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Coastal Commuter

An avocado advocate

Avocado toast — the gourmet hipster’s favorite snack. Photo: FLICKR/ avlxyz

Despite the current price of gasoline making my frequent commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles a bank-breaking proposition, living part-time in Southern California has its advantages — one of the least obvious ones being an avocado tree in my backyard. You know the avocado. It’s the light or dark green fruit that kind of looks like a pear with a skin condition or an unexploded hand grenade minus the pin. And they appear to be much in demand of late.

These oblong-ish sources of creamy, flavorful goodness have increased in popularity over the past years. Whether a consequence of demand or supply chain issues, a quick price check at the supermarket revealed exactly how expensive avocados are getting. The fact that I have a free source of them may not make up for the amount of money it takes to fill my car’s tank and navigate the freeways down south, but it doesn’t hurt either. I certainly welcome them to my diet. And why not?

The uses of an avocado are myriad. First and foremost, it’s now a designated superfood that provides the right kind of fat to be considered a source of what the docs call good cholesterol. Sliced up or diced, the avocado goes well as part of a salad or a sandwich. Of course, there’s the squished and seasoned rendering that is guacamole — the dip of dips for any and all chips. And … and … O.K., I’m running out of ways to use an avocado other than perhaps as a facial mask. I hear the oils are incredibly nutritious for skin.

GETTING TOASTED

“What of avocado toast?” I hear you shout. Yes, it’s the gourmet hipster’s favorite snack. To be more precise, it’s an open-faced sandwich with the avocado rendered into a paste that’s usually finished with olive oil, red pepper flakes, and sea salt, then spread over crusty bread. Fad or not, it’s seems to me to be little more than a different delivery system for guacamole, minus the chopped tomatoes and onions. I see it as an upscale alternative for guac lovers who don’t have chips or don’t want to dip their digits in the goo.

With the abundance of avocados at my fingertips (well, close enough to pick with help), it was inevitable that I would attempt to create my own version of avocado toast. So I did. Here’s my recipe: First, you need access to an avocado tree. You may require a ladder. Gingerly climb the ladder until you can reach a fully matured avocado — one that’s preferably at least eight inches in length. Pluck your chosen target off its branch. Descend the ladder, being careful not to fall to your doom.

Take your prize to the kitchen, where you should realize that the avocado you harvested is as hard as a rock. That’s because avocados do not ripen on the vine. Which means you have to wait before you can eat them. Don’t get frustrated. Just place it on the window sill and wait a week. Better yet, get a paper bag and a banana. Place the avocado and the banana in the bag, where the gases from the ripening banana will help the avocado to soften within a few days.

PATIENCE LEADS TO A DELICIOUS PRIZE

Finally, your avocado is soft enough to eat. Get a Trader Joe’s bagel from the freezer, defrost it in the microwave, slice it into two halves, and put them in the toaster. When the bagel is fully toasted and warm, get your now-ripe avocado, cut it in half, and remove the pit (which you then try to sprout in a glass of water if you’re feeling in need of a new avocado tree at some point in the distant future).

Spooning out the meat of the avocado, place an equal portion of it on each half of the bagel. Season the avocado to taste. I simply smear some Sriracha sauce or chili paste onto it. You can combine the two sides into an avocado bagel sandwich — or not — and chow down. Strictly speaking, that’s not avocado toast as it has come to be known. Hey! It’s my recipe. If you don’t like it, come up with a recipe of your own.

All in all and regardless of preparation, the California avocados are a treat when you can find them. I guess I have the benefit of the avocado tree. However you get your hands on these goodies, I encourage you to enjoy them. Whether you consume them as an addition to a spring mix, rock the guac, or go the toasty route, I advocate the avocado!

Michael Snyder is a print and broadcast journalist who covers pop culture on KGO Radio’s Mark Thompson Show and on Michael Snyder’s Culture Blast, via GABNet.net, Roku, iTunes, and YouTube. You can follow Michael on Twitter: @cultureblaster.

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