Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Feeling Funky

Avocados seem very 70's to me. There was Green Goddess dressing, avocado mud masks for your face, and of course your shag carpeting and kitchen appliances all had to be avocado green. When my parents were remodeling their kitchen there was quite a debate about Avocado Green versus Harvest Gold. My sister and I were strongly in the AG corner while my parents eventually won out with the HG choice. In hindsight I see the wisdom of that choice. The Harvest Gold aged much more gracefully than the Avocado Green did.

Has any fruit or vegetable ever exerted such influence over food and fashion trends before or since? It's easy to see why Americans went head over heels for avocados and their smooth, buttery taste, but it wasn't always so. They had a bad reputation to overcome. Because of their shape the Aztecs called them "ahuacatl", the same word used for a certain male part. It was said that ingesting the avocado induced tremendous prowess in the bedroom and no self-respecting person would order or consume it. Well, at least not in public.

It took a massive public education campaign to get people sold on the wonders of the avocado. Unsaturated fats, no-choelesteral, rich in dietary fiber and vitimins such as folacin, A, B6, C and minerals, plus a rich, smooth taste that makes any salad sit up and sing like Pavarotti. No need for avocados to be a guilty, secret pleasure - they can come out of the closet and onto the dinner table proudly!

I came upon this tasty salad at Orangette's beautiful site. It called to me, but seemed just a bit lonely. I solved this dilemma by adding a chunked up avocado and fell in love. I first served it cautiously as a side dish for dinner, thinking that the pickier eaters in the crowd would just push it to the side. Instead, as I got up to fetch something from the kitchen I heard a call of "Honey, is there any more of that bean salad?" Now I'll make it and share it for lunch. It's a heavenly indulgence, but still good for you!

Chickpea Verde Salad
adapted from Orangette's Chickpea Salad

1 - 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I really like the Trader Joe's brand)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
Pinch of coarse salt (I like the crunch of my Celtic Sea Salt here)
1/4 cup loosely packed shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
1 ripe Hass avocado, cut into chunks

Combine all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Stir gently to mix Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator until serving time.

This makes a generous two person lunch, or a skimpy 5 person side dish.


Sean said...

Ah yes, dearest mother and her glorious avocados. I very much agree without about your parents kitchen as well - the harvest gold did indeed age much better, though it still says "old person" to me.
Speaking of the green gold, maybe you could convince dad to post his recipe for his guacamole! Well, assuming that he's actually capable of writing it down in stead of doing it all from memory. ;)

eatme_delicious said...

The addition of avocados to anything is wonderful. :D I'm almost convinced to try this salad even, though I'm not really a fan of chickpeas.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

mmm, I LOVE both chickpeas and avocados, yet I've never had the pleasure of enjoying them together - thanks for the inspiration!

Anh said...

Yum! Anything with chickpea can me me happy. And adding avocado will double that happiness!

Peabody said...

Oh how I love the avocado!

Anonymous said...

I didn't think chickpeas were good for anything except hummus!
I love avocados!

I could eat them all day. Aren't they high in calories?

Anonymous said...

Hello Lynn! Been on holiday with my sisters and have just returned. Loved reading through the posts you did while I was away. Kind of like a bumper edition of Cookie Baker Lynn for me!
My father in law was a avocado farmer. He sent a crate (CRATE!)to me when Ian and I were first married.
They all came ripe at the same time!
They were delicious variety called Fuerte, which I probably have misspelled.
It was difficult finding enough different recipes to use them. Friends were given the precious gift only because I couldn't eat them all in time. Avocados will always remind me of my much loved father in law, who we miss terribly.
I will try your interesting avocado recipe. Sounds very good.

Anonymous said...

I have all these ingredients at home, I better make it tonight! Looks simple and delicious!

Renee said...

Avocados...MMMM! I totally believe that bit about the bedroom; they just taste so sexy to me!

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous little salad! I have to admit that the first time I saw an (unpeeled) avocado, I refused to even touch it as I thought it looked weird...

but later that day, when ma gave me a chicken and avocado sandwich, I couldn't believe just how tasty it was! I've been sold on them ever since, and love recipes like this that are simple and make the most of their flavour :)

Amy said...

I love avocados, especially in chicken caesar salad. I really wish I had an avocado tree but I think it's impossible here.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Sean - I'm still working on Dad to do the guac. Some day, some day.

Eatme Delicious - You could try a different bean, I suppose.

VeggieGirl - Enjoy!

Anh - I agree!

Peabody - They just make everything better, don't they?

Dianne - For the nutrition they offer, avacados are much better use of calories than french fries. :-)

Melinda - So glad you're back. I missed you! A whole crate of avocados? Wow, what a pleasant challenge!

Maria - Did you enjoy?

Nan - Well, just don't post pictures, OK?

Ellie - Mmm, chicken and avocado sandwich. You've got me drooling just thinking about it.

Amy - A good excuse to get a greenhouse, right?

Anonymous said...

I make the same salad but with diced tomatoes instead of avocado. Will try this way as well, thanks for the idea :)

Homemade Heaven said...

I can think of no better food than Avo's. Each season brings a new variety, all delicious.

I am definitely going to try the chickpea and Avo salad. As this combines my favourite bean.

Thanks for a fantastic blog. I am now to blogging, I love to read others.