From California to Vermont: Avocados are the Perfect Gift!

giftboxFuerteAvocados

It’s amazing to know that the avocados in that box were still on the trees in California on Monday morning…and today is Wednesday, and they have arrived by mail in Vermont. !  And today I’m in Vermont too!

I know those avocados were picked Monday because   I could  hear the clatter of the ladders being moved as I enjoyed my coffee on Monday morning at home on the avocado ranch. (Yes, we call it a ranch!)   I knew I would be traveling to Vermont to visit my mother on a red-eye flight that evening.   I planned to carry some avocados in my luggage that were picked last week…so they would be ripe for the weekend.  But I also wanted to order a gift box from our family farm business called California Avocados Direct. Continue reading

An Avocado Valentine from Mimi Avocado

BeMyValentineFuerteAvocado2013

What says “love” to you on Valentine’s Day?  A box of chocolates? A bouquet of roses?  Or creamy and delicious California avocados?  How about an Avocado Valentine!

I will admit that I love flowers and chocolate as much as the next girl…and a dinner out is fun too.

When you’re married to an Avocado Farmer,  the month of February is the time to eat Fuerte avocados.   The avocados themselves are beautiful…pear-shaped,  sensuous.

The skin of a Fuerte is easy to peel …when the fruit is perfectly ripe, it peels right off to reveal a naked avocado!

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This morning I decided to have a little fun with our breakfast…so I made The Farmer an avocado valentine!

avocado valentine

Instead of slicing the avocado into wedges,  I sliced an entire half  through the center.  The beautiful green and yellow colors were inspiring!

I used the smallest cookie cutters to create an Avocado Valentine!

avocados cut with cookie cutters

Carefully cut the avocado with cookie cutters and use a small spatula to move each piece to the toast. Double up the layers to take advantage of the beautiful color combinations!

Isn’t this fun?  Of course, The Farmer likes his with pepper and salt!

ValentineToastwithPepper

I wanted one too…so I used the rest of the avocado half for my own toast,  made with Ezekial flourless  sprouted-grain bread.

My Avocado Toast

Use the left-over pieces on more toast! This one was scrumptious!

Fuerte Avocados are in peak season during the month of February.  You may not find them in stores, because the thinner peel makes them harder to ship to stores  in bulk.   There is nothing like the flavor of a perfectly ripe Fuerte avocado…if you haven’t tried them, you simply must.   Look for Fuerte avocados in So. California Farmers Markets.  Or you can order a fresh picked gift box of Fuerte avocados from California Avocados Direct.

FuerteAvocadoBreakfast

Creamy and delicious Fuerte avocados make a special breakfast!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!  How are you celebrating today?

Homemade Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey…and Avocado!

Bean Soup with Smoked Turkey

We have had such cold weather in Southern California lately!  The temperatures have been in the 20’s at night in our area,  cold enough to severely damage our avocado trees and the precious crop that is almost ready to harvest.     There isn’t much we can do to prevent the damage…it’s all up to Mother Nature.    The best way to take our minds off the weather is to chop veggies and make pots of delicious soup.

soak the beans

Use a 13 bean mix and soak the beans for at least 4 hours. I usually soak them over night.

The beans are colorful…soaking in the water highlights all the colors and shapes!   I use 1 part beans to 3 parts water,  and let them soak overnight.   In the morning I drain the beans and add fresh water to the beans….so that there are 2-3 inches of water covering the beans.   Bring the beans and water to a boil,  then lower the heat and let them simmer until the beans are tender… an hour or so.

soup veggies

I love chopping onions, carrots and celery for soup!  The colors are so pretty!   Saute them in a little olive oil,  add some minced garlic and some thyme.   When the beans have cooked until they’re tender,  add the vegetables to the soup.   I usually add a bay leaf too.

smoked turkey

When I make bean soup I usually add a ham hock or a smoked pork chop…or even smoked sausage.   (Check out my Mixed Bean Soup with Smoked Chicken Sausage!)    A  very special treat is smoked turkey.   Every year we are the happy recipients of a Greenberg smoked turkey from Texas…a holiday gift from my very special cousin.    Now that our boys have moved into places of their own,  we don’t eat up the huge turkey as fast as we used to.  This year I had some left over  to make this delicious soup!

bean soup with smoked turkey

Add chopped smoked turkey to the beans and veggies…let it simmer!

I make soup in the morning so it will be ready to eat by lunchtime.   When the family comes in from the cold,  they can smell the soup cooking!    Soup is even  better on the second day, as those delicious flavors mingle over time.   And for a really special treat,  add some sliced avocado on top!   This is the season for the “green skin” avocados in California….try some fabulous Fuerte avocados  on top of your soup!

Fuerte avocado

Fuerte avocados are pear-shaped, thin-skinned and full of flavor!  In season December through February.

Mimi Avocado Wishes You a Musical Merry Christmas

Christmas vocado
It has been a busy December!

The month began with the annual Holiday Concert to benefit Meals On Wheels with the Coastal Communities Concert Band.  If you didn’t make it this year, I hope you can come next year.

 

Coastal Communities Concert Band

Santa conducts “Sleigh Ride” to begin the concert (photo by Bill Sims)

This year was special because our daughter was also playing in the band. We were sitting next to each other in the flute section! When I started playing with the CCCBand she was only 9 years old!

Holiday Concert CCCBand

Rachel and I play together in the flute section of the Coastal Communities Concert Band

On Tuesdays during the year I meet with a wonderful choral group at La Costa Glen retirement community called “The Glenaires”.   We performed a special holiday program on Dec. 8th this year with a wonderful audience!

Glenaires chorale

The Glenaires performed a wonderful holiday program on Dec. 8th

Later in the month we got together again to do two shorter programs for the folks in the assisted living and skilled nursing units of La Costa Glen.

Glenaires chorale

The Glenaires brought their holiday cheer!

Meanwhile I was busy at home with piano students, who prepared Christmas carols and holiday songs to share on YouTube.  They love to share their music with family and friends!   You can enjoy their performances on my You Tube Channel here .    Sometimes we have the most fun when the whole family gets into the picture.  Here is the  “Jingle Family”  with their version of Jingle Bells!

On Christmas Eve the music continued at Church of St. Timothy, where our choir and orchestra presented a program of carols and Christmas Eve mass.  It’s always an exciting evening of music and worship with family and friends…this year was my 26th Christmas as the music director at St. Tim’s.

Church of St. Timothy

Christmas Eve at Church of St. Timothy

The choir will continue to sing their Christmas music throughout the season of Christmas, which begins on Dec. 24th and ends Jan. 16th.

Now that many of the music events are complete, I have more time for cooking and baking!   I tried some new recipes  for Christmas this year…a delicious Cauliflower Mac and Cheese  and  Chocolate  Peppermint Cheesecake Squares.  Stay tuned and I’ll share those soon!

The Fuerte avocados are ready now…December through February is prime season for Fuertes!  If you haven’t heard of this variety,  check out this post :  Do You Know Fuerte Avocados?  

I had some fun with a beautiful Fuerte after we brought in our Christmas tree.  It was hard to get that avocado to sit still for a photograph!

Fuerte Avocado

What would you do with this Fuerte avocado? I like them sliced on soup, salad, eggs or sandwiches!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends!

Holiday Salads with Fuerte Avocados: Red and Green!

first Fuerte avocado of the season

It’s Fuerte season!

The first avocados of the new season are here!  On our avocado ranch,  this means Fuerte avocados!   The new crop is just mature enough to soften  gradually…10 days to 2 weeks after it’s picked.   The characteristic nutty flavor will develop over the coming weeks as the oil content increases with maturity.    The fruit is less mature now,  so it has a very fresh, green flavor.  We tried the first ripe one the other day in a salad.

Fuerte avocado salad

The skin of the Fuerte avocado is thinner than Hass.

I was lucky enough to receive a box of Baby Beets from Melissa’s Produce at our food bloggers’ luncheon last week.  I happen to love baby beets…and the rich red color would look festive with the beautiful green Fuerte avocado.

baby beets with Fuerte avocados

Baby Beets and Fuerte Avocados on artisan red lettuce with blue cheese crumbles

See what I mean?  So pretty…holiday colors!  I like to put out a selection of dressings so that each person can add their own.

blackberry Fuerte avocado salad

Use blackberries on the same salad for folks who aren’t beet fans

We have a few people in the family who don’t enjoy beets, so I put blackberries on their salad.

Fuerte avocado early in the season

What would you do with the first Fuerte of the season?

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