[A plain fact you need to know prior to hearing this story: my married name is Pagani.]
Ok, now here we go:
I went to a party a hundred years ago with my roommate-at-the-time. I saw a guy from across the room who made my heart stop. When I came to, I turned to my friend and said, "Please tell me you know that hot guy!!!!???"
They were mere acquaintances, friends of friends, but I pressed, cajoled and begged her to tell me everything she knew about him She told me his name was David. David Picante. She said this with such supreme confidence and aplomb I could not question it. Nor did I. This sweet gal (who is now one of my closest friends) is known among certain circles to NOT be a wordsmith. And now that I know her so well it is one of her greatest charms. She has a heart of gold but can not find her way around an aphorism, cliche, or in this case, proper name.
This was before I knew better, so for several weeks I believed his last name was actually Picante. I remember thinking he didn't look at all Hispanic but I never questioned it.
I was 24. Cut me some slack.
I don't really recall the moment I learned his true last name. But I do remember being shocked to find out he was actually Italian. Here I thought I was falling for a Latin lover.
I went on to marry him:) And we made our non-wordsmith friend read a poem at our wedding.
In honor of my David's Birthday today, I give you a play on his Favorite Food of All Time. A dish that celebrates both his fake and real heritages.
This Italian Guacamole is great for:
a.) Cilantro Haters (of which I am NOT, but just saying).
b.) Using up extra basil, especially come Summertime.
c.) Eating by the bowlful.
The flavors are more subtle but the spicy basil goes surprisingly well with the creamy avocado and zippy onion. And the fresh garlic and dried red pepper give it a nice Italian touch.
2 ripe avocados
the juice of 1 lime
3T minced red onion
1/4c chopped basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 t crushed red pepper or to taste (optional)
lots of fresh ground pepper
sea salt to taste
Halve, pit and scoop out the avocados into a bowl. You can use this cool criss-cross trick to make little chunks: while you hold a pitted half in your palm, carefully slice a knife through the avocado all the way to its skin in both directions before scooping it out with a spoon:
Once it's in the bowl, smash a bit with a fork, leaving some chunkiness for texture. Add the remaining ingredients, mix and devour! This would be awesome with little toasty crostini but veggies or tortilla chips will perfectly suffice. Hot tip: in the rare event there are any leftovers, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole. It will stay green lots longer.
Happy Birthday, Chicken!! I'm so grateful you were born. I'm a better and much happier person with you being on this planet. And even though you're not a Picante, you've added a lot of spice to my life:)
Love you so much.
Happy Thursday, everybody...