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American Summer Holiday Menus Go Red, White, Blue and Green with California Avocados

Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:00 AM

American Summer Holiday Menus Go Red, White, Blue and Green with California Avocados

California avocado season is officially in full swing, just in time for the upcoming summer holidays. This year, the California Avocado Commission has partnered with Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger to share great ideas for jazzing up any summer gathering with California avocados. Ideal for the 4th of July, Labor Day or any gathering in-between, it’s undeniable that California avocados add something special to any party.

California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette created by Mary Sue Mil ...

California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette created by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for the California Avocado Commission (Photo: Business Wire)

Milliken and Feniger, also known as the “Too Hot Tamales,” have both competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and are co-chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas, along with the Border Grill Truck, which brings modern Latin cuisine to neighborhoods throughout Southern California. Feniger also is the chef/owner of MudHen Tavern in Los Angeles.

“I make no secret of my affection for California avocados,” said Feniger. “With the fruit being at its peak availability for the whole summer, I think they are an absolutely perfect ingredient to bring for a picnic at the beach, for a neighborhood cocktail party, or for any other hot-weather shindig."

“California avocados are great as a cool creamy sauce with spicy barbeque, and they add great texture to salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes,” said Milliken. “We’ve created some delicious new recipes that showcase how versatile this fruit can be.”

California produces approximately 90 percent of the nation’s avocado crop on nearly 5,000 family farms in central and southern California. These hand grown California avocados are in season from spring through fall.

California-grown avocados are the ultimate fruit – delicious and good for you. Avocados are a nutritious superfood that provides “good” fats and nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

The “Too Hot Tamales” have created two delicious recipes that will take your next BBQ or summer get-together to the next level: a “California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette,” which wows with an impressive tower presentation, and an “Oven Barbequed Ancho Chicken with Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad,” a guaranteed crowd pleaser. For these and other 4th of July and summer-themed recipes, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/Fourth-of-July.

California Avocado and Tomato Salad with Crispy Crumbs and Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes


  • 8 (1/8-in. thick) slices country bread
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 grinds fresh pepper
  • 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp. Bacon Vinaigrette (see make-ahead recipe below)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lay bread slices on a cookie sheet.
  3. Mix together olive oil, pepper and half the salt. Brush this mixture evenly on bread slices and place in oven. Cook until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Cool bread completely, then place in a resealable plastic bag and crush into irregular croutons.
  5. Mash six of the avocado quarters with the remaining salt.
  6. Divided among each serving plate, layer one slice of tomato and drizzle with small, equal amounts of Bacon Vinaigrette. Follow with avocado mash and sprinkles of crispy crumbs. Repeat in each stack until all ingredients are used.
  7. Slice the remaining avocado quarter into six thin slices and place two slices on top each stack.
  8. Drizzle with remaining bacon vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Bacon Vinaigrette


  • 4 thick slices bacon, cut into short 1/16-in. thick pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. apple vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Fry bacon in a skillet until crisp then drain on paper towels.
  2. Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk to form vinaigrette.

*Note: Recipe yields about 1/3 cup of Bacon Vinaigrette. There will be some left over.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 500; Total Fat 27 g (Sat 3.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 4.5 g, Mono 16 g); Cholesterol <5 mg; Sodium 710 mg; Potassium 700 mg; Total Carbohydrates 56 g; Dietary Fiber 9 g; Total Sugars 11 g; Protein 10 g

Oven Barbequed Ancho Chicken with Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad

Serves: 4

Prep time: 3 hours and 30 minutes, including marinating time
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad


  • 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 serrano pepper, very finely diced, seeds optional
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, cut into supremes*


  1. In a large bowl, place half of the diced avocado and mash well with a fork.
  2. Add lime juice, sour cream and serrano pepper and mix until smooth.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, toss in the cabbage, grapefruit supremes and remaining avocado and toss gently to coat.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Oven Barbequed Ancho Chicken with Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad


  • 2 Tbsp. ground ancho chile
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 4 grinds fresh pepper
  • Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad (see make-ahead recipe above)


  1. A few hours or up to a day ahead, mix together the ancho powder, cumin, pepper and 2/3 of the sea salt and rub all over chicken pieces. Place seasoned chicken on a rack, uncovered in the refrigerator to air dry until ready to cook.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. To create the glaze, add the vinegar, agave, molasses, pepper and remaining sea salt to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce by half and then remove from heat. Set aside.
  4. Place seasoned chicken in pan and place in oven to roast. After about 10 minutes, brush chicken with the glaze and continue roasting for an additional 20-30 minutes, glazing and turning the pieces every 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
  5. Serve chicken immediately with Cabbage, Grapefruit and California Avocado Salad.

*Note: To supreme a grapefruit, cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit, exposing the fruit. Place flat side on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut the peel away from the grapefruit, removing all the white pith. Discard peel. Next, segment the grapefruits by holding the grapefruit over a bowl, use a paring knife and cut next to the membrane on each side of each segment leaving membrane behind. Let segments fall into the bowl. Once the grapefruit has been segmented, squeeze the leftover membranes into the bowl to extract as much juice as possible. Strain juice into another bowl and set aside. Discard membranes.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 610; Total Fat 21 g (Sat 4.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 3 g, Mono 10 g); Cholesterol 145 mg; Sodium 710 mg; Potassium 1360 mg; Total Carbohydrates 64 g; Dietary Fiber 10 g; Total Sugars 49 g; Protein 46 g

*Large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly. As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting.

Copyright © 2014, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, www.bordergrill.com

About the California Avocado Commission

Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state’s nearly 5,000 avocado growers. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. For nutrition information and recipes visit CaliforniaAvocado.com, or join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and @CA_Avocados on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for updates.

(Source: Business Wire )
(Source: Quotemedia)


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