There are several indications summer in the city has made her grand entrance. Sundresses and sandals parade down sidewalks covered with tables, crowded with chairs, filled by New Yorkers hoisting fruity cocktails that flow like water, oh yeah, and the subway has begun to heat up like a sticky sauna.
Among the other signals of its sizzling arrival are the superb seasonal foods: the cooling, crisp, luscious summer harvest, of which I nominate sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes as the season’s reigning king and queen (respectively). Of course, it’s not quite time for the royal flush to begin appearing at New York City farmers’ markets, we’ll have to settle for cherries, strawberries, sweet peas and garlic scapes for another month yet, but there is one fruit that I cannot do without during the ramp up to summer’s crowning achievement.
The avocado. Otherwise known as perfection in produce! This little green giant packs nearly 20 different types of vitamins and minerals, not to mention the “good fats” it lends your hair and skin. But I don’t think about avocados, or any food, in terms of vitamins and fats; I think about taste! Generally, my golden rule is that the fresh foods that taste the best are the best for you, and though they aren’t native to our Eastern shores, avocados are a prime example of a fruit that inspires such crazy love that they are as ubiquitous as bikinis come summer. Like a one-woman show, an avocado can do it all, impressing audiences from breakfast through dinner. She ain’t no one trick pony. What makes the avocado so easy to obsess over is her total integration into everything from omelets to sandwiches, salads to smoothies, pasta, and even dessert!
Not one to shy away from unique recipes or unusual fare, the idea for an avocado popsicle hit me when I was taste testing my way around the Brooklyn Flea market a few weeks back. I came across People’s Pops, a market stand specializing in fresh, locally grown fruit popsicles and shaved ice. After licking my way through an insanely scrumptious rhubarb ice-pop, I settled into one of the best fish tacos I’ve had in this town (from Choncho’s Tacos), which was slathered in sliced avocado. Bang! The idea for an avocado popsicle was born.
Once home, I set to Googling a recipe for this savory sweet treat, and was surprised to realize just how many people had already given birth to this very idea. Dozens of avocado popsicles flooded my computer screen, but I settled on the salty, spicy chili-rubbed pop from Chef Pichet Ong as my guide. Knowing my Tribe, and wanting to put my signature on this recipe for the garden party Celest was hosting for all of us, I threw a few shots of Leblon cachaça into the mix.
Let me be the first to tell you the cachaça packs a punch! So use the good stuff, and keep these suckers away from the kiddies (though you could easily make a virgin version by leaving out the alcohol). The good stuff was gifted to me by Leblon representatives Celest and I met a few weeks back at the Gourmet Latino Festival. Being a FOOD Maven never tasted as good as it did among all the best Latino chefs and mixologists in the city. A fabulous weekend feast gave way to a free bottle of Brazil’s most popular spirit, and a spirited cachaça-spiked-frozen-cocktail-on-a-stick to share among friends…okay, so the stick didn’t work out so well after my pops melted on their way from my West Village nest to Celest’s East Village garden nook, but these treats were just as tasty served scooped in a bowl. Not unlike my Tequila Spiked Mango Guacamole, this recipe is a simple conversation-starter to get your guests gabbing about its remarkable mix of savory, sweet and spiked, and it’s the ultimate twist on my fêted ode to avocado.
Avocado Popsicles (makes 4)
- 2 ripe avocados (pitted and peeled)
- ¾ cup Milk
- 1 TB Lime Juice
- 3 TB Condensed Milk
- 2 shots Cachaça
- ¼ cup Demarara Sugar
- 1 Thai Chili (split, rinsed, seeded, patted dry, and finely chopped)
- 1 Lime (Zested)
- ¼ t Sea Salt
Put all popsicle ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Remove from blender and fill into popsicle stick molds until frozen solid, preferably overnight. Place sugar, salt, lime zest and chilies in a mixing bowl, and toss. Remove popsicles from their mold and serve with a side of the spice sprinkle. They will make you feel like you’ve just been smacked with a breezy tropical wave. The only thing missing are the hot cabana boys!