Baked Chimichangas and Guacamole
One of my clients gave me this avocado last week. He brought it all the way from Puerto Rico, where he had spent New Year’s. He plucked it from his father’s tree, buried it in his suitcase, then kept it in his fridge for a week so it wouldn’t ripen until he gave it to me. Pretty sweet, huh?
I’ve gotten a lot of interesting gifts from clients (an umbrella, t-shirts, a Bible, and a framed photo of me at my desk with the words ‘Sexy Diva’ photoshopped along the top are among the most memorable), but my favorite gifts to receive are food, particularly if they are sharing a part of their culture with me. When I’m first getting to know clients and they’re hesitant to share too much, I’ll often ask about the foods their family ate growing up. It will inevitably open up a floodgate of family memories.
Well, this client remembered that I harbor a deep affection for the avocado, because it was one of the things we spoke about when we first met. This avocado was considerably larger and sort of sweeter than the California Hass I’m used to. I placed them side-by-side for comparison. Pretty scientific, huh? I made a guacamole using chopped red onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro, a squeeze of lime and kosher salt and pepper.
But I still needed a vehicle for my guacamole, or as they say in the restaurant biz “green gold” (and by ‘biz’, I mean the Mexican restaurant I worked in for 6 months in Denver). I decided some chimichangas were in order. They’re great, because you can fill ‘em with anything you’ve got on hand. In the past, I’ve done black beans, zucchini, red bell pepper and cheddar cheese.
But on this night I went with shredded chicken, onion, garlic, monterey jack cheese and diced green chilies.
To make a chimichanga, spoon your filling right into the center of a large flour tortilla, then fold both the sides in over the filling. Fold the top and the bottom of the tortilla over that, so it’s wrapped up like a little present. Put the seam side down on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil spray so the outside gets crispy. You could also fry them, which would be delectable, if a little indulgent for an average Tuesday night.
Every time I eat a chimichanga I think of Summer Wheatley using them as a deciding factor in her speech for class president in Napoleon Dynamite. “Who wants to eat chiminichangas in the cafeteria every week? I don’t.”