Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Snacks: Spring Guacamole on Seaweed Sheets


My time at Stone Barns has come to a close and while I'm in this grace period between farm jobs, I figure if I can't farm at least I can eat.  It's amazing how having this week off has been so strange.  After a year of straight working it's an odd feeling not to have a project connected with my everyday.  It's been an interesting experience recreating an identity after such a long period of connection.  Nevertheless, I still can't get the good food off my mind and I remembered as I was leaving the greenhouse for the last time I noticed the deep leafy greens of our cilantro plants standing up straight and strong.  Whenever I see cilantro my first thought is guacamole, but with no tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, or onions in season it just didn't seem to fit.  This is when I decided to put together a spring guacamole a simple concept.  I needed something with flavor and something with crunch to supplement the ingredients not yet available.   Clearly this wasn't going to be a fully local meal considering we aren't growing avocados here in the Northeast, but if I could use the majority of my ingredients from the area and only a couple from out of region, I feel that's a step in a good direction.  So using some

Mexican avocado and freshly squeezed lime as a base, the other 5 ingredients were all sourced nearby.  Purple cabbage, carrots, spring onions, stored garlic or garlic scapes, cilantro.

The cabbage was definitely my winning ingredient.  By chopping it small, there was a great contrast of crunch and creaminess with the avocados.

Spring, green onions and scallions were a perfect less pungent addition than the typical onion.  

As with all guacamole, the chopping and mixing is all in the hands of the chef.  As far as I'm concerned, there are no real rules to guacamole yet I have a few tricks I like to keep in mind.  Here are the proportions that I used:

3 slices 1/2 inch thick of purple cabbage
6 chopped carrots
1/2 bunch cilantro
6 avocados
1 or 2 limes
3 chopped spring onions w/o ends
3 garlic cloves or 2 small garlic scapes minced

Mix everything in a bowl, but add only two avocados at a time to ensure that they are not mixed too much.  As my dad explains, the old Mexican traditions focus on having a somewhat chunky avocado, so you want to use each mix with the spoon carefully and purposefully so you don't end up with a paste.

The spring and summer are always a time to celebrate, so while I end up eating wooden spoonfuls of this stuff right out of the bowl, presenting the guacamole mix onto a small sheet of seaweed has proved to be a huge hit for group gatherings.  It's everything you love about sushi minus the fish.

The seaweed is such a simple extra step, but it feels so good to take an idea and put it into action.  Taking the presentation into consideration has really started to be an enjoyable part of the process for me.  I think working around the kitchens and Blue Hill and being exposed to the artistic side of food, offers a whole other spectrum to the enjoyment of eating.  There's the craft of producing the ingredients, but also of how to put them together and create the right combinations, an art-form worth a lifetime of exploration.  

Have fun, eat well.

1 comment:

  1. Matt Thomson from CanberraSeptember 26, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Cilantro (or as we call it in Australia - coriander) is amazing stuff. It tastes great, but more than that coriander is great for reducing guilt. This has been lab tested with mice (somehow).

    Coriander is high in many vitamins and minerals, folic acid, 5-hydroxytryptophan, and is one of the highest natural sources of S-adenosyl-L-methionine. These naturally occurring phytochemicals are all great for reducing the feelings of guilt