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By David Ross
Ah, the avocado! For many of us, this humble little fruit inspires only one dish. Yet the avocado has a culinary history that is deeper than we may understand.
The avocado (Persea Americana) is a tree thought to have originated in South Central Mexico. It’s a member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae. The fruit of the plant - yes, it's a fruit and not a vegetable - is also called avocado.
Avocados grow in tropical and warm climates throughout the world. The season in California typically runs from February through September, but avocados from Mexico are now available year-round.
The avocado has a higher fat content than other fruits, and as such serves as an important staple in the diet of consumers who are seeking other sources of protein than meats and fatty foods. Avocado oil has found a new customer base due to its flavor in dressings and sauces and the high smoke point is favorable when sautéing meat and seafood.
In recent years, due in part to catchy television commercials and the influence of Pinterest, the avocado has seen a resurgence in popularity with home cooks and professionals. Walk into your local casual spot and the menu will undoubtedly have some derivation of avocado toast, typically topped with bacon. Avocados have found a rightful place back on fine dining menus, but unfortunately all too often over-worked dishes with too many ingredients and garnishes erase the pure taste and silky texture of an avocado.
When I think of an avocado it’s the Hass variety. However, a friend who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, can buy Choquette, Hall and Lulu avocados in the local markets. This link provides good information about the different varieties of avocados, when they’re in season and the differences in taste and texture. https://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/10/18/know-your-avocado-varieties-and-when-theyre-in-season/
I for one must challenge myself to start eating and cooking more avocados. I think my recipe for guacamole served with chicharrones is superb, and the cobb salad with large chunks of ripe avocado is delicious, but as a close friend recently said, “one person’s ‘not especially new’ is another’s “eureka moment.” Well said and as history tells us, we’ll find plenty of eureka moments as we discuss and share our tales and dishes of avocado during eG Cook-Off #81: The Avocado.
Fun fact: The name avocado derives from the Nahuatl word “ahuacatl,” which was also slang for “testicle.”
See the complete eG Cook-Off Index here https://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/
Chile Rellenos. Every Mexican or Mexican type restaurant we've ever been in almost, I've chosen Chile Rellenos. I keep thinking I'll pick something different...and then I don't. I've made them. Once. So much trouble. And deep fat frying. And of course in the Far Frozen North where we live, we've been able to get Poblanos (that's it) for only about five years now.
Imagine my delight, the appeal to my very lazy side, to discover the following recipe just a few days ago: https://www.homesicktexan.com/2018/09/chile-relleno-casserole-el-paso-style.html . And yesterday I made them and served them to guests with Mexican rice and black beans. Died and gone to heaven.
OK. Truth time. I used Poblanos and I did not roast them to remove the skins. In an electric oven, it's not a nice job. And besides the skins have never bothered me or Ed at all. But I did roast the Poblanos in the oven. And then I used commercial salsa because we had one we liked. (Did I say that I can be lazy sometimes?) And I used Pepper Jack cheese. Jack cheese is not always available in the small Ontario city we live outside of and pepper jack is even less common. Buy it when you see it. I defrosted some frozen guacamole I had in the freezer. But by heavens the casserole was delicious and now it's on our menu permanently.
So shoot me. But I thought I'd share my joy anyway.
I lived in Phoenix AZ a total of 24 years and during that time I found what the local restaurants call a Green Chili Burro. I have also lived and worked in 48 states and the only ones who have them is either in Arizona, Western New Mexico or Southern California. I am now retired in Northwest Washington State. I have searched the internet for recipes and have found that none of them taste the same. I have also written to many Mexican restaurants and either did not receive a reply or was told that they could not give out the recipe. I am now going around to blogs/forums dealing with Mexican foods hoping that someone would have the actual recipe from one of the restaurants. Its not like I am going trying to compete with them since I live along way from those areas and only wish to serve it in my own household.
I had completely forgotten about our dinner there in December.
Anyone who is a serious eater here on eGullet needs to come here soon. Highly recommended. @MetsFan5 - here is one place you might love over Gary Danko. You too @rancho_gordo.
I'll let the pix speak for themselves...
Horchata - Koshihikari rice, almonds, black cardamom, cinnamon.
Scallop chicharrón, scallop ceviche, crème fraîche.
Jicama empanada, shiso, pumpkin, salmon roe.
Smoked mushroom taco with pickled wild mushrooms.
Dungeness crab tostada, sour orange segments, sour orange-habanero salsa, Castelfranco radicchio, tarragon.
Pineapple guava sorbet
Fuyu persimmon, habanero honey, tarragon
Tasmanian trout ceviche, dashi, Granny Smith apple
Aguachile, parsnip, red bell pepper
Black bean tamales steamed in banana leaves, with salsa on the side
Smoked squab broth, pomegranate seeds, cilantro flowers
Tres frijoles with sturgeon caviar, shallots and edible gold leaf
Black cod, salsa verde, green grapes
Wagyu beef, pickled onion
Smoked squab breast served with spiced cranberry sauce, quince simmered in cranberry juice, pickled Japanese turnips and charred scallion, and sourdough flour tortillas
Yes, it's the same squab from which the broth was made.
And now the desserts:
Foie gras churro, with foie gras mousse, cinnamon sugar, served with hot milk chocolate infused with cinnamon, Lustau sherry and coffee.
By the time I remembered to take a pic, I'd eaten half of the churro. Dunk the churro into the chocolate.
Dulce de leche spooned atop pear sorbet with chunks of Asian pear, macadamia nut butter
Pecan ice cream, candied pecans, shortbread cookie, apples, clarified butter
The cookie was on top of the apples. Break the cookie and spoon everything over.
Cherry extract digestif, vermouth, sweet Mexican lime
We'll definitely return. I'm an instant fan.
Prepaid tix were $230 per person, plus there were additional charges due to wine pairings. It's worth every cent you'll spend.
3115 22nd Street (South Van Ness)
I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a manual tortilla machine / maker. I am not talking about a tortilla press. This machine basically takes a batch of masa dough that is placed on top, through a roller with a cutter, using a hand crank. The machine will flatten and cut uniform size tortillas. I've been looking at the Monarca brand. The reviews seem to be below average. I'm trying to find ways to shave some labor dollars without sacrificing quality. Our restaurant goes through an average of 300 to 500 tortillas a day depending on business. Thanks for your help!
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