Simple Sides: Mango Guacamole
Children in this country consume an estimated 12 percent of their calories from fast food and 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car! The consequences are predictably unhealthy. Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal together, but not impossible. In fact, with a little planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This feature will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability as well as to identify where can adult attention might be especially needed.
Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic, this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience and confidence in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a” week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach a child basic culinary skills and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever. “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” – Julia Child.
There comes a time when kids stop simply enjoying a great bowl of guacamole ‘n chips and help in the preparation of this popular dip. Actually, there is more to this task than just smashing an avocado into smithereens! The devil is in the culinary details that start with the first-time experience of extricating the delicious fruit efficiently from the avocado’s tough skin and pit. This particular “guac” recipe also adds in a few interesting support ingredients to keep your young helpers engaged as well as to demonstrate how a little creativity can elevate this traditional dip into something special—worthy of a Cinco de Mayo celebration menu that your kitchen helpers can take credit for making!
Lacing the creaminess of avocado with sweet and juicy mango pieces adds a whole new flavor dimension to the mix! Also, speaking of sweetness, the traditional white onion is replaced with the delicate sweet-tart taste of a chopped shallot that pairs well with the tropical goodness of fresh mango. A generous sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds also adds a bit of tasty crunch to the texture.
The recipe below provides a simple, four-step guide that your kitchen crew can easily follow under the close supervision of an adult, especially for the knife work needed: (1) Remove the fruit from the avocado, (2) prepare and measure out the support seasonings, (3) blend the avocado with those seasonings, (4) finally, carefully fold in the tomatoes and mango pieces until thoroughly mixed, then garnish with pumpkin seeds and enjoy with chips of choice. Easy peasy—even for first-timers!
2 large ripe Hass avocados, pit and skin removed
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 tablespoon Melissa’s Minced Garlic
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon Melissa’s Hatch Salsa
2 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mango, rough chopped into 1-inch chunks
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered (cut in half lengthwise, cut side up/half again crosswise)
½ cup pumpkin seeds (garnish)
What the supervising adult should do:
Closely oversee the knife work involved with removing the avocado pits and slicing up the fruit while still in the skin. The removal of the mango pit and skin is tricky, so best left to an adult in order to maximize retained fruit and minimize cut fingers. Your helpers can be tasked with slicing the mango pieces into small chunks.
What the kids can do:
Slice the avocadoes in half, remove pit with knife, carefully section avocado halves with the skin still on, then scoop out into a medium-sized bowl.
Prepare and measure the cilantro, shallot, garlic, salsa and lime juice.
Then add all to the bowl of avocado, except the tomatoes, then smash-mix the contents with a fork until a semi-smooth consistency is achieved and add salt to taste.
Dice the mango, then carefully fold into the avocado mixture along with the grape tomatoes until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with Pepitas and serve immediately with chips of choice.