Culinary Corner

Californians will love these crazy things to do with avocados

Special to The CambrianAugust 21, 2013 

Since I already had a grilled chicken breast at hand, for this photo I prepared the chunky sauce as a topping instead of simmering the chicken as directed.

CONSUELO MACEDO — Special to The Tribune

Apropos of absolutely nothing: “Rock is dead — long live paper and scissors!” This was just a clever bumper sticker I saw on a car near our museum, and it began my otherwise mundane day with a hearty chuckle.

One must snatch at priceless bits of enjoyment as often as possible. For me, it may also and always include reading other folks’ recipe columns and cookbooks. My sister Erica referenced this Huffington Post article, which really made me smile: The Craziest Ways to Eat Avocados.

There are the usual ideas for salad dressing and smoothies. But also check out the ice cream, brownies, pudding, pancakes, chocolate hazelnut cake and pie, all using the fruit as an ingredient. (I have run an easier pie recipe, and will include it next week.) Avocado with an egg baked in the open-faced cavity sounds like a winner, but French-fried slices sounds a little over the top — well, maybe at least once for research.

A suggestion for fresh peach halves grilled on the barbecue sounded good, but son Alan found that my white nectarines held up much better. Too bad we had no cake to try — grilled angel food or pound cake, placed over the waning coals just until the first side turns golden and then flipped for the second side. Top with vanilla ice cream as we did with the nectarines.

Now that freshly squeezed pomegranate juice is available at our farmers market, I get a quart each week to enjoy straight up as a cold refreshing shot in the evening.

I simmered some to reduce by half as syrup for waffles or ice cream, and reduced it even further to make pomegranate molasses for a glaze on duck or pheasant. This led to a chat with Lyn Nercessian, who had enjoyed our Sicilian eggplant with her husband, Zerah (Peter).

Pomegranates are a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cookery and have a surprising trait as a tenderizer in such things as shish kebabs. Lyn promised to share some of their favorite recipes with us, including this exotic one she adapted from “In a Persian Kitchen”:

Khoreshe Fesenjan (Chicken with Pomegranate Sauce)

  • 4 chicken breasts, seasoned, sautéed and set aside
  • 1 white or yellow onion, minced
  • 3 tbsps. butter
  • 2 tbsps. tomato sauce or purée
  • 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 31⁄2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3⁄4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Sauté the breasts with the skin on until golden but not cooked through; set aside. Sauté the onions in butter over medium heat until golden; stir in tomato for a few minutes. Add in the walnuts, simmering about five minutes, and stirring constantly so as not to burn.

Add water, other liquids and seasonings. Cook covered about half an hour until thickened; sweeten if necessary. Place the reserved chicken in the sauce, cover and simmer until done, about 20 minutes. Serve atop brown rice with some of the sauce spooned over.

Consuelo Macedo cooks, writes and stargazes on Happy Hill.

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