Friday, May 11, 2012

Gourmet’s 50 Most Influential Women in Food # 47 Zarela Martinez ~ Avocado Ice

Avocado Ice….Oh so good!

We are almost at the end of our journey! This week it is Zarela Martinez # 47 on Gourmets list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food. She was born in the Mexican border town of Aqua Prieta.  Zarela said she learned to cook from her mother, Aida Gabilondo, also a cookbook author. Zarela was educated in El Paso, Texas and, Guadalajara. She is considered one of America’s foremost authorities on Mexican cooking.
While Zarila was taking a cooking class in New Orleans she was noticed by Paul Prudhomme, who became her mentor.  Her opportunities opened up when Craig Claiborne, the food editor for the New York Times,  published several of her recipes.  In 1983, she was asked to design a menu to be served at Ronald Reagan’s ranch in California, for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. That was also the year she moved her family to New York, where she designed the menu for the new Cafe Marimba. In 1997, she became the co-owner of Zarela, a very popular restaurant in Manhattan.  Her first cookbook in 1992 "Food from My Heart” was nominated for best international book of the year by The James Beard Foundation.  She is also the author of “The Food and Life of Oaxaca” and “Zarela’s Veracruz” a companion book to her 13-part PBS series Zarela!  La Cocina Veracruzana.  Ms. Marti­nez has also made many guest appearances on shows such as “Julia Child: Cooking with Master Chefs”, “Martha Stewart” and, is a frequent guest on NPR ‘s Lenny Lopate Show.
I chose Avocado Ice to represent Zarela. Avocado and ice cream didn’t seem to go together.  I was quite intrigued with this recipe!  Once the syrup was made, it only took a few minutes to put together.  To enhance the green color, I added a bit of green food color to the sugar mixture. I also used coconut milk in place of the whole milk. After the ingredients were mixed, I refrigerated it for several hours before putting it into my ice cream maker. This ice cream, or ice as it is called, was delicious. Not very sweet but very creamy! My husband who doesn't  eat avocados really liked it. Of course, I didn’t tell him what was in it until after he said he liked it.

Ready to freeze
The flavor of the avocado was very subtle
Two words to describe this wonderful treat….Creamy deliciousness!

Avocado Ice  Epicurious | © 1997

by Zarela Martinez
The Food and Life of Oaxaca

The idea of making ice cream from avocados is not strange or outlandish to Oaxacans. In many Latin American countries, avocados are eaten as dessert. (Brazilians make them into a sweet mousse.) Nieve de Aguacate is one of the perennial favorites at Oaxaca City ice-cream stands. It is naturally creamier than the usual fruit-based nieves, but some acid is necessary to offset the blandness of the avocado. Fresh lime juice is the perfect complement.Yield: Makes about 1 quart


2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and seeded
2 cups whole milk (I used coconut milk)
1/4 cup (approximately) freshly squeezed lime juice


Make the simple syrup: Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until reduced to 1 cup. Let cool to room temperature. (Syrup can be made ahead and stored, refrigerated, in a tightly covered container.)

In a blender or food processor, process the avocados and milk to a perfectly smooth texture. Add the syrup and lime juice, starting with a little less than all of each and adding more to taste.

Freeze by manufacturer's directions for your ice-cream maker. Or to still-freeze, pour into a 1-quart container (preferably stainless steel), place in the freezer, and freeze for 2 hours. Remove and beat the mixture until it is a fine-textured slush, using a chilled rotary beater or hand-held electric mixer (with beaters chilled). The aim is to break up the ice crystals and aerate the mixture for a fluffier texture. Return to the freezer for 1 more hour; remove and beat in the same manner. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Chef Zarela Martinez shares her tips with Epicurious:
•"Oaxaca City is one of the world capitals of ices or 'snows,'" says Martinez. Countless flavors, including avocado, papaya, guava, and tamarind, are served in the plaza of La Soledad church. This basic recipe can be used as the basis for experimentation with many kinds of tropical fruit: Instead of the lime juice and avocados, use a thawed 14-ounce package of frozen fruit pulp (sold puréed or in chunks in Latin American and Asian stores). If using puréed fruit, you can omit the blending or food-processing step and simply mix the ingredients in a bowl before freezing. Adjust the amount of simple syrup according to the natural sweetness of the fruit.
•"The texture you should be trying to achieve is not that of a rich, silky ice cream, but rather something like a sherbet or ice milk," says Martinez. She recommends the Donvier brand ice cream maker from France for the excellent Oaxacan-style ices it produces, but this recipe works with any brand.

Here’s what we've been up to with our 47th Game Changer.....

Mary of One Perfect Bite 
Susan of The Spice Garden  
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed   
Heather of Girlichef   
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney  
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living   
Linda of There and Back Again  
Barbara of Moveable Feasts  
Nancy of Picadillo 
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits  
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen  
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook  
Alyce of More Time at The Table  
Amrita of Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades
Martha at Simple Nourished Living  
Jill at Saucy Cooks  
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Annie at Most Lovely Things  
Sue at The View from Great Island   


  1. What a beautiful ice! Wonderful for a Mother's Day cookout. Happy Friday!

  2. I love the idea of using avocados for dessert! Thanks for the great idea, and have a good weekend.

  3. This is such a refreshing treat and even the hubs enjoyed it!

  4. What a treat! The ice is a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue. It has really been a pleasure to have you on our journey. Have a great Mother's Day. Blessings...Mary

  5. Wow that looks good (and I love avocados). And easy! And refreshing. On my list for the next week.

  6. I love that you made this, Kathy! Can't wait to give this a try. The lime in it must make it quite tart.

  7. You really found a lot of good information about Zarela! My mother made something almost exactly like this when I was little, but I knew it was avocado and I didn't like it. I'm ready to try it again. The addition of coconut milk sounds like a good idea. It sounds like I could also cut down on the sugar?

  8. I love the look of this - so creamy! I've made avocado paletas (popsicles) before and they resemble this, so I can just imagine how great they are! Great choice :D

  9. Kathy, that avocado ice cream looks amazing! You make such wonderful presentations with so much attention to detail - I am always in awe and enjoy reading all your posts so much...keep writing them and I will keep reading them.

  10. I've made an avocado smoothie before, but not avocado ice cream. I was also pleasantly surprised by how good avocado was in a sweet dish.

  11. This looks so refreshing. I have seen a lot of desserts using avocados, but have never tried them. I think this would be a great one to try.

  12. I can't believe this recipe, looks so interesting!!!!

  13. Humm, would have never thought to use avacados in ice cream, but it looks tasty. And it makes this sweet treat a healthy one, right? ;)

  14. Interesting recipe! I am making something similar but using frozen bananas instead of the simple syrup.