Make Your Best Guacamole at the Big Traveling Potluck!

Foodie-Crush-Heidi

What would you put into fresh avocado to make an awesome guacamole?

A full bowl of fresh avocado holds amazing potential!  No one knows this better than Heidi of FoodieCrush, an online magazine that loves bloggers, their food and their photos.   Especially when she’s getting ready for some friendly competition in a  guacamole contest with fellow food bloggers from all over the USA!

Last weekend I witnessed Continue reading

Mimi Avocado Meets Chef Susan Feniger at Fresh Summit!

Chef Susan FennigerDo you recognize this smiling face?  It’s  Chef  Susan Feniger at the Fresh Summit annual  conference of the  Produce Marketing Association.   I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the conference as one of 30 bloggers sponsored by the Idaho Potato Commission.   I’ll be writing all about the fantastic Idaho potato growers I met at the conference,  but first I just had to share about the California Avocado Commission’s booth in the Expo Hall.  Those of you who love California avocados would have burst your buttons with pride at the creative display of  top quality fruit and culinary expertise that represented all the wonderful avocado growers of California.

As a first time attendee of  PMA’s Fresh Summit conference, I was already overwhelmed at the sheer size of the Expo.  Anyone and everyone associated with fresh produce from all over the world was represented in the huge exhibit hall.  Delicious samples of freshly prepared foods made with the most delicious fruits and vegetables were available everywhere…and everyone was eating their way through the expo.   A huge surprise awaited visitors to the California Avocado Commission booth,  where the Two Hot Tamales had parked their full-size food truck from their Border Grill restaurants.

Dave Cruz of the CAC marketing team

Dave Cruz of the California Avocado Commission marketing team at the PMA Fresh Summit conference in Anaheim, California Oct. 26-28, 2012

The high energy team of Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, also know as the Too Hot Tamales,  have served the California Avocado Commission as spokespersons for years.  They own the acclaimed Border Grill restaurants in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Las Vegas.   What better way to bring their culinary magic with California avocados to the 20,000+ attendees of the Fresh Summit?  Bringing the Border Grill Truck into the expo hall was a brilliant idea!

Several recipes were featured over the weekend, and you can find all of  them here.   The Two Hot Tamales  were serving these delicious Cumin Honey Glazed Baby Back Rib Tacos with California Avocado Pineapple Jicama Salsa and Grilled Corn Esquite  and people were lined up to taste them.   On the same plate was California Avocado Guacamole with Oven Roasted Tomato and Bacon served with a chili lime cracker.

baby back rib taco with California avocado

Cumin Honey Glazed Baby Back Rib Tacos with Corn Esquite and avocado pineapple jicama salsa, plus California avocado guacamole with oven roasted tomato, bacon and chili lime cracker

Sooo good.  Fun too!   Who doesn’t love food trucks?  And California avocados!  Throughout the year, we work hard to grow the highest quality avocados…and we ship them direct from our farm in gift boxes and monthly subscriptions…but most of our fruit is sold in stores and restaurants.   Thanks to the California Avocado Commission for representing us so well!

What’s for Dinner? California Avocados! Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney District: California Avocado Week Part 2

Avocado dinner entree

Confit of suckling pig with sweet corn, zucchini blossoms, smoked pork jus, smoked California avocado and house made chicharrones

Are you an Avocadophile?  Do you love California avocados?  From July 1st to 7th,  Downtown Disney District is celebrating California Avocado Week with the California Avocado Commission.   I  was completely  thrilled to be invited to the Media Dinner at Catal Restaurant with a group of bloggers from all over Southern California.   Although we have  avocados with almost every meal  at the ranch,  I  had never tasted dishes like these special culinary creations at Catal Restaurant.

California Avocado Commission

The California Avocado Commission was  organized  in 1978,  in the early days of  planting our ranch.   When I married The Farmer in 1982,  I began attending the annual meetings for growers.    The California Avocado Commission is the marketing organization and trade association for California avocado growers.   Over the past 30 years ,  I have seen the tremendous work that the commission staff has done in educating the public,  and  promoting avocados as delicious and healthy fruit.    It has been exciting to watch the demand for California avocados  grow!   As a Vermont native, I used to visit my home state and spend most of my time explaining avocados to friends and relatives who had never seen one or eaten one.   Now,  everyone knows about them…and I spend just as much time listening to my friends and relatives tell me how much they love them and their favorite ways to enjoy them!   California avocado growers are justifiably proud of the California Avocado Commission,  whose exemplary work has become the envy of the produce industry.

avocado poster

Avocado growers have come to rely on the California Avocado Commission for much more than marketing and promotion of  avocados.   The Commission also provides on-going education for growers in areas such as  agricultural practices,  pest management,  water,  tree diseases, and  food safety.  They do production research,  collect and report avocado industry data,  and interface with our elected officials  to help guide  decisions affecting the industry.  The Commission  even maintains an online library of avocado knowledge! 

If you have any questions about avocados or growing avocados, you will probably find the answer somewhere on their site.

As growers we have seen photos and heard reports about the events that the Commission puts on for the various groups who can help spread the word about California avocados…so it was especially exciting to actually be invited to participate…as  a blogger…and as a grower!   Most of us  slice our avocados on sandwiches, burgers and soups,  mash them into dip,  add chunks to our salads,  and eat them with a spoon right out of the skin.

 

first course avocado dinner

First Course: Tartare of Japanese hamachi with gree shiso, crispy wakame, agretti and California avocado-jalapeno sorbet

I can safely say that most avocado growers probably  do not make avocado sorbet,  have not tried to smoke an avocado, and have never  created an avocado mint puree!   Not to mention the perfect wine pairings with each course that we all enjoyed!

avocado dinner at Catal restaurant

 

Vice President of Marketing,  Jan DeLyser,  provided information about the avocado industry and grower Doug O’Hara answered questions about growing avocados.    Here in southern California  it’s not unusual for folks to have an avocado tree or two in their back yards.   Avocados can be tricky to grow,  and there are always questions about the best way to care for avocado trees.  (Hint: give them plenty of water!)

Jan DeLyser and Doug O'Hara

It was fun to see  Laura of  Family Spice and Carolyn of The Healthy Voyager again…we first met at Camp Blogaway  in May.

Laura and Carolyn

Laura and Reza of Family Spice, signing in at the media table.  Carolyn of The Healthy Voyager sampling guacamole!

Throughout the evening,  Chef Mary answered questions and offered information about the ingredients and flavors we were experiencing.  Although most of us were familiar with avocados,  there was at least one person who had never tasted an avocado before!    I was wishing that we could offer her a perfect ripe California avocado on the half shell with a little seasoning and a spoon!

menu Californa avocado dinner

 

 Thank you to the California Avocado Commission for inviting me to this event.    It was an honor to be included as a blogger,  and  to have the chance to experience this exceptional dinner  showcasing the  fruit that our family takes such pride in growing…California avocados.

And now (drumroll…….):   The Dessert!  Trust me,   it was avocado-licious!

dessert with California avocados

Double chocolate tart with Calfornia avocado mint puree, lace tuille and Harry’s Berries’ blackberries

It’s California Avocado Week at Downtown Disney! Part 1

California Avocado Week Downtown Disney

If you are a lover of California Avocados and  looking for some summer fun this week,  head to Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California for the California Avocado Week celebration! If you’ve never been to Downtown Disney, it’s the exciting  shopping district connected to the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure  parks,  with no admission fee required.   Each day from July 1st through July 7th,  free  interactive events sponsored by the California Avocado Commission take place at the main stage near ESPN Zone.   All of the Downtown Disney premiere restaurants are serving menu items featuring California Avocados… you can spend the day tasting their specialties and  get a free mini facial at Sephora in the afternoon.

signs at Downtown Disney

All the restaurants and shops celebrating California Avocado Week have a placard in front …just reading the names of the avocado specialties is exciting!

 

At 5 pm take a seat for a  cooking demonstration  by a different chef each day, with free tasting for the audience.    Three lucky contestants  participate in a guacamole contest with fantastic prizes every day…and the audience enjoys  free guacamole and chips.   They even have California Avocado beach balls and dancing until 10 pm with a fantastic DJ.    Get all the details about California Avocado Week at Downtown Disney here.

California Avocado Beach Ball

Have you ever seen a California Avocado Beach Ball? I want one!

California Avocado Dancing

California Avocado Dancing at Downtown Disney!

Free Samples at California Avocado Week

Sample the food that the chef prepared for the cooking demo!

I had a great time and I hope that you and your family will be able to go to Downtown Disney this week for some Avocado Fun!   In fact,  I hope to go back later this week!  So many avocado dishes to try!   The California Avocado Week celebration continues until Saturday July 7th…there’s still time to join in the fun!

Want to hear more?  I was invited to a  fabulous Avocado Theme Dinner at Catal Restaurant with the California Avocado Commission and some fellow bloggers…can’t wait to share it with you!    Stay tuned!

The Avocado Sisters Have An Adventure with Mangoes: Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Fresh Mango Filling

chocolate avocado cupcake with mango filling

Chocolate Avocado Cupckae with Mango Filling and Whipped Cream

Yesterday I was expecting a delivery!  Everyone who attended Camp Blogaway was notified to expect a box filled with mangoes from the National Mango Board.  After learning about mangoes at camp, and bringing a few home to taste,  I was very excited to receive two different varieties as well as some other very nice goodies.

My avocado sister,  Rachael (La Fuji Mama) and I  planned another avocado adventure for this week.  Rachael  wanted to take some photos and video while the trees are still in bloom and the tiny baby avocados are beginning to appear.   We decided to make  it a family day, since our daughter-the-geologist  would be here from Northern California for the weekend.   I made  Fluffy Pancakes with Mangoes, Blueberries and Avocados yesterday, and I wanted to make something else with mangoes and avocados for our lunch today.  Everyone enjoys cupcakes, so I started looking for a recipe that includes avocado.

I found this recipe by another San Diego area blogger,  Kirbie’s Cravings.   The avocado chocolate cake has no butter or eggs in it!  The recipe calls for  1/4 cup of vegetable oil and  1/2 cup of  avocado, pureed and added to the dry ingredients.  I used a whole medium avocado…closer to one full cup of pureed avocado.

Ultragrain All Purpose Flour

I also used the Ultra-Grain All Purpose Flour that was in our goodie bags from camp.  It looks and tastes like white flour, but has more fiber and better nutrition without the strong flavor and density of whole wheat.   I decided to follow the recipe,  but bake it as cupcakes.

Baking Cups make of parchment

Parchment baking cups are non-stick!

I had some baking cups from Paper Chef that we were given at Camp Blogaway, so I baked the cupcakes in the parchment baking cups.  They’re so nice!  The paper doesn’t stick to the cupcakes at all!

parchment baking cups

The parchment baking cups come off the cupcakes cleanly and easily .

When the Fuji family arrived, we  talked about mangoes and the gorgeous boxes of fruit we had received in the mail.  The National Mango Board also sent a recipe book,  a cute bowl,   paring knife and a flexible cutting mat.  We were all set to chop mangoes and fill our avocado cupcakes! But first we took a long walk through the avocado grove with our daughters and our cameras.

Rachael takes photos

Fuji Mama's taking photos of avocado flowers and bees!!

Girls finding insects

Squirrel loves to catch flies...Bug checks out what's in the bag!

Mangoes and little girl

Bug likes mangoes too!

After spending the morning out in the grove with our girls, we all needed a lunch break.  Rachael brought some Kerrygold cheddar cheese …another sponsor of Camp Blogaway last weekend…we’ve fallen in love with their delicious cheeses.   We made these fun crackers combining the Kerrygold cheddar with fresh California avocados from our ranch and fresh juicy mangoes.  Our Cutco cheese knife came in handy…another sponsor from Camp Blogaway!

 

Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese with avocado and mango on crackers

Avocados and Mangoes with Kerrygold Cheese for lunch. Loving our Cutco cheese knife!

We had fun with the mangoes…putting them on our crackers,  eating them in our guacamole,  and just eating juicy sweet chunks of perfectly ripe mango! We used the yellow mangoes…the Ataulfo variety.    It was a good thing we had plenty, because we needed some fresh diced mango for our cupcakes!

Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

Moist and fudgy cupcakes...perfect for filling with juicy diced mango!

 

mangoes with whipped cream in avocado chocolate cupcakes

Fresh diced mango filling for our chocolate avocado cupcakes...and whipped cream!

Everyone loved these cupcakes!   No one could tell that they were made with a whole grain blend flour with double the fiber of other all purpose flours.  The moist cake has a strong chocolate flavor and no indication that avocado is included in the cake…just the healthy fat and nutrition of California avocados! !  Next time we plan  to slice the cupcakes in half  so we can have more mango inside, like a short cake.  Our families were delighted with the juicy, sweet mangoes  and whipped cream instead of heavy sweet frosting.     Avocados and mangoes in one dessert: heaven!

 

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