On her popular blog What’s Gaby Cooking, Gaby Dalkin’s ‘About Me’ section is a list of 50 things she wants you to know. She’s obsessed with cheese, she loves to travel, and she loves her mom. Of all her culinary loves and likes number 22 stands out because she states with conviction: “Guacamole is her life”. After speaking with her about her first cookbook, Absolutely Avocados, which we reviewed last week, Gaby makes a clear case for why this superfood is worthy of her obsession.
Avocado seems to be a pretty straightforward fruit. What inspired you to dedicate your entire first cookbook to avocados?
I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t eat avocado in some way, shape, or form. I’m just 100% obsessed. Growing up in Arizona, and then going to school in California, avocados are so readily available, I just became completely obsessed. And within the food blogging world I’m kind of known as the avocado girl. Everybody calls me when they’ve got question about guacamole or something. So I just wanted to focus on something that I’m super passionate about.
What was your first memory of avocados?
We had just moved from Chicago to Arizona, and we were out to dinner at this Mexican restaurant. My mom ordered us one of those bowls of guacamole to share at the table. I was completely not into it. I was the world’s pickiest eater and my mom told me that I could have a ‘No, thank you’ serving. This meant I had to try it, and if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to have any more. So I tried it and kept eating. Basically, I’ve been eating it ever since.
You have a very creative take on a food that most of us think of as garnish to many classic main dishes. What inspired your most surprising avocado recipes?
I created the mind set that you can put avocado in just about anything and that's what I’ve been doing for the past couple of years. Take desserts. I think putting avocados in desserts is something people are totally surprised by, but avocado is a really great substitute for butter. I have a sweet tooth, so I needed to make recipes that tasted just as great without all the butter. Once I figured out you could use avocado as a butter substitute, it was just a matter of trial and error until I found the perfect recipe. After recipe testing for weeks, I came up with the perfect cookie recipe with the perfect avocado ratio.
There seems to be both International and American perspectives on the avocado in Absolutely Avocados. Can you explain this culinary mixology?
I think I pull a lot of ideas for recipes from my travels. Whether I’m in South America or Central America or in Europe, there are a lot of different flavors I’m experiencing that I get to bring home and translate into recipes.
Absolutely Avocados is full of fun avocado facts. Which one surprised you the most?
The one that keeps surprising me is that there’s more potassium in an avocado than in a banana. I had no idea. One of the really cool things about avocados is that they’re packed with so many vitamins and minerals that they are really good for your hair and your skin and eyesight. It’s such a superfood.
Do you have any tips on picking the perfect avocado?
Most of our markets across the country carry Haas avocados. A Haas avocado ranges from a bright green color to more of a dark purplish green color. You want to try and find one that is right in the middle and not too hard or too mushy. You want it to ripen over night. You want to look for one that has a slight give. If you feel a dent under the skin, put it back. Another little trick? On the top of the avocado there is a little nub, and if you pop it off and see light green, it’s perfect!