Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Veritable Fruit of Paradise

Many years ago I worked in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Several small, but nice, restaurants were within walking distance, so my co-workers and I patronized them often. One place served an open faced sandwich I just loved. Thinking about it for some odd reason today, I decided to duplicate it, but veganize it.

I toasted two slices of whole wheat bread and spread mayonnaise on it. We like Vegenaise. Next I put on sliced avocado, topped it with sprouts (the original recipe had alfalfa sprouts, but my husband came home with bean sprouts, so I used them) and top with cheese. You can use whatever cheese you want, sliced or shredded. I don't care for most commerical soy cheeses, but we love Daiya, so that's what I used. Pop in the oven on broil until the cheese melts and serve! Quick, tasty and good for you!

Avocados have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium. Mono and polyunsaturated fats, when consumed in moderation and eaten in place of saturated or trans fats, can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease. Avocados are one of the few fruits that provide "good" fats. Avocados contribute good fats to one's diet, providing 3g of mono and 0.5g polyunsaturated fat per 1 oz. serving. Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit. So, not only are they good for you, but they taste good, too! I'll slice them up and eat them as is, or mash them to make guacamole. I love them cut up and dumped into my salads, too. The Mexican restaurants here will stuff them and fry them. I haven't tried this yet, but might give it a go sometime.

The word 'avocado' comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl ('testicle', a reference to the shape of the fruit). Avocados were known by the Aztecs as 'the fertility fruit'. I guess calling it a veritable fruit of paradise isn't too far off the mark! LOL!

If you've never used avocados before, and are unsure how to handle them, it's pretty simple. Buy those that are soft but not mushy to the touch. They need to give a little. If they are hard, just bring them home and let them ripen on the counter until you get the desired squishy state. I use an orange peeler I probably got from Tupperware to get inside. I peel around from the top all the way around, then take the other end of the peeler, insert until I feel the seed and work my way around again. Just twist and it opens right up. Use a spoon or your fingers to pop out the seed, then take a serving spoon to scoop out the flesh whole. You'll have two nice halves to do with what you want. Compost the skins and seed.

You can find all kinds of sites telling you how you can grow an avocado plant from the seed. None of them ever worked for me. What did work was tossing the seed in my compost pile. I got several little trees! If you decide you want an avocado tree, know that they are VERY slow growers, but can get very tall, so plant accordingly.

I hope you enjoy the sandwich and find other yummy ways to use your avocados!

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