California Avocado Green Chile Gazpacho

In preparing for Fitbloggin’ this year I am undertaking the challenge by the California Avocado Commission to create an original avocado recipe for California Avocado Cutting-Edge Culinary Recipe Contest. Being a California native who now calls Colorado my home it seemed fitting to pair green chile with avocados. With summer knocking on our door gazpacho seemed like the perfect blend of these two regional foods (I hope you caught that pun).

I came to understand what California avocados really mean when I moved to a Southern and Eastern state for a few years that has a fruit they call an “avocado” but pales in comparison. I grew up with avocados and miss how available they are from the tree for many folks. Instead here in Colorado we have green chile. Technically New Mexico has green chile but Colorado acts like it is ours. Imagine the horror when you succumb to an urge for chili cheese fries only to be served some chile cheese fries. Green chile is king in this state and after six years here I gotta say I am hooked. California avocados and green chile pair very well in general but I thought I would add some crispness to this dish with a touch of fennel. Keep this amount small and consider some sort of pear and celery combo if the anise taste is not for you or hard for you to find.

This soup is simple, it mostly requires food prep and in that end only a small portion of the chopping prep needs to be pretty as a garnish since the rest is blitzed.

gazpacho

Avocado Green Chile Gazpacho

ingredients

2 peeled and pitted California Avocados
2 peeled cucumbers
1/2 bulb of fennel
juice of 1 lime
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1 small can green chiles (or 1/4 cup diced chiles of your choice)

Coarsely chop and add all ingredients to a bowl except for some fennel shavings, 1/4 cup of cubed cucumber, and 2 tbsp. finely sliced cilantro. Add 3 cups of water. Blend to a fine consistency or whatever consistency you like and chill for an hour.

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Serve gazpacho and garnish with fennel, cucumber and cilantro. Add salt if you need it.

garnish

Southwest Quinoa Black Bean Salad

I have talked about this salad MANY times on this blog and am approached about the recipe a lot.  My family loves it because it is a tasty, economical, meatless full meal.  The grain + legume combo make a complete protein with the necessary 14 amino acids present.  There is fiber.  There are veggies.  You need to know something about me though, I cook a lot from scratch and I rarely use or stick to recipes.  As my husband puts it… I cook like jazz (freeform).  However in making our Southwest Quinoa and Black Bean Salad this week I took note of quantities and order.  The pictures are from my husband making a batch in August 2009.

SOUTHWEST QUINOA AND BLACK BEAN SALAD

4 finely chopped cloves garlic

2 limes, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno pepper

1 seeded and chopped red bell pepper

1 whole ear of corn, cut kernels away from (or 1/2 cup frozen)

2 cups black beans rinsed and drained (or a 15 oz. can)

2-3 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

salt and pepper

**note: if using canned black beans use Eden Foods Organic since their cans are not lined with BPA

Combine garlic, lime juice, olive oil, and jalapeno.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Add red bell pepper, corn and black beans.  Mix and let sit another few minutes.  Add mixture to  2-3 cups of quinoa depending on your ratio preference.  Fold in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

See it is an EASY recipe that in my opinion taste better after you cover and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.  My husband learned to master this go-to dish during my pregnancy.  It can be as pretty as you want with red quinoa or regular quinoa and the color intensity of veggies.

**As a note grain and legume combo dishes are pretty easy to play with.   Play with ratios.  Basically add 2-3 cups of cooked grain to 1 cup of a legume.  Capture flavors in 1/2 cup of olive oil with a tablespoon or two of an acid (I use limes here but white balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar work too) with spices.  Add in a cup of veggies or more.  Let them all hang out together to maximize flavor and enjoy.