The elegant and delicious mousse detailed below is indigenous to Cost Rica. I generally like to use a decorative mold when making this, to make it pretty for serving, but you can make it in a simple bowl. The amounts given below necessitate the use of a small mold (about 3-cups capacity). Most of my molds are six-cup capacity or larger, so I have to increase this recipe—but it doubles, and even triples, easily. (If you get to the place where you’re using four or more avocados, you might want to use a food processor instead of a fork to create the mashed avocado mixture.)
There are a number of species of avocado that are regularly available. For this recipe, Hass avocados (the ones with the rough, leathery, dark green to black skin—the most common avocados sold in most of the U.S.), or similar California-grown varieties are your best bet. Using the larger, slightly waterier Florida avocado necessitates much adjustment of quantities in the recipe. They are delicious, but save them for stuffing with shrimp or crab salads.
Mousse de Aguacate
1 large, ripe avocado
1 small onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup whipped cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise Continue reading
Filed under Food, Recipes
Avocados among other New World natives, chilies and tomatoes
I am always delighted when I find things in nature that deviate from the expected, such as the braided rings around Saturn, monotremes (the platypus and echidna: both mammals that lay eggs), or the fact that bees are not “properly designed” for flight (though that doesn’t slow them down). The plant kingdom, in particular, seems to be replete with “rule-breakers”—plants that are hard to define, difficult to predict, or that exhibit characteristics that differ from everything else in the category to which they belong.
One of these exceptional plants is the avocado. Fruit pretty universally produces sugars to some degree as part of the ripening process, but avocados produce oil instead. (They do produce some sugar while still on the tree, but sugar rapidly decreases once ripening begins.) Avocados also have the highest protein content of any fruit.
While other fruit ripens best, and often ripens only, while still on the plant, avocados do not begin to ripen until they are cut off the tree. The tree produces a hormone that keeps the fruit from ripening, and it is only when this hormone ceases to reach the fruit that ripening begins. Avocados can, in fact, be “stored” for months simply by leaving them on the tree. Continue reading