How do I love Avocados? Let me count the ways.

So even though it’s September, I still haven’t come down off of the epic high that was winning the California Avocado Commission Cutting Edge Culinary Contest! I wanted to share with you guys what I’ve been up to with all of my awesome prizes. For three months, I get a monthly shipment of ripe California avocados. The first month I didn’t plan well, and ended up giving away many avocados, which made for many happy neighbors and friends. However, I did have this recipe set aside from Yoga magazine that has just five ingredients: avocado, cocoa, honey, coconut milk, and vanilla. I was amazed at how delicious these little fudgsicles were — you’d never guess that avocado was a primary ingredient, and they were so rich and clean tasting.

Coconut Avocado Honey Fudgsicle Recipe Yoga Magazine

Alyssa’s take on Avocado Fudgsicles

I’ve also fulfilled my life’s quota of avocado toast, but that’s not really true because I could probably eat avocado toast every day for the next year and still want more. There’s nothing like some toasted sourdough with mashed avocado, sea salt, and pepper, and if you’re feeling really fancy, you’ll top it with a fried egg. Isn’t this droolworthy?(Newsflash: I’ve only just now gotten into “Dippy eggs”. I used to be one of those people that thought you’d get sick if you ate a runny egg yolk. It’s not true…at least not so far, anyways!)

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Now that I’ve either made you hungry or grossed you out, let’s talk about prizes! My beautiful new white Kitchenaid is enjoying its new home in my kitchen and has been used several times already, to make a gluten-free cake, brownies, and a marinara sauce. I also scored a Williams Sonoma giftcard, and with that, I made several purchases, including:

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Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan – There’s no reason I got this other than the fact that I love bees, and I wanted it (it was on sale, too!). I’ve also kinda always wanted a NordicWare pan because I’ve heard you could try and blast them to smithareens and barely make a dent… and it’s true. This thing fell on my kitchen floor the other day and it looks great… the tile it fell on, however? Not so great. Goodbye, rental deposit. Hello cute novelty cakes.

KitchenAid 5-Quart Glass Bowl with Lid – My fellow avocado queen Kelly suggested this to me and I’m so glad she did. I’ll often times bake something and have leftovers that I don’t really want to swap out into a different container. The lid is great and it’s way prettier for photographing!

Top Shelf Living – Slate Cheese Board – 10″ X 14″– I’ve been having a wild love affair with cheese the last year, and having a slate cheese board makes me feel all “Oooh, you fancy.” This one came with chalk so I can write the name of said cheeses, which will usually be, “Brie, Gouda, Cotswold, Cheddar.” The end. (And there’s something about how slate keeps cheese at their natural temperatures yadda yadda but I just think it looks cool.)

The Spice Lab Cyprus Citron Lemon Flake Sea Salt, Island of Cyprus 2 oz. – Impulse buy! I’d never seen lemon sea salt, so in the basket it went. I just had this on top of a tomato slice fresh from the garden, and holy heck, was it yummy.

Chef’n Stem Gem Strawberry Huller – Totally worth $7 and adorable. I hate cutting strawberry tops, and on the occasion that I want a strawberry without the flat top, I have this handy tool. Also can be used for tomatoes.

Chef’n Buttercup Butter Maker – Another impulse buy. Everything is better with butter, and I fantasized about making my own butter with honey or herbs. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to use this yet but I’ll give you the full report when I do.

So there you have it! That’s how I spent some of my giftcard from the lovely people at California Avocado Commission. I still have some funds left that I may put towards another Le Creuset item, but we shall see. I’m not being compensated to talk about any of these products, I just wanted to update you on a day in the life of an Alyssa spending spree. These links are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on them I might make 4 cents, but that’s all. What would you buy with $150 for kitchen stuff? Also, am I missing out on any amazing avocado recipes? Do tell!

 

Avocado Cream Tarts with Nectarines and Strawberries

~ This recipe took home the grand prize in the California Avocado Commission’s Cutting Edge Culinary Recipe Contest on June 27, 2014!

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Happy Monday! Do you guys remember how last year at Fitbloggin’ I must have found a million four leaf clovers, because I cleaned out with a whole Amana Kitchen Set AND a Tiffany necklace?! What the what?! Well, this year I’m hoping luck is on my side again because the California Avocado Commission has put a call out for creative avocado recipes featuring mostly fruits and veggies for the California Avocado Cutting-Edge Culinary Recipe Contest. I’ve been obsessing thinking about what I was going to make for three weeks, flip-flopping back and forth between a sweet recipe or a more “classic” avocado recipe, in which avocado plays the mellow counterpart to some strong flavor like cilantro, onion, or prosciutto. In the end I decided to take a risk, and make a dessert — a deliciously decadent dessert that tastes like a million calories but is actually cutely packed into portion controlled tarts. I present to you, Avocado Cream Tarts — a rich shortbread shell filled with a light, fluffy avocado mascarpone cream, sweetened with a touch of wildflower honey and given a clean, crisp accent with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The mascarpone pairs beautifully with the buttery notes of avocado, all the better topped with juicy, ripe, diced nectarines and strawberries. This sweet treat has a simple, just-picked, summery taste, and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Double Chin Diary Avocado Mascarpone Recipe

Ingredients

1 Package of Shortbread Tartlet Shells or  Phyllo Shells (bake as instructed), or miniature graham cracker shells (Or even a thin, sweet cookie if you can’t find anything else. I used shortbread tartlet shells found near the ready made pie shells in the baking section.)

1.5 Cups Mascarpone Cheese

1 Medium Ripe California Avocado, Mashed

1 Teaspoon Honey

1/2 Teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Diced Nectarine (or more to taste)

Handful of strawberries (or more to taste)

CaliforniaAvocado_Mascarpone_DoubleChinDiary_Recipe_1

1) Mash the avocado with a fork until it’s guacamole consistency. A few small chunks are fine, but for the most part you want a smooth taste. Combine this with the mascarpone in a mixing bowl, and beat on medium for a minute until well mixed. If you don’t have a mixing bowl, you can use a whisk and your hands, but mix well. Slowly add in the honey and lemon juice. You can either increase or decrease the amounts of either of these, but I found 1 tsp honey to give just a very slight sweetness, and the lemon to add a very slight tartness to bring out the buttery avocado.

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2) Dice the nectarine and strawberries very finely. Either use a spoon or piping bag to carefully fill the shells. Don’t have a piping bag but want a pretty swirl? You can make an improv piping bag, using a ziploc bag filled with the cream, snipped in the corner with scissors.

Avocado_Nectarine_Tart

2) Dice your nectarines and strawberries and dab a few pieces of each on top. Pat yourself on the back, cuz you’re all done! See how easy that was?! There are a million different variations you could do on this; blueberries, banana, kiwi, apricots, mango… the possibilities are endless.

DoubleChinDiary_AvocadoTart

When I was brainstorming this recipe, it was important to me that it be quick and no-bake. We’re up in the 90s here in Los Angeles, and turning on my oven for anything takes some doing. I also wanted to feature avocado in a non-traditional sense; as a dessert, with lots of complementary flavors, but still with the buttery, rich avocado taste being the main feature.

DoubleChinDiary_AvocadoRecipe

Each avocado tarlet is about 130 calories, and well worth every bite. Avocados are packed with healthy fats, and are sodium and cholesterol free. It’s also sometimes called the Alligator Pear for its bumpy, green skin. For more fun avocado facts, visit this link from my friends at the California Avocado Commission.

What do you think about this dessert? Would you give an avocado dessert a try? What’s your favorite way to use avocados?