On other fronts, the infused vodka experimentation has not been terribly successful. Avocado leaf infused vodka, on its own, lacks body. I tried it with carrot, thinking the sweetness of the carrot would add an interesting base note, but it tasted slightly wrong. My friend Neville suggested infusing it with figs, which I think is probably the solution. I will report the results as soon as I get my hands on some good figs. My other experiment, avocado-fruit infused vodka, was more successful. An absolutely unmistakable avocado flavor with a lightly creamy texture from the avocado fat. But I need to work on finding a way to prevent it from browning without denaturing the avocado flavor too much. I thought of adding a little bit of agave nectar and lime juice, which should cancel each other out acidity-wise, and hopefully enhance (not distract from) the avocado flavor. More on that soon!
Serrano chile and avocado leaf salsa
2 avocado leaves
4 serrano chiles, with seeds and veins removed
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
Salt to taste
Boil the tomatillos in a pot of salted boiling water for three to five minutes. Blend one of the avocado leaves (roasted lightly on a comal for just a few seconds) along with the serranos, garlic and tomatillos in a blender until completely homogenous. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan and add the second avocado leaf to the oil, followed quickly with the tomatillo mixture. Fry for 10 minutes. Remove the salsa from the stove, add the chopped onions and salt to taste. Cool and make sure to remove the avocado leaf as you would a bay leaf before serving.
If you don't have access to Fiesta Mart, you can buy avocado leaves online here and here. Don't try to pluck them from your garden. This is a variety of avocado only grown in Central America. Apparently the leaves from the California-grown varieties are (ever so) slightly toxic.
Creamy jalapeño salsa (pictured on the right)
This recipe represents a first attempt to duplicate the Doña salsa from Taco Deli, a local Austin favorite. Fairly successful on the whole but not as spicy as Taco Deli's version.
1 bulb of garlic
1 T lime juice (or vinegar) + 1 T water
1 cup (or more) corn oil
salt to taste
Roast the jalapeños and all the cloves from one bulb of garlic on the comal. "Sweat" the jalapeños in a closed paper bag or ziplock baggie for ten minutes or so. Peel and remove the seeds and veins from the roasted jalapeños. Peel the garlic once it's cooled down enough to do so. Place all ingredients, except for the oil and salt, into a blender and blend until perfectly homogenous. Add more water if necessary to ensure a homogenous mixture. Then, as though you were making a mayonnaise or vinaigrette, add the oil very slowly while the blender is still running. Continue adding the oil until the mixture becomes creamy and thick to your liking. If the emulsion seems unstable you can cheat by adding a teaspoon (or less) of mayonnaise to stabilize it. Salt to taste.
|Today's lunch featured both salsas: papas con chorizo, grilled Elgin sausage, migas, and homemade flour tortillas. About as Texan as it gets.|