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"Absolutely Avocados"

See how our editors put the almighty avocado to use in February’s cookbook-club installment!

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During the dead of winter, it’s sometimes the little things that can bring joy to your day. Like slicing into a perfectly ripe avocado. I swear, every time I split an avo open and find blemish-free, creamy flesh, I feel as if I’ve won the lottery. If this sentiment sounds familiar, do yourself a favor and check out Gaby Dalkins’ cookbook, “Absolutely Avocados.” The avocado-obsessed author—you may know her as the blogger behind What’s Gaby Cooking—dishes up 80 ideas for putting my favorite winter fruit to use. Here are the recipes we tried out in the Betty Crocker Kitchens. Absolutely-Avocado_01
Huevos Rancheros with Chipotle Salsa & Avocados 

When I see huevos rancheros on a brunch menu, the other dishes don’t stand a chance. I mean, it features my favorite foods all stacked up in a beautiful, delicious way. I even have a favorite version at Blackbird Café in Minneapolis, but that doesn’t stop me from trying others, including Gaby’s DIY version. Her recipe is classic and fabulous—especially the salsa, which I’ve never made in the food processor before and will be making again and again in the future. I used Muir Glen’s fire-roasted diced tomatoes, which paired perfectly with the smoky depth of the chipotles in adobo. And while I fussed about having to fry corn tortillas, it was far easier and quicker than I thought, and gave the tortillas, smeared with Old El Paso traditional refried beans, an incomparable fresh flavor. The avocado plays a supporting role in this recipe, but to me it’s like the crown jewel, finishing off this hearty menu favorite ever so gracefully. This recipe has definitely earned a spot in our homemade weekend brunch rotation! —Erin Madsen, executive editor

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Crab Cakes with Basil-Avocado Aioli 

Crabs cakes and I have a complicated relationship. I want to love them, but I’m always a bit disappointed. I’ve long suspected it’s less about the cakes themselves and more about the accompanying sauce—rémoulade and tartar are not for me. Then while trying to decide what to make from this beautiful book, I found it, the recipe that changed everything: Crab Cakes with Basil-Avocado Aioli. The cakes are deliciously uncomplicated featuring scallions, chives and lemon zest with nary a red pepper to speak of (another roadblock in my crab cake love affair), but it was the basil-avocado aioli that stole my heart. A little bit spicy, packed with basil and perfectly creamy, it’s what I’ve been looking for all along. In fact, I’ve fallen so hard that I plan to make a double batch next time for dipping everything from fresh vegetables to Sweet Potato Fries. But I’ll be making those crab cakes again, too, of course. Because once you’ve found your love, you don’t let it go. —Kayla Knudson, managing editor

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Guacamole Trio 

Chips and guac, forever and always, will be one of my favorite snacks. And since I can never have too many recipes for my beloved chip-dip, the decision to put together a guac sampler for our team to snack on was a no-brainer. The hardest part was picking just three recipes from the guac-devoted chapter! The first recipe we sampled (pictured at top left), was a Mango & Cilantro Guacamole. I never would have combined those two fruits, except maybe in a salad, but the mixture of textures was quite good. My only regret is not taking time to dice the mango more finely. I haven’t been able to stop caramelizing onions ever since Kayla made this dip, so obviously the Roasted Poblano & Caramelized Onion Guacamole was on my list to try (top right). With a whole roasted poblano pepper and an entire caramelized onion, this guac was smoky and deep with flavor, but the zingy finish (courtesy of fresh lime juice) kept it addictively light. Of the bunch, the Bacon-Cojita Guacamole stood out as supreme. Something about the salty bacon, coupled with the chunks of the crumbled cojita had us coming back scoop after delicious scoop. —Meghan McAndrews, senior editor 

Join our Betty editors as they explore a new cookbook, each cooking a recipe (or three!) from it and reporting back the first Tuesday of every month. Next up: What Katie Ate on March 4. In the meantime, tell us, what cookbook(s) are you dying to try?

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