My favorite summer fruit, avocadoes, are not only delicious but they are a wonderful source of unsaturated fats that we all know are good for our health and brain functions. BUT, unless you live in California where they are always available ripe and in abundance, most of the time you can’t find decent avocadoes anywhere and use them the same day. In fact, most of the time, when I find them they feel like hockey pucks.
How do you know if they are ripe?? What you are looking for is an avocado that is dark skinned and has just a little give when you squeeze it. Not mushy, but tender. Avocadoes should be kept in a cool dry place and never refrigerated unless you have already cut one up and are keeping a portion of it for later in which case you should keep the pit in the portion you are saving and place in a ziploc baggie to avoid too much oxygen exposure which will turn the avocado brown.
To remove the pit when slicing, place a knife into the center of the avocado, lengthwise until it hits the pit and roll the knife around the pit. Twist the avocado halves to separate and then carefully tap the blade of your knife into the pit, twist and then pop the pit out. You can slice the avocado halves right in the peel and scoop the slices out with a tablespoon to serve.
What’s the best way to ripen an avocado quickly? My favorite way is to simply place them in a window sill that gets abundant sunlight. The sun will naturally ripen the avocado quickly. I’ve literally taken a completely green, unripened avocado and done this and it was perfectly ripe by the next day.
Here are a couple of great recipes that feature avocadoes that are my favorites.
Greek Style Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
Yields: Approx. 8 Servings
3 English Cucumbers, Peeled, Seeded and Chopped
1 Spanish or Vidalia Onion, Diced
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Avocadoes, Chopped
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
¼ Cup Mint, Chopped
¼ Cup Chives, Snipped
¼ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
¼ Cup Italian Parsley, chopped
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tsps dried Dillweed
1 Cup Feta, Crumbled
1 Tbl Harissa
16 oz Plain Yogurt
½-3/4 cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Blend using an immersion blender until creamy and well combined. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with queso fresco or fresh goat cheese.
Green Eggs and Ham
Inspired by the classic Dr. Seuss book, this recipe is great for a cocktail party. It is a crowd pleaser and a good conversation piece. A reminder that it cannot be made too far in advance as the avocado will oxidize and turn brown.
Yields Approx. 12 Servings
1 Avocado (Cut Into small dice)
1 cup of Assorted Fresh Herbs (I like using a combo of chives, Italian parsley and tarragon)
2 Garlic cloves
4 Tbl Sour Cream
Pinch Salt & Pepper
1 Tbl Lemon Juice
2 Tbl Mayonnaise
3 slices cooked bacon
Place the eggs in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook the eggs approx. 10 mins. Remove from heat and run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, peel the eggs and cut them in half, removing the yolks carefully without tearing the egg whites. Combine half of the yolks with the avocado, herbs, garlic, sour cream, salt and pepper, lemon juice and mayonnaise in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Place the filling into a Ziploc baggie. Cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the baggie and pipe the mixture into the prepared egg whites. Top each egg with a piece of crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.