Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Avocado toast is all the rage north of the border but it's been a staple here in Puerto Vallarta for as long as we can remember. Some smart person suddenly thought of this new use for avocados and it now appears on breakfast menus in small cafés to fine restaurants.
It's a simple recipe: Toast bread to your liking; halve an avocado and remove the seed; while the toast is hot, straight out of the toaster, lightly rub the surface with the cut side of a garlic clove. Then use a spoon to scoop out the meat of the avocado; with a fork, spread it onto the toast. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and voila! Tasty and nutritional.
Little did we know there are over five hundred varieties of avocado on this planet! Though they are considered a fruit, most North Americans call them vegetables.
Avocado is derived from the word ahuacatl, Aztec for testicle. Along with other foods that resemble reproductive parts of the human body, it's thought to be an aphrodisiac. Once you realize the Aztec word for soup is molli, you can almost see where the word guacamole came from. With their reptile like outer surface, avocados are known in some countries as 'alligator pears.'
Avocados are first foods in countries from whence they originate. Easily digestible, they are packed with fiber, loaded with potassium and high in vitamins B and C. Avocados have the "good" kind of cholesterol that increases HDL (high density lipoprotein). Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
As a best food for vegetarian and vegan diets, avocados are dairy and gluten free. They are ready to eat when they have a soft, ripe feel to the touch and turn dark in color. To speed up ripening, they can be put in a drawer or a brown paper bag. Add a banana to the cluster and it will hurry up the process.
A bowl of guacamole is where many ripe avocados end up here in Puerto Vallarta and we never get tired of watching it made in a molcajete, table side. The molcajete is a stone bowl with a surface perfect for grinding with the blunt tool called tejolote. The molcajete is the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle.
To make your own guacamole at home, use one avocado for every two diners, scoop out the inside and mash with a fork. Don't use a blender or whipping tools, as you want it to be chunky. It would end up watery if you beat it too much.
For simple guacamole, ready to eat in minutes, squeeze the juice of a lime, add salt to taste and mix with a fork. Scoop with chips or plop onto a pile of nachos. For a different twist you can add onions, tomatoes, cucumber or zucchini.
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