Dipping Into Layers Of Flavor

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - December 27, 2006
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The new year is upon us and there’s no better way to relax, unwind and escape than heading to the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Saturday, Jan. 6 for Jim Brickman’s show.

Jim has an unequaled fan base with many members here in Hawaii. This incomparable artist juggles an active career as composer, recording artist, radio personality (including a syndicated show heard weekly on KSSK) and concert headliner.

He’s had six gold- and platinum- selling albums,won awards from Billboard and the Canadian Country Music Association, and received a Grammy nomination.

He’ll be performing many of the songs from his newest hit CD, ESCAPE, which features appearances by Sara Evans — the Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year for 2006, R&B star Gerald Levert,and smooth jazz guitarist Marc Antoine. Will they be on the Blaisdell stage? Find out when you attend the show!

We dedicate our New Year’s best to Jim Brickman, and wish all a relaxing time listening to his music in the years to come. Here’s a favorite recipe of mine for a dip that’s great for New Year’s Day get-togethers, and always disappears quickly. I like to serve with low-fat taco chips and a bowl of guacamole on the side; you can make your own, or buy it ready made.

Happy New Year!

There is evidence that avocados were grown in Mexico as early as 500 B.C.

Today California is the leading producer of avocados in the United States, with San Diego County being the avocado capital of the country.

When selecting an avocado in the grocery store, make sure it is soft, but not mushy. The skin should be tight around the pulp and give a little when touched. Avoid avocados with dark spots on the skin.

If your avocados — storebought or home-grown — are not quite ripe, put them in a brown paper bag and keep in a cool place.

Avocados are sodium and cholesterol free, and most of the fat is monounsaturated. They also contain more than 20 essential nutrients including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acid.


• 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans (low fat), mixed with 1 teaspoon chili powder

• 1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, softened

• 1 (16-ounce) container light sour cream

• 1 large vine-ripened tomato, diced

• 1 green bell pepper, diced

• 1 medium Maui onion, diced

• 1 jar salsa

• 1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded

• 1 cup shredded low-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

• bowl of guacamole

This works best in a large, deep glass bowl with a flat bottom.

Spread refried beans on bottom of bowl.

Mix the sour cream and cream cheese until well blended, and spread over the refried beans. Add tomato, green pepper and onion in individual layers. Add a layer of salsa and then lettuce. Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over entire top.

Serve with taco chips, or fatfree tortillas, and a bowl of guacamole on the side. Make sure everyone digs deep to get all the fillings.

Makes about 50 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories: 76 Fat: 2.1 grams Cholesterol: 13 milligrams

(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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