Awesome Avos
 
Featured in: Recipes  |  April 2020

Awesome Avos

What’s green, pebbly and an Internet star? It’s the avocado (specifically the Hass variety, but more on that in a moment).

Avocados had their moment in the pop-culture spotlight when an Australian gazillionaire named Tim Gurner sneered at people who blew all their cash on avo toast—which is really good, by the way, try it if you haven’t yet—instead of saving money and becoming a gazillionaire like him. Millennials ran with it and a meme was born, along the lines of “I’ll take 2 avo toasts and no house, please.”

Even if the meme has run out of steam, you shouldn’t give up your avocados. Not only are they good for you, but they’re also more versatile, in the kitchen and elsewhere, than you might think.

 

Green Gems

The avocado comes from Central America; in fact, the ancient Aztecs in what is now Mexico were the first ones to pound avos into guacamole. The most popular avocado is the dark, rough-skinned Hass; others grown primarily in California include the light-skinned Bacon and the longish Pinkerton.

The larger, shiny green West Indian avocados, grown mainly in Florida and which contain more water and less oil, include the Booth and the Lula.

Finding an avocado just ripe enough to have some give without being mushy is a thing of joy. If all you can find are the really hard ones, though, don’t despair. Just place them in a brown paper bag and store at room temperature so they’ll be ready to eat in two to five days (throw in an apple or a kiwifruit to speed the process). On the other hand, dead-ripe ones can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

To store a cut avo, sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and wrap tightly with plastic before refrigeration.

Are you On the keto diet? One of the stars on the keto red carpet is the homely looking avocado. You get 22 grams of fat per cup—more than half of them the healthy monounsaturated kind. In addition, the avocado’s fat content promotes better absorption of such fat-based nutrients like vitamin A.

 

Avo Prep

Guacamole, in which ripe avocados are mashed with lemon juice, salt and some combination of tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, etc., is the best-known culinary use, but it’s far from the only one.

Here are other ways to get your avo fix:

  • Chop it as a garnish for soup and other dishes
  • Use it in salad dressing
  • Mash it and slather on bread (instead of mayo) in sandwiches
  • Use it as a vegan substitute for butter in mashed potatoes

Avocados also come in handy for your personal care routine. For example, you can use them to:

  • Condition your hair—mash with a banana in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and stir; apply to damp hair, massage in and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly
  • Brighten your face—combined with ingredients such as honey or yogurt for a moisturizing facial mask
  • Remove makeup—put some avo oil on a cotton ball to get rid of eyeliner and mascara
  • Scrub your feet—let an avocado pit dry for a few days, then grind it and mix with half a ripe avocado, some cornmeal, and a little sea salt; massage into your feet over a foot basin and rinse with warm water

 

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes With Avocado “Buttercream” Frosting

Can’t see the avocados in this recipe? Look again: The avo’s high-fat content make it a perfect replacement for the butter and milk in standard frosting.

 

Cupcakes

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Frosting

2 completely ripe avocados

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper or silicone cups. Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes so the milk curdles. Beat in the sugar, oil, and vanilla until foamy.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cupcake ingredients. Then slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven; after a few minutes, move cupcakes to a cooling rack.
  4. While the cupcakes bake, scoop out the avocado flesh and place in a food processor. Add remaining frosting ingredients and puree until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Reprinted with permission from popsugar.com (posted 10/14/17)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 completely ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with 12 paper or silicone cups. Whisk together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar, and set aside for a few minutes so the milk curdles. Beat in the sugar, oil, and vanilla until foamy.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cupcake ingredients. Then slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet until smooth.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven; after a few minutes, move cupcakes to a cooling rack.
  4. While the cupcakes bake, scoop out the avocado flesh and place in a food processor. Add remaining frosting ingredients and puree until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes.