Braly: Sweeter side to healthy avocado

Braly: Sweeter side to healthy avocado

May 2nd, 2012 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

It's no secret that President Barack Obama loves avocados. In a recent interview, wife Michelle said his favorite snack is guacamole. But there's so much more to avocados than that one dish.

In addition to their good flavor, avocados are incredibly healthful. They're one of the best foods for increasing omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Those are the good fats that offer a host of benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing the chance of strokes. They're just an all-round bonus for a healthy heart.

"We need to increase our intake of omega-3s, and we can do this by eating fish two to three times a week, taking fish-oil supplements and eating other foods like avocados," said Angie Gross, a registered dietitian with the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

Other good sources of omega-3 include collard greens, wild-caught salmon, albacore tuna and walnuts.

I keep a bowlful of avocados on my kitchen counter, rotating them into meals as they ripen. I slice them into salads or add them to a chicken or tuna sandwich for lunch, making sure my husband and I get maybe half an avocado at least every other day.

I could eat an entire bowl of guacamole without blinking twice, but it's best to enjoy avocados in moderation because they are fairly high in calories.

Recently, the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, which exports a good many of the avocados we consume, announced the winners of its third annual Culinary Student Recipe Contest.

Based on the contest criteria of originality, taste and ease of preparation, the association awarded $1,000 to Emme Ribeiro of the Seattle Culinary Academy for her Avocado Crème Brûlée With Walnut Crust.

In a news release, Ribeiro, a first-year culinary student, said she inherited her passion for cooking from her family, the owners of Tempero do Brasil, a popular Brazilian restaurant in Seattle.

"While most Americans are familiar with avocados in savory dishes, we also enjoy the fruit as dessert," Ribeiro said. "My recipe for Chilean Hass Avocado Crème Brûlée With Walnut Crust was inspired by that tradition."

Notice that it also has walnuts in it, so you're increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

If you plan to add a little Mexican flavor to your menu this Cinco de Mayo, this would be a sweet way to do it.

Chilean Hass Avocado Crème Brûlée With Walnut Crust

6 Hass avocados, halved and pitted

1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese

31/4 cups granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 cup (2 ounces) very finely chopped walnuts

Using a spoon, scoop avocado out of skin, being careful to keep the skin intact. Place the skins on a baking sheet. Set aside. In a food processor, combine the avocado, cheese, 3 cups of the sugar, milk and lime juice. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute.

Spoon equal amounts of the avocado mixture among the 12 halves of reserved avocado skins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or until well chilled. Preheat broiler. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the remaining sugar over each filled avocado half.

Broil 4 inches away from heat source, 5-6 minutes to brown the sugar and form a caramelized, golden crust. Immediately sprinkle walnuts evenly over the top of the caramelized sugar. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings. Easily halved.

Email Anne Braly at