News | July 17, 2018

Explore The Tastes And Sounds Of The Golden State With The New California Avocado Summer Soundtrack Cookbook


The summer season in California is synonymous with warm and sunny beach days, al fresco dining and of course, great music. Just in time for the peak of California avocado season, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) has developed the first ever California Avocado Summer Soundtrack Cookbook to celebrate two locally grown and distinctly California elements fundamental to the California lifestyle -- the state’s regional musical sounds and California avocados.

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California Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Tartare, recipe created by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scra ...

California Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Tartare, recipe created by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scratch|Bar & Kitchen for the California Avocado Commission (Photo: Business Wire)

The California Avocado Summer Soundtrack Cookbook is a collection of recipes inspired by various musical genres with West Coast roots. To help curate the musical inspiration behind each dish, CAC has enlisted the expertise of Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scratch Restaurants and several local food and lifestyle tastemakers. From appetizers to entrees, desserts to beverages, their culinary creations showcase the fruit’s incredible versatility, each inspired by the unique sounds of the California music scene. The resulting cookbook offers imaginative ways to use fresh California avocados all summer long. Visit the CAC blog today to begin your journey through the different tastes and sounds of the Golden State.

“As a whole, the Scratch Restaurant group focuses on building our menus around locally grown, seasonal produce. I’m always excited when California avocados are in season because I know they will be fresh and of exceptional quality,” said Chef Lee. “I am constantly inspired to find new ways to feature this delicious, fruit.”

California cuisine is a smorgasbord of various flavors, cultures and culinary delights, in which the California avocado fits seamlessly. Chef Lee highlights this with his California Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Tartare, inspired by the mainstream pop music of Hollywood, and a Seafood Ceviche with California Avocado Mousse and Pickled Onions, inspired by the 90’s punk music scene of Orange County.

“I grew up intensely passionate about music, playing drums in a heavy rock band as a teenager in Southern California. As I got older, my interests turned from creating music to creating meals,” said Chef Lee. “The California music scene still plays a role in inspiring my cooking style. I channel the energy I get from listening to great local music into the dishes I create for my restaurants.”

The tastes and sounds of the iconic California lifestyle are infused throughout the cookbook, which features additional recipes inspired by West Coast musical genres including – California Surf Rock, Psychedelic funk of San Francisco and Los Angeles’ Freestyle Hip Hop. The cookbook will feature a total of 15 recipes to inspire consumers for their summer soirees, including beverages, appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Download the California Avocado Summer Soundtrack Cookbook including recipes from Chef Phillip Lee and many others at These recipes, feature heart-healthy California avocados, a naturally sodium and cholesterol free superfood. One-third of a medium avocado (50 g) has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a good choice for a healthy diet.

Learn more about California Avocados by following along on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at @ca_avocados.

California Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Tartare

Recipe created by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scratch|Bar & Kitchen for the California Avocado Commission

Serves: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes


  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, halved and seeded
  • 1 lb. applewood chips, soaked
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 heirloom tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ponzu sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Cilantro Cream (see make-ahead recipe below)


  1. In a sauté pan, heat canola oil on high and add wild rice until it puffs (similar to popcorn).
  2. Season the wild rice with salt, drain on paper towels and set aside.
  3. Place the avocados in a smoker* with drained applewood chips.
  4. At the same time, place a shallow bowl of honey in the smoker with the avocados.
  5. Let the smoker sit at 300°F for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the honey and avocados from the smoker.
  7. Place the avocados on a large plate, hollow side facing up and allow to cool for five minutes.
  8. Quarter and peel the avocados. Then, slice the avocados lengthwise.
  9. Place the tomatoes, soy sauce, ponzu sauce, salt and lemon juice in a bowl to coat.
  10. Use a skimmer or slotted spatula to remove tomatoes from marinade and stack the coated tomatoes on a plate, slightly fanning the slices. Reserve marinade for another use (refrigerated), if desired.
  11. On the same plate, stack the avocados on top of the tomatoes, slightly fanning the slices so that the tomatoes also show.
  12. Spoon a small amount of the Cilantro Cream over the tomato and avocado slices.
  13. Lightly drizzle the smoked honey over the dish and top with a spoonful of wild rice.

Cilantro Cream Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Serrano chile, destemmed
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Cilantro Cream Instructions:

  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat orange juice and garlic on medium heat, until garlic is soft and the orange juice has a thick texture.
  2. Add mixture along with Serrano chile, cilantro, heavy cream, salt and pepper into a blender and blend until it is pureed.
  3. Quickly remove the mixture to allow rapid cooling and refrigerate until use.

*If you don’t have a smoker, you can smoke the California Avocados and honey on a gas or charcoal grill using a smoker box.

Gas Grill: Set burner on one side of the grill to medium high and one side on low so you have a hot and cool side. Place a smoker box, full of applewood chips, on hot side and avocados on cool side. Close grill and let cook at 300°F for 30 minutes.

Charcoal Grill: Place coal on one side, so you have a hot and cool side. When coals are ready, add soaked applewood chips on top of coals and set the avocados on the cool side. Cover and cook at 300°F for 30 minutes.

Seafood Ceviche with California Avocado Mousse and Pickled Onions

Recipe created by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scratch|Bar & Kitchen for the California Avocado Commission

Serves: 4

Prep time: 4 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 4 hours and 30 minutes


  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. raw medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup sake
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 lb. halibut, diced
  • 4 ripe Fresh California Avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pickled Onions (see make-ahead recipe below)


  1. Heat a small sauté pan on low and simmer the tomatoes with white wine, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar and heat until thick.
  3. Add the tomato and sugar mixtures to a blender to puree and set aside.
  4. Heat olive oil in same sauté pan on low and add shrimp. Cook gently until pink then remove from heat.
  5. In a large bowl, combine tomato mixture, sake, lime juice and pineapple juice. Submerge the shrimp and halibut in the mixture and refrigerate for about 4 hours.
  6. Combine the avocados, sugar, water, vinegar and lemon juice in a blender until pureed to form the California Avocado Mousse. Add salt to taste and blend again.
  7. On a plate or shallow bowl, generously spread the Mousse, completely coating the bottom.
  8. Scoop the ceviche from the container, draining and discarding excess liquid, and carefully place on top of the mousse.
  9. Top the dish with Pickled Onions and serve immediately.

Pickled Onions


  • 1 red onion, peeled and shaved
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Pickled Onions


  1. Heat large sauté pan on low and add onions and salt.
  2. When the onions become translucent, add sugar and lemon juice and mix to combine.
  3. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until onions become bright pink.
  4. Remove onions from pan; transfer to a tray to cool.

About the California Avocado Commission

Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to enhance the premium positioning of California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities. California avocados are commercially cultivated with uncompromising dedication to quality and freshness, by more than 2,000 growers in the Golden State. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. Visit, or join us on Facebook at and @CA_Avocados on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for updates.

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