Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lunch Al Desko

I have a shameful admission to make:  I just discovered guacamole.

It isn't my fault, really.  I am a product of my environment, and my environment growing up was a small Midwestern town in the 1980s.  We didn't have a Mexican restaurant terribly handy, and my family did not count Latin cuisine in its food heritage.  On top of that, the 1980s were known for the low-fat, low-protein, high-carb diet.  This diet theory held that you should fill up on carbs, which provide four calories per gram, and stay away from fat and protein, which provide nine.  Most diet books of the era said you could eat all the veggies you wanted, but whatever you did, you should stay away from the high-fat avocado.  Being an impressionable teen, I decided that I had never had avocados and was not about to start.

Fast forward to about a month ago, when I was sitting at a Mexican restaurant with my husband and some family.  As everyone ordered guacamole as an appetizer, prepared fresh at the table, I muttered to my husband that I didn't like guacamole.  In fact, I continued, I'd never had it.  Naturally, he urged me to take a bite.

Oh.  My. Goodness.  Why had no one told me about this before?  Why did no one ever make me eat it?  This stuff is friggin' awesome!

Once home, I did a little research, and I found that avocados may be full of fat, but it is healthy, monounsaturated fat that lowers blood cholesterol levels and balances the "good" versus "bad" cholesterol levels in your body.  Plus, it is a vegetable!  What could be wrong with a veggie, even a high fat one, in moderation?

I quickly developed my own guacamole recipe, which is perfect on a rice cake for "lunch al desko," those lunches you consume with one hand at your desk while you work (or blog...).  The whole lunch comes in at less than $1.25, which is actually fairly expensive for one of my lunches, but much less expensive than a fast food burger and far yummier.

1 ripe avocado (yielding to the touch) (4 for $2.99 for organic avocados means $0.75 each)
Juice of one lime (limes about $0.25 each, or you can substitute a splash out of a bottle)
1 spoonful salsa (for me, canned last year from the garden)
Sprinkle garlic powder (maybe 1/8t.)
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh ground sea salt
1 rice cake

Split avocado in half and remove the pit.  If you wait til the avocado is nice and ripe, you can pretty much squeeze it and have the pit pop out.  Remove the soft green flesh of the avocado and mash in a bowl until smooth. 

Ad salsa, lime juice, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly, and heap on a rice cake.  Enjoy!

The Analysis

Fast:  This probably takes me 10 minutes from kitchen to desk.

Cheap:  The avocados are the big price-driver here.  Wait for sales, and make sure your avocados are fully ripe so you can get as much flesh as possible out of them.  Your budget concerns should limit your avocado consumption to the healthy range.  (Final cost:  south of $1.25)

Good:  You all know how good this is.  You just weren't telling me so you could keep the avocados to yourselves!
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