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Thursday, February 12, 2009

What To Do With... Avocado

There are few foods that rival the utter joy of diving into a buttery, creamy avocado. It is both sinful (oh those calories...) and sublime. It is a study in contradictions in nature being both fruit and fat.

The ripe avocado is a bit of a diva. To enjoy one, it requires a little forethought and planning. Usually sold rock hard and too unripe to eat immediately, the avocado must be coaxed into ripening by sitting at room temperature on your kitchen counter for at least a day or two. An avocado at its peak, is utterly brilliant, but forget about it for an extra day or two and the avocado fades into a squishy, unpleasant mess. Even at its peak, this diva doesn’t travel well (she's a fragile little thing) and once exposed to air quickly turn an unappetizing brown. This diva waits for no one.

How do you know when an avocado is ripe?

Give it the slightest squeeze and if the flesh underneath the skin yields, it's ready to eat.

How to cut an avocado (safely)

To reveal an avocado’s fruit, work your way around the avocado with a sharp knife, its globe-like pit marks its center as illustrated below:

Once you have made your way around the avocado once, twist and gently pull apart one half from the other. Its bright yellow flesh is revealed. A ripe avocado is yielding but not mushy and mellow yellow that fades into a pale green the close you get to the skin. To remove the pit, lean your sharp knife into the pit, until the knife is wedged into it. Twist your knife slightly, and the pit should pop right out:

To cut the avocado into pieces, run your knife across the avocado in length wise, then cross-wise. To remove, take a large spoon and scoop out the flesh out:

Prepare an avocado only as you need it... It's beautiful yellow and green flesh quickly gives way to an unappetizing though edible brown.

Outside of guacamole, here is one thing I that really like to do with avocado:

Avocado milkshake: Perhaps it may seem unusual to see something normally associated with savoury food served as a sweet. But this is quite popular in Asia and your local Vietnamese restaurant probably has one on the menu. (I drank plenty of these while backpacking through Asia and there are few things as refreshing as that cold, creamy, green milkshake.) It is easily one of my favourite things to sip on in the summer. If you open your mind to trying it, I guarantee you won't be disappointed. It's velvety, creamy, sweet and distinctly avocado.

Traditionally avocado milkshakes are made with condensed milk. To make it with ingredients you already have on hand at home, take: 1 ripe avocado, 1.5 c milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add ice if you like it extra cold (reduce the milk.) Blend until smooth. Add additional milk to loosen, if necessary. Serve immediately. If you really want to do it local style, consider a shot of espresso (or Vietnamese coffee if you can get your hands on it.) This drink is really quite special.


Sara said...

I was excited to see an avocado smoothie on tastespotting! I lived in Brazil and that's one of the most common ways to use avocado. They're really only eaten sweet there, like in ice cream and pudding. They think it's SO weird that we would mix it with tomatoes and garlic and dip chips in it! I have to agree, it's pretty darn good sweet :) Great post!


Kevin said...

I've got a great big avocado that just reach peak ripeness. A milkshake may be a good way to use it up, I've never had avocado in sweet dishes before.

Food For Tots said...

Lovely shots and excellent step-by-step instructions!! My son likes avocado puree with banana. ;)

beachlover said...

avocado smoothie!! that look interesting!! going to make this when Avo is on sale.thanks for sharing:)

Hungry Gal said...

thanks to you all for stopping by and commenting

@ Sara

I heard avocados were eaten as a sweet in Brazil but I could only speak from my experience.

@ Kevin

Do try it. Let me know how it worked out. Hope you become a believer!

@ Food for Tots

thanks! I just figured out how to do this in PS. Baby steps!

@ beachlover

you're welcome. let me know how it works out!

Kevin said...

@ Hungry Gal
I added in some ataulfo mango since it was in the fridge and a bit of yogurt since I didn't have condensed milk and it was delicious, the rest of the mango (it was one of the huge Caribbean ones)went with more mango and banana into a puree that's delicious!

Marianne said...

Wow thanks for this! I'm certainly going to try it. I usually just eat my avocado with a bit of sugar sprinkled on the top, but this I have to try!

Hungry Gal said...

@ Kevin

I love ataulfo mangos... Mango and avocado. sounds like a match!

@ Marianne

Sugar sprinkled on avocado? That sounds delicious - creamy and sweet. delicious!

V said...

Uh.. I love avocado milkshake with coffee. Indonesians too only eat avocado as sweets. My mother used to scoop the flesh into a bowl, sprinkle it with coffee sweetened sugar, add some ice cubes and mix.

I should make some...

Colloquial Cook said...

Hmm avocado, milk and vanilla!!! I am thinking of a macaron with vanilla flavoured shells and an avocado ganache, speckled with vanilla seeds... If only I had a set of scales to weigh with precision...

Anonymous said...

Great idea Hungry Gal! I've been wanting to add avacados to my diet for many of it's health benefits. I can't wait to try the Avacado Milkshake.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Homemade Sushi With tempura King Crab, avocado, and either cucumber or cream cheese, topped with eel Sauce!! mmmmmm

Anonymous said...

I was fascinated reading all the ideas. I just recently started buying avocados but mostly eat them in salads with italian dressing, had no idea people eat them as a sweet food. Awesome! I love sweets! I haven't tried the shake yet but I just created an "avocado sundae" and it was fabulous! Half avocado sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar, fill center with vanilla yogurt and top with craisins, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. It was great!

Anonymous said...

Curiosity got the best of me, and I had to try the shake. Amazing!! Being a newbie to the concept, I added just a little bit of honey, but wow, I can't wait to have my kids taste this (I think I'll keep the avocado a secret until they taste it, though). Thank you so much for sharing with us!

Judee Doyle said...

an avocado smoothie...omg what a good idea. I will try that today..forget the guacamole....

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