By Diane Darrow of Another Year in Recipes
The old saying has it that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but one day I thought I’d give it a try. My “sow’s ear” was a bag of three avocados I’d bought for the extremely low price of $2, intending to make guacamole. They were hard as rocks, so I left them out for a few days on a sideboard to ripen.
They didn’t. After a full week, they were still rock-hard and were developing some squishy dented and flattened spots. Grand! These bargain avocados were clearly never going to ripen. I’d just have to use them now, adjusting my recipe to cope with whatever would turn out to be edible on them.
Once I’d peeled the avocados and cut away all the ugly gray-brown parts, I was left with a small quantity of too, too solid flesh.
First adjustment (actually decided earlier): Don’t buy a bunch of fresh cilantro when you’ll need only a few sprigs. Defrost a cube of the cilantro base you’d made to salvage some of the last big bunch of it that you’d bought.
Second adjustment: Don’t even try to mash the flesh with a spoon or chop it with a knife. Puree it by machine.
That done, I could proceed with my usual approach to guacamole: chopping onion, tomato, and a serrano pepper and mixing them, along with salt, into the puree and cilantro base. It came out looking pretty good, much like a proper guacamole.
Hoping for the best, I set a bowl of it next to a batch of tortilla chips and served it as our dinner appetizer.
But alas, that guacamole was no silk purse. My gallant husband dipped one chip and said he tasted mold in it. It didn’t taste moldy to me but neither did it taste much of avocado. He stopped after the second chip.
Feeling an obligation, I ate more of it than that, but it was completely uninteresting. Maybe a plastic purse?
Regretfully, I discarded the rest. Let that be a lesson to me (which at my age, you’d think I would have learned already): Don’t buy avocados that you can’t pick up in your hand and feel at least the beginning of ripening!
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