Search This Blog

Friday, August 5, 2011

Avocado Astonishment

One of the fascinating aspects of concocting paletas is imagining interesting ingredients. When most people think of ice pops, fruity sweet syrups and artificial flavors are expected.  The only common ground between purchased popsicles and paletas is the fact that both are frozen treats.

When asked to name a favorite flavor amongst the paletas I've made, I often answer "avocado." This  usually surprises and confounds the questioner.  Avocados typically bring to mind savory guacamole and trips to a Tex-Mex restaurant. A green fruit which is normally used as a garnish is a startling base for a popsicle.  But add a little sugar, lime juice, some zest and it is oh-so-delicious!

I've recently found that exploring the unexpected is rewarding.  Instead of dreading disorientation, I  found creativity clamoring in a time of disquiet.  On tasting an avocado paleta for the first time, a friend remarked that her taste buds were confusing her mind. In a good way. Exactly!

Avocado Lime Paletas Recipe

4 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 small limes juiced plus zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup sugar or more to taste
1/4-1/2 cup water optional*

Place green flesh of avocado, juice of 2 limes and zest of 1 lime and sugar in Cuisinart.  Pulse until completely smooth.  Add water and pulse again if a less dense, more icy paleta is desired.*  Spoon into molds, add sticks.  Freeze 4-6 hours.   

Brooke <3's Her "Green Ice Cream"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Opposites Attract

In life, attempt to be a complementary flavor; it is the attractive option.  

An often repeated phrase is "opposites attract" and I certainly see the proof of it in life.  My friend from college days, Lisa, is 4'10".  Her husband of 32 years is 6'5", and yes, people turn and stare as these two, on opposite ends of the vertical spectrum, walk past.  How could people be so different?  A dog lover falls for a woman with cats, the party girl pairs with the computer geek, an ISTJ personality type walks down the aisle with an ENFP.  This can make for an interesting combination or instantaneous combustion, once the goo-goo eyes go away.

When the choice is made to appreciate our differences and learn from those who appear to be opposite, we become tempered and transformed into a fruitful, more tolerant version of ourselves.  As I prepared lime pie paletas, I recalled a time when two co-workers, Jon and Cathy, could not have been more opposite from me in their work habits and styles.  We chose to value our differences and in collaboration, let each other's strengths shore up individual weaknesses.  Instead of launching a war to best one another, we loved, and through appreciating our dissimilarities, the individuals were immensely enhanced.  In a few years, those colleagues moved on, if only the cooperative spirit had remained...

Lime pie paletas bring together the tart, tangy taste of juicy limes played against the intense sweetness of Eagle Brand milk.  They provide a burst of flavor that combines and contrasts at once.  They are opposite individual tastes, rolled in a graham crust which blend to make a delectable, more perfect whole.
Lime Pie Paletas Recipe
Adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t lime zest
1/4 t salt
2 cups crushed graham crackers

Combine sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, lime juice and zest, and salt in a bowl and whisk until well-combined. Pour mixture into molds, insert sticks and freeze 4-6 hours until solid.  Unmold and allow to thaw very slightly, roll in graham cracker crumbs to coat and return to freezer or eat immediately.

pastel de lima de paleta

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peaches or Pits?

My walking partner and I made a run on peaches, warm off the tree, juice-dribbling-down-our-chins, sticky, syrupy peaches.  She dreamed of baking crisps and cobblers while I envisioned peachy paletas, sweet and tangy, freshly frozen.  We made a plan and offed to Efurd's Orchards, to bring home as much blushing fruit as my Mini Cooper would carry.

Pleased with our purchases, and having no other appointments or to-do lists for the day, Becky and I drove into town for lunch and a peek into a past century at a tiny museum.  We delighted in our no-plan agenda of selecting produce at the road-side stand and doing as we pleased.  Like the peaches in the boot of the Mini, the day had a cheerful glow, having met our expectations as we headed home.

Then there was a rock that sounded like a boulder.  Sailing through the air it banged into the three-week new windshield, precisely in my line of vision with no chance to ignore it or look away.  The rock, this malevolent speck, bounced away shattering my contentment, leaving a scar so deep it nearly pierced the glass.  My peachy glow paled to liquid green with a punch to my suddenly churning stomach.

There was a decision to make.  Would the rock in the road ruin my experiences at the orchard?  Would it color my delight in creating peach paletas, turning everything lifeless or sour?   Would I add it to my lengthy list of recent woes, or could I choose to patch it up, regain strength and retain the sanguine spirit of the day?

Evil intruded into my life uninvited, but I could not allow it to change my spirit.  It did not take minutes or hours, but days to choose delight over dejection.  Before the Mini was repaired, with the windshield replaced once again, peach paletas were made and pleasure was reinstated.  I picked peaches over pits.  It is always the better portion.

Peach Paletas Recipe

3 cups fresh peaches, pitted and peeled, retaining a few ribbons of skin on each peach
1 lime, juice and zest
1 t fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
1/4-1/2 cup water or club soda, optional*

Combine peaches, lime juice and zest, ginger and sugar in Cuisinart.  Pulse until smooth.  If a denser paleta is desired, leave out water.  If an icy, crunchier texture is preferred, add water or club soda.  Pour into molds.  Freeze 4-6 hours.