Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pineapple Guacamole

Seems there is actually going to be a sequel to the polar vortex. There are sequels and then there are sequels. Some of them never really compare to the original and then some are actually better (or much worse depending on your perspective). I certainly thought it was possible this winter could become even more wicked, but hoped we would get a reprieve. It is been hard enough getting up early in the morning to head out to the gym to get a work out in. Bitter cold mornings and my snow covered car are making it even harder to get out from under the pile of blankets and duvets. Even I am beginning to grow tired of my own incessant early morning whining. However, today happened to be one of those unexpected days where there was actually an added benefit to braving the the morning elements and spending an hour on the treadmill. My creative juices started flowing.

I had to stop at the grocery store on my way from the gym to pick up a few things. The table of avocados caught my eye while I was walking through the produce section. My first thought was 'wow, those look ripe enough to make guacamole'. My second thought was actually a recollection of the pineapple guacamole I had eaten at Bien Trucha (my favorite Mexican restaurant located in Geneva, Illinois). My final thought was 'I think I can, no, I really need to recreate this guacamole today'. While this internal monologue went on a little longer, I could hardly wait to get home to begin making my version of Pineapple Guacamole.

If you have never had Pineapple Guacamole before you might be thinking it doesn't exactly sound like a guacamole you would choose to eat or make. While I understand you could actually think that, I do think you will change your initial (maybe a little too quick) reaction once you taste it. The combination of avocados, red onions, mild green chiles, minced garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh pineapple is crazy, crazy good. It is also an incredibly refreshing alternative to a traditional guacamole. 

I absolutely love when the grocery store has ripe avocados available, particularly when I have a taste for guacamole. There is something to be said for instant gratification. When you can buy four ripe avocados, it is a lucky day.

Avocados are one of those fruits that can turn brown relatively quickly. The juice of one lemon or three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice are immediately added to the avocados. Using either a pastry blender or a fork (or your hands if you are so inclined), the lemon juice and avocado are mixed until the avocado is broken up into chunks yet has a bit of a creaminess to it.

I prefer red onions over white onions in my guacamole. A finely chopped red onion (1/2 cup equivalent) and a large minced garlic clove add great flavor to both the traditional and pineapple versions of guacamole.

To compliment the flavor of the pineapple, I thought a four ounce can of chopped green chiles would be preferable to hot sauce (and they were). In addition, the green chiles provide a little extra texture. One half cup of freshly minced pineapple is all this guacamole needs, nothing more, nothing less.

Once the green chiles and pineapple are mixed in, season with one teaspoon of Kosher salt. You can always add more if it isn't salty enough for you. The pineapple guacamole is ready to serve immediately or you can cover, refrigerate, and serve chilled.

Choose your favorite tortilla chips (think more on the lines of traditional tortilla chips versus the highly seasoned designer ones) and enjoy.

Pineapple Guacamole 

4 ripe avocados
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 large garlic clove minced
1 can (4 ounce) mild green chiles diced (drained)
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and scoop into a large bowl. Immediately add lemon juice.
2. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut through avocado until the mixture smashed but remains chunky.
3. Add in diced red onion, mild green chiles, fresh pineapple, and Kosher salt. Mix until well blended.
4. Serve immediately or place one of the pits in the mixture, cover and chill until ready to serve.

I recently read that the number of people using Facebook is declining (particularly those much, much younger than I am), but I am not bailing yet (I was slow to jump on to this social networking trend and will probably be even slower opting out). For me Facebook is more than just a way to keep up with my small group of friends, share my random thoughts of the day or shamelessly promote the blog. It is another food for thought or inspirational link resource. Today someone posted a Kurt Vonnegut quote that spoke to me. "Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.'

While Mr. Vonnegut didn't include cooking as an example of one of the arts (his book 'Breakfast of Champions' was definitely not about food), I would like to think the creation of 'food' is its' own kind of art. Today turned out to be one of those rewarding, soul growing kind of days (especially because I am one more likely to tweak or alter a recipe more often than I create them). Whether my version of Pineapple Guacamole turned out badly (it didn't) or not, didn't really matter. The reward and growth came solely from engaging in the practice of an 'art'.

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