Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grrrr. Arrrrgh.

Guys. Let's talk about avocados for a minute.

Now, i am not one to turn up my nose at a perfectly ripe avocado. It is, after all, perfectly ripe. It is tender and buttery and rich and you half expect it to melt in your mouth. I like perfectly ripe avocados mashed into guacamole, or sliced on top of burgers, or simply dipped into sea salt and eaten alone. I even like avocado ice cream. Savory, sweet, or naked, a perfectly ripe avocado is pretty irresistible.

But sometimes, what i really want is a slightly under-ripe avocado. (DO NOT eat an over-ripe avocado. They taste like over-ripe bananas. Bad idea.) Slightly under-ripe avocados remind you they are, in fact, a fruit. They are tender yet firm, like a peach, and so sweet and mild in flavor. You can taste the richness ahead, but it's still soft and delicate.

Let's talk about how to eat that slightly under-ripe avocado. And let's do so while ignoring the mess on my bed. (Except for Volume Two of Buffy: Season Eight. Yeah, that's a yellow sale sticker you see on Faith's perfectly tousled hair. Six bucks, whatwhat?! Shout out to New England Comics!)

What you see here is a masterpiece of a meal. I bought this five-grain blend at Marshalls (quinoa, brown rice, red lentils, two other things, who cares), and cooked it slow and gentle, risotto-style, and then melted in some Parmesan. I did that a few days ago and had leftovers in the fridge, so a healthy serving of cold grains were the first thing in my bowl. Next was falafel. You can just see the yellow grittiness of it, above the blurry rainbow grains and below the brilliant scarlet mess of gazpacho. Yes, gazpacho. Homemade. Garlicky and vinegary and chock full of veggies. (Actually, side note: SO MANY of the things that i usually think of as vegetables are really fruits. Like avocados. And tomatoes. And peppers. So this dinner is really fruit soup with fruit slices and fruit patties and grain.)

So. Yes. Gazpacho. I've made this every summer for the past three years. My recipe is based on one from the "Quick and Easy Seven Dollar Meals" cookbook, but it's a little different every time i make it. I'm pretty happy with this batch, though. I'm especially happy with the way that it melts into the falafel and the grains and the whole thing makes a heavy, intensely flavorful stew. Thick enough to eat with a fork, and all sloppy and healthy and colorful, and topped off with those sweet, firm, buttery avocados.

Eat while watching Buffy: Season Three. And then follow immediately with an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream.

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