Posts Tagged With: México

Love your Avocado!

Welcome back travelers and foodie lovers to this week’s blog.  Seeing that we recently have been traveling in and out of South America and México I figure we would talk about one of my favorite fruits which is the avocado.

The state of Puebla, México is noted for originating the avocado.   Scientists have found avocado growth evidence in Puebla dated back to 10,000 BC.  The agricultural development of the fruit has a long history in South America as well.  One of the more interesting particulars of an avocado is the harvesting of the fruit.  Did you know that avocados do not soften while maturing on the tree?   Crazy right?  The tree in which the avocado grows on can act as a better storage unit than your fridge.  That’s right!  The fruit can actually be stored better on the tree for many months past maturing than the fridge or just sitting around.

Many think an avocado is a vegetable but it is not, it’s a fruit which is related to the berry family.  The avocado is also referred to as the alligator pear due to its green and rough exterior.  Another interesting topic about avocados is the name.  The Aztecs name for the fruit was “ahuacatl” meaning “testicle,” due to the shape of the fruit.  When the Spanish explores came and could not pronounce the Aztec word for the fruit they named it aguacate.  The later, well known term, “avocado” was formed by the Spanish which was formed from the Nahuatl origin of the word of the fruit.  The Spanish have other terms that they obscured from the Nahuatl that coincide with the usage of the fruit such as guacamole.  The Nahuatl term that the Spanish transitioned was ahuacamolli.

Some other fun facts:

  • Spaniards found they could use the juice from the seed for ink.
  • In 1519, Cortez had seen that the avocado was a staple in the native diet.
  • In 1554, Francisco Salazar mentions in his book the New Spain, the avocado being sold in the market place.
  • Seamen in the 1700’s would spread the fruit on their biscuits and call it midshipman’s butter.
  • In 1833 the first avocado tree in Florida was planted.

I like to leave you this week with a couple of wonderful recipes that The Traveling Foody family love to make.  One is an Avocado Fries side dish and the other is an Avocado and Black Bean Salsa.

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Avocado Fries

Ingredients

  • Canola oil for frying
  • ¼ Cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus a bit more for taste
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ Cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Firm avocados, cut into ½ inch wedges

Directions

Pour the oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches into a medium sauce pan.  Heat the oil to 275°F.  Combine flour and salt into shallow plate.  Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates.  Dip the avocado wedges in flour, shaking off the excess.  Dip in the egg, and dredge in panko to coat.

Fry avocado wedges in batches, 35 – 60 seconds until golden brown.   Drain on paper towel.  For large batches, place previous fried wedges on baking sheet and place in oven at 200°F until the rest of batch is done.  Sprinkle wedges with additional salt to taste.

Avocado Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 Can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup corn, thawed
  • 1 Can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ Cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 avocados diced

Directions

Combined all ingredients except avocados.  Blend well.  Fold in the avocado and serve with chips.

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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¡Viva México

Hola viajeros y amantes del gourmet.  Hello travelers and foodie lovers.  This week we explore Mexico.  A current attraction in Cancún, Mexico is “Bodies” by Jason deCaires Taylor.  Taylor creates hundreds of life-size human sculptures which act as a coral reef.  With the installment of the sculpture, marine biomasses, fish and tourism will divert attraction from the old reefs, thus giving the old reefs a better chance of natural rejuvenation.  Another attraction to Mexico is Copper Canyon which you might recognize the name from the show “Man vs. Wild” on the Discovery Channel.  The canyon is made up of 6 distinct canyons in the southwestern region of Chihuahua, Mexico.

 

Mexican food and the culture is something to be appreciated.  Like most countries, a meal is a bonding experience.  Mexican foods and culture are no stranger to this experience.  Mexico has introduced many wonderful products such as peanuts, vanilla, beans, tomatoes and of course CHOCOLATE!  From the Aztec’s usage of salsa and tamales to the Mayan’s incorporation of tortillas with bean paste, ancient Mexico has introduced myriad infusions of their cuisine to the world’s table.  With European settlers in the 1500’s bringing new products and livestock, Mexican food had reached new tasty heights.  The combination of indigenous and European traditional food has become Mexican cuisine as we know it today.  Present Mexican cuisine is so delicious and hard to resist.  With a few margaritas, an afternoon meal can easily run into a meal at dusk.

 

This week I leave you with a Black Bean Salad recipe found in my book Around the World in 80 Recipes.  The book can be purchased on Kindle or Paperback at http://www.amazon.com/Damien-T.-De-Witte/e/B0080YZEU4.

Have a wonderful week and I look forward to exploring South America with you next week.

 

Black Beans Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn , drained
  • 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of hot sauce

 

Directions

Cook brown rice by measure out 1 cup of brown rice.  Rinse the rice thoroughly in a sieve or strainer until the water runs clear.  Heat a little oil in the pot over medium heat and fry the rice for a moment before adding the water.  This helps build flavor, but is definitely optional.  Add 2 ¼ cups water and stir just once.  Bring to a simmer and cover over tightly.  Turn the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir once to make sure there is no more liquid water at the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce.

To serve, place a scoop of hot rice in a bowl or on a plate, top with a generous scoop of the black bean mixture.  Stir together before eating.

 

-Damien – The Traveling Foody

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