Jan 11, 2012

The Hawaiian Avocado

Creamy Hawaiian Avocado
Click on photo to view larger
The avocado was introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800s, probably by Spanish horticulturalist Don Francisco de Paula Marin, however avocados are native to Central America and the Caribbean area. 

In Hawaii, local farmers produce about half of the avocados Hawaii eats through retail markets. In 2010, two million pounds of avocados were consumed in Hawaii. Kona, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is the major production area for the state. Most of the cultivars grown in Hawaii are crosses between three strains of avocados, but almost half are of one cultivar, the 'Sharwil', which matures around Christmas time. I have about 15 avocado trees that I grew mostly from the seeds of a 70 year old tree here on Moloka'i. They are creamy and rich in flavor. The photo above shows how they look.

Avocado Baked Eggs
4 avocados
8 eggs (make sure they are at room temperature)
2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
yogurt, optional garnish
chopped herbs, cilantro or green onions, optional garnish
cooked, crumbled bacon, optional garnish
warm flour or corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Cut each avocado in half and remove the pit. Using a spoon scrape out the center of each halved avocado so that it is large enough to accommodate an egg (about 1 1/2 tablespoons). Squeeze lime juice over the avocados and season with salt, then place on a baking sheet. Break a egg (not cold) into the center of each avocado. Don't worry if some of the white spills out as long as the yolk is intact. Bake in the middle rack of the oven until whites are set and yolk is runny, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with a spoonful of room temperature yogurt, chopped fresh herbs and/or bacon bits. Serve with warm tortillas. Makes 8 servings. Note: To make sure that the eggs are fully cooked, you can poach them first, removing the eggs while they are still runny, then drop each egg into the avocado, and bake them for an additional 5 minutes, then garnish.

Avocado Poke Salad
Poke is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Here we combine the creamy avocado with tuna poke to make a spicy Hawaiian salad.

1/4 cup fresh ahi tuna cut into small chunks (Poke)
1/4 cup avocado cut into small chunks
1/4 cup romaine lettuce - julienne
1/4 cup napa cabbage - julienne
1/8 cup daikon (japanese radish) - julienne
1/4 cup cucumber, seeded, sliced, and cut in half
1 pinch of 'nori', cut into thin strips with scissors, for garnish (nori are thin, dried seaweed sheets)
roasted sesame seeds for garnish

Chili Mayo:
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Siracha chili sauce, a spicy sauce from China
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salad Dressing:
2 tablespoons Ponzu sauce, a mixture of citrus juice and soy sauce from Japan
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
black pepper to taste

Mix tuna and avocado with chili mayo mixture. Mix the lettuce, cabbage, daikon, and cucumber slices with the salad dressing then place mixture on a salad plate. Add the tuna/avocado mixture on top of that, then sprinkle with strips of nori and sesame seeds. Makes 1 serving.

Pan-grilled Ahi Tuna with
Avocado Chimichurri Sauce

2 -6 ounce ahi tuna steaks
1 large avocado
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red chilies
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by combining the parsley, cilantro, chopped garlic, oregano, salt, red chilies vinegar and oil in a food processor and puree at medium high speed just until slightly chopped but not smooth. Taste a adjust if necessary. Chop the avocado into 1/4 inch pieces and add to about 1 cup of the prepared chimichurri. Set aside. Preheat your grill pan. Lightly dust each side of the tuna steaks with salt & pepper. Grill the tuna for about 4 minutes before turning, then for about another 2-3 minutes, or until the tuna is no longer pink on the inside (if you like your tuna seared on the outside and slightly raw in the middle, cut the time in half). Serve with a generous amount of the avocado chimichurri and some white rice on the side. Makes 2 servings.

Cream of Avocado Salad Dressing
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 heads romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed and the hearts cut in half lengthwise

In a food processor, combine the first nine ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Serve over romaine hearts. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups, plenty for 4 servings.

Avocado Macadamia Nut Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed avocado
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped and toasted macadamia nuts

Mix together flour, sugar, orange rind, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add avocado, egg, buttermilk and lemon juice; stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir in chopped, toasted macadamia nuts. Pour into well-greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake in 350˚F oven for 50 minutes. Allow bread to cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 1 loaf.

Avocado Honey Lime Ice Cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup pure honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lime zest
3 ripe avocados, pureed

Whisk together eggs, honey and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the half-and-half, buttermilk and lime zest to a full simmer. Once liquid begins to bubble, remove from the heat. Cover and let steep 2 hours. Once cream mixture has cooled, strain into another medium saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer again. Temper the egg and honey mixture by adding the simmering cream to the mixture in a ladle a little bit at a time while whisking. Then, return the mixture to the saucepan. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat a spoon and the thermometer reads 170°F to 175°F, about 4 minutes (do not allow mixture to boil). Strain mixture into a clean bowl and allow the steam to escape. Cover and chill mixture until cold (at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day). Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add avocado purée halfway through freezing. Transfer to a bowl or tub and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.

Frozen Avocado-Lime Pie
People on Moloka'i grew up eating local avocados, but when I ask around, most like to eat it with sugar on it, or as a dessert. This frozen dessert recipe is kind of like a key lime pie but with avocado added. Very easy to make, and a good dessert served after eating a spicy meal, or whenever you feel like it.

1 graham cracker pie crust, store bought, or make your own... (I like to use 1 1/2 cups crushed macaroons mixed with 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter for my crust. Then I press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate and bake it for 15 minutes at 350˚F)
1 very ripe (soft) avocado
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
1, 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle brand)
1 can of Reddi-whip whipped cream
1/2 cup chopped nuts (macadamia, pecans, or walnuts)

Puree the avocado in a food processor or blender. Add the lime juice, lime zest, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and mix until well blended. Pour into pie crust and freeze at least 2 hours, 4 is better. Thaw for 10 minutes before serving with a big dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the pie, and sprinkled with chopped nuts. Makes 8 servings.

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