Super Snacking: Beyond Guacamole!
Stew Leonard’s Shares Tips & Recipes for Winning Big on Game Day with Avocados
In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Stew Leonard’s shoppers will scoop up more than 10,000 pounds of Hass avocado, making this anti-oxidant packed super food a super choice for game day snacking! Hass avocado is one of the more common varieties of avocado and is known for its oval shape, distinctive purplish-black and bumpy skin, and creamy texture that adds flavor to a variety of game day favorites. While many shoppers will snack on guacamole during the big game, avocado’s versatility make it a winning ingredient in a number of appetizers.
“Our shoppers here at Stew’s love Hass avocados year-round for their health benefits and great taste,” says Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of farm fresh food store Stew Leonard’s. “But avocado is the MVP of Super Bowl sales here at Stew’s: in the days leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, Stew Leonard’s company-wide sales for guacamole dip triples, while avocado sales double!”
This time of year, Stew Leonard’s sources Hass avocados from Michoacán, located along the Pacific coast of Mexico, which has rich volcanic soil and a semi-tropical climate that’s perfect for growing smooth and luscious avocados. Scott Varanko, the produce department manager at Stew Leonard’s Norwalk store, suggests these tips for picking and storing avocados for home:
1. Hold the avocado in the palm of your hand and select those that seem heavy for their size.
2. Store avocados on the kitchen counter until they are ripe or put in a paper bag to ripen fast. To determine ripeness, pull the stem off the end to see if the flesh is green.
3. Remove the large pit in the center by cutting the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Hold one half in each hand and turn the sides in opposite directions to separate the halves. Holding the half with the pit in one hand, carefully strike the pit with a knife, allowing the knife to stick into the pit. Gently and carefully turn the knife and remove the pit.
Stew Leonard’s offers a variety of guacamole choices – including Spicy Loaded Guacamole, Chunky Guacamole, 5 Layer Vegetarian Dip, and 7 Layer Party Dip – that are each made fresh daily at the store. But for those who want to create their own avocado-themed dishes at home in celebration of the Super Bowl on February 5, Stew Leonard’s chefs suggests these fresh and easy recipes featuring the very best farm fresh foods that Stew Leonard’s has to offer:
California Guacamole Dip
A classic! To keep your guacamole from turning brown before halftime, Chef John Nordin from Stew Leonard’s in Farmingdale, N.Y. suggests covering it tightly with plastic wrap. A squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice and keeping the avocado pit in the guacamole will also help keep your guac green – as will quickly eating the guacamole before it even has a chance to brown!
2 large ripe Haas avocados, peeled, halved, and pitted
Juice of 1 lime
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup finely minced onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh or canned Serrano or jalapeno chiles
¾ cup peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped tomato
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Dice avocado and mash with a fork, then sprinkle with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
2. Add minced onion, chiles, tomatoes, and cilantro.
3. Mix and cover tightly with plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Silky avocado replaces the tried-and-true potato in these crispy “fries” that are an unexpected addition to your game day menu. Freezing the slices of avocado keeps them firm for frying. Stew Leonard’s Executive Chef Michael Luboff suggests serving Avocado Fries with a side of Stew Leonard’s spicy chipotle dip.
2 large ripe Haas avocados
3-4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1. Half, seed, scoop and slice the avocado lengthwise into half-inch strips. Put slices on a piece of parchment paper or on a plate and freeze.
2. Remove avocados from freezer and dust with seasoned flour.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat.
4. Working one at a time, dip avocado slices into the egg, then dredge in the Panko crumbs, pressing to coat.
5. Working in batches, add the avocado slices to the Dutch oven, 5 or 6 at a time, and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
6. Serve immediately with Stew Leonard’s spicy chipotle dip.
Black Bean and Avocado Tex-Mex Caviar
With this year’s Super Bowl scheduled for Houston, colorful Tex-Mex “caviar” is the perfect addition to your game day spread. Chef Mike Olbrys from Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk, Conn. suggests making this dip the night before and adding the last three ingredients – avocado, tomato, and cilantro – just before serving.
2 cups canned black beans
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small can of chopped green chiles
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp minced celery
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dash of hot sauce
1 Hass Avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 Roma Tomato, diced
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1. Add the beans, olive oil, chiles, onion, celery, vinegar, salt, pepper and hot sauce to a container and mix.
2. Cover the container and chill overnight.
3. Before serving, add the diced avocado, diced roma tomato, and cilantro and mix.
A power play with pesto! Chef Victor from Stew Leonard’s store in Yonkers, N.Y. loves this dairy-free alternative to pesto, which is traditionally made with parmesan cheese. Serve as a dip with your favorite chips or veggies, brush it on grilled baguette slices for bruschetta, or toss with warm pasta or zucchini noodles.
1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine avocado, basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor or blender.
2. With machine running, slowly stream in the lemon juice, olive oil, and water as needed to achieve a smooth pesto. Puree until completely blended and creamy.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to four hours.