April 22, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
2 Comments

Food Bloggers Get Crafty with Avocados

food bloggers

Natalie, Sue, and Sara

 

Last weekend the Inland Empire Food Bloggers traveled south from Orange and Riverside counties to our farm in northern San Diego county for their monthly meeting.  I had been looking forward to hosting this gregarious group for a long time.  The first order of business was food!  Coffee and avocado toast!avocados

 Selecting Perfectly Ripe Avocados

We had picked some fresh avocados about a week before the big day when Natalie, Sue, and Sara would visit us at the farm.   Even though the avocados  had all been  picked on the same day,  some were ready to eat and some were still hard.  Avocados don’t begin to soften until they are picked from the tree.  We passed some avocados around so everyone could hold them in the palm of their hand and gently press their thumb against the skin of each fruit to gauge whether the avocado was ready to cut. Some were definitely hard as rocks, some were beginning to soften, and some were just right!  It takes practice to learn when an avocado is perfectly ripe and ready to eat.

peeling and slicing avocados

Making Avocado Toast with Artistry

We cut the avocados in half, twisting the halves so that the seed was on one half, and no seed on the other.  Then we removed the seed by gently whacking it with a small knife and twisting until it came away from the avocado.  Instead of scooping out the fruit,  we carefully pulled the peel off of  each avocado half,  so that there would be a large surface of perfectly naked avocado with which to work our artistry!

avocado artistry

When you slice a large avocado this way,  you can use medium size cookie cutters to make designs for garnishing salads, fruit platters, and avocado toast! Use smaller cookie cutters on the smaller pieces. After you finish cutting out designs, just mash up the remaining avocado to use as a base for your artistic avocado toast.

making avocado toast

Watching food blogger friends get creative with avocados and toast is such fun!  Isn’t it pretty the way the colors of the avocado show up in each shape?  You can get some really lovely effects with the differences between dark green near the outside of the fruit (by the skin) and the yellow in the center of the fruit.

avocado-art

Add a few fresh local strawberries and some homemade lemon pound cake and you could just feel the love in the room!  Food Blogger heaven!

IEFB-eats

It was time to take our cameras and go for a walk around the farm, exploring the groves, and learning about how avocados grow.  Springtime is one of the most beautiful times to visit the avocado groves because the trees are still blooming and the baby avocados are beginning to appear!

avoado-blossoms

Food Bloggers love tractors!  And bulldozers!  Who knew?

bulldozer and food bloggers

After our hike through the trees, we  headed over to Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens in Fallbrook, CA. , about 20 minutes from the farm.

Myrtle CreekThe gardens, the old barn, the shops inside the old farmhouse…so much fun!  The IEFB gals bought a Myrtle Berry Pie for me to take home to The Farmer:  blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries baked into a scrumptious pie.

cafe bloom

We had worked up our appetites, so of course we needed lunch!  Cafe Bloom has sandwiches, soups, and salads with a deck for enjoying the magnificent views of the gardens.  Or you can take your lunch in a basket to have a picnic anywhere on the grounds of Myrtle Creek.

Reed avocados

Reed avocados are round like softballs! These won’t be ready to pick until June or July. The new foliage grows in the springtime…aren’t those red leaves gorgeous against the deep blue sky?

One of the things I love about blogging is meeting wonderful people, finding new friends, and making wonderful memories together.  Every blogger I have met is smart, creative, and loves to learn new things…people I want to get to know..and just genuinely nice, down to earth folks!   Each of these women is so special…we’ve traveled together, camped together, cooked together, and we follow each other’s blogs too!  It was great to have them come visit and I hope they’ll come again!

Visit these Inland Empire Food Bloggers:

Sara of My Imperfect Kitchen

Sue of It’s Okay To Eat The Cupcake   Sue’s post about the day: Avocado Adventure

Natalie of The Devil Wears Parsley

Thanks to California Avocados Direct and the California Avocado Commission for providing gift bags for this tour!

 

 

April 20, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
0 comments

Keeping It Clean

flowers Every year these gorgeous little flowers bloom in the same spot.  All it takes is a little rain and they keep blooming until the weather gets hot and dry.  This year they started in January and lasted well into March.  After the rain the air is fresh,  the dust is washed off the leaves of the trees, and everything feels really clean. Continue Reading →

avocado new growth

April 17, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
6 Comments

Springtime: Possibilities and Surprises

poppy

The bees are really happy that I sprinkled wildflower seeds over the dry earth in my yard last winter.  Nothing was growing after we stopped watering the grass that used to be there. Native wildflowers came up after the rains about a month ago and every day a new one blossoms.   Now that the avocado trees are almost finished blooming, the bees are all over my wildflowers, sometimes several of them on one flower!  You can still hear the high-pitched buzzing outside as they finish up the last of the avocado blooms.  This pretty pink poppy bloomed in the morning, but by evening the petals had blown away.

avocado tree: new growthI never get tired of seeing the precious new growth, bright red, appearing just before the trees bloom. The new leaves grow larger and turn from red to rust-color and finally to a deep, bold green as the older leaves fall on the ground.  These new leaves will shelter the baby avocados Continue Reading →

April 12, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
1 Comment

Garlic Shrimp and Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Shrimp and Avocado Grilled cheeseWe’re celebrating National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day with something a little different!  How about Garlic Shrimp and Avocado Grilled Cheese? Continue Reading →

Cabot cookbook and cheese

April 6, 2015
by Mimi Holtz
42 Comments

Cabot Creamery Cookbook and Cheese Giveaway!

Cabot Creamery CookbookWho loves Cabot cheese?  I do!  I grew up not far from Cabot, Vermont and still enjoy driving over to visit the creamery.  Want to win a copy of their new cookbook and some scrumptious Cabot cheeses?  Of course you do!

If you have never visited Cabot, Vermont,  be sure to read this post about my visit in the summertime! Cabot cheddar cheese has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember.  We carry 3 lb. bricks of Seriously Sharp Cheddar in our suitcases when we return to California from Vermont!   Of course, that isn’t really necessary now that Cabot cheeses are available in grocery stores all over the USA.

The Cabot Creamery Cookbook

Cabot Creamery recently released this gorgeous new cookbook! Continue Reading →

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