Tag Archives: avocado

Bar Stool Fridays – Easy Does It Smoothie

Avocados can be used for so much more than just guacamole.  Not that I don’t enjoy guacamole – I just don’t like to limit my enjoyment of avocados to merely being scooped up by tortilla chips.

Did you know that the avocado is considered a fruit, not a vegetable?  Many cultures serve avocados for dessert adding sugar to the fruit.  This is not something I eat all the time because I do like avocados with my savory foods, but I encourage you to keep an open mind.  I’ve enjoyed avocado ice cream and find it a delicious addition to fruit salads, however, I understand that it can be a big taste transition to someone who’s only served avocados with their tacos.

Here’s an easy way to combine a sweet taste with your avocado by adding pineapple and orange juice.  Besides, this recipe entails little risk since it just uses one avocado and is a smoothie so it is easy to share with fellow adventurous taster.  Sweet, creamy, and healthy!

Avocado Smoothie
Makes 1 large smoothie

1 small ripe avocado (pitted and removed from peel)
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 – 3/4 cup orange juice
1  – 2 Tbsp agave syrup

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Adjust the amounts of  juice and agave syrup depending on your preference for taste and texture.

Pour into glass and serve right away.

Tips for selecting fresh avocados:

The best way to tell if an avocado is ready for immediate use is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand.  Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit is firm yet yields slightly to gentle pressure.  The color doesn’t tell you enough about ripeness – the Hass avocado will turn darker as it ripens, but other varieties remain light-green even when ripe.  Avoid avocados with dark blemishes on the skin (like many in the above picture) or overly soft flesh.

If you don’t want to serve avocados for a couple of days, purchase hard, unripened fruit.  I find that leaving the avocados on my kitchen counter is adequate for ripening, but some folks swear by the process of putting the fruit in a paper bag and adding an apple or banana to help it ripen faster.

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Green Goodness

I love avocados.  I could eat them just about every day.  In fact, when I lived in Texas, I very nearly did.  They were a tasty part of any meal.  The avocado tree is native to Mexico and while they are easily trucked into Texas, they are also cultivated there, too.  So, the fruit was pretty widely available to me and pretty cheap, as well.  Not so much here in Washington, DC.

I saw some Dominican avocados in the store today, and they looked a bit worse for wear from their long journey…

We start to see domestic avocados here in the Spring,and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival…

Salad with Grilled Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado
Makes 4 servings 

For Salad:

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
4 slices bacon
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 large avocado, or 2 small avocados
2 to 3 green onions
1 bell pepper (any color)
10 oz. salad greens (variety is your preference)

First, you need to marinate the chicken.  I always use gallon-sized zip-top plastic bags for my marinades, but a large bowl covered with plastic wrap will work, too.  Combine chicken, garlic, salt and pepper, lime juice, and olive oil in plastic zip-top bag.

After sealing, use hands to distribute liquids and spices over chicken.  Keep in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium high.  Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade.  Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

Remove from grill and let rest a few minutes.  Slice into strips and set aside.

You have some options for cooking the bacon…You can pull out your cast-iron skillet and cook the bacon over medium heat for 20 or 30 minutes until crisp.  Or, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a broiler pan with aluminum foil.

Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer and bake them for about 15 minutes or until crisp.

Cool and drain on paper towels.

Dice tomatoes, bell pepper, avocados, and green onions.

I like to prepare one large salad, but you may want to plate individual salads for each of your guests.

In a large serving bowl, add salad greens.  Toss with tomatoes, peppers, avocado, and onion.

Crumble cooked and cooled bacon on top.

Add grilled chicken.

Serve with dressing.

For Dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 dried basil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended, or pour all ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake until emulsified.

Tip for keeping your avocados green: Try rinsing or submerging the sliced fruit in cold water to prevent browning.  How does that work?  I’ve not seen a clear explanation, but some food scientists think that the cold water rinse removes phenolic compounds that cause browning.

Avocados are not just delicious…they are also beneficial to your health.

  1. Healthy Eyes – Avocados have more carotenoid lutein than any other fruit.  This antioxident protects against macular degeneration and cataracts.
  2. Lower Cholesterol – Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance that has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  3. Lower Blood Pressure – Avocados are a great source of potassium, which contributes to lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke.  Avocados contain even more potassium containing than bananas!
  4. Great Source of Vitamin E – Avocados are the greatest fruit source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects against many diseases and helps maintain overall health.
  5. Skin Moisturizer – Avocado butter and oil, two deep-conditioning emollients, will soften skin, eliminate dry patches, and restore your skin’s elasticity.  High in vitamins A, C, and E, avocado oil conditions skin without leaving behind an oily residue.

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