Saturday, March 22, 2014

Current Craving: Avocado

Those of you who've been reading this blog for a long time know that I graduated with honors from the ICBB School of Cooking.*

The rest of you have probably figured out that I am exceedingly lazy.

The thing is, I just haven't been in the mood to cook for the past few years. I'm hoping that, when we move, this will change. We have been house-hunting and simply aching to move for so long that I no longer remember feeling at home in my home. Or in my kitchen. I just want out. I subsist, doing as little as it takes to produce a minimal degree of order and comfort because my heart isn't in it. (My motto since college has been "You Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee." However, sometimes, it seems I do.)

But we still need to eat, so I continue to throw a few things together in the vicinity of meal times. And occasionally I try something new. I've been craving guacamole lately, but guacamole is impossible, of course. I make mine simply, following my training at the ICBB School, but it still requires lovely, ripe local tomatoes.

So when I saw a friend's Facebook post of an avocado-chicken salad recipe, I perked up. It called for blending the following in a food processor:  a large avocado,** 1/2 cup of basil leaves, 2 tbsp of olive oil, a tsp of salt, and an insane amount 1/8 tsp of pepper (you can also add a 1/2 tsp garlic if you have no friends). Then you mix it with a half-pound of shredded chicken breast and call it done.

Now, one of the first things we learned at the ICBB School of Cooking is that recipes (like Egyptian traffic signs) are merely suggestions. Only cowards and those lacking in creativity or intelligence adhere slavishly to recipes (and Egyptian stop signs). The rest of us walk on the wild side.

So I made my own version. I mixed my ripe avocado with a drizzle of olive oil, a huge pinch of dried basil,*** a sprinkling of pepper and 3/4 tsp of salt. Without all that fresh basil, you will get a silky mixture, like this:

Then you can spoon it into a cobalt-blue bowl and admire the effect:

Since there's no basil to add bulk, it's a good idea to add something besides the chicken at this point, or you will have a very salty salad. I would have liked to add celery, but celery and I have a troubled relationship. I buy it and forget to use it, so it sits in my fridge turning brown and mushy. Dealing with that is enough to turn me off celery for a few months until I recover. 

So I added lots of finely shredded carrots instead. (And, no, I didn't shred them myself. You know me better than that; I bought a bag. )

And, because of my training, I used a package of roasted chicken breast slices from Trader Joe's, which is always delicious and ready the minute you want it. A half-pound will give you a decadent avocado experience, but you can add much more chicken and still have plenty of avocado to go around. 

But don't listen to me; by all means do it your way. 

We eat ours with toast, or by itself, but it would make a nice wrap. The leftovers are supposed to keep from turning brown for a couple of days if covered closely with plastic wrap but we've never made it that far. 

I'll bet some of you are surprised/thrilled that I have written so many words without mentioning cats even once. So, with apologies — cats love Trader Joe's chicken breast, and they think they love this salad. But avocado is toxic to cats, so you should never leave any sitting around unsupervised. You don't want this.

* The I Can't Be Bothered School of Cooking. 

** Note: I am not so lazy that I didn't remove the skin or the pit. 

*** I love basil but my husband refers to all fresh herbs as "weeds." As in, "Ugh, there are weeds under the skin of the roast chicken!" And: "Why is there a weed in my iced tea?" After a while, one gives up.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to play with this recipe. I don't use mayo so this opens up a lot of summer meals for me.

    Thanks Chef Proper.


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