Back to normal: Hooray!
Aha! So I’m back from vacation. Did you miss me, beloved readers? Well, I certainly missed you too! I had a great vacation and can’t wait to plan my next adventure, which will be to the Netherlands in the fall of 2012. Even more on the happier side, I’m glad to say that we are now expecting our fifth grandchild. I am glad that my middle son has decided to be a father. I am so happy for him and for my Daughter in law too! Having said that, first off, let me tell you about the luscious, exotic and amazing Avocado.
Calling all Avocados addicts… I admit it; I’m addicted to avocados too. Yes, I absolutely positively adore avocados. How could I not? I grew up eating this fruit from my grandma’s backyard. My mother used to scoop the flesh in the blender, add sugar, fresh milkand cooled in the fridge for a few minutes, I loved it! So what is an Avocado and where does it come from?
The Avocado (Persea americana), originated in the state of Puebla. Mexico. The avocado is indeed a unique fruit. Instead of storing its energy as sugar, as most fruits do, it stores it as fat. It’s true that avocados are high in fat, but also offer 60% more potassium than a banana, have the highest fiber and folate per ounce of any fruit, and are good sources of B6, C and E, which makes them a highly nutritious food. The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico that dates to around 10,000 years BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America; a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre- Incan-city of Chan Chan. Along with corn, beans, and peppers, the fruit was one of the staples of the pre-Columbian Mesoamerican diet. When Hernan Cortes entered Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) in 1519, he found avocados an integral part of sophisticated meals consumed by Aztec Emperor Montezuma. The Aztecs called the fruit ahuacatl, the same word they used for testicle, believing them to be aphrodisiacs with male-strengthening properties.
The correct name of this fruit in English is at present recognized to be avocado. This is undoubtedly a deception of the Spanish ahuacate or aguacate, which in turn is an adaptation of the Aztec ahuacatl. The Spaniards, who probably introduced the avocado into Jamaica, brought with it the Mexican name. When Jamaica was taken by the British this name began to undergo a process of deceit, during which such forms as albecata, avigato, and avocato were developed. Also Avocados are called palta (a word of Quechua origin) in some countries of South America such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. Until the early 1900s, the ahuacate had never been grown commercially in the United States. The US imposed the embargo in 1910 because of concerns that imported Mexican Avocados could bring pest infestations, which would damage the US crop. By 1914, however, hotels in Los Angeles and San Francisco were ordering as many of the fruits as they could and paying as much as $12 for a dozen.
To this day, Fallbrook is known as the Avocado Capital of the World and hosts an annual Avocado Festival. More avocados are grown in the region than any other county in the nation. Avocados must reach full maturity before they are picked, however, they do not soften on the tree. The tree can actually be used as a storage unit by keeping the fruit on the tree for many months after maturing. Avocados are, to me, among the most exotic, succulent and nourishing of ingredients. According to my Doctor Avocados also contain a good amount of potassium, which is important in keeping blood pressure lowered. Also, the potassium helps to counteract sodium, which forces the body to store unnecessary fluid which can build up around the heart. So take my doctors’ advice and enjoy your Avocado Soup. Yummy!!
2 cups chicken broth
1Very ripe, large Haas avocado (see below)
1 cupheavy (whipping) cream
1/4 teaspoonground cumin
1/8 teaspoonwhite pepper
1/4 cupdry sherry
2 tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
Heat the chicken broth until hot, not boiling. Set aside. Peel the avocado and remove the seed. Cut into several pieces, place in the food processor or blender, and purée. Turn off the blender and pour in the whipping cream, followed by the hot chicken broth, cumin, salt, white pepper, sherry and lemon juice. Pulse a few times, just until mixture is blended. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately, or chill for at least two hours and serve.
For the Salsa
1 mango, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 green heirloom tomatoes, chopped
2 mandarin oranges, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
Freshly ground sea salt to taste.
1 tsp minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
1 small jalapeno chile pepper, seeded
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon)
1 med tomato, quartered
1/4 c chopped onion
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the seed. Scoop the flesh into a bowl.
Add the lime juice, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, chile pepper, and cumin.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in a food processor or blender, and pulse to the desired consistency.
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeds removed
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons tequila
2 egg whites
Salt, to taste
In a food processor, puree the avocado, lime juice and zest until smooth. Add a pinch of salt, tequila and egg whites and pulse to combine. Add crème fraiche and pulse until smooth. Pour into a popsicle mold. Smooth tops with a palette knife and insert Popsicle sticks. Freeze for a minimum of 3 hours, or overnight. To release popsicles, dip into warm water and gently pull the Popsicle stick until the Popsicle comes out.