One of the nicest parts of blogging for me is when the two lenses of my blog, food and community, converge. It’s not a rare occurrence, either – food and community go hand-in-hand.
There are a lot of organizations that connect food bloggers these days – Food Bloggers of Canada, food blogger savvy marketing companies, Meetups, and more. It means I’ve had the opportunity to meet other local bloggers and it’s often in the context of a fun event.
They organized an Avo Showdown and local bloggers brought their best original avocado recipes to the competition.
I spent some time recipe-testing, consulting my copy of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible for avocado-friendly pairings, and came up with an avocado and coconut cream spread, paired with jalapeño jam and a cucumber and fennel salad. I presented it on Vancouver-favourite, Raincoast Crisps, for two reasons: they’re delicious and I thought they’d hold up well to the very long wait between assembly and presentation to the judges.
Savoury Avocado Cream Bites
Serves a crowd
- 5 grams red onions, finely diced and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes
- 50 grams fennel ( ½ small bulb), excluding fronds, finely diced
- 50 grams cucumber, peeled, quartered & cored, finely diced
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ripe avocados
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- jalapeño jam, store-bought or homemade (I use Camilla Wynne’s recipe)
- crackers, crostini or rice crackers
- cilantro (optional)
Prepare the Fennel Crunch and Lime Vinaigrette. Toss the Fennel Crunch in 2 -3 tbsp of the vinaigrette, check for seasoning, and refrigerate.
Halve the avocados, remove the seed, and scoop the meat into the jar of a blender or the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth, thick, and free of lumps. Check for seasoning, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To assemble, scoop a small quantity of the dressed Fennel Crunch onto the crackers or crostini. Spoon or pipe ½ – 1 tsp. of the Avocado Cream on top. Add a small quantity of jalapeño jam to either side of the Avocado Cream. Garnish with another small sprinkle of Fennel Crunch or a shower of chopped cilantro.
Tips: For a gluten-free version, use rice crackers, gluten-free crostini, or even slices of cucumber. This recipe is suitable for vegan or vegetarian eaters.
My dish was a hit with my family and with a few of the judges, so I’m happy. (Of course the happiest bunch of all were the night’s winners, as you can see in the photo above.)
The evening was the best reward, anyway. We were treated to mountains of delicious appetizers prepared by the students at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, along with a demonstration of an avocado-shrimp spring roll by PICA’s Executive Culinary Chef Instructor, Darren Clay. (It was fun working in a commercial kitchen alongside fellow bloggers.)
By the time we got to taste each other’s dishes (nineteen in all), we were already a little full. But, they were all so delicious, we managed. And on our way out the door, we got a bag of avocado goodies to take home.
A wonderful evening all around.
I was given an invitation to the Avo Showdown by Town Hall Brands, along with a small gift bag, but received no other consideration. All opinions are my own.