Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse

I don’t think you understand how excited I am to bring you these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse today!

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are the perfect healthy appetizer for your next get-together.

If you know me at all, you know that poke is one of my absolute favorite foods, and it seems to be right up there on your list of favorites, too. My Spicy Poke Bowls are the most pinned recipe on this site, after all, and this Spicy Beet Poke has become one of the most-requested dishes from some of my closest friends.

I’ve been dying to share these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse for MONTHS now, but I wasn’t about to share them when I couldn’t enjoy them (thanks, pregnancy!) Well, let’s just say that now I’m making up for lost time and ahi poke in any way, shape or form has once again become a weekly staple in my diet.

I love these flavorful little bites because they combine so many of my OG foods in one bite – poke, pineapple AND avocado? I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse are both gluten-free and dairy free!

So let’s chat a little bit about the three different components that go into making these tasty appetizers..

The pineapple is the easiest part. I cut into a fresh piña because they are plentiful here in CA even in the winter, but if you live somewhere that’s not the case, you can even use canned slices. The important part is to get the wedges as thin as possible so the juicy pineapple flavor doesn’t overwhelm all of the other deliciousness we’re getting to next.

Speaking of – the next step is perhaps the most important part: the poke! You know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so I stuck with the basic recipe I’ve used for the other poke dishes on this site. When I made this dish to photograph I left out the spicy sambal oelek, but I must say that there would be absolutely nothing wrong with adding some in to the mix to give the poke a little extra hit of flavor.

And, the third and final step – avocado mousse! Guys, I don’t know why I’ve never ventured down this path before but I kind of feel like I’ve just opened the door to a whole new world of avocado usage. And it’s so easy! Just take ripe avocado, lemon juice and a touch of salt, throw it all in the food processor and – voila! – the creamiest, fluffiest, avocado-ness you’ve ever tasted.

A tray of Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse is sure to be the star hors d'oeuvres at your next party!

I mean, how can you hate a healthy appetizer that contains THE best healthy ingredients (IMO) on the planet? Pineapple, avocado, ahi – I’m looking at you.

Okay, I have to admit that there is ONE more special touch that I think would really take these Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse over the top…and that special touch comes in the form of CRUMBLED MACADAMIA NUTS. I was seriously kicking myself for not thinking of this before I shot the recipe, so please, please PLEASE do me a solid and sprinkle some over top when you make ‘em. And then invite me over 🙂

Ahi Poke Pineapple Bites with Avocado Mousse
Prep Time
25 mins
 

These bite-size appetizers feature the best healthy ingredients - ahi, pineapple and avocado - and are both gluten- and dairy-free!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the poke:
  • 1.5 pounds sushi-grade ahi
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, diced
  • Sambal oelek or sriracha, to taste
All other ingredients:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into wedges
Instructions
  1. Add all poke ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Place peeled, ripe avocados, salt and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until no chunks remain. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside.

  3. To assemble the bites, scoop a small spoonful of poke onto each pineapple wedge, then pipe a dollop of avocado mousse on top. [And here is where you would also sprinkle on the macadamia nuts if you’re smart enough to use ‘em.] Serve immediately, before the avocado mousse has a chance to brown.

Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil

Easing back from the long holiday weekend with the simplest of recipes for you!

This Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is incredibly easy to make and adds tons of flavor to any dish!

In fact, much like my Three-Ingredient Calabrian Chili Spread, this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is so simple that I even hesitated to share it with you all. But guys, it’s just as the recipe title says – stupid simple – and will be such a life-changing addition to your pantry that I just couldn’t NOT share it with you all. So here goes!

Flavored olive oils have been gracing grocery and specialty store shelves for quite some time now but, to be honest, do we really know where those “flavors” are coming from? Are your favorite flavored olive oils that you buy at the store done so artificially? Are you absolutely positive that all the flavoring comes from the freshest ingredients? Are you sure you want to drop a few extra bucks on the so-called high end “fancy stuff” when you could just as easily invest in a Costco size jug of extra-virgin olive oil and flavor it on your own for pennies on the dollar?

If you’re anything like me, I’m going to guess you’re in the latter camp, which makes Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil the next best thing to hit your kitchen table this holiday season.

Use this Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil as a dip for your favorite bread, or use it in place of regular olive oil for cooking and dressing salads!

Sure, making your own Shallot Oil requires just two simple ingredients, but the ways in which you can use it are endless. We love whipping up a batch to dip pizza in (ranch dressing, you can take a back seat) and I also used it in place of the regular olive oil I called for in this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs. Basically, you can add a dash of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil to any ol’ dish that calls for olive oil to really up the flavor game (just make sure the crowd you’re entertaining is down for boatloads of flavor!)

As far as the making of this deliciousness goes, it really couldn’t be easier. Simply slice up some shallots, throw them in a bottle with some olive oil, let it sit for a day or two and, voila, you now know why we dub this tasty concoction “Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil.”

A bottle of Stupid Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil is the perfect holiday or housewarming gift!

Grab the recipe below and let me know what great ways you end up using it!

Super Simple Two-Ingredient Shallot Oil
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This homemade flavored olive oil is perfect to have on hand in your own pantry, or to give as a hostess or holiday housewarming gift.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 2 cups
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a glass bottle with a stopper and/or drizzle lid. Let sit for a day or two before using. 

Creamy Mushroom Pâté

Who’s ready for a little decadence?

This Creamy Mushroom Pate is the perfect, easy, vegetarian appetizer for entertaining!

Meeeee!!

We all know that the very beginning of the week is THE worst, so I always try to do a little something special/out of the ordinary to make it seem just a little less, well, depressing. This Creamy Mushroom Pâté is my answer to that this week, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

First off, tell me, have you ever had pâté? If not, you’ve really been missing out. It’s typically made from chicken liver (don’t gag just yet, trust me, I hate “liver” but I love pâté) but it can also be made from any number of things such as beef, pork, ham, seafood and VEGETABLES! Yes, vegetables. You’ll most often find it served alongside a cheese platter and/or plate of charcuterie, and you know these are some of my favorite things, so it’s no surprise that I’ve decided to make my own, healthier version of pâté to share with all of you!

This Creamy Mushroom Pate tastes rich and decadent while it's actually pretty darn healthy. Plus, it's so easy to make!

But before we get to this mouthwateringly delicious Creamy Mushroom Pâté tell me, how was your weekend? We had a nice visit with my mom, and I think we’re slowly starting to get organized and figure out how we’re going to fit another little human into our house in just a couple of months. We have our Infant CPR class tonight and my NorCal Baby Shower this weekend, so things are definitely starting to feel real around these parts! Our weekend up north will be my last trip before my due date, and my goal for when I come home is to get to prepping my blog content for right after Baby D. is born and stock my freezer with lots of yummy food we can heat up at a moment’s notice! (Got any delicious freezer-friendly recipes I should try?)

Speaking of freezer-friendly recipes, now that I think about it, this Creamy Mushroom Pâté might just be one of them! It’s full of savory flavor and incredibly tasty, with very few ingredients and taking under 20 minutes to make. It’s also fairly healthy, as long as you don’t count the butter 😉

A fresh baguette is the perfect accompaniment to this Creamy Mushroom Pate.

(Confession: I originally set out to make this a VEGAN Creamy Mushroom Pâté, but after tasting the mixture sans butter, I decided that’s what it really needed to tie everything together. If you are vegan and have any suggestions of what I could have substituted the butter with, please let me know!)

So here’s what you need to do to have a bowl of Creamy Mushroom Pâté in front of you in no time: You’ll first need to sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with some shallots, garlic, fresh thyme and marsala. Then, once those ingredients are nice and cooked, you’ll transfer them to a food processor to get that creaminess going. Finally, you’ll throw in the butter (while the mixture is still warm) to really seal the deal.

Now that doesn’t sound too difficult, does it?

My best suggestion for serving is to serve as you would any other pâté – with a fresh baguette, some crackers, and perhaps a nice chunk of cheese or two. Oh, and wine! Please don’t forget the wine – and have a glass for me?

This vegetarian Creamy Mushroom Pate is the perfect healthy appetizer for any get-together with friends. Plus, it's healthy!

Creamy Mushroom Pate
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

A classic French cheese and charcuterie accompaniment gets a healthy, vegetarian makeover when made with fresh mushrooms and thyme.

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 whole shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Warm olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, shallots and garlic and stir to combine, cooking until mushrooms begin to sweat.

  2. Add fresh thyme and marsala and stir to combine. Let cook until mushrooms are nice and sautéed, about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir again to combine.

  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a rough purée forms. Cut butter into three separate tablespoons and add to the food processor. Pulse until a creamy (not chunky) purée forms, season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve with baguette, crackers and cheese.

Creamy Mushroom Pate | CaliGirlCooking.com

Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto

The most refreshing salad EVER!

A big bowl of refreshing Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto. The perfect summer salad!

Seriously, if you’re in need of some hydration in your life (and I know at least all us Californians do after this heat wave we’ve been having) then this Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto is going to be your saving grace right now.

Let me tell you, we are soooo lucky that our landlord was kind enough to install A/C for us about a year ago because, judging by all my CA friends’ social media posts, every store that sells fans is completely sold out and people are sweltering in the near 100-degree heat. This does not sound like one ounce of fun to me (especially being pregnant,) so this is my open invitation to all of my overheating friends to come over and enjoy some Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto in our comfortably 75-degree little duplex!

But seriously, even if you’re not close enough to come over, you’ve GOT to get some of this salad in your life stat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a delicious classic caprese salad with that creamy mozzarella and alllll the fresh tomatoes and basil, but sometimes I just want to mix it up and swapping in the watermelon for the tomatoes is just the perfect little change (but not too much of a change) to really wow people the first time you serve it up.

A close-up shot of delicious Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto. The perfect no-cook salad for summer!

And the prosciutto…Oh, the prosciutto! Okay, it’s no secret that I love the stuff, and it has that perfect saltiness (and extra protein) to really give this dish the ultimate flavor trifecta AND pass as a complete meal. I gave the prosciutto a quick spin in a saute pan to heat it up and therefore make it “pregnancy-safe,” but if you’re not expecting you can just throw it in as-is, straight from the package. Or, if you’re a vegetarian, simply omit the prosciutto and you’ll still be more than pleased with the taste. Pinky promise.

So how long will it be until you can get this Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto whipped up and ready to serve on your kitchen table? Approximately 10 minutes. No joke. There’s no cooking involved, so the most time-consuming thing about this recipe might just be chopping up the watermelon into bite-size chunks.

A single serving of Watermelon Caprese Salad with Crispy Prosciutto from CaliGirlCooking.com.

And, if you haven’t refrigerated your uncut watermelon ahead of time, you may want to give the salad a little bit of time to chill out before serving. It’s totally worth it for how much more refreshing it will make it!

I don’t know about you, but all this talking about my new favorite “salad” is making me want to whip up another batch this weekend. We’re hanging out in town again, and planning on fully enjoying the summer weather with some beach time and maybe a barbecue or two.

What are your plans for the first “official” weekend of summer?!? Making some Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto, I hope?

A bowl of this refreshing Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto is the perfect light meal for summer!

Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This fun take on the classic caprese salad is full of refreshing watermelon and bites of salty prosciutto. The perfect dish for warm weather entertaining!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Snack
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 mini seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 12 ounces ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Drizzle of balsamic glaze
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except the balsamic glaze to a large bowl and toss to combine. 

  2. If watermelon was not pre-chilled before cutting, place salad in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 

  3. Before serving, drizzle on balsamic glaze and garnish with whole basil leaves, if desired.

Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter

Comin’ at ya with the most delicious non-recipe recipe today!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m calling it right now: Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platters may just become summer’s “it” entertaining item. Because, I mean, when it’s sunny and 75 degrees out, who doesn’t want a plate piled high with pineapple, papaya, kiwis and allllllll the cheese?

Now, I know what you may be thinking: “Ick, how does tropical fruit and CHEESE pair well together?” Well that, my friends, is all in the cheese. You see, I take my job as a food blogger very seriously and would never want to lead you astray, so I was sure to taste multiple cheese and tropical fruit combinations before I settled on the ones you see here. True, there are some pairings that just don’t work, but hey, there are a lot of pairings that do and I’ve taken all of the hassle of figuring that out off of your shoulders and come up with some fantastic pairings that will make your next Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day get-together to the next level.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

I actually came up with the idea for this Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter last October, when my dad and I took a “business” trip to Oahu, which essentially entailed us eating our way through the island for a week. If you’re in tune with the Oahu restaurant scene at all, then you’ll be no stranger to local celebrity chef Ed Kenney’s restaurants that have been making waves (haha, pun intended) all through Honolulu over the past 10 years or so. We ate at three of his four restaurants while we were there (and only skipped the fourth one because we had eaten there multiple times when I lived there) and were duly impressed by each one. Be sure to check out my Travel Diaries: Honolulu post for more deets on all of those, but right now I want to tell you all about the basket cheese we had at one of these said restaurants, Mud Hen Water.

We were able to talk my aunt and uncle into joining us for this dinner, which was all the better since everything is served family style and this way we could order double the amount of dishes to share. I was immediately intrigued by their menu offering of “Homemade Basket Cheese” so we decided to give it a shot. What was delivered to our table just moments later was a soft, ricotta-like cheese served with a multitude of fresh tropical fruits and, let me tell you, my mind was blown.

Up until that point, I had only thought that grapes, apples, apricots and the like were acceptable to be served with cheese, but boy was I proven wrong. The creamy, mellowness of the basket cheese paired perfectly with the mango and papaya that were served alongside it, and it immediately got the food blogger wheels churning in my head about what other types of cheeses might pair well with what are some of my favorite genre of fruits.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Of course, Hawaii has the luxury of a tropical climate (and plenty of local fruit) year round, but I decided to wait until the weather started warming up a bit again here on the mainland before giving my Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter a shot for this here blog. With temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s expected for us in Santa Barbara this weekend, and so many fun holidays right around the corner, I figured what better time to finalize this idea on paper! (Er, I mean on screen.)

So here’s what I ended up discovering in my in-depth research of the perfect tropical fruit and cheese pairings: Any of the mild, soft ricotta-like cheeses are a DREAM pairing for allll the tropical fruits. Especially if you add a little honey! I took some creamy mascarpone I had sitting in the refrigerator and sweetened it up a little, and let me just say you’re lucky I saved some to photograph because I could have very easily sat there and eaten the whole bowl with my pineapple and papaya spears.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Sticking with the creamy theme, I also found that a good, simple goat cheese is a great pairing for most tropical fruits. It adds a simple tang (much like unsweetened or Greek yogurt would) without overwhelming the fruit with too much funk or contrasting flavors.

The only hard cheese that made the cut in my taste test was a basque cheese I picked up from Trader Joe’s. It has just a touch of funk, but not so much that it fights with the other flavors on the platter. It’s fairly mild compared to some other hard cheeses, and the slight saltiness is a great contrast to the sweetness of the fruit.

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some other small touches that I found make a big difference that you may not think of:

Papaya is an interesting fruit, and can be fairly one-dimensional and almost a bit musty tasting at times. I find that a squeeze of fresh lime juice over top really transforms the flavor palate so be sure to serve some lime wedges on your platter for people to add as needed.

Of course another typical component you see on most traditional fruit and cheese platters is some sort of nut. This adds a crunchy and often salty element to the mix to contrast all of the sweet- and savory-ness. In sticking with the tropical theme, I added some macadamia nuts to the platter which added the perfect finishing touch.

And that’s it, folks! Really, the only “cooking” involved in this super easy party dish is stirring some honey into the mascarpone and plopping it into a bowl. Easy as that! Now, as I mentioned, we’ve got Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and a whole summer of entertaining ahead of us, so start scoping out the best tropical fruit you can find and get to making this to-die-for Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Tropical fruits are paired with a delicious selection of cheeses, honey and macadamia nuts - perfect for your next warm weather get-together!

Course: Appetizer
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
Assorted tropical fruits, such as:
  • Pineapple spears
  • Papaya spears
  • Sliced kiwis
  • Mango slices
  • Lime wedges
Honeyed Mascarpone:
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Other ingredients:
  • Creamy goat cheese
  • Basque cheese
  • Macadamia nuts
Instructions
  1. Make the honeyed mascarpone by combining the two ingredients in a small serving bowl.

  2. Arrange all ingredients on a large platter and serve!

Tropical Fruit and Cheese Platter | CaliGirlCooking.com