I have a list. I think a lot of people do, actually. It’s a list of things that, with very little persuasion, I could eat exclusively for the rest of my life and be perfectly content. Cheese, for example. Bread. (Grilled cheese, of course, goes without saying.) Guacamole. Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Once, when I was a kid, I hid all of the peanut butter cups I’d collected from Halloween in a desk drawer in our living room, because, you know, they’d be safe there. I tried to ration them – one peanut butter cup a day… well no more than two, at least – so I’d have enough to be stuffed with chocolate and peanut butter for a full calendar year. I must not have realized that there are 365 days in a year, because I probably only had about 25 peanut butter cups. Which is actually a lot of peanut butter cups, but, as you may have guessed, not quite enough to last you (or me, in this particular case) a whole year. Especially if your dad, who also happens to love peanut butter cups, finds your hiding place. Oh well. At least my mother kept the fridge stocked with cheese.
This week at school we made cheese. Real cheese! And it didn’t even involve live cultures or mold or anything. Apparently with ricotta, all you need is milk, citric acid, and salt;
There’s Nadine, working and stretching some curd for mozzerella. Little Miss Muffet would be proud.
We also did a full cheese tasting (complete with pieces of warm baguette from the bread kitchens), during which I discovered my appreciation for sheep’s milk,
All in all, it was a good week at chef school. Cheese? Check. Bread? Check. Peanut butter cups? Working on it. Guacamole? Well, no. I’m not sure that’s covered at the French Culinary Institute. Luckily, I already know how to make it.
I don’t usually mess with the solid foundation of guacamole – avocado, onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice – but sometimes I get curious. Like last weekend, when my aunt Marie and uncle Brad made fish tacos. I was put in charge of making guacamole, and when I saw a ripe, red tomato resting against a fuzzy yellow peach, I decided that they looked too nice together to be split up. I chopped the peach right up with the avocado and tomato and, on a whim, threw in a mess of fresh, chopped basil instead of cilantro. The result? Holy fish tacos – unbelievable.
Note: It’s best to make this in the summer months, when peaches, tomatoes and basil are readily available.
- 4-5 ripe avocados
- 1/2 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 peach, chopped into small pieces
- large handful of fresh basil, chopped
- fresh ground black pepper
Cut the avocados in half lengthwise, working around the pit. Remove the large pit carefully, and scoop the avocado flesh out of the skin and into a large bowl (I find it easiest to use a spoon to scrape the flesh from the avocado skin). Mash gently with a fork, until the avocados are good and smashed but not completely smooth in texture.
Add the chopped tomato, onion, and peach, mixing to combine. Add the lime juice and basil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with tacos or chips, or smear on slices of bread to liven up a ho-hum turkey sandwich.
Makes about 3-4 cups of guacamole.