Thursday, March 29, 2007
I have to admit that after the olive the avocado is m favorite fruit. Yes, I said fruit. From a botanical classification this is a fruit for it has a seed surrounded by a flesh protected by a skin. We just think of it as a vegetable because we tend to only use it in savory applications. There are two main varieties in the United States the Haas and Fuerte. The former has a brownish/red skin that is rough and is eggish is shape coming from the west coast into South America. The Fuerte is a Floridian/Caribbean variety that is more oblong with a green smooth skin. The Hass variety is higher in fat and is less fiberous than its southeastern cousin.
When ripe the avocado should have a gentle give when squeezed. If it is hard let the avocado ripen on the counter - once it has ripened and you are not ready to use it you can refrigerate it. Never refrigerate an un-ripened one for it will never ripen for you. Also, the avocado does not take well to being heated. If I am ever to cook with an avocado it goes in at the very end just prior to serving. Too much exposure to heat and the sweetest avocadoes goes bitter...been there, done that.
Avocado Salsa - yields 2 cups
2 ripe avocados
2 plum tomatoes - seeds removed
4 scallions - chopped
1 jalapeno - diced, seeds removed to lower heat
1 small red onion - diced fine
1 lime - juiced
1/4-cup cilantro - leaves only; roughly chopped
1-teaspoon - ground coriander seed
1/2-teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Carefully cut the avocado in half to remove the skin and seed from the avocado. Dice the avocado. Dice the tomatoes, and gently toss all ingredients together. Refrigerate 30 minutes before using.
Minted Avocado Mousse - yields 8 servings
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cream
6 mint stems - leaves reserved for garnish
3 large avocados - ripened
1 lime - juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate - chopped up
1 teaspoon canola oil
In a sauce pan gently warm the cream, sugar and mint over a low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the cream mixture, and let it cool. Place the lime juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a plastic blade or use a cake mixer with a whip attachment. Ad the avocado and process till very smooth. Add the cream to the avocado and blend till well incorporated. Dissolve the gelatin in1/4 cup of hot water. Mix into add to the avocado mixture, and incorporate thoroughly.
With a paper towel moistened with some oil, lightly grease a Charlotte mold, or use a bunt pan dish, and pour in the mousse mixture. Tap the mold lightly on the container to dislodge any air bubbles, and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. To un-mold the mousse place in a pan of warm water for no more than a minute or two. Wipe the mold dry. Place your serving
dish on top of the mold, and turn it out. Tap on the mold to ensure the entire mousse releases at the same time. Once you have un-molded the mousse place it back in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour to firm it back up.
To make the chocolate glaze place the chocolate and remaining oil in a stainless steel bowl, and melt completely over a double boiler. Alternatively, the chocolate can be melted in the microwave oven, just use a non-metallic bowl and heat for approximately 1 minute. Make sure the oil and chocolate is well combined, and let it cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the chocolate over the mousse.
Avocado Ice Cream – yields approx. 4 quarts
1-quart whole milk
6 egg yolks
12 ounces chopped white chocolate
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 ripe avocadoes
In a 4-quart sauce pan bring the cream and milk to just below a boil over a medium heat. In the meanwhile, in a clean bowl whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow, and thickened. Slowly, add small amounts of the hot cream mixture to the eggs – whisking constantly and being careful not to scramble the eggs. Once the eggs are hot add the eggs to the remaining cream, and over a low flame stir the cream/eggs until just slightly thickened along with the white chocolate. Be sure to stir in the corners of the pot as some of the chocolate will stick to there.
Pour the cream mixture through a fine sieve into a clean container, and fully chill the mixture.
In a blender place the orange juice, vanilla and avocado. Puree the avocado to very smooth. Whisk the avocado mixture into the fully chilled cream to thoroughly distribute.
Place the cream mixture into an ice cream maker, and proceed according to manufactures directions.