the taste of greenness

I kind of have an avocado problem.

(When I read this sentence to Danny, he snorted, slapped my arm, and said, “Good one.”)

Okay, I have an avocado problem.

My name is Shauna and I want to eat an avocado every day.

Look, in the pantheon of vices, this one’s pretty light. I drink so very occasionally that the one glass of wine every 3 months really counts as nothing. I don’t smoke pot, even if it is legal in Washington state now. I don’t even eat much sugar anymore. I drink a fair amount of coffee. Okay, you have me there. I do love my coffee, particularly after Lu whispers in my ear in the darkness of night, “Mama, I remember when I was a baby, and you used to put me in my high chair, and I broke a little bowl when we were at the green house, but you said it was okay. I think you were feeding me sweet potatoes.” And it’s 2 am. So coffee. Yes, coffee.

But really, it’s avocadoes. (Or avocados. I always prefer the oddball, alternate spelling. Gray looks so weird to me. People, it’s grey.) I love their creamy, buttery texture, the taste of greenness and sunlight in their insides, their nubbly structure outside. I just adore them.

Good thing they’re healthy.

We don’t eat them every day. Sometimes, in spring, when we open up the dark shell, inside is mealy green flesh with brown spots. I kind of want to cry when I see an avocado like that. But in the winter, avocadoes are glorious: firm-fleshed, even green, and so damned good with Maldon salt sprinkled on top.

That’s my favorite way to eat them. With salt. Sometimes a little curlicue of balsamic vinegar too. But mostly, just with salt. Oh, maybe a squeeze of lemon juice.

Lately, however, we have been chopping them and plopping them into the blender with yogurt, coconut water ice cubes, lemon juice, spinach, and a little honey. That’s Lucy’s favorite smoothie. There’s always guacamole. And the other day, I posted about our favorite new avocado dip, with mayonnaise and fish sauce.

Yesterday, however, Danny came up with something that made me blink hard. Avocado deviled eggs. Why have I never thought of this before?

It all comes of wanting to use up what’s left in the kitchen.

When we are creating recipes for a cookbook, we go to the grocery store with a long list in hand. That’s some good food. And a lot of leftovers. I hate food waste. So does Danny. His many, many years in a restaurant kitchen taught him how to repurpose food, fold leftover roasted vegetables into that day’s fish specials. We can’t stand to waste food.

But when we’re creating recipes because we think they’ll be good? Or when we think they will be what people want? That’s when the refrigerator is bulging with leftover braised greens, cranberry chutney, and the tough ends of pot roast.

Truth is, I would never have posted these avocado deviled eggs right now, if I hand’t written this post. I would have worried that two simple dishes with avocado in one week was repetitive. There’s a schedule to keep. We must be endlessly creating ourselves! Now, we feel released. We’re just making food we want to eat. And then I’m writing, because the bug is in my fingers, crawling down from my brain, making me itchy, and I won’t be satisfied until I hear the clicking on the keyboard.

And we had some leftover avocadoes in the refrigerator. Why not?

So, avocado deviled eggs. These are a damned fine way to feed my avocado problem.

p.s. When we make these again, because we will be making these again, I think Danny is going to do a very fine dice of bacon, crisp up those bits, and put them on top. That would make these green eggs and ham deviled eggs.

AVOCADO DEVILED EGGS

1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 large avocado
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and pepper
smoked paprika

Boiling the eggs. Put the eggs on the bottom of a large pot, big enough to fit all the eggs comfortably, but not so big that they’ll rattle around in there. Pour in the vinegar. Cover the eggs with enough water that there’s an inch of water above the eggs. Turn the burner on high. Bring the water to boil. Turn off the heat. Wait 10 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs until they are cool to the touch.

Peel the eggs.

Making the deviled eggs. Cut the eggs in half. Remove the yolks and plop them in a large bowl. Mash the egg yolks. Mix the mashed yolks with chopped avocado, lemon juice, moyonnaise, salt and pepper. Mash it all up. Add this mix to the egg whites.

(If you want these to look more refined, whirl up the egg yolks mixture in the food processor. Put it into a pastry bag and pipe this into the egg whites.)

Sprinkle the tops with smoked paprika. Serve.