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When Life Hands You Bland Avocados…

By October 1, 2012January 7th, 2023Cuisine

I consider avocados to be a major food group, don’t you?


I met a really nice American woman the other day who has just moved to Moscow.   We bonded over a particularly brutal Pilates class.  She confessed afterwards that the food here in Russia is not as good as it is in California, particularly things like avocados.

Know what?

She is right.

It made me feel very old indeed, because I swear I didn’t see an avocado for the first decade I lived in Russia.  What a delight in my second to find them on almost every street corner.   I should probably cut down on my avocado intake, but I seem to throw them into just about everything:  they are the active ingredient in my fresh juice smoothies, I put them in salads, I eat them with tomatoes and goat cheese on Borodinsky bread for breakfast.  Sometimes, I just cut them up on their own, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them.  Yum.

An Avocado-Related Injury:

I actually sustained an avocado-related injury this summer.  I’d just come back from Pilates and was making myself one of those incredibly healthy juice smoothies.  In attempting to dislodge the pit of the avocado, I stabbed — and I don’t use that word lightly — the tip of a new and fiercely sharp serrated knife into the palm of my left hand.   There was literally blood everywhere.  I had to drive myself to the emergency room, but not before writing a note to my buddy Ted, who was coming over.  The whole kitchen looked like the end of an episode of The Sopranos.

Six stitches, and as I said all summer — this is not a wound one ever sustains in the drive-through line at McDonald’s.  Makes you think.

When Life Hands You Bland Avocados…

Still, my new acquaintance is right that the avocados we get here in Moscow are a bit bland.  They are.   The texture isn’t bad, but the taste needs some help.  So, when life hands you bland avocados, you make…what, guacamole?

If you are tired of guacamole, but not of avocados, why not try this delicious Mediterranean alternative from Silvena Rowe’s book “Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume.”   This has become my absolutely favorite cookery book – I’m becoming a real bore on the subject, but I can confidentially state that the Avocado & Sumac Whip is a universal crowd pleaser.   I had a batch going throughout the summer and it delighted just about everyone I foisted it upon. I like to put it out before a meal as the guests are assembling and let everyone nosh on it while I put the finishing touches on the meal.  The flavor and texture are both wonderfully subtle and the spices are just the ticket to spice up even the blandest of Moscow avocados!  Even the horsey  set was enthusiastic, and God knows they don’t know one food group from another. I brought a jar to a dinner as a hostess gift thing and four twenty-somethings literally inhaled it.   Most satisfying.

If you have a large crowd coming, or you want some blotting paper for a drinks party, pair Avocado & Sumac Whip with Eggplant, Pepper and Pomegranate Spread and White Bean and Chorizo Dip.  Add a big basket of crusty bread or a colorful plate of crudités and you will be all set!  You can make all three ahead of time and put them out of your mind!

The Care of Avocados:

I go to the cross on this one:  NEVER EVER put your avocados in the fridge!  Like tomatoes, the entire delicate balance of the cells will be ruined if you do.  I don’t care what your Russian cleaning lady thinks, or what your mother-in-law tells you — DON’T put them in the fridge!!  Buy them slightly under-ripe and set them in a basket or wire mesh container in a cool dry place.  They will be gorgeous in about two days.

Avocado & Sumac Whip


  • 2 ripe avocadoes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 60 ml (1/4-cup) tahina
  • 45 (3 Tbl) olive oil
  • 2 ml (1/2-tsp) sumac
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 15 ml (1 Tbl) black sesame seeds, toasted


  • Peel and pit the avocados and place them in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the tahina, garlic, and spices and process until combined.
  • Use the funnel of the food processor to slowly add the olive oil drop by drop until the mixture thickens and becomes the consistency.
  • Garnish with black sesame seeds or a sprinkle of sumac.

Serve with warm pita


Try More Great Recipes:

Chicken Za’atar

Creamy Mushroom Soup

New Faithful Pork Chops

Dear Readers,

Have you ever sustained a similar injury in the kitchen?  Tell us all the grisly C.S.I.-type details by hitting the comment button below.




One Comment

  • Liz Lemon says:

    Is Sumac easy to find in North America? I’m not sure I’ve seen it.

    Also, did you know you can make a mean chocolate mousse from avocados? Google it. 🙂

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