A Toast to Texas and its Buttery Green Goodness

Watching the ever-blue skies of Texas in my rearview mirror, in anticipation of the tree-laced city of Birmingham, I knew I would miss a few things about the gargantuan state I was parting with. The first thing that sprung to my mind: a prolific supply of avocados. I was deprived for most of my life of this vibrant fodder, mostly, because it was green. I was a willful child. No one in my family would touch a chartreuse mash of guacamole. Therefore, I believed that I could never love it as well.

Then, I discovered that cooking with this graciously green fare was something to be cherished, never to be avoided. My attitude changed when I experienced guacamole being made tableside. Artistry like this should always be savored and explored, never rejected.

Using an enormous molcajete mortar and pestle, our waiter threw fresh garlic into the vessel, grinding the poor souls with salt until it resembled paste. Then came the highlight of the dish, perfectly ripe avocados. Scooping the green flesh into the basin, he quickly pounded and stirred the ingredients until completely smooth. While adding lime juice and cilantro, he gave the mixture a quick stir, then finished off the guacamole with salt and, poof , our waiter was off to another table. He left behind the molcajete bowl with a basket of fresh homemade tortilla chips. Leaving the chips to the rest of the clan, I plunged into the guacamole, spoon first, no chip required. The buttery quality of the avocado was unobstructed by any other textures. The rest of the ingredients only elevated the flavors in the dish, but it was clear that the star of the saucer was the avocado. I shamelessly confess that I ate all of the guacamole. So here is a toast to the grand state of Texas, which is literally on toast.

This recipe includes all of the ingredients of guacamole, but it is presented in a fresh new way with just a hint of garlic on the toast. The avocados retain their beautiful, buttery texture while still in small chunks. Spritz on a little lime juice with a dash of heat from red pepper flakes to finish and you will be in heaven!

Recipe: Inspired by Bon Appétit, July 2012

Serves 4 as an appetizer

½  of a French baguette

2 tablespoons of butter

1 clove of garlic

2 ripe avocados, cubed

1 lime, juiced

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Place a griddle pan on medium-high heat. Slice baguette on the bias, about 1 inch thick or so. Spread the butter on both sides of the bread. Place the bread onto the pan, toasting on both sides until brown and crispy. Once browned, take the garlic clove and gently rub onto one side of the hot, toasted bread.

In a separate bowl, combine the avocado chunks and the lime juice. Toss to coat. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the avocado mixture onto the pieces of bread. Finish off with a drizzle of oil on each piece of toast and enjoy!


Growing up in the south, my normal meals consisted of cornbread, gumbo and greens. But whenever I lived in Texas, I was confronted with a different breed of Southern food. Barbecue meant beef instead of pork, the gravy was a peculiar color, a country-fried steak turned into a chicken-fried steak, and Tex-Mex was king. I made the best of it (not that it was a difficult feat). I found that Mexican food could be just as comforting as the Southern cuisine I was used to. The main ingredients are cheese and cheese and butter and cheese. Where can one go wrong? So my sister and I made a tradition out of this fare and went to Rosa’s Tortilla Factory for Taco Tuesday every Tuesday. The best part, we could order whatever our little hearts desired and miraculously never spent more than $5. Oh it was the best for two college gals from the south! Here is to Texas and it’s simple Southern food, and here is to Taco Tuesday! Olé!

Recipe: Serves 6-8

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbs. of olive oil

¼ tsp. of red pepper flakes

2 tsp. of salt

1 tsp. of pepper

3 Tbs. of butter

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

18 fresh flour tortillas

Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat and add oil. Mix chicken, seasonings, and lime juice together in a bowl. Add the chicken to the hot skillet. Cook until brown and cooked through. At the last minute of cooking, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and toss with the chicken. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Clean out skillet. Put the skillet on medium-low heat. Lightly butter both sides of the tortillas, add about 1 tablespoon of cheese, 1 tablespoon of chicken and another tablespoon of cheese. Put filled tortillas in skillet, I can usually fit 4 at a time. Brown one side and flip over to brown the other side. This should only take a few moments. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese and chicken. Serve with shredded lettuce and fresh salsa.