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November 5, 2013

Avocado: A Vegan’s Creamy BFF.

Mmmmmm…avocado—I did not appreciate the lusty decadence of this fruit prior to going vegan.

I have a weird habit of anthropomorphizing my vegetables, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and compare a ripe avocado to Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.

She’s the girl everyone has a crush on, even other women, and everyone wants to be her friend. Her everyday lusciousness elevates any circumstance she finds herself in, and as soon as you see her you just want to take a bite. She is a diplomat, smoothing over problems and adding interest to the most boring events, and though she blends in easily, she is never be mistaken for anyone else. She is inimitable, classic and avant garde at once,  a heady blend of seductress and saint.

Start your affair with her here.

Finding and opening the perfect avocado.

Look for an avocado that is firm but that gives slightly when you press your thumb into the skin. If it is overly soft, it is too ripe and will have brown spots inside. If it is overly firm, that’s okay. Just take it home and leave it out until it softens. Check it each day and when your avocado is just right, store it in the fridge for up two to three days, so it won’t ripen further.

To open, take a knife and cut around the whole fruit lengthwise. You will then have to halves, and one half will be holding the pit. Take your knife and plunge it into the pit, easily lifting it away. Cut into the flesh lengthwise in 1/4 inch increments, and then crosswise to create bite sized chunks (or just lengthwise to create bigger, nicely shaped pieces). Carefully scoop out flesh with a spoon and drizzle with lemon or lime juice so it stays green until you’re ready to use it. Don’t wait too long, though. A freshly cut avocado like to be eaten or prepared straightaway.

Macerated Avocado Dressing

serves 4

2 ripe avocados, cut into bite sized pieces

juice of one lemon

sea salt to taste

fresh cracked pepper

2 tbl olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 large or two small garlic cloves, pressed

1 tbl chopped fresh mint

In a flat bottomed bowl, mix oil, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice well. Add avocado and mint and gently stir, making sure dressing covers everything and avocado ends up lying in a single layer on the bottom of the bowl. Chill, covered for at least an hour up to three hours. Remove from fridge and add in any greens you like plus tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, scallions or anything you want. Mix well, until the avocados begin to break down slightly and become creamy, lightly coating the other ingredients.

Chunky Guacamole

Serves 4

2 avocados, mashed, pits reserved

1/4 red onion, chopped

1 serrano chili, minced (seeds removed if you like it less spicy)

1 clove garlic, pressed

1 tsp cumin

salt to taste

juice of one lime

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (or salsa if you’re too lazy to chop)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix all ingredients well and serve immediately. If not serving straight away, place pits deep into guacamole to prevent browning. Add more lime juice on top and press some plastic wrap directly on top of that if serving much later. This will keep everything bright and fresh. Use on sandwiches, in baked potatoes, as a topping for broth-y soups, or on top of salads.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

 

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