12 July 2011
greetings from avocado land
What's an avocado good for?
Avocados are commercially valuable, and are cultivated in tropical climates throughout the world (and some temperate ones, such as California), producing a green-skinned, pear-shaped fruit that ripens after harvesting.
The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine as substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.
High avocado intake was shown in one study to lower blood cholesterol levels.
So says Wikipedia.
hot days on the beach,
a casual Fourth of July,
a daily dose of whimsy,
lengthy, meditative bike rides (through a town that most tourists pass without noticing) and, ultimately, guacamole, California's saving grace.
Alright. This is serious business.
I've seen guacamole made lots of ways, with avocados of varying degrees of ripeness and with and without sour cream for creaminess. I'll tell you right now, though, that the secret to making the most delicious guacmole is using the right avocados. This is paramount. If your avocados are underripe, no amount of sour cream will eliminate the awkward, chunky avocado bits in the dip, and, what's worse, it won't be flavorful.
So here's what you do.
You take an avocado or two, or maybe four, depending on how many people you want to feed. Cut them open with a butter knife. Use a sharp knife to stab the seed to pluck it out (it's the easiest way), and the butter knife to slice the avocado halves lengthwise and then perpendicular, so the flesh is essentially diced. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl, and mash it up with a fork.
This is particularly pleasurable if you have buttery, overripe avocados - use them just before they get too soft and begin to turn brown.
Now that you have the basic stuff, it's time to add complementary flavors.
I usually either dice some tomato to add to the guac (maybe a 1:4 ratio of tomato to avocado, but whatever); cilantro, peppers, garlic and onions can be good too, depending on what you like. If I'm feeling lazy/have salsa around (and when don't I?), I add a spoonful or two of salsa in place of the tomato. Mix with the fork. Shuffle through the spice cabinet, dig out garlic salt, sea salt, pepper, maybe paprika or chili powder. Add liberally. Taste. Cut up a lime and squeeze in the juice. Now the dip should have a bit of bite to it - but you should still be able to taste the avocado through it all.
This just in: In some tropical locales, including Indonesia, Brasil, Vietnam and the Philippings, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk or water, and pureed avocado! I'm trying that next!