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August 15, 2019
This is about...
Grilled Zucchini GUAC---YUM!
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        I LOVE AVOCADOS! They're creamy and added to a salad, a sandwich, mashed, or sliced with a sprinkle of flakey salt, so delicious. However, they don't always love me. Yes, they're nutrient dense, high in fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, and contain good fats--HEART HEALTHY monounsaturated ones, but a whole one still weighs in at over 300-350 calories!
        WE ALL KNOW HOW EASY IT IS TO SCOOP UP ALOT OF GUACAMOLE AT ONE SITTING. You could probably eat as much as a whole avocado watching TV or hanging out at a backyard picnic. So, even though there's no denying how healthy they are, they can still pack on the pounds. WHAT'S A GUACAMOLE LOVER SUPPOSED TO DO?? My answer comes in the form of adding a low calorie ingredient to the mix.
        Enter zucchini, which are so plentiful right now. By grilling them until softened, and chopping into small pieces, you'll add a slightly smoky flavor, and best of all, doubling your guac serving with almost no extra calories. JUST MAKE SURE TO PICK SMALL, FIRM SHINY ONES. If you have a garden with a few plants, you know how quickly they grow. Blink, and a perfect to eat zucchini can, seemingly overnight, turn into a mealy, inedible baseball bat!
       The most popular, and my favorite, avocado is the Haas variety, the ones with the dark prickly skins. MAKING SURE THEY ARE RIPE IS IMPORTANT. WHEN GENTLY SQUEEZED THEY SHOULD YIELD SLIGHTLY. If they give a lot, they're probably too ripe. Also, they can oxidize and turn brown pretty quickly. It's best to coat them immediately once peeled with the lime juice to slow down the browning process. SO THIS SUMMER, DIG IN WITH NO GUILT!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Pick ripe ones for same day guac. Or let sit on a counter for a day or two until ripe. Ripe means yielding to gentle pressure. If they give alot, they will be over ripe and possibly brown inside.
2. Use the lime juice to coat peeled avocados. That will ritard the browning process. Also, sometimes limes are hard to squeeze. Popping the lime in the microwave for 10 seconds will make it easier to juice.
3. I like to soak the raw onions in cold water for a few minutes and then drain to take away some of the sharp bite.
4. Hate cilantro? It's one of those herbs you either love or don't. If you're in the latter camp, you can simply leave it out or sub in parsley.
5. Careful when removing the pit! Even though the pit looks solid, when directly stabbing it with a knife to remove it, the knife can easily slip all the way through into your palm--been there done that. Avocado palm is very popular in emergency rooms. Better to use a spoon to scoop it out, or that knife, but horizontal to the sliced avocado and twisting the knife sideways to loosen it.
5. One fun fact: Avocados are actually large berries with one big seed.

Grilled Zucchini GUAC

2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise
Cooking spray, or olive oil
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1-2 avocados--pitted, peeled and cubed
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus up to another Tablespoon to taste
6-8 cherry tomatoes, quartered, or one small tomatocut in 1/2" dice
1/4 cup minced red or white onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely diced jalepeno, ribs and seeds removed first, or to taste 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
a few grinds of black pepper

Make the guac:
       Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray the zucchini with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt. Grill until softened and lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side( 4 turns). Let cool, then cut into 1/2" dice.
       Meanwhile, peel and cube the avocado, and toss with the lime juice. Gently mix the cooled zucchini and avocado with the remaining ingredients. (If you like the avocado to be creamy and not chunky, mash the avocado first.) Taste for seasoning. You may want to add more salt, pepper or lime juice. Best eaten immediately, but will keep in the fridge for one day, although it may become a little watery.

Makes 4-6 servings.      YUM!
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