One of the best parts of being a blogger is getting to meet your idols. Now, for some people, their icons may be movie stars, musicians, or athletes (well, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at two out of the three, particularly movie stars named Robert Downey Jr or musicians with the initials AL). But, me? I’m a fangirl for authors, chefs, cookbook authors, or really anyone to do with food, books, and/or any combination of the two. My pile of autographed books and cookbooks is slowly growing. I’m happy.
Recently I was invited to an event hosted by Avocados from Mexico (www.missavacado.ca). Nevermind how much I love avocados (just slice one and drizzle it with Cholula hot sauce and eat. Trust me, you won’t be sorry), the true star of the evening was one of my first cooking ‘idols’, Rose Reisman.
(Sorry for the bad picture. The lighting makes me look like I’m all schnoz, no Chicky).
Me and Rose Reisman at the #LuvMexAvocados event
In these parts where I live, Rose Reisman is a bit of a healthy cooking legend. When I was first married, and learning to cook, I used her cookbooks to make healthy meals for my husband and I. In fact, it’s partly because of her books (and Bonnie Stern’s-who I got to meet in the winter), that I’m able to create and adapt the recipes that I share with you and that support my lifelong health habits.
Rose’s challenge was to create delicious recipes incorporating avocados, and she didn’t disappoint. As guests, we were asked to submit our favorite dishes featuring avocados as well (I have a delicious packet of recipes to work through, and my own watermelon, feta, and avocado salad was featured). Our menu included:
The food was so delicious that I gobbled it down almost before I could take pictures (I mean it was so good that in my eagerness to stuff my face I forgot to take pictures.) I did manage to grab a snap of the dregs of someone’s salad, and of the last few brownies.
#luvMexAvocado with Rose Reisman
Triple Chocolate Brownies & Baby Kale Salad with Avocado Dressing
Wondering why I love avocados so much, notwithstanding the fact that because of them I got to meet Rose Reisman and have my 20-year old cookbooks autographed? It’s because avocados really are so healthy.
- Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw food eater seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.
- Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs, and boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals, and helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.
- Avocados are an excellent source of carotenoids. Although many people associate carotenoids only with red and orange produce, they’re are also an excellent source of this phytonutrient. Avocados include not only the better known ones such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, but also lesser known varieties of this type of phytonutrient such as neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin. Every time you consume foods rich in carotenoids, you deliver high quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health. Carotenoids also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, eating avocadoes optimizes the absorption of these nutrients.
- The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocados offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocadoes’ unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocados can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.
- The fat content, which causes some uninformed health “experts” to deem avocados as unhealthy, actually provides protection against heart diseases. Studies have shown that oleic acid, the primary fatty acid in avocados, improves cardiovascular health. Avocados are rich in omega-3, delivering 160 milligrams per cup of alpha-linolenic acid.
Now, do you understand my obsession?
By popular demand, here is the recipe for the Triple Chocolate Brownies
What You’ll Need:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup mashed avocado
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking pwder
1/3 cup low-fat yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp mashed avocado
1/4 cup light cream cheese
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
What You’ll Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch square pan with cooking oil.
- For the brownies, combine the sugar, avocado, oil, egg, and vanilla in a bowl and mix well.
- Add the cocoa, mixing it in well. Add the flour, baking powder, yogurt and chocolate chips, mixing just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, just until set. Don’t overbake. Cool on a rack before icing.
- To make the icing, place avocado, cream cheese, icing sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp coca powder in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Spread over the top of the brownies. Cut into 12 squares.
And, salad second, the Baby Kale Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (serves 8)
What You’ll Need:
10 cups baby kale or baby spinach
1 cup sliced red onion
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup sliced & toasted almonds
For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp each mashed avocado & light mayonnaise
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
What You’ll Do:
- Add kale, cranberries, onions and almonds to a serving bowl or platter
- In a small food processor, add ingredients for dressing and blend until smooth. Pour over salad.
Recipes courtesy of Rose Reisman