Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.
Between my CSA, favorite farms, our local Co-op, and farmers market, I end up not buying much at the conventional grocery store, but I still find myself there from time to time. There are few things that I love that I cannot get locally grown or produced. As you may know, avocados do not grow in Vermont and I think avocados are pretty much the greatest thing to add to salad, make into spreads, stuff into sandwiches and just eat. This week I found that avocados were on sale at the conventional grocery store for pretty much as cheap as we ever see them here in Vermont which is about a dollar each. Sometimes the grocery store will have bulk deals, but I never end up using them up fast enough that some do not go bad and thus the deal in the supermarket is foiled by the home cook. Today, they were being sold individually!
Last week, we had the first frost and this has been followed by most nights going down into the 20s. Many days have been nice alternating between warmish rain and clear but crisp days. The kale and brussel sprouts still look okay, but everything else that has not been picked and taken in has the sad droopy look of freezing through. The basil leaves are black and look wet; the tomatoes are just stringy stalks. I now have a glut of food waiting for processing (apples, squash, and basil) or that I cut and brought inside in an attempt to have it past the freeze (parsley).
When I saw the avocados, I knew that guacamole was in my future even though I need to work with what I have now to make it. I usually use tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a dash of salt. I have onions, lime juice, and sea salt from a friend in Maine. Tomatoes and delicate cilantro are long past. Additionally cilantro did not do well this year as it was so dry. I just could not keep it wet enough and am disappointed to say I have no home-grown coriander seeds to crush up into this winter’s mexican fare. So those are out for the recipe. I decide to replace it with parsley. I have a huge bouquet of parsley in the kitchen. I likely won’t get through it before it all yellows. After tending it all summer, I just couldn’t leave it out to freeze, so I brought in too much.
I looked around to see what I have that’s still good. My kitchen is swimming in apples gathered in my neighborhood. This year, I even ended up asking my across the street neighbor if I could gather apples from an ancient and always productive tree on his property (rather than just picking up those that fall over his fence which I’m hoping he never noticed me doing). He said yes, and that he finds the glut of apples to be somewhat of nuisance. He just rakes them into a bucket and doesn’t use them. My neighbor probably thought it an odd request, but he was happy for the help with getting rid of them.
These are late-season, green to yellow apples. The tree is untended, but the apples are always a good size and remain crisp late into the fall. It is a variety that is both good for eating and cooking. It is one of the most productive trees in my neighbor each year even without any care. They get a black scaling on them, but a little washing with a soft vegetable brush gets it right off. I’m positive the tree is not a commercial variety, but I don’t know what it is. I’ve promised myself that I will look into what kind it is over the winter. I’m too busy now.
Back to the guacamole: I know I’m going to use the avocado, parsley as a substitute for the cilantro, and I have local red onions stored. Lime juice is one the things I get at the conventional grocery store and I have some. I cut the avocado in half, take out the seed and mash it up in a small bowl.
I then finely chop up 2 tablespoons of parsley (it’s as much as I can imagine having in a guacamole without it tasting like something Italian) and 2 tablespoons of onion. I add these to the avocado with some lime juice and a pinch of sea salt. It’s not quite right - it needs something to bulk up the recipe and punch it up. I turn to the only thing I really have - those little green apples. I rough chop into small pieces one small green apple and mix it in.
The apple guacamole is not only a fine substitute to traditional guacamole, but it is lovely in its own right. It’s flavor is subtle, but complicated. It tasted great with homemade nachos. I can even imagine experimenting with different kind of apples for different flavors. The green apple gave is a sour punch, but a sweet apple could work too for a different effect. I liked the green apple, because it disappeared with the green guacamole, so you not necessarily know you were eating apple.
• 1 avocado
• 2 tbsp parsley chopped
• 2 tbsp red onion chopped
• 1 small green apple chopped
• 1 tbsp lime juice
• pinch of salt
2. Mash it up.
3. Add parsley, onion, apple, lime juice and salt.
4. Mix until incorporated.
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