Fall Festival time is almost here!

This past week has gone quickly, with my meetings and a couple of appointments to attend. I even managed to get exercise at the hospital pool a couple of times.
On Saturday, I went “garage saleing”! One of my locations was waaayyy out in the country! When I asked the lady if it would be shorter to turn left from her driveway to get back to the highway, she said she was exactly in the middle and if I went left, it would take me to one highway and if I went right, it was back the way I came. Well, this was fine with me, as I needed to go into town for several more garage/estate sales and went that way. On Sunday, at church, my friend who is totally familiar with that whole locale told me if I had turned left it would have taken me back home…well…short version, that afternoon after lunch, I called a friend and we took an “excursion”, back to the garage sale area and then on down the road that I would have taken to the left! We had a blast, following different roads; it truly did take me back to my road with a couple of little detours. Then, since she had never been to a little space on the road called Dreyer, we took that road, that should have led us to US 90…guess again, the road was closed to get onto US 90, so we took another road and got to see parts of this area that we had not seen before. We finished up in Hallettsville, TX, which is the county seat of Lavaca County, and as we drove through town, discovered a ‘street sale’. We thought since it was nearly 5:00, that they were probably closing, instead, they were just starting. It was an evening festival that began at 5:00 and would continue until 8:30 and included a style show. We did not stay that late, but did browse through the clothing, the largest part of which was not suitable for our age bracket, had a couple of snacks, and even a sample glass of wine. It was delicious and I may have to look for this winery, or find something similar at the one that is a couple of miles from my home. It was a truly enjoyable Sunday afternoon for both of us and we were home before dark! (You are aware, of course, that if you are “old” and stay out after dark, you may turn into a pumpkin or something, I am not sure what will really happen, but we’re always encouraged to be home by dark.) I truly don’t mind as I know it is because most of us have had/need to have cataract surgery and don’t really see as well as we should after dark with headlights and such.
Since the Devine Fall Festival, celebrating avocados, as well as arts, crafts, food and music, is on its way on the first weekend in November, with the carnival arriving on the Thursday before, I thought this would be a good opportunity to offer you a few recipes using avocados, especially since I found out that the cooking contest for avocados will still be conducted.
In an article of mine a couple of years ago, we learned a lot about Haas avocados from Mexico. My thought was that anything that could be done with them could be done with the ones that are grown right there in Devine by Mr. Bill Schneider, and from what I have tasted of his crop they are the best.
The article suggested using avocados as a spread on bread for sandwiches, rather than using mayonnaise because of the difference in calories. When I was growing up, my Dad would spread fresh avocado on his bread the same way the rest of us would spread mayo or butter! He would then sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and eat away. At that point in my life, avocados were not a particularly favorite part of my diet, in fact, since Mother didn’t really care for them, neither did I. Later, when I discovered guacamole…well that is a different thing entirely. Now, I love them, as do all my children.
Several years ago, when folks first began being cholesterol conscious, avocados were considered a no-no, as were eggs. Now, things seem to have changed and we are told we can eat either one of them, not too frequently of course.
Avocados do not ripen until they are picked. As they get closer to the perfect ripeness, they become soft to the touch and the skin turns from green to almost black. To speed up the process, place them in a paper bag and leave them on your counter at room temperature or put them in a canister on your counter top and close the lid tightly. (Just don’t forget they are in there or you will be really surprised the next time you open the canister!) If you find avocados on sale, as I did recently, simply peel them, cut out any bad spots, mash them up with a fork and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice per quart bag, (or use Fruit Fresh® following their instructions) and put them in the freezer, they will darken a little bit, but not very much. I found this out when Bill gave me a large bag of avocados when he and Erma were removing the seeds, so he could plant them, and he was giving the avocados away to keep from wasting them. They were all good, with no bad spots and I used the juice of fresh limes from his lime tree to keep them from turning.
Now, to add to your knowledge of avocados, I decided to see what Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia had to say about them. It is a lot! Any and everything you would want to know is on that site.
The genus name is Persea Americana and it is believed that avocados originated in the Mexican state of Puebla.
The first record written in English of the use of “avocado” was in a 1696 index of Jamaican plants.
In various places, it became known by different but similar names, beginning with the Spanish aguacate and being called “alligator pear” and “avocado pear” as well as various names in other languages, some of which relate back to a similar sounding in Spanish “abogado”, that we all know is advocate or lawyer. It was also corrupted in the French language as being “avocat”, again, lawyer.
In the United Kingdom, “avocado pear” is still used and has been since they first became commonly available in the 1960s. In parts of India, it is called “butter fruit”, and the Vietnamese call the avocado “bo”, and this is another name for ‘butter’ in their language! In Eastern China, (I am not able to use their language on my computer because of accent marks in various places) but what is written translates out to two different names, “alligator pear” and “butter fruit”. In Taiwan, it is known as “cheese pear”.
Commercially, avocados are harvested when they are hard and green and kept in coolers at 37.9F to 42.1F, until they reach their destination, they must be fully mature to ripen properly.
Avocados have nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving. These include potassium (good for your blood pressure), lutein, which is good for your eyes, and several others.
A typical serving of avocado is rich in several B vitamins and vitamin K, as well as a large content vitamin C. Potassium, Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3) and Vitamin B6. They also have minerals of Calcium, iron magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, all of which are good for you.
Now, for a favorite recipe from my family:
Bacon Avocado Cheeseburgers
2 pounds ground meat (we generally use a venison/beef mixture)
1 to 1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (more if desired)
1 egg lightly beaten
12 slices bacon (thin sliced)
America Cheese slices
Jalapeño slices (fresh can be used, but we use the pickled type made for nachos)
6 hamburger buns
Avocado slices
Mustard, mayonnaise
Lettuce, tomatoes, onions
Mix meat with salt, pepper and egg. Shape into 6 patties; bake, broil or grill to desired doneness. While meat is cooking, cut bacon in half crosswise and fry, allowing 3 to 4 half pieces for each burger. Allow everyone to build their own burger, using a meat patty, cheese slice, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, sliced avocados and bacon strips. If you are not brave enough to use the jalapeño slices, try using the jalapeño cheese slices instead of the American cheese slices.
Avocado Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup mashed avocado (1 medium avocado)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 ºF. Generously grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend thoroughly. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and avocado. Stir in the buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and blend well. Stir in the pecans. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yield – 1 loaf.
Credits: From: Judy Gorman’s Vegetable Cookbook (MJF Books).
Avocado Cookies
Place in large bowl and stir until well blended:
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Using a separate bowl:
Melt: 1/4 cup shortening (let cool)
Add: 1 egg and beat well.
Add: 3/4 cup mashed avocados and beat until well mixed.
Add: 1 cup raisins
1/2 cup diced dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
Stir together until well mixed.
Mix in dry ingredients and stir until all dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Drop by tablespoons on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350ºF. for 10 to 12 minutes.
More information and recipes will be provided next week! Also keep up with Fall Festival news in the Devine News!