First Planned Stop - Guacamole!
You see, work has been a bear lately and yesterday, being Saint Patrick's Day, meant that I had green on the brain. But I outgrew vermillion ales in college and frankly, I'm not much on food dye in my food. Still, I wanted something to celebrate - something festive, fun, and tasty. What's more tasty than guac? Serve it with chips, serve it with veggies, serve it with tacos... hell, it's a delicious substitute for salad dressing if you mix it with a little bit of salsa.
Fiesta in mind, then I set to work on my concoction when I got home from work. There's more than one variety of guacamole in canyon ranch, but I decided to go with the one that carries the spa's name in homage to the fact that I've been a little remiss in my goal. The primary ingredient is asparagus rather than avacados, which is nice at this time of year because asparagus is in season and therefore on sale in my local grocery store. I made up for that by picking up a large, heirloom tomato to chop up and throw into the mix.
Talk about easy! I'm embarassed that I haven't made this sooner!
I know that the first question, when we're talking about guac that isn't made with avacados anyway, is how was the texture? Well, I can't tell you yet how it sets up after a good refrigeration, but straight from the blender, it's obvious that it is not real guacamole. The creaminess that you get from a ripe avocado just isn't there. The recipe calls for light sour cream to try and mimic the effect, but it's lost - I don't even really think you'd get that smooth mouthfeel if you used full fat sour cream.
Having said that, the flavour is terrific. Very garlicky (a plus, in my book), despite only having one minced clove for 12 ounces of fresh asparagus, a large tomato, and red onion. While chili powder and tobasco are called for, you really don't get much heat - I used Penzey's hot chili powder and I still didn't feel a burn. I think that's okay, though, because it means that you can use it as a pleasant foil for a super-hot salsa or a stuffing in a baked hot-pepper. You also aren't overwhelmed by 'asparagus' flavor - it's guacamole lite... the Corona of guacamole.
The recipe makes 3 cups of guacamole, plenty for a small party, and it takes about 15 minutes to make, end-to-end, if you have no knife skills (like me). For those of you who can slice and dice like a pro, I'm guessing it'd take 5 minutes. So much better than buying the stuff in a jar at the store.