Singing The Praises Of Avocados

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - June 18, 2008
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Hass avocado
Hass avocado

Find seven very talented performers who can sing, dance, do impersonations, make people laugh and have unbeatable personalities, add in one amazing female singer and you’ll have the ingredients for an unforgettable evening in Waikiki.

Outrigger Entertainment presents the Society of Seven Las Vegas with Hawaii’s own American Idol star Jasmine Trias at the Outrigger Main Showroom on Kalakaua Avenue now through July 31.

Here’s to Fran Kirk for bringing the show together and having eight (not seven) on stage for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. I hope they also will enjoy this recipe.


Avocados come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. The most common variety, the Hass, is oval and has a tough black or dark-brown shiny skin when the fruit is ripe. Other varieties have a green, glossy skin. You should not try to eat the skin of any avocado variety. Avocados can vary in weight from 8 ounces to more than 2 pounds. All varieties have a rich, buttery-textured flesh and a slightly nutty taste. The flesh is usually yellowish-green in color.

When purchasing, select fruits that are heavy for their size, not too hard and free of black spots and bruises. The avocado is usually cut in half lengthwise and the pit removed. Avocado flesh darkens when exposed to air; to prevent discoloration, sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar.

Nutritionally, avocados are an excellent source of potassium and folic acid, as well as a good source of vitamin B6. They also contain lesser amounts of vita-mins A and C, niacin, magnesium, pantothenic acid, copper and zinc.

Despite its high fat content (a typical medium-size avocado has 15 grams of fat, 7.4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 161 calories), it is easy to digest because it contains a number of enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of fats.

The avocado is a very nutritious and energizing food and is said to be good for the stomach and the intestines.


FRUITY AVOCADO SALAD

* 4 large leaves red leaf lettuce
* 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
* 1 large ripe avocado, peel, seed and slice thinly
* 1 can mandarin orange slices, drained well
* 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
* fat-free raspberry vinaigrette or dressing of choice
* 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Arrange large lettuce leaves on four plates. Divide chopped lettuce into four portions and arrange on top of leaves. Arrange avocado slices evenly around the lettuce. Top with mandarin orange slices and garnish with strawberry slices. Pour vinaigrette over salads and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Makes four servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 185
Fat: 9 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 20 milligrams (will vary according to dressing selected)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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