Thursday, June 26
We’ve all been there. You have beautiful, perfectly-ripe avocados ready to be used…but you’re not ready to use them! Oftentimes it is simply because all of the avocados get ripe at the same time, but you don’t need all of the avocados at the same time. I do this frequently – I stock up on avocados when they’re on sale and then, suddenly one day, they are all ready to go but I just don’t need them all at once. Never fear, just because the avocados are ripe and ready to go doesn’t mean you have to use them right away. You have two options. I use both of these techniques all the time and they both work great! 1. Refrigerate the Avocados: I learned this trick on Good Eats over ten years ago and do it all the time. If you’re planning to use the ripe avocados within a week or so, just put them in the fridge, whole and uncut. The cold will essentially freeze the avocados in time, preventing them ripening further but keeping them nice and yummy for eating. This is perfect if you know you’ll want to use the avocados within a week or so and the avocados will work whether you plan to use them as chunks/slices or in guacamole. 2. Freeze the Avocados: That’s right you can freeze avocados! I learned this trick from my friends at California Avocados. This works great if you are not going to be using the avocados relatively soon and if you plan to use them in mashed up form (i.e. for guacamole). I recorded a little video for you to show you how to prep ripe avocados for the freezer! Also, in case you missed it the first time, this is hands down the best way ever to cut and pit an avocado. Life changing. Happy avocado eating and storing!
Tuesday, June 24
The 4th of July is the biggest sales time of year for avocados. Avocados are in season and, well, apparently we like guacamole on the Fourth! In anticipation of us all using a lot of avocados over the next week, I thought I’d do a couple avocado posts. Today I am going to share with you my new favorite kitchen gadget: the avocado masher!
When I visited the California Avocado groves last month, they kindly gave us all a goody bag, which included this masher. It’s essentially a mini potato masher, about 6 1/2 inches long. I’ve always used my beloved pastry blender to mash up avocados and thought that it would be my favorite tool for the job from now until the end of time. I was wrong. My new pint-sized potato masher is PERFECT for mashing up avocados. It’s just the right size and works beautifully. Plus, it’s easy to rinse off and clean, with no tiny holes, seams or hinges to deal with.
The tag on my mini masher actually said “avocado masher” on it. I looked around online and couldn’t find the exact one that I own, but there seem to be lots of good options if you do a little googling. This avocado/mini masher on Amazon is 8-inches long, so just a smidge bigger than mine, but I’m sure it would work great, too. When you’re out and about shopping, just keep an eye out for your perfect avocado masher. I’m sure you’ll love this little gadget as much as I do!
Wednesday, May 7
I’m kind of in an avocado groove. I mean, I still have 15 avocados sitting on my counter from last Saturday, so how can I not be?!
Remember how my cousin Jamie visited a few weeks ago? When she was here she not only made a list of kitchen equipment she had to buy, but she also walked away with pizza baking tips (separate post to come!) and a tip for making guacamole that got her about as excited as the the scizza did!
We decided to have burritos and tacos one night. Jamie and I went to the store together and she mentioned she needed to grab some tomatoes and onions for the guacamole. I kept saying, “Using salsa is a nice shortcut,” and then she would say, “I love putting fresh tomatoes in guacamole,” and I would mention salsa and she’d mention tomatoes. Basically we were both nicely telling each other we do it differently, thank you very much. 😉
But then we got home and started to actually make the guacamole. I pulled out some chunky salsa and Jamie gave it a try. And she almost immediately saw the light!
So, here’s the deal. You can chop tomatoes and onions for guacamole, but if you have chunky salsa (or even un-chunky salsa, in a pinch), you totally do not need to! The chunky salsa adds in the tomatoes and onions (and a few bell peppers, too!) without any of the chopping. Plus, the salsa adds a bit of extra flavor that is perfect for guacamole. Later that night Jamie brought it up again, telling me how awesome the using salsa in guacamole trick was!
Please note: Don’t get too heavy-handed with the salsa! You want to add a few yummy chunks in there, as well as some flavor, but if you put too much in, it can make the guacamole “mooshier,” if you know what I mean. For a fresher, chunkier guacamole, go lighter on the salsa, but of course, play with it and find your favorite mix of ingredients!
I wrote a post all about guacamole several years ago, including a “cheater’s” recipe for guacamole. Click here for the recipe and even more guac tips!
Thursday, November 21
This giveaway is now closed, but the recipe is awesome so keep reading!
Ready for another awesome cookbook? If you have someone in your life who loves avocados, this is the PERFECT holiday gift for them.
First off, my friend Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking is awesome and my little Owen is also completely smitten with her. It’s the cutest thing ever – he loves Gaby! Unfortunately for Owen, Gaby is already spoken for. For some reason he hasn’t noticed the ring on her left hand and I haven’t had the heart to break the news to him. 😉
Gaby recently published her first cookbook Absolutely Avocados. The book is a great avocado resource, well designed, beautifully photographed and features all kinds of scrumptious avocado recipes, including a really delicious Caesar dressing that I love and, today’s featured recipe, brownies!
We need to talk about these brownies. They are DELISH. Super rich and fudgy, these brownies have a wonderful crust on top that actually stays crispy the next day. It’s like a brownie miracle. The brownies taste nothing like avocados and, by replacing half of the butter with a healthy avocado, a little bit of the guilt can be alleviated when enjoying this tasty treat.
Since it’s the Gifts & Giveaways time of year here on This Week for Dinner, you better believe we are giving away a copy of Gaby’s book! Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Tuesday, 11/26.) Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! That’s it! Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!) Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!) Bonus entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
I asked Gaby if, at any point along the way of writing her book, she got sick of avocados. She exclaimed, “Of course not! I love them!” That is one dedicated woman.Avocado Brownies (Say What?!?) and a Very Gaby Giveaway!From Absolutely Avocados by Gaby DalkinAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: DessertIngredients
- 1 Hass avocado (4.5 ounces)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the avocado flesh in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix until the avocado is mashed and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the granulated sugar and beat until full incorporated.
- In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Add the chocolate mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
- Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, followed by the espresso powder, vanilla extract and salt.
- Add the flour and mix until there are no streaks of flour showing. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes. The brownies will be dense and moist. Let cool for at least 1 hour before cutting. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving if desired.
Tuesday, July 2
I love the folks at the California Avocado Commission. And not just because they sent me a case of avocados today! They really are a great group of people representing a great product: California-grown avocados. In fact, a lot of those avocados are grown right here in San Diego!
The commission shared a fun fact with me last week: the Fourth of July is the highest consumption day for avocados in the US. I guess we all love guacamole on the Fourth! The great thing is avocados are actually in season right now, so our demand matches the time when they taste best!
To get us ready to eat our 96.4 million avocados this Thursday, I think an avocado Call for Recipes is in order!
I’ll kick us off with one of my most favorite dip recipes: Hummus Guacamole Dip with Black Beans. If you haven’t tried it yet, I’m sure you’re thinking it sounds weird. It is actually really delicious. Like, I can eat the whole bowl myself. It’s also very healthy!
Your turn! What are your favorite recipes using avocados? Please type up the recipe or share links to recipes in the comments. Anything goes as long as there are avocados involved!
Thursday, July 3
Time to make some guacamole, the perfect 4th of July dip! Okay, maybe more appropriate for Cinco de Mayo, but whatever. I have a few tips I’d like to share that will cut down on prep time and pump up the flavor.GuacamoleAuthor: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Avocado (let's base this recipe on 4 avocados)
- Chunky Salsa (to taste, not too much, ~1/4 cup)
- Dollop of sour cream (very optional, I hardly ever add it but once in a while I throw in a spoonful)
- Garlic powder, to taste (yes powder, put that garlic press away! but if you DO have fresh garlic, use the garlic press to keep it simple and go with 1 clove)
- Dried minced onion or onion powder, to taste (yes, dried, put your knife away!)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cayenne Pepper, Hot Sauce or Red Pepper flakes (if you want it spicier)
- Lime juice (I just use my little squeezie lime juice from the fridge - a few squirts should do it - if you have a fresh lime, go for it)
- Fresh cilantro (if you have it), chopped
- Mix all together!
- Click here for a great way to cut open avocados and remove the pits safely and quickly.
- Use a pastry blender to mix it up. It’s perfect for mashing up the avocado, but keeps you from overmixing. You don’t want to overmix – chunkier is better. Pasty, not so good.
- Salsa is my “secret” ingredient – you get hunks of tomato, onion and pepper, but you don’t have to do any chopping. And it adds nice flavor.
- About the cilantro – I almost never have fresh cilantro on hand. The guac is delicious without it, I promise. But if you DO have it, it adds a nice fresh flavor.
- Make sure you salt the guac enough. This is important. Add a little bit at a time so you don’t oversalt.
- You can tell when an avocado is ready because it’s soft to the touch (not too soft!), often darker in color, and when you pop the little stem thingy off the end, it will be green in the hole.
- Lemon and lime juice do NOT keep your guacamole from going brown. I use lime juice just because it tastes good.
- Putting the pit in the guacamole will NOT keep it from going brown. The reason avocados go brown is from contact with oxygen. The best way to keep it green is to put plastic wrap directly on the guac when you store it. It’s still going to go a little brown on you. There’s just no getting around that. The brown is a-okay to eat, but you can always skim it off the top if you don’t like how it looks.
I’m telling you, my guacamole is GOOD. It’s EASY. You can make it with whatever you have in the cupboard and fridge. I always have lime juice & salsa in the fridge and spices in the cupboard. All I need is the avocados and I’m set!