I have appetizer issues. Now, I know right now, about half of you are thinking, “Yeah! Right on, me too!!! And the other half are like, “Geez, this woman is pathetic! What kind of blithering first world problem involves the first course of a dinner?” Either way, read on, I’ve got something for you.
The thing is, I just don’t think much about what to serve before supper. If you think about it, how often do we serve something to munch before sitting down when it’s just the family? So, we don’t get a lot of practice with these sorts of dishes on a regular basis. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m having people over, I think about the important part. Sides are easy because they have to go with the main. And dessert? Dessert is just plain fun. But for me, the appetizer is an afterthought. After I’ve already gone shopping. And now what?
My other concern is that after I’ve put so much energy into stuffing chicken breasts or unstuffing cabbage, I don’t really want everybody filling up before they sit down to eat. But then again, you can’t just give people drinks and nothing to nibble. So…
I want something that is really simple and easy. Like perhaps, four ingredients, including salt. Something for which you can keep the ingredients on hand. Something versatile. And something that can feed people with special food needs.
I’m having sort of a love affair with avocados these days. I’ve always admired them. Once, in my early twenties, I sold them at the farm market in Santa Monica. They are very popular among all the wonderful food blogs on the interwebs right now! Recently, I finally figured out the secret to having nice, ripe ones without the risk of those horrid brown funky spots: don’t buy them the day you need them. Buy them once a week or so and get them when they are still rock hard. That way, no one else has bruised them up by squeezing them at the store. Let them stand on the counter in a nice bowl and make a pretty little still life while they ripen. And then use them when they are ready. Which is when they give slightly to light pressure with your thumb.
This dish was born when Brian was on his way home and I knew his friends were close behind. I was interested in a substantial snack, something with more protein than guacamole, to serve with crackers or chips. This combines all that is wonderful about hummus and gaucamole; Brian says the flavorfulness of hummus with the richness of gauc.
This is good as a dip or a spread. Serve with crackers, chips, toasts, or raw veggies. It is especially good on mindfulness bread. Put some on your salad and call it lunch. I have used it as a bed for salmon, grilled chicken, or kababs. It is gluten free, dairy free, vegan, kosher, paleo, and relatively low carb. And. And. And! It is the color of one of my favorite glazes: celadon! What more could you ask?
1 perfect avocado, preferably haas, preferably organic
1 can chick peas, I like goya
juice of ½ lime
sea salt, to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor (I do it in my mini one in two batches) and process until smooth. Or partially smooth, if you tend to like things chunky. I like a silky puree with some small pieces of avocado and chick pea, so I stop just shy of a a uniform consistency. In a pinch, you could make this with a masher or a fork; it won’t have the creaminess, but it will still be good.
This is a base recipe. You can do many things to vary it. Spice it up with some red pepper flakes, minced hot raw or roasted peppers, or hot sauce. Make it more hummus-y by adding sesame oil and/or toasted sesame seeds and/or tahini. Use lemon instead of lime. Guac it up by adding onion and/or tomato. The possibilities are really endless, but try this version once and then get creative.