Guttenberg New Jersey is a tiny town on the Hudson River. Guttenberg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guttenberg,_New_Jersey) was where I first tasted Guacamole. I was in my early 20’s and a restaurant on the river named The Lighthouse was reported to have the best Fettuccine Alfredo in the state. So if a restaurant had the best fettuccine I had to go. The night I went the crowd was out the door and everyone was shuffled into the bar so that the business could sell more alcohol while you waited patiently for a table that was probably empty the entire time you were waiting. As I made my way to the bar atop the counter sat a large bowl filled with green stuff.
“What the hell is that?”
The bartender gave me a look like what planet do you live on and said,
“What the hell is Guacamole?”
Realizing I was a true Yankee who lacked any sense of cultural awareness outside of the NY-NJ area his tone softened.
“Avocado dip. You eat it with chips.”
Next to the bowl of green stuff was a bowl of chips. I still didn’t know what Guacamole was because I didn’t know what an avocado was. My educational enhancement options at the time were limited in the pre-Internet, pre-cellphone days and the bartender left to serve someone else who was more likely to spend more money on alcohol. I wasn’t getting enough information to discern what the green stuff actually was. I remember grabbing what I thought was a potato chip, took a dip, and ate Guacamole for the very first time in my life. Funny to think back on this because I recall nothing about the Guacamole. All I remember was the chip.
When the bartender came back hoping I would finally order an beverage I asked,
“What the hell kind of chip is that?”
And with an attitude of this guy is asking too many questions and wasting my time he went off to serve someone else. Thus ends the story of my first encounter with Guacamole and CORN chips. I wouldn’t have any more such encounters until I moved to Texas and tried Mexican (actually Tex-Mex) food. But this is another story altogether.
BTW I love Guacamole now and I know what a corn chip is.
Asian Inspired Guacamole
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled
1/2 large lime fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons medium red onion, minced
1 medium sized tomato, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Scoop the avocado into a small mixing bowl.
Squeeze most (but not all) of the lime juice over the fruit.
With a fork or a spoon mash the avocado but leave some small chunks (for chunkiness).
Fold in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Sample for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
Serve with CORN chips.
I take a paper towel and gently drain the tomatoes before adding to the fruit. The paper towel will absorb excess juice, pulp, and seeds. This dip is basically the kid version and is very mild. The adult version can be bold. I usually add several dashes of hot sauce. Fresh garlic and jalapeño peppers will also give a nice kick. Remember the most but not all part of the lime juice? If you’re not serving immediately, squeeze some lime juice over the top of the dip (don’t mix in) and stick it in the fridge. This will help delay oxidation. No one likes brown Guacamole.
The researchers found that people who ate avocado every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health. They also had greater microbial diversity compared to people who did not receive the avocado meals in the study.
Sharon V Thompson, Melisa A Bailey, Andrew M Taylor, Jennifer L Kaczmarek, Annemarie R Mysonhimer, Caitlyn G Edwards, Ginger E Reeser, Nicholas A Burd, Naiman A Khan, Hannah D Holscher. Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa219
Funding for the research was provided by the Hass Avocado Board and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The researchers found that people who ate dried fruit were generally healthier than those who did not, and on days when people ate dried fruit they consumed greater amounts of some key nutrients than on days when they skipped. However, they also found that people consumed more total calories on days when they ate dried fruit.
Previous research has found that poor diet contributes to nearly half of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the U.S., with a lack of fruit being a major factor. According to the researchers, fruits provide an abundance of nutrients, including fiber, potassium and several heart-healthy bioactives.
Valerie K. Sullivan, Muzi Na, David N. Proctor, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Kristina S. Petersen. Consumption of Dried Fruits Is Associated with Greater Intakes of Underconsumed Nutrients, Higher Total Energy Intakes, and Better Diet Quality in US Adults: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2007-2016.. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2020.08.085
“Only if you send me your Citrus Gazpacho recipe.”
The exchange was made and Frenchy’s recipe follows:
For 6 Cups
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 TBLS white wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups orange juice
zest and fruit of 1 orange-remove the peel and pith
zest and fruit of 1 pink grapefruit-remove the peel and pith
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1/4 medium red onion, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 TBLS olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Cayenne pepper to your taste
Instead of using fresh tomatoes which you must boil for 20 seconds, then dunk in ice water to stop the cooking, cool, peel, then dice-you can use a can of diced tomatoes.
Use an immersion blender or container blender to mix the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, orange and grapefruit zest. Puree. Pour over the cucumbers, peppers, onion, orange and grapefruit, olive oil and seasonings.
This is best when it has been refrigerated overnight. Top with fresh cut basil before serving. A few pomegranate seeds in each serving for color.
Beautiful in martini or cocktail glasses as a starter.
Historical Note for Family and Friends
Frenchy is a real person and our friendship predates my marriage to The Boss. When the Doctor and the Architect were tiny humans themselves we would have wonderful meals at Frenchy’s. I’m positive I’ve had this gazpacho but at my age I can’t remember when. Enjoy!