Blue Corn Crusted Shrimp

              12   large                    shrimp, cleaned and butterflyed
                1   quart                   canola oil, for frying
                1   cup                      blue cornmeal
             1/2   cup                      yellow corn meal
                2   large                    eggs, beaten
                2   Tablespoons       pasilla chile powder
                                                salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil to 340° F.  Mix blue and yellow cornmeal together.  If you can't find blue cornmeal, you can pulverize blue corn chips in a blender.  Add chile powder, salt and pepper to the cornmeal.

Dip shrimp in beaten egg and coat with the cornmeal mixture.  Place shrimp carefully in hot oil and fry for approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Reserve on paper towels until all shrimp are fried.


Source:   Chef Rick Sederholt
               Scottsdale Plaza Resort



Caldillo (tomato sauce)

                2   Tablespoons       oil
                1   small                   onion, sliced
                3   cloves                 garlic, minced
         1 or 2                              serrano chile peppers, diced
             1/4   teaspoon             ground allspice
                3   large                    tomatoes, chopped

             1/2   cup                      water
                3   stems                 epazote

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, and chiles and sauté over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender.  Add about 1/2 cup of water, the allspice, and chopped tomatoes.  Purée until smooth.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat.  Pour in the tomato sauce.  Add the epazote and season with salt.  Cook until sauce has thickened — about 10 minutes.


Source:   Mexican traditional

Beet Cream Soup

(crema de remolacha)


A rich and unusual first course; can be served hot or cold to 4 people; very Spanish.


                4   Tablespoons       butter

                1                              onion, chopped fine

                1                              leek, chopped fine with all white and some green part

                1   teaspoon             garlic, minced

                2   pounds                red beets, peeled and finely chopped

                1   Tablespoon         sherry wine vinegar

                1   cup                      dry sherry

                4   cups                    vegetable or chicken stock

                1   teaspoon             sugar

             1/2   cup                      whipping cream

                                                salt and white pepper

                                                cream and parsley for garnish


In a Dutch oven, sauté the onion, leeks, and garlic in the butter over a low heat, until they are very soft and golden — as much as 25 minutes.  Stir in the chopped beets and sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar, stock, and sugar.  

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 20 minutes, until the beets are very tender.

Puree the mixture in a blender — solids first, then liquid.  Return the soup to the Dutch oven.  Add sherry, cream, salt, and pepper.  

When you're ready to serve it hot, reheat and ladle into bowls, then drip in some cream into each portion and swirl gently with a knife for a dramatic effect.  Top each with a tiny parsley sprig.

With a bit a of kick from the sherry, this soup can be served cold to great acclaim — but remember to season more highly with salt if you serve it cold.



Source:   An Exaltation of Soups by Patricia Solley



Braised Chicken Agrodolce

with Dried Plums

Dried plums, cinnamon and red pepper give this braised chicken dish a Moroccan flavor. Serve with rice pilaf or couscous, and a crisp green salad.

             1/4   cup                     all-purpose flour
                1   teaspoon           salt

                1   teaspoon           pepper
                1                              whole chicken, cut-up (2 1/2 to 3-pound)
                2   Tablespoons     olive oil
                1   large                   onion, sliced
                1   cup                     chopped celery
                2   cloves                 garlic, finely chopped
                1   can                     reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 1/2 ounces)
                1   cup                     dried plums, halved and pitted (about 6 ounces)
             1/2   cup                     balsamic vinegar
                3   Tablespoons     granulated sugar
             1/2   teaspoon           crushed red pepper
                1                              cinnamon stick

                                                            or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
         1 1/2   teaspoons         fresh thyme leaves

                                                            or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Combine flour, salt and pepper.  Lightly coat chicken with flour mixture.

In large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken.

Add onion.  Cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until soft but not browned.

Add celery and garlic.  Cook and stir 1 minute.

Add broth, dried plums, vinegar, sugar, red pepper, cinnamon and thyme.  Bring to a boil.

Return chicken to pan; reduce heat to low.  Cover; simmer about 1 hour or until chicken is tender.  Skim off fat, if necessary; remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Remove chicken.

Increase heat to medium-high; cook remaining sauce, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve with chicken.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Source:   recipe created by Todd English

               for the California Dried Plum Board  (

Avocado Cheesecake


                2   cups                    graham cracker crumbs

          1 1/3   cups                    pinion nuts (pine nuts), ground

               ½   cup                      butter, melted

                4                              California avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed

              16   ounces                cream cheese, room temperature

                1   cup                      sugar

                6                              eggs

                1   Tablespoons       lime zest

               ¼   cup                      lime juice, freshly squeezed

                2   teaspoons           vanilla extract

             1/3   cup                      heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

                3   cups                    sour cream

                2   Tablespoons       sugar

                1   teaspoon             vanilla extract

               ½   cup                      pinion nuts


Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, place the graham cracker crumbs, the 1 1/3 cups of ground pinion nuts, and the melted butter.  Mix the ingredients together well.

On the bottom and sides of a 9" spring-form pan, place the graham cracker mixture and press it down firmly to make a crust.

In a large mixing bowl, place the California avocados, cream cheese, and the 1 cup of sugar.  Cream the ingredients together well.

While mixing constantly, add the eggs one at a time.

Add the lime zest, lime juice, and the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  Mix the ingredients together.

Add the whipped cream and fold it in.

Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 30 minutes.  Remove it from the oven (leave the oven on) and let it sit for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, place the sour cream, the 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Mix the ingredients together.

Spread the sour cream mixture on top of the cheesecake.

Sprinkle on the 1/2 cup of pinion nuts.

Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake it for 5 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool for 6-8 hours, or until it is firm.



Source:   California Avocado Commission