How To Use Avocados In Your Culinary Adventures

Avocado salad and tuna. Isolated on a white background.Avocados are a popular fruit, though used like a vegetable, can find its way into almost any dish. It just seems that when adding avocados to a culinary or baked good, the dish has been enriched. Like this one at Tracy’s Culinary Adventures – Fudgy Triple Chocolate Avocado Brownies, Bobby Flay‘s Crunchy Avocado Salad, or how about pairing avocado slices with grapefruit as in Simply RecipesGrapefruit Avocado Salad.

Avocados have a lot of descriptive words to explain its flavor. Such as a creamy, buttery, and smooth fruit, with distinctive colors like bright yellow and green. Their aroma can be described as floral, green, grassy, freshness, and earthy.

The texture of the fruit is a butter rich melt in your mouth taste and feeling.

How To Pit An Avocado

Pitting an avocado is not hard at all. As a matter of fact you can become a pro in no time once you know the technique.

Avocado Trivia

list with pictures of avocado varieties

Image Credit: 17 Park Side

Do all avocado varieties taste the same? What do you think, yes they do, or no they do not? If you decided on, “No they do not,” you are correct.

There are taste variations between the different varieties of avocados available for consumption.

Not only does the variety determine the taste but it is also affected by the season and how ripe the avocado well get.

It is recommended to taste test the avocados that come into season and are fully ripe, so that you can see which ones you prefer to use in your recipes.

The summer and Fall season avocado favorite among many individuals is the Hass, and the spring season avocado favorite is the Fuerte.

Just remember you can get these avocados out of season because of international trading of produce, but they will not taste the same as when having them in season.

Tips To Selecting A Ripe Avocado

The appearance of a ripe avocado will vary based on the avocado you are selecting.

The Hass variety is one of the creamiest, making it suitable for spreads, dips, and any recipe requiring mashed avocado. Other varieties are firmer and better when consumed in whole slices or chunks.

man shopping for produceThe way to tell if the avocado is ripe or not is to hold the avocado in one hand, and place the thumb of the other hand over the small stem, then gently try and see if you can move the stem.

If stem is firmly in place and cannot be easily removed, that is an indication that the avocado is still not ripe.

The fruit should be fairly heavy and free of blemishes.

To ripen an unripe avocado for use, place it on the counter at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. It would be best not to refrigerate it, as refrigeration halts the ripening process, so you should not store unripe avocados in the refrigerator unless they have already been cut open.

Avocados ripen after they are harvested and not on the tree. If you are picking an avocado off a tree, you should pick a large one with even, dark coloring and a firm texture. After picking it, you will need to let the fruit harden on the counter for 2 to 7 days before it will be ripe and be ready to eat.

If you do not plan to eat the avocado immediately, it is in your best interest to buy an avocado that is still unripened. A ripe avocado will usually only last for a few days in the refrigerator.

To speed up the ripening process, place the avocado in a brown bag with an apple or a banana. These two fruits will release a gas called ethylene, a chemical linked to the ripening process.

Here is our featured recipe using an avocado.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Avocado

1 avocado

Avocado salad and tuna. Isolated on a white background.1 lemon, juiced, to taste

1 tablespoon chopped onion, to taste

5 ounces cooked or canned wild tuna

2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped

Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Cut the avocado in half and scoop the middle of both avocado halves into a bowl, leaving a shell of avocado flesh about ¼-inch thick on each half. Cut removed flesh into small chunks.

Add lemon juice and onion to the avocado in the bowl and mash together. Add tuna, avocado chunks, dill, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust if needed.

Fill avocado shells with tuna salad and serve.

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Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken BreastThe website Yummy, features about 136 different ways to prepare a Boneless Chicken Breast Wrap. Our featured recipe consists cutting the chicken breasts horizontally and rolling them up with a garlic lemon cream cheese filling and wrapped with a non-cured pork shoulder bacon for a rich and savory dish.

organic garlic lemon seasoningThe garlic lemon is a seasoning we purchased at the Whole Foods Market, and it was a worth while purchase as it added splendid flavor to the dish.

chopped green onionsTo move things along in the preparation of the ingredients, such as the green onions, we used kitchen shears.

The photo at the start of the post looks to mouth watering, lip smacking good to write more about stuffing a chicken breast, so let’s get to cooking.

Here is what you will need for our Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut horizontally

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature

3 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic lemon seasoning

12 pieces bacon, partially cooked

Several tooth picks

Heat oven to 375 degrees

green onion garlic lemon cream cheese mixPrepare chicken breast by cutting each breast horizontally into two pieces, and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl cream the cheese and add the chopped green onions and garlic lemon seasoning. Set aside.

partially cooked pork shoulder baconIn a large ceramic coated frying pan partially cook the bacon over medium heat.  Set aside in a separate plate.

chicken breast spread with cream cheese  Spread a layer of cream cheese mixture over one side of each breast section, but not to thick. Roll chicken breast up to conceal cream cheese, and secure with toothpicks.

prepared Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast for bakingRap two pieces of bacon diagonally and keep in place with toothpicks. Rap one piece of bacon long ways or horizontally and keep in place with toothpicks.

Place all four bacon wrapped chicken breasts into a medium sized glass baking pan. Place pan into heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Place under broiler for 5 minutes to crisp bacon.

Plated Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken BreastPlate and serve.

Green Beans with Coconut and PecansThe side dish is a Green Bean with Coconut and Pecans. Here is what you will need.

3 cups of fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tablespoon of coconut butter

1/2 cup pecan pieces

1/4 cup dried shredded coconut

Steam cut green beans. Add steamed beans and coconut butter to a serving bowl, and mix till beans are well coated with the butter. Next add dried coconut and pecans and mix in. Enjoy.

 

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Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken

Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-ChickenAll Asian food is cooked with the intention of increasing the health benefits, such as its healing powers and medicinal value, as well as longevity.

Here’s an article we publish this year last March 2014, Amazing Ways Food is Used in Thai Cooking .

Of course every country that is part of the Asian world has their own way of cooking the food, but with the same outcome, its health benefits.

Today we present Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken. Of all the Asian foods, Thai is our favorite.

Here is what you will need:

ingredients-for-Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken8 oz. rice noodles, fresh or dried

2 tbsp. peanut oil

scallions, coarsely chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced fine

2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced

8 oz. chicken breast, trimmed and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup fresh bean sprouts

¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Soak the noodles in a large pot of boiling water, covered for 10 minutes or cooked according to package instructions. When the noodles are done and tender, rinse noodles under cold running water. Set aside.place-rice-noodles-into-boiling-water-for-10-minutes.jpgAdd peanut oil to a wok (large frying pan, if you have no wok )over high heat. Once the peanut oil is heated add scallions, garlic and red chilies. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.heat-peanut-oil-and-add-vegetables-and-stir-fry-1-2-minutesNext add the chicken, lime juice, fish sauce and eggs. Stir-fry over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until eggs have set and pink is no longer in chicken or heated through.add-chicken-lime-juice-fish-sauce-and-eggs...stir-fry-2-3-minutesNext add the bean sprouts, most of the cilantro and the noodles and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until heated through and beans and cilantro are mixed in thoroughly.adding-bean-sprouts-and-cilantroTransfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and remaining cilantro and serve right away with lime wedges if you wish.Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken

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How to Use Herbs in Cooking

How to Use Herbs in Cooking

An important part of cooking is also to know the flavors of herbs and spices and how to use them. Seasonings are the key to making a great meal.

If you are not familiar with different herbs, experiment. Get to know the flavors and how herbs work to flavor your food.  Also be aware herbs are not just for flavoring foods, but also have nutritional value as well as medicinal traits.

The following are the most popular used herbs.

Basil: This herb has a very aromatic odor and some can even be sweet. It can be fresh or dried. The herb goes well with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressing and omelets. Basil should always be added after cooking your recipe dish, as heat chances the color and texture of basil.

Basil is also best used as whole leaves or torn. Do not use kitchen shears to cut basil as this will brown it. Smaller leaves at the top of the bunch are the sweetest.

Chives: This herb is part of the onion family. Though it can be sweet, and does have a mild flavor. They can be used dried or fresh. They go well with salads, fish, soups and potatoes.

Cilantro: It has a lively aromatic flavor. It looks similar to flat-leaf parsley, though it is not parsley. This herb originated from the Middle East and goes well with Asian, Mexican, and Indian dishes. It is also used in salsas and chutneys.

Cilantro is best used fresh. If you do grow this herb in your garden, note that the leaves become bitter after the plant flowers. The dried seeds of cilantro are the spice called coriander, which is popular in use with making Chai Tea.

Dill: This herb is very aromatic. The herb has grassy and feathery like leaves. It is used in pickle brine, as well as fresh in tuna salad, omelets, vegetables, seafood dishes, yogurt dressings that use cucumbers, and herbed vinegars.

Marjoram: Though not a popular herb, it is used either dried or fresh. It is used to add flavor to fish, poultry, omelets, lamb, stew, and stuffing.

Oregano: A very strong herb with a strong aromatic odor. Be careful when using this herb, as it is strong, adding to much will over power other flavors you will use in your recipe preparations. Oregano is unforgiving. If you have added more than the recipe calls for, there really is now way to fix it.

It can be use fresh or dried. It is added to recipes using fish, eggs, pizza, omelets, chili, stew, gravies, poultry and vegetables.

Rosemary: This herb has a pungent aroma like smell or pine flavor. It goes great with Mediterranean dishes, lamb, poultry, fish, and breads. Fresh sprigs or finely chopped leaves can be added to long-cooking stews.

It is noteworthy, that when grilling, sturdier stems of the plant make good skewers for broiling or BBQ dishes. Adding flavor to the meats and vegetables placed on the skewers.

Paprika: This spice works well when marinating steaks, in use with vegetables, soups or as a garnish for potatoes, salads and deviled eggs. The Paprika we are familiar with using is Hungarian and is sweet. There is also Smoked Paprika that is used in Mexican dishes. Most of the paprika we buy today is grown and processed in California.

Thyme: This delightful herb can be used fresh, though it is popular used dried. The leaves are dried than crushed, and can be sprinkled on fish or poultry before broiling or baking.

Here’s a tip using thyme as a meat smoking agent if you’re grilling fish or poultry: Place a few sprigs directly onto coals shortly before meat is finished grilling.

Rules to Using Herbs

The basic rule to using herbs is ¼ teaspoon for every 4 servings. Also, if you are using whole dried herbs, crush them before using to release their flavor. The rule of thumb is to use 3 times more fresh herbs if substituting for dried.

When preparing your dish, dried herbs should be added at the beginning and fresh herbs should be added just before serving the dish.

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Green Hamburgers

Green HamburgersHere’s a great way to get your finicky eaters to eat their greens, with Green Hamburgers. One hamburger has one serving of leafy greens. As a side note, this is a great nutritional meal for those who suffer with Schizophrenia.

Now for our featured recipe: Green Hamburgers, and here is what you will need.

ingredients for Green Hamburgers

23 fresh spinach leaves

1 pkg. (about 12 oz.) basil, fresh or live basil with roots

¼ cup cilantro

1 lb. ground hamburger (15% Fat)

4 tbsp. prepared bread crumbs

 

wahs and trim greens

Cut the root ball from fresh basil and trim stems along with the spinach and cilantro. Wash the greens.

processing greens for Green HamburgersPlace all greens into a food processor with 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water, if necessary. Process greens until finely chopped and looks like a wet paste. Set aside.

cutting equal parts of hamburger meat

Divide hamburger into 4 equal parts, about 1/4 pound per each burger.

prepared Green HamurgersIndividually prepare each 1/4 pound of meat in a small bowl. Add meat with 2 tablespoons of processed greens, and one tablespoon of bread crumbs. Mix with hands and form a patty.cooking Green HamburgersBBQ, broil  of pan fry your Green Hamburgers. We used our Nu-wave oven to cook the hamburgers, about 6 minutes each side flipping 2 to 3 times. Meat must be 160 degrees internal temperature to be done.Green Hamburger sliced in halfIt is not necessary to slice burger in half. We did so to show you how the hamburger looks once cooked.preparing the hamburger with tomato and spring lettuce mixPrepare your Green Hamburger the way you like it. I personally like to use whole wheat bread slices with mayonnaise ,tomato, and a spring lettuce mix.close up of prepared Green Hamburgers

Enjoy!!

 

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Lemon Artichoke Chicken

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

Plated Lemon Artichoke Chicken with accompanied sided dishes of rice, vegetable and bread roll

2 lbs. chicken breast, about 4 breasts

14.75 oz. jar or can artichoke hearts, drained

¼ cup of lemon juice

½ cup chicken broth

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ cup cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken breasts into quarters. Heat a large skillet with 4 tbsp. olive oil. Cook chicken breast quarters on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Next add lemon juice, chicken broth and artichoke hearts; mix in well.  Add thyme and stir until mixed. Place lid over skillet and cook for 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

Garnish with cilantro when serving.

View our web-site: Savor the Food and Your Health