The big chill

Cryostasis. According to the Oxford dictionary, it’s “A frozen state of a person…induced in order to preserve it for long periods; cryosuspension.”

Well, it’s not just for deep space travel and Walt Disney anymore.

The Kid and I adore avocados.  It wasn’t always this way.  We developed our love for them through their most famous gateway drug; guacamole.  But we now love them on toast, sliced and salted; just about any way.

Avocados can be a giant pain in the keester, though.  If you’re buying and eating on the same day, good luck.  Stores get them in as hard as a baseball; they ripen on the grocer’s shelf as they wait to be picked to go to a new home.

So choose them according to when you need them.  4 or 5 days out?  Buy rocks.  For a couple days from preparation, pick ones that give just a little to gentle pressure.

At Costco there’s plenty of choices.  Take your time, and pick out a bag of boulders.

I buy a bag of six from Costco, and try to get the hardest ones they’ve got.  This gives me a few days grace to get my ducks in row, and be prepared for when they’re ripe.

But what to do when the avocado is ready and you’re not?  Because everybody knows that when a good avocado goes bad, it joins a gang, gets a face tattoo, and starts bullying onions and tomatillos for their lunch money.  And they only possess perfect, delicious ripeness for twenty minutes or so.

This is where the cryostasis comes in.  If you have a mess of fully ripened avocados (they’ll give to the light pressure and be slightly softened all over,) lying around the kitchen, set them, unwrapped, in the fridge.

I refrigerated ripe ones with the idea of using them in a few days.  But I figured what would happen is that I’d cut into one and discover something so bruised it would be as appetizing as a cigarette put out in a piece of birthday cake.  Last Tuesday, 2 days after stashing them in the chill chest, I took out a perfect avocado; no strings, no bumps, no bruises.

And then I made my new favorite avocado dish.

Avocado and spinach pesto

avocado pest ingredients

12 ounces short pasta

3 ½ cups raw baby spinach

2 avocados

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Juice of 2 lemons (bout ¼ cup)

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup chives or scallions

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

1 cup reserved pasta cooking water

Cook pasta according to directions in heavily salted water.  Microwave spinach for about 1 minute 45 seconds or completely wilted.  Place into food processor.

When the pasta has five more minutes, make sauce. 

Add the avocado meat, cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Process, adding enough hot pasta water until it’s sauce consistency.

Drain pasta and return to pot.  Pour sauce over and gently stir to coat.  Garnish with chives.

Serves 2-4.

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The pesto would also make a good dressing or dipping sauce. 

This stasis trick is even more amazing.  Last Tuesday, 2 full weeks after entering stasis, The Kid cut into a refrigerated avocado.  It was perfect and delicious.  I think we’ve cracked the code.  No more waste.  With all the scary avocados I’ve tossed in my life, I could probably finance a week’s vacation to Kill Devil Hills, and bring along Petey, The Kid, and the dog too.

Best of all, avocado’s pernicious stranglehold over me has been broken.  They’ll be eaten and used at my pleasure.  I will never again be a slave to botany.

Thanks for your time.

Your Toast

In almost every facet of life there are fads.

Don’t believe me?  When’s the last time you sat at a harvest gold-colored kitchen counter while eating fondue, listening to Milli Vanilli and wearing acid wash denim and a Member’s Only jacket?

fads

Okay…

Because of the interwebs, the fads move faster than ever today.  Also, local dishes can go viral and become huge in a matter of days (hello, cronut).

I like to tell myself that I’m above fads and that I am not so easily swayed.

But to be perfectly honest, there have been times when the presence of a food on somebody’s list has persuaded me to at least try it.  I never ate kale until it was everywhere.  And you know what?  I’m glad I did; I like it creamed, in certain salads, and made into chips.   I love salted caramel, I don’t care who knows it, and I don’t think it can be over-exposed.

Last year, avocado toast was the shiny new thing.  But, I adore avocados, bread, and have eaten many sandwiches adorned with my squishy green friend.

My favorite foods are breakfast foods.  But, most of them are fatty, carby, fiber-less indulgences.  Toasts can easily be so nutritious that it redeems the whole plate.  Of course, it can also be just pure yum.  It all depends on the toast.

That’s the stuff. Arteries be damned!

Below are a few ideas for easy, quick, toast breakfasts that will fill your belly and quickly get you and the kids out the door in the AM.  Everything is completely adjustable—don’t like my bread recommendation?  Use a different type.

Classic Avocado- Mash a ripe avocado with salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.  Add a bit of red pepper flake if you’re so inclined.  Smoosh on 2 pieces of toasted 9th St Bakery Omega 3 Seed.

And this is where Lavender and Honey’s toasts come in…

Lavender Goat Cheese-On two pieces of sunflower toast, spread goat cheese.  Sprinkle with a tiny bit of fresh lavender.  Top with freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of honey.

Sourdough horseradish-Put some baby arugula on as a base.  Cover with a couple slices of crispy bacon, then top with horseradish jack cheese.  Put under a broiler to get nice and melty.

Child’s Play- Toast up a whole grain English muffin.  Top with Nutella and sliced bananas. 

Molto Bene-Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on toasted baguette. Place on top slices of the ripest, reddest tomato you can get your hands on.  Put under the broiler until it’s hot and a little bubbly.  Top with poached eggs and a bit of shaved Parmesan cheese or melted mozzerella.

Cherry Almond-On brioche or Challah toast, spread almond butter.  Warm a bit of cherry jam until it’s a little runny.  Drizzle onto almond butter, and sprinkle with toasted almond slivers, and a tiny bit of sea salt.

Greek Breakfast- Toast a pita.  Layer on a couple of thick slices of roasted chicken.  Top with Kalamata olives, feta, a spritz of lemon juice, and a little bit of fresh oregano.

Onion jam-Smear a couple tablespoons of herb Neufchâtel cheese onto a toasted rustic white.  On top spread some amber-colored caramelized onion.  Top with 1 piece crumbled bacon, and toasted sunflower seeds.

These ideas are just jumping off places.  Listen to your cravings and see what’s in your fridge.  No pressure.

Unless you’re dining with Oprah, breakfast should not make you break out into a cold sweat.

oprah

Please pass the jelly, Your Majesty.

Thanks for your time.