I swear that this isn't becoming a food/cooking blog but lately I've developed a bit of an obsession based mostly on the fact that, for maybe the first time in my life, I am in a situation where it's hard to find the things I'm used to or want to eat. There are wonderful meals to be had here - like the amazing corn on the cob grilled over charcoal on the plaza with chili oil, salt and lime - but few things are convenient, familiar or reliable. We'll decide on a restaurant for dinner and head into town only to find that it's not open - there isn't any reason and no sign to explain the disruption; it's just that they've decided to stay closed. Or, after finally finding a store that does decent cheese, they'll suddenly stop carrying it and we'll be back to Kraft Singles.
In the grand scheme, none of this is a big deal and I've had some amazing food here not least of which is the local seafood, which is probably the freshest I've ever had. But it means that I fret and think about food in a way that I don't do when it's just available and abundant. I'm a bit spoiled by a culture where anything is available and in London, it's also available nearly 24/7. I recognize the impropriety of this along with the environmental and social impact of consumption - but it's my reality.
This new food reality in Mexico has led me to some interesting combinations of ingredients that would probably never have occurred to me anywhere else. It will be interesting to see how all the different places we visit over the next year will change how I cook and think about food. So, because I am having a love affair with the beautiful Mexican avocado, here's my favourite new lunch dish:
Guacamole and Grilled Cheese Sandwich (pictured above)
One medium avocado
One small onion
One clove of garlic
Splash or two of hot sauce
A few sprigs of Cilantro
One small lime
One small tomato
Two pieces of bread
A small pad of butter, margarine or some anti-stick spray
Two slices of Kraft singles (or any other kind of cheese - I've only used singles because they're all I had)
- Fine chop onion, garlic and cilantro and put it in a bowl.
- Cut open the avocado and remove the pit. Put the 'meat' into the bowl with the onions, etc.
- Squeeze lime juice into the bowl and add a few splashes of hot sauce. Use a fork to mash the avocado and mix everything together. I like my guacamole chunky, but it's up to you.
- Fine dice the tomato and mix it in with the guacamole. This is an optional step - I just like tomato.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and put a bit of butter or non-stick agent in it.
- Make a sandwich with the cheese and bread and put it in the skillet. Keep an eye on things so that it doesn't burn. Once it's browned on one side, flip. To help the cheese melt you may want to cover the skillet for a few minutes towards the beginning of this process - but make sure you end with the lid off so the bread crisps up.
- Once the cheese is melted and bread is toasted, remove from heat. Pry open the bread and put lots of guacamole in there. Close back up again and eat. This recipe makes more than enough Guacamole for two or even three sandwiches, if you aren't selfish like I am.