I’d like to preface this post by saying that I don’t plan dinners ahead with this website in mind. Although you’d think that might be a good idea, I think doing it that way would sort of miss the point. It’s 4:17 pm now, and I’m just starting to think about what’s for dinner. As always, sometimes I do plan ahead, but just as often, I do not.
There are two avocados about to go seriously downhill in our fruit bowl, so Mike turned them into guacamole. Guac has always been Mike’s thing; there is never even a question as to whether I should make it. (He took this task on years ago, when I was out of town and he called my hotel to ask me how to make it. I told him to mash up the avocado and add some lime juice, salt, and a clove of garlic. He took “clove” to mean “head”, and added the whole thing. Said it was fantastic. He was so proud he made it for me again when I got home and I think 3 years later I still have garlic breath. He has since learned the proper meaning of “garlic clove”.) So he mashed it all up and we added the few strawberry tomatoes left sitting on the counter. Small tomatoes are perfect to stir into guacamole; they are more meat, less juice and seeds, so it doesn’t go all runny. I imagine roasted tomatoes would do just fine too. Especially if you roast them with a few cloves of garlic, drizzled with olive oil…
Sometimes, when I have a bizarre assortment of ingredients in the fridge and not much in the way of creative juices, I go to Epicurious.com (one of my favorite sites) and just plunk them into the search bar – asparagus, ricotta and halibut – for example. I did this today, just out of curiosity, and came up with Huevos Divorciados, which sounds like something you might make when you’re fighting with your significant other and need sustenance to fuel your fire. It actually looks pretty good, but requires of the cook the gumption to make two salsas from scratch. So I cooked/baked the corn tortillas I picked up at the market last week (when I was shopping for chilies – 50 of them for $3) into chips, and we used them to scoop up the guacamole while waiting for the pot of black bean soup I made on the weekend and forgot was still sitting in the barbecue to thaw out. (A great backup fridge/freezer in wintertime when you run out of fridge space – putting it inside the barbecue keeps any potentially curious critters out.) Black bean soup keeps incredibly well, so it’s a good thing to have in the fridge to dip into all week. Plus, fortuitously, it goes well with corn tortilla chips and guacamole. You’d almost think I planned it that way.
You can make tortilla chips a couple ways: on the stovetop, simply heat them in a drizzle of oil in a hot skillet, turning them as they brown. (The huevos recipe above has a good method of cooking them two at a time this way.) To oven bake, first stack a bunch and cut them into wedges. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and brush them lightly with oil or just lime juice – this will allow any seasonings to adhere without adding any fat or calories. Plus it adds a nice limey flavor. Sprinkle with coarse salt, chili powder, cumin, or all of the above, and bake at 400F for 10 minutes, until they turn golden. (About 9 calories per chip, and zero fat.)
A simple guacamole is nothing more than ripe avocados mashed with garlic, salt and lime, but it lends itself well to all kinds of additions. Try stirring in 1/2 cup salsa or sour cream, a head of roasted garlic or a handful of chopped cooked shrimp. Because avocados are very high in fat – about 75% of its calories come from fat – guacamole is fairly high in calories as well. But take heart, it’s virtually all healthy monounsaturated fat, the kind you want to include in your diet.
Make sure your avocados are ripe or they won’t mash very well. The best way to tell if an avocado is ripe is by squeezing it – a ripe avocado will yield to gentle pressure. If you need to ripen them fast, put them in a paper bag with an apple to speed up the process.
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 glove garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped or grated purple onion (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
a few chopped cherry, strawberry or grape tomatoes (optional)
Mash everything (except the tomatoes, if you’re using them) together with a fork to make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. Stir in the tomato if you’re using it.
Per serving: 111 calories, 10.3 g total fat (1.6 g saturated fat, 6.4 g monounsaturated fat, 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 1.4 g protein, 5.8 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.8 g fiber. 76% calories from fat.
Since there is still a large pot of black bean soup left to eat, I’m fairly certain it will end up as dinner very soon… I’ll save posting the recipe for that day.