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Avocado Stuffed With Shrimp

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It's avocado season in Florida, and will be for a few more months. Now's a great time to go to your local fruit stand--or your neighbor down the street with an avocado tree--to get fresh, local avocadoes and make some great dishes. You can make the stuffed avocado dish here with fresh-caught lobster or scallops for a true home-grown experience.

1 1/2 cups cooked fish, flaked

1 /2 cup celery, diced

1 /4 cup cooked green peas

1 /4 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 /2 tsp. salt

1 /4 tsp. pepper

2 ripe avocados, cut in half and pitted

Blend mayonnaise, sugar, seasonings and lemon juice. Toss together fish, celery and peas. Blend all lightly and use to stuff four avocado halves.

Over the years, there has been argument over which is the best avocado, Florida's or California's. You decide: A nice, big, plump, get-your-fork-into-it, tasty, low-fat, low-cal, Florida avocado, or a small, shriveled, black, fat-filled Haas avocado?

When it comes to oranges, California has the better fruit. It wasn't always that way. Florida's old groves had the best fruit, but replanting with new and improved orange trees provided a whiter shade of pale as time went on. Today's Florida oranges may have no seeds and a long shelf life, but they also have no real orange flavor. I have a couple of roadside green grocers in my area who buy from owners of old Florida groves. They get the Murcotts, the Orlando tangelos and so on. The good stuff.

When Cathy and I had the Grand Marquis, we once discovered an abandoned grove with half its fruit lying in the dirt. I pulled over and sliced open an orange. Ah! Almost heaven! Real Florida orange. I nosed the big Merc up between the first and second rows and rolled down all the windows so we could softly bounce oranges onto the brocade seats...Well, it started out softly.

It was the holiday season and soon we had friends and relatives in town, with a full-house, juice-fest going. The flavor of good, old, real Florida oranges was not lost on anyone and we made gallons, gallons and more gallons of juice.

The morning after, it occurred to me we had probably trashed those fine seats in the Marquis with our wild orange harvest. On the way to get the morning paper, I took a nervous peek at the car's interior. Miracle of miracles, just as virginal as ever.

No one argues much about bananas, but the best ones are those grown in the tropics, especially finger bananas. They're fairly safe and non-messy to eat in your vehicle, as long as you don't toss your peels around.

Cathy's Aunt Thelma is famous for her banana pudding. That's a dish that is easy to eat in a boat or vehicle, like oranges, avocados and bananas, but difficult to make while moving down the highway. Best to make it at home and take it with you. The pudding, however, needs to be kept chilled until you eat it. FS

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