This time of year, ripe avocados are abundantly available in Southern California. We actually have a large avocado tree on one side of our house, which is very common in this area. Unfortunately, none are ripe at the moment. Even if we do get avocados, it is very likely that a possum will get to them before we can. Luckily, the markets are full of ripe avocados this spring and have lowered their prices on them as well.
I take pleasure in the flavor of avocados and enjoy making and eating guacamole. But one can only eat so much guacamole. So, after buying so many avocados on sale, today I decided to use them to make a chilled avocado soup instead of guacamole.
This soup is one of the easiest soup recipes that you will ever make. It’s made in a blender. I will warn you though– do not use a cuisinart instead of a blender. I made that mistake and once I poured in the broth and started pureeing, the soup came running out of the bottom. I lost almost half of the soup. What a mess! You have been warned. The best advise that I can give you when using either a blender or even a cuisinart (for any recipe other than this one), is to start with solids and add liquids last.
For best result, use only ripe avocados for this soup. If you are unlucky in finding ripe avocados, you can easily place them in a paper lunch bag with an apple, which accelerates ripening, for a day or two.
I prefer this soup garnished with crème fraîche, chopped cilantro and edible flowers. Try lumps of cold crabmeat for a more elegant approach.
Not only are avocado’s abundant this time of year, but so are hummingbirds. Our yard is buzzing with them right now and one hummingbird couple decided to make their nest in one of our smaller palm trees.
I had to stay very still to take these pictures, only to start shooting my camera as soon as I heard the buzzing of the hummingbird’s wings. They aren’t the best pictures, but I think that they are pretty cool. Hummingbird's aren't the easiest of subjects to photograph.
In the above photo, the mama hummingbird is coming in for a landing onto her nest. The daddy hummingbird hung around too. I'm really not sure if they were trading off nesting duties, since I can't tell the two apart. But there are definitely two of them flying about around our yard, so I'm assuming they are partners.
You have to look very closely, in the center of the tree, to see the hummingbird actually sitting in the nest. This gives you an idea of how tiny these delicate birds are. Only for seconds will she sit in her nest.
Hummingbirds are one of my favorite species of birds. I looked up pictures on hummingbirds and the ones in our yard looks most like the Anna’s hummingbird. The Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) is the most common hummingbird found in Southern California gardens and is also the largest of the species.
I hope that you are enjoying your spring as much as I am and are eating plenty of healthy and delicious avocados.
chilled avocado soup
Adapted from Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, by Sophie Dahl
2 ripe avocados
1 apple, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup plain yogurt ( full-fat works best)
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (you will need salt if you are using sodium-free stock)
salt to taste
Cut each avocado in half from top to bottom, following the contour of the pit in the center. remove the pit and scoop out the avocado.
Into the blender, add the avocado, apple, yogurt, chili flakes, lime juice, and stock. Puree until the soup is very smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more broth to correct the consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. If you are in a hurry, soup can be put into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish soup with creme fraîche and chopped cilantro or garnish of choice.