On my first trip to Mexico eight years ago, a colleague taught me the Spanish word for avocado: aguacates. You see, if you try to use Spanglish and say:
"Yo quiero uno avocado" ("I want an 'avocado'"),
it sounds remarkably like
"Yo quiero uno abogado" ("I want a lawyer").
Now you know.
Avocados are one of my favorite foods. I am perfectly happy to slice one in half, remove the pit, salt liberally, and eat. I used to live down in Santa Barbara (Babs) and had the luxury of having a gigantic avocado tree next door that hung over my back porch (read: fire escape). The neighbors were perfectly happy for us to grab as many fruits as we could reach. It was awesome.
Here at the MKG we're not as fortunate. We have a lovely Mediterranean climate but too many chill hours/frosts to successfully grow avos. Avocados set fruit in the winter and therefore need to stay warm. I would need to keep an avocado tree in a pot, cover it with blankets, and put Christmas lights in it to keep it warm enough to produce. Santa Babs was perfect; here, not so much.
It's pretty lucky for me, then, that the Mamasita-in-law lives down in SoCal and has not one but TWO avocado trees in her backyard. They are well over a hundred years old and still produce a ton of delicious aguacates. In fact, when my husband was a kid, after wind storms he would fill a garbage can with avocados and sell them on the street, 4 for $1, and make a killing. There would be cars lined up to buy them! That certainly puts my rinky-dink lemonade stand to shame, but really, who can compete with avocados?
The trees produce more than da Mama can eat, so after a recent visit I returned with this bounty of aguacates:
I plan to whip up a batch (or several) of an old Santa Babs standby- Guacamole. I will make this and then sit with a bag of tortilla chips (or maybe just a spoon) and eat it all. And it will be delicious.
Santa Babs Guacamole (con aguacates)
Makes about 4 cups
4-5 Medium avocados (~4" long), ripe, pit removed, flesh chopped into 1/2"-1" dice
Half a small red onion, diced, ~1/4 - 1/2 cup
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of one lime, ~1/2 cup
1 small jalapeno, finely diced, ribs and seeds removed for less heat
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Place chopped avocado into a bowl, add diced red onion and minced garlic (add jalapeno now, if using), stir to combine. Mash about half the avocado chunks as you stir the ingredients. Add lime juice and kosher salt to taste (add cilantro, if using), stir to combine. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Buen provecho!