Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs about their pasteurized eggs.  Pasteurized eggs?  You heard correctly!  Davidson’s uses a   gentle water bath pasteurization process that  eliminates the risk of Salmonella in eggs without changing the nutrition or flavor.   Want to know how they do it?  Check out their website and watch the cute animated movie about it!

cage-free pasteurized eggs

Davidson’s has two kinds of eggs to choose from:  All Natural eggs that are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and vegetarian-fed,  as well as Cage Free Pasteurized Eggs.  With pasteurized eggs it’s safe to make homemade hollandaise sauce,  homemade egg nog,  old fashioned egg creams, and any other recipe that calls for raw eggs.  Have you seen them in your local stores?  Use this handy store finder to locate them near you!

safe eggs

With Easter coming up soon, it’s great to know that we could have Eggs Benedict with fresh avocado and homemade Hollandaise sauce using Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs.  Poached eggs with runny yolks aren’t fully cooked, and Hollandaise sauce calls for raw eggs in the recipe, but with Safest Choice® Eggs there is peace of mind!

eggs and avocados

Making Homemade Avocado Mayonnaise With Lime and Cilantro

Today I decided to make homemade avocado mayonnaise to enjoy with ham sandwiches. Since the avocados have natural oil in them, I didn’t need to use much added oil.  Egg yolks and fresh lime juice with avocado and seasonings…that’s about it!

making homemade avocado mayo

Ingredients for Homemade Avocado Mayonnaise

First I whisked the egg yolks with 1 teaspoon dijon mustard,  1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and two teaspoons onion granules.  Then I diced two large fresh California avocados and added them to the bowl, along with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (using exactly one lime!)  The immersion blender worked well to combine all the ingredients, and then I slowly added 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.   Finally I added 1/4 cup fresh cilantro and blended it with the immersion blender until the mayonnaise was thick and smooth.

avocado mayo on ham sandwich

The lime juice will prevent the avocado from turning color for a day or two.  This is really fresh mayonnaise with no preservatives,  so it should be used right away.   Use it as a dip for fresh veggies too!

avocado mayonnaise on ham sandwich

Enter the Giveaway for a Month’s Supply of Safest Choice® Eggs!

I’m giving away a month’s supply of Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs !  All you have to do is leave a comment about eggs on this blog post and you’ll be entered to win!  If you are the winner I’ll send you coupons for free eggs!   You must be a resident of the USA and over 18 years of age to be eligible to win.   Enter before midnight on March 29, 2015 and I’ll contact the winner on March 30th.  Winner will be chosen in a random drawing using random.org.   Void where prohibited. If I don’t hear from the winner in 24 hours I’ll choose another winner.  All prizes will be awarded.  Coupons for a month’s supply of Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs are provided for this giveaway by Davidson’s Safest Choice® Eggs.  

Disclosure:  Davidson’s provided me with coupons for the eggs I used in this recipe.  I worked with KitchenPLAY social media team at ExpoWest and am receiving a small stipend to write this post as part of that experience.  All opinions and experiences are my own.



St. Patrick's Corned Beef Hass Avocado Toast

March 17, 2015
by Mimi Holtz

Avocado Toast for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Avocado toast

I love corned beef but I’m not all that fond of the traditional New England boiled dinner with cabbage.  I like my corned beef baked.   Then I like to slice it really thin for sandwiches or cut it up into cubes for hash.  How about a new tradition for St. Patrick’s Day?  Corned beef and California avocado!

corned beefHere’s the corned beef I baked this year.  I planned on serving it with potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.  I was sure there would be plenty, so I sliced some  for corned beef hash.  Sauteed some onions, corned beef and  red pepper.    Most of the corned beef disappeared at breakfast and lunchtime!

corned beef hashI had planned to serve the hash for breakfast with eggs,  but we had ripe avocados on the kitchen counter, so avocado toast happened.  Avocado Toast with Corned Beef Hash.  A new tradition is born!  Avocado is GREEN after all!  And we all know that leprechauns  love avocados too!  (At least, the leprechauns who live around here do!)

St. Patrick's Corned Beef Hass Avocado ToastHappy St. Patrick’s Day to you!  Are you cooking corned beef?  Save some leftovers for avocado toast!

avocado toast with corned beef

Here’s an Irish Blessing for you on this St. Paddy’s Day:

 May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night,and the road downhill all the way to your door.

And  avocado toast. 

Idaho® Fingerling Pie

March 12, 2015
by Mimi Holtz

Idaho® Fingerling Potato Pie with Sausage and Cheddar

Idaho® Fingerling Potato PieI was invited by the Idaho Potato Commission to develop a recipe using  Idaho® potatoes for March Nutrition Month.  Did you know that colorful foods are rich in antioxidants?  Eating lots of colorful foods rich in antioxidants can help to protect the cells in our body from the effects of free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. So I’m sharing a recipe with you today using colorful Idaho® fingerling potatoes!

Idaho fingerling potato gift box

I am in love with the Idaho fingerling potato!    For one thing, fingerling potatoes are  so easy to roast, ready in 15-20 minutes.  No need to peel them, just wash and roast!  They come in different colors too: pink ones called Red Thumb or Ruby Crescent, purple ones named Purple Fiesta Fingerling Potatoes, and cream colored Russian Banana Fingerlings.  Sprinkle on some garlic powder and parmesan.  Serve them with guacamole or melt some pepper jack on top.  These pretty little potatoes are beautiful on the plate with almost any meal.

We love to roast fingerlings to eat as a snack, instead of french fries.  Potatoes have no fat,  lots of vitamins and minerals,  low in calories and high in heart healthy fiber.   Last week I roasted some colorful mixed medley  IdahoR fingerlings and  made this spectacular pie!  We enjoyed it for supper with extra fingerlings to dip in the scrumptious gravy!fingerling potato pie with extra fingerlings

In the  morning we reheated that cheesy potato pie stuffed with sausage and topped it with a nice runny fried egg!

Fingerling potato Pie-with-Egg1-small

I love seeing the colors in this pie…pink on the bottom, purple in the middle, and the cream-colored fingerlings on top!

roasted Idaho® fingerling potatoWash the potatoes and place them in a plastic food saver bag with some olive oil to coat them with the oil.  Then roast  at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Season and enjoy!   Let some of them cool to make the pie.

adding flour to gravy for fingerling potato pieTo make the gravy for the pie, we’ll start by cooking the sausage and onion together, then add some butter and sprinkle all-purpose flour over  it all.  Stir in the flour and gradually add the milk.  Keep stirring until the gravy thickens, then fold in the sour cream.

sausage gravy for fingerling potato pieSeason the gravy with a little salt and black pepper,  then add a shot or two of hot sauce if you want.  Now it’s time to assemble the pie!

purple fingerling potato pieces in the pieSpread about 1/2 cup of gravy in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate.  Cut  the pink fingerlings into 1/4 inch thick slices and lay them in the bottom of the pan until you have a pink finagling potato layer.  Cover with 1 cup of the gravy, and top with purple fingerling slices.  Don’t they look festive!

fingerling potato spokes on top of pieCover the purple layer with 1 cup of gravy, and and slice the long cream-colored fingerlings length-wise.  They really do look like fingers, don’t they!  Place them on top of the pie with skin sides up, like spokes on a bicycle.  Then pour the rest of the gravy on top, and sprinkle the cheddar cheese to finish the pie.

cheddar cheese topping on fingerling potato pieYou can use your favorite cheese but I especially love extra sharp white cheddar.   For this pie I used Cabot White Oak Cheddar, using about half of the brick to make one cup of grated cheese.cabot cheddar cheese for fingerling potato pie

Pop that pie into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is all bubbly and the cheese on top is golden.

fingerling  potato pieWhen the pie is first baked, the gravy will be runny.  Save some fingerlings to dip in the sauce!  When you reheat the pie the next day it will be firm and easier to cut.   If you want the pie slices to look really pretty,  bake the pie a day before you want to serve it  and chill it in the fridge.  Then cut the slices and reheat them individually.

Roasted Idaho® Fingerling Potato Pie with Sausage and Cheddar

 Servings: 8 slices
  • 3 lbs. Idaho® Fingerling potatoes, mixed medley (10 each white, pink, purple fingerlings)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk country sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 ½ cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Wash potatoes. Place the olive oil into a 1 gallon plastic food saver bag and add the fingerling potatoes.   Coat the potatoes with the olive oil and place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast the potatoes in 450 ° Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Place a large, heavy, non-stick skillet over high heat; add the sausage and onions and cook, breaking it up with a spoon into small pieces., until the sausage is fully cooked and the onions are tender.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt. Sprinkle the flour over the pan and stir until it is blended into the meat mixture.
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the gravy begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Stir in the sour cream and cook until gravy returns to simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if desired.
  6. Spread ½ cup of the gravy on the bottom of a 10 inche pie plate or casserole dish. Slice the pink fingerlings into ¼ inch slices (the long way) and lay them over the gravy to form a bottom layer. Spread one cup of gravy on top.
  7. Slice the purple fingerling potatoes in a similar way and lay them on top of the gravy to form the next layer. Cover this layer with 1 cup of the gravy.
  8. Slice the white fingerling potatoes in half length-wise, and lay them on top of the gravy like the spokes of a wheel, skin side up.   Spread the remaining gravy over the top.
  9. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the top of the pie.
  10. Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes until the pie is bubbling and the cheese on top has browned. (You may use the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.)
  11. Let the pie rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot.

Serving Tip: Serve with a green salad for a hearty meal.   Leftover pie is great reheated for breakfast with an egg on top.

Estimated Nutritional Analysis per Serving: 516 calories, 30 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 930 mg sodium, 20 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates.

Have you tried Idaho fingerling potatoes?

Disclosure:  Cabot Cheese Coop sent me the White Oak Cheddar cheese that I used in the recipe as part of the Cabot Cheese Board blogger program.  All opinions and experiences are my own. 


March 7, 2015
by Mimi Holtz

How Beautiful Was The Rain


Every farmer watches the weather.   It’s often the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing at night.  Check the forecast.  Step outside and see how it feels.  Compare this month’s weather to last year.  Hope for rain.

Avocado farmers used to be able to count on heavy rains  during the winter months to provide water for the trees,  giving them a respite from the high water bills that come from irrigating the trees in the dry summer months.   The rains are needed to leach away the salts that have  built up in the soil.  The trees must get the nutrients they need without sucking up  those damaging salts, causing the leaves to turn brown on the tips,  and creating stress to the tree, affecting the ability to produce a good crop for next year.  When the rains come they wash off  the trees, rinse the top soil,  and renew the earth so that the trees have the best conditions for the bloom and setting fruit that will grow over the next year.

rain-collageRain changes everything!  Streams appear where the dirt is usually hard and dry.  Wild flower seeds sprout and a wonderland of vegetation transforms the browns into vivid greens, purples, pinks.  Farmers get a break from the routine, since it’s too wet to work.  A rainy day is day to rejoice!

avocado toast

Make yourself some avocado duckling toast and enjoy a second cup of coffee!

rain-collage-2Everything looks different when it’s raining. Avocado trees are usually irrigated with micro sprinklers near the base of the tree, so the leaves and buds don’t get wet unless it rains. The avocados look even prettier when there are beads of beautiful rain on them!

wild flowers with no sunThe spring flowers stay closed without the sun to coax them open.  Their colors are even more vivid in contrast with the gray skies.  Everything looks so clean and sparkling after the rain has washed the long-settled dust off!


Snails take the opportunity to glide out of the layers of leaves under the avocado trees.


Even the hawks are happy to come out during the storm  to let the rain wash their feathers.

dead avocado trees

Sad, dead avocado groves whose owners have stopped irrigating due to the high cost of water perk up a little as the grasses underfoot turn green.  Ever optimistic, the root systems of those abandoned trees will even try to sprout leaves while the rain water in the soil  is available.

avocado flowers

Buds have been developing on the healthy trees for weeks, and now a few of the flowers pop open … the first of many to come!

new growthRosy red new growth is here!  The tiny red leaves will grow larger and gradually change into the deep dark green leaves that will shade the new baby avocados.  First the flowers need to bloom,  then bees need to pollinate the flowers, and then the tiny avocados will begin to appear.  Those little red leaves are getting started in anticipation of all those exciting events to come.

bloomsSucculents and Birds of Paradise bloom after the rain!   The more rain we have, the more wild flower seeds can germinate and bloom! snowWhen it’s raining here on the ranch, it is often snowing in the local mountains.  For a day or two after the storm we can see snow-capped peaks in the distance.

washed dirt

A sight like this one is  rare in dry, drought-stricken Southern California.  After two days of rain, it’s fun to see how the water changed the face of the earth’s surface, creating geological events on a small scale and leaving temporary works of art in the sand.  Eager seeds and native plants can’t wait to start greening and growing, even though the sun will soon dry them out.

after rainThe afternoon sun highlights the clouds over the ocean to our west, and we hope that more of those clouds will bring rain again tomorrow.

evening cloudsBlue skies are even more beautiful after a wonderful rain storm.  Wouldn’t it be great if  we could have more rain?

Rain In Summer

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.

He can behold
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,–
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.

Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.






crispy roasted Idaho fingerlings

February 12, 2015
by Mimi Holtz

Crispy Roasted Idaho Fingerling Potatoes with Pepper Jack and Bacon

Roasted Fingerlings

February is Idaho Potato Lovers’ Month!

To celebrate Idaho Potato Lovers’ Month  I’m sharing these magical Crispy Roasted Idaho Fingerling Potatoes with Pepper Jack Cheese and Bacon,  and there’s  a fun giveaway for you too!  How did I get so excited about Idaho Fingerlings?

A few weeks ago Don Odiorne and Jamie Bowen from the Idaho Potato Commission visited San Diego to host a dinner for  some San Diego food bloggers to kick off Idaho Potato Lovers’ Month.  We feasted on chef-prepared Idaho potato dishes at Prep Kitchen in La Jolla, and enjoyed a wonderful evening catching up.  Several of us had participated in the Idaho Harvest Tour in October with Don and Jamie.  We were thrilled to introduce more of our blogging friends to these wonderful folks from the  Idaho Potato Commission.

Food Bloggers at Prep Kitchen

Back Row from left, Don Odiorne, Mary of California Greek Girl , E.A. of The Spicy RD, Jamie Bowen, Kim of Liv Life, Barbara of Barbara Cooks, Betsy of BetsyLife, Diane of CreatedByDiane, and The Farmer. Front row from left: Laura from FamilySpice, Liz from LizTheChef, Natalie from TheDevilWearsParsley, Stephanie from RecipeRenovator, Mimi from MimiAvocado

 San Diego Adventure

Earlier in the day I picked up Don and Jamie at their hotel in San Diego to show them around the area.   After all, they toured me around Idaho…it was  the least I could do!   I had a little trouble driving to their hotel in Little Italy, as a water main had broken and the streets were flooding!   Little did we know that the Idaho Potato Lovers’ Dinner scheduled at the Prep Kitchen in Little Italy would be moved to La Jolla.  Thankfully we were able to connect with everyone who was coming to the dinner to tell them about the location change…without cell phones and IPads, we would have had a problem!

Cabrillo National MonumentThe weather could not have been nicer!   After a hearty breakfast (including Idaho fingerling potatoes) at Great Maple,  we headed out Continue Reading →

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