Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California Avocados Act As "Nutrient Booster" For Athletes And Non-Athletes Alike

CC Note: One of our caped cuisine fanatics just loves avocados. With that said, please enjoy another recipe she tried and loved. She liked it so much she even brought samples over to our Fayetteville office for the staff. Keep it up. We just love great food!

(NAPSI)-Optimal nutrition is essential for athletes to fuel their bodies through intense workouts. However, the importance of nutrition applies to non-athletes as well. Consuming a diet rich in carbohydrates, lean proteins and beneficial fats is crucial for overall health and an integral part of a training regimen. California avocados can serve as a component of just such a diet, as they provide primary mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential for both athletes and non-athletes, and are a healthy substitute when eaten in place of foods rich in saturated fat.

Also, California avocados are naturally sodium-free and cholesterol-free and act as a nutrient booster, by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

An excellent example of a training meal is the following recipe for Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa, as it combines all the performance nutrition essentials into one delicious dish.

Cilantro Chicken with California Avocado and Pickled Tomato Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 (6 oz.) boneless chicken thighs or breasts, with skin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

4 scallions, trimmed

Pickled Tomato Salsa (recipe below)

2 ripe, fresh California avocados, peeled, seeded and cut in ½-inch dice

2 cups cooked brown basmati rice

Instructions:

1. In a shallow, nonreactive dish, season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and cumin in a small bowl. Brush mixture on scallions and pour remainder over chicken, tossing to evenly coat. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.

2. Preheat broiler or grill. Beginning with skin side toward the heat source, broil or grill chicken until just cooked through, about 12 minutes per side for thighs and about 9 minutes per side for breasts. Grill or broil scallions about 2 minutes per side.

3. Toss Pickled Tomato Salsa with diced avocados and reserve until chicken is cooked.

4. To serve, arrange grilled chicken over a bed of basmati rice. Mound avocado salsa mixture on top of chicken. Garnish with grilled scallions. Serve immediately.

Pickled Tomato Salsa

Ingredients:

1 lb. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut in quarters

½ bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

2 Serrano chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced in rounds

½ cup white vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds

2 tsp. cracked black peppercorns

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. cayenne

½ tsp. turmeric

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with scallions and chiles.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Add brown sugar and salt and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve.

3. Measure ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cracked peppercorns, cumin, cayenne and turmeric onto a plate and place near stove. In another medium saucepan, heat oil over moderate heat until just smoking. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until aromas are released, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar mixture. Immediately pour over reserved tomato mixture. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or several days.

4. Before serving, remove tomatoes from juices, roughly chop, and return to pickling liquid.

Note: To peel tomatoes, remove the cores and score an X on the underside. Blanch for 15 seconds in boiling water and immediately plunge into iced water to prevent continued cooking. Peel with a paring knife.

For other recipe ideas featuring California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com.

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