18 May 2009

Beyond Guacamole

Baby food has a way of curling an adult's lip. It leaves you thinking that oatmeal should never have the same color and texture as turkey and rice. And rightly so. But, as babies do, they'll eat some, showing little discretion, and paint the kitchen with the rest.

I hadn't thought of sharing Jasper's food with you until Seth encouraged it. For the past few months we've had fun exploring tastes and textures with our little guy. I've been making his food, except a few generic Cheerios that I buy in bulk. I whiz peas, steamed squash, steamed broccoli and the like in the food processor and freeze portions in my silicone muffin pan. And even though this isn't too much trouble, sometimes I need a 30-second meal for the little guy. OK, I need quick meals a lot, not just on a rare occasion.

That's when I make a Avocado Banana Mash. No cooking. Travels well. Only a fork is required. And before you curl up your lip, take a taste. It's delicious. And it even looks like avocado and banana mashed together to boot!

Before I run off taking credit for this tasty combination, I have tell you that a good chunk of the world has been eating it for quite some time. In several Asian countries, vendors sell avocado smoothies, a combination of avocado and yogurt whizzed in the blender. And when we visited Morocco, I first saw someone making them on the tiny alleys of Chefchaouen. I'd never heard of it, and my friend Abdul had to explain it to me twice. Seeing as if avocados are the one food I'd take with me to a deserted island, I couldn't wait to try one. The ones we sampled in Africa had banana in them as well with a touch of honey.

So maybe it's time to think beyond guacamole. A ripe avocado isn't just for condiments or dips. It can just as easily be the star of the show.

Tip: Avocados are ripe when the skin is dark but the fruit is still slightly firm and the stem pops of with only the slightest of pressure. Avocado browns quickly once cut. Acid such as citrus juice or vinegar slows the process. These dishes, especially the mash, will brown quickly, but it does not alter the flavor. To save the remaining avocado, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate.

Avocado Banana Mash
1/4 of a large, ripe banana
1/4 of a medium, ripe avocado

With the back of a fork, mash together banana and avocado until desired consistency is reached.

Avocado Banana Smoothie
1/2 of a large, ripe banana
1/2 of a medium, ripe avocado
3/4 cup of plain yogurt (low fat or non fat is OK)

Toss the ingredients in the blender and whiz them together. Taste. Adjust to your liking by adding more banana to make it sweeter or more avocado to make it more savory. If you take it even sweeter, add a drizzle of honey.

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