Avocados Add a Twist on Tradition This Holiday Season

Even those who don't speak a word of Spanish know how to say "gracias" on Thanksgiving and can hum along to the tune of "Feliz Navidad" while stocking up on holiday eats at the grocery store.

During a time when food and celebrations go hand-in-hand, it is an ideal opportunity to add flavors that we grew up with to the holiday menu for a delicious twist on tradition. One of the most popular and versatile Latin ingredients is the smooth, creamy avocado.

"Avocados are festive. Not only are they a holiday green color, but they make dishes come alive and work well with foods you see during the holidays," says Chef Rafael Palomino. "Avocados tone down the tartness of cranberries and they add a light and creamy texture to sauces. Most importantly, they leave a memorable impression with guests."

To help celebrate this year's festivities, Chef Palomino has taken traditional holiday ingredients such as cranberries and turkey and added Latin cooking techniques and flavors.

-- In AvoCranberry Chipotle Salsa, tart and buttery flavors are complemented with the smoky taste of chipotle paste. This makes for a colorful spicy dip that goes well with corn tortilla chips or as a topping on holiday meats.

-- Avocado Turkey Tamales with Avocado Coulis are little gifts of savory turkey and creamy avocado, drizzled with a festive green sauce-- an ideal dish for the holiday buffet.

Hass avocados are available year-round to make holiday cooking easy and meals elegant. When ripe, the avocado's dark, pebbly skin yields to gentle pressure. Simply cut the avocado in half, scoop out the seed, and slip a spoon between the flesh of the fruit and the skin to prepare for use.

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