The amiable avocado: a bland and buttery fruit

Until my recent trip to San Diego, the avocado capital of the nation, I had never really had my fill of that fruit. For some time after my arrival it appeared that I was to be thwarted again. Avocados were selling for 98 cents apiece at the local supermarkets. As a tourist I felt compelled to indulge in at least one.

A week later the picture changed, for while visiting relatives in the area I learned that a neighbor grew avocados that were ready for picking. Therefore, I returned to Maine with unripe avocados tucked between clothes and in all the corners of my suitcase.

They fit excellently into appetizers, soups, main courses, salads, breads, and desserts. Creamed chicken or crabmeat are even more delicious after slices of avocado are added. Fill avocado halves with poultry or seafood salad, or combine them with other fruits or vegetables in a salad. Chilled Avocado Soup 1 can (13 3/4 ounces) chicken broth 1 medium avocado, cut in large pieces 4 teaspoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt Dash cayenne pepper 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon light corn syrup 1 firm ripe tomato

In covered blender container at low speed, blend chicken broth and avocado until smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, cayenne, milk, and corn syrup.Blend until smooth. Pour into pitcher. Chill. To serve, pour soup into chilled cups. Chop tomato into small chunks and use to garnish soup. Makes 4 1/2 cups or 6 firstcourse servings. Avocado Bread 1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten 1/2 cup ripe mashed avocado 1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk 1 cup chopped pecans 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl combine egg, avocado, sour milk or buttermilk, and pecans.In another bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour in avocado mixture, mixing only until all flour is moistened. Do not overblend. Pour mixture into an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan, greased, lined with wax paper, and greased again. Bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree F. oven or until it tests done. Turn out of pan carefully. Peel off paper and let bread cool on wire rack. It will slice easier the second day. Avocado bread has a subtle flavor and an attractive pale green color. It's delicious served with whipped cream cheese. Crab Louis 1 cup mayonnaise 3 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons chopped green onion 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon white pepper 4 ripe avocados 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over to remove bits of shell or cartilage Lettuce leaves 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

In medium bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Split avocados in half and discard the pits. Pile equal portions of crabmeat into the avocado halves. Spoon sauce over. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves garnished with egg slices. Serves 4.

As the avocado was first planted in California by Spanish padres from Guatemala and Mexico, they are naturally part of Mexican cuisine, which is becoming so popular that all the items in this streamlined recipe can easily be found in your supermarket. Guacamole is a delicious dip for tortilla chips or chilled fresh vegetables. Guacamole 2 California avocados, peeled and lightly mashed 1/3 cup onion, chopped 1/3 cup chopped green chilies 2/3 cup tomato, chopped 2 tablespoons taco sauce %1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare all ingredients. In a medium bowl, carefully mix all ingredients. Makes 2 2/3 to 3 cups.

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