I took another look at my New Year's (Food) Resolutions and see that I am progressing quite nicely through my original list. To date I can cross 3 out of 10 dishes off of my list:
1. I made Yukon Potato Stack, a Walt Disney World recipe, with my new mandoline.
2. I made Chinese Orange Beef as part of a Chinese New Year menu.
5. I made Pudding Chomeur for our recent Quebecois potluck.
And now, thanks to today's sandwich effort, I can also cross off 'make something with a fresh avocado' (3).
I am intimidated by avocado. Whenever I am tempted by one in the grocery store I have this conversation in my head that goes something like this:
Mmm. Avocado. I could really go for some avocado.
I wonder how I can tell if it's ripe?
How big should I get? Do I need more than one?
The skin feels tough - do I peel it off?
How am I going to chop this thing? It has a pit, right? How do I get the pit out?
Basically I always talk myself out of avocado. It just seems too complicated. But not today. Today I had a plan.
First I Googled 'how do I cut an avocado?' which is apparently a popular question since there are YouTube video tutorials dedicated to the subject. And a website called http://www.howtocutanavocado.com. Which is where I learned that when selecting an avocado I should select a fruit (yup, it's a fruit) that, when pressed, feels like pressing the end of your nose with your finger. Feels like you're pressing your forehead? Too hard. Feels like you're pressing your cheek? Too soft. Feels like you're pressing your nose? Just right. This, my friends, is why I love the Internet.
Now I must admit I did check out one more website about avocados before blindly trusting howtocutanavocado.com. No offense, howtocutanavocado, it's just that I couldn't verify who created you and how do I know there aren't people in this world who will send unsuspecting folks off to the grocery store to press their nose in search of ripe avocado when they know a ripe avocado feels nothing like a pressed nose? It's a strange world we live in.
The site for the California Avocado Commission has a heap of information about avocados. Their advice re: ripeness? A ripe avocado will be "...firm yet yield to gentle pressure...". Which when you think about it, is really just a more elegant way to say 'Will feel like it does when you gently press on the end of your nose.".
Armed with this knowledge (and wondering how many people would notice me pressing my nose next to the avocados) I made tracks for the grocery store. I wanted to make another great Saturday sandwich and it was going to include fresh slices of avocado. It was the first thing I put in my cart: two of them, on the smallish size and not too hard or too soft. Nose-worthy, you might say. My sandwich seemed to make itself once the avocado was on board. Turkey from the deli. Some bacon for good measure. Mozzarella cheese. Fresh pumpernickel bread, because it smelled so wonderful and was being freshly sliced and bagged when I walked by the bakery.
Once I got home and put away the groceries I started to make my sandwich. From my grocery store bounty I added only mayo and decided to grill my sandwich in my panini press. David was not on board the Avocado Express, so he got a similar sandwich but with apple slices and Russian Mustard. So. The verdict.
Slicing was a breeze. I think my avocado was mostly ripe. Not perfect but darn close. It took a couple of tries to remove the pit but it did come out eventually and fairly cleanly. Then I sliced the avocado into large slices which I then sliced into thinner slices. The outer layer, the 'skin' of the avocado, pulled away very easily once the avocado was sliced. I layered my slices between the turkey, bacon and mozzarella, slathered on the mayo, stuck it into the panini press and ended up with this:
It was a very satisfying sandwich. Next time I'd add some tomato slices. Or mush up the avocado and make a guacamole-like spread to use in place of the mayo. Sliced turkey, real, not deli, would also have been nice. I had some avocado left over which I mushed up with some lemon juice and garlic to have with crackers.
So there you have it. Nearly half-done my Food Resolutions list. I may just expand the list, since I continue to run across recipes that seem to demand my attention.