[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I’ll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this third entry, I’m focusing on Avocados. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. ]
[Sorry about the poor focus. . . that free point-and-shoot camera of mine has been rather uncooperative lately. Maybe time to bite the bullet and finally buy a real camera?]
Well, last Wednesday evening was our final Total Health class. As it’s been all along, the meeting was terrific, though this final gathering wasn’t about education so much as eating. We were split into groups of three or four people and asked to cook up a couple of recipes each; then we all sat down together and devoured the feast we’d made. It was a great way to end the course in a social, relaxed fashion. When the end of session arrived, no one wanted to leave! We lingered and chatted for an extra 45 minutes before finally filing out of the house (sorry about that, Caroline). And so, the question remains: what now? Do I continue to consume my fruit-and-vegetable, raw-leaning diet? Or do I slide like a 300 ZX on black ice, right back to my chocolate and high-grain days?
That, my friends, is the 64,000 Calorie question. Only time will tell, dear readers, only time will tell. . .
But in the meantime, I sure am going to give it my best shot. And with salads like this one, veggies and fruits never tasted so good.
This is my own adaptation of a Thai-inspired salad the HH and I had many years ago at a cooking class we attended. The class was a birthday present for my friends Gemini I and Gemini II (whose birthday, as it turns out, is on the same day!) about ten years ago. Six of us cooked together and then shared our meal (sort of like Wednesday’s class, come to think of it, except the Thai meal wasn’t nearly as healthy). I’m not sure why, but I still have a crystal clear vision of the HH that long-ago night, as he chopped onions, sliced mango and juiced limes. . . hmm, perhaps because that was the last time he voluntarily chopped onions, sliced mango, or juiced limes? Oh, no, silly me–he juices limes all the time; you need those for gin and tonics.
Anyway, the original salad didn’t contain avocado, of course, but one day I just threw it in, and it made such a perfectly compatible addition to the mix that the mangos and avocados have been keeping company ever since (they’re practically engaged by now). I’ve also tinkered a little with the seasonings over the years to create what I think is the perfect dressing for this salad. In fact, the combination of tastes is so summery, so refreshing and so tantalizing that I’ve even been known to eat this salad for breakfast (What? Fruit for breakfast is good for you!). I use a combination of mint and cilantro, but if you’re not a fan of either, you can leave it out. (And if you’re short on mint, feel free to drop by my place and grab some from the massive waves of green beside the house–see right).
Besides tasting great, this dish offers a sweet treat for the eyes as well.
As I mentioned earlier, avocados are a fantastic source of heart-healthy monounsaturates. But mangos are no slouch in the hale-and-hearty department, either; they’re rich in antioxidant vitamins C and beta carotene, fiber, and potassium. With all these cardiac benefits, I’ve decided to submit this recipe to Ilva of Lucullian Delights, who is hosting her monthly Heart of the Matter event featuring heart-healthy salads this month.
Mango Avocado Salad
This refreshing salad combines all five flavors common in Thai cooking: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy, in perfect proportions. Great as an appetizer or side salad, this dish is best eaten fresh–though we’ve never had leftovers to worry about in our house, anyway!
1/2 red onion, chopped fine (or use white onion and rinse it under cold water to remove the “bite”)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Thai chili, finely chopped, 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped or 5 drops Tabasco sauce
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) rice wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) agave nectar
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
3 Tbsp. (45 ml.) chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste
1/3 cup chopped toasted cashews or peanuts
2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
Place everything except mango and avocado in the bottom of a salad bowl and stir to mix well.
Using a vegetable peeler with a zigzag motion, peel the mango, then cut the flesh into small slices. Place in bowl with dressing. Peel and pit the avocado and cut into similar small slices; add to the bowl.
Toss everything gently until the fruits are coated with the dressing. Serve immediately. Makes 6 appetizer or 4 regular servings.
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Other posts in this series on avocados:
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