Heidi Swanson’s new book has landed. Super Natural Everyday is inspiring in every meaning of the word. Her words make you want to record your own musings, her photographs make you want to pick up a camera, and her recipes make you want to cook with abandon. Super Natural Cooking is well-loved cookbook of mine, but Super Natural Everyday firmly ensconces Heidi as an arbiter of natural cooking. While I loved languorously paging through Super Natural Cooking over and over again, many of its recipes were reserved for special occasions or certain turns of mood, whereas the recipes in Super Natural Everyday are things that I want to cook and eat NOW, with no exception.
I love this phrase natural cooking as opposed to healthy cooking. Healthy cooking conjures up images of low-carb, low-fat, high-protein, and other faddy, thoroughly depressing styles of eating. The notion of approaching cooking as some sort of science project, where one must systematically inject certain nutrients in order to adhere to the guidelines of a diet plan, is enough to make my head spin. It’s not that complicated, as Heidi proves to us again and again. Her philosophy is simply this: cook with ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible. It’s difficult to go wrong with a pantry full of real, natural food. This is what will bring you “optimum health,” while simultaneously making your taste buds sing.
In celebration of Super Natural Everyday, I am wanting to do a few posts dedicated to some of the book’s recipes that I’ve already tried. What Heidi calls “Avocados and Mustard Seeds” I will rechristen as “Indian Guacamole” for its delightful mirroring of the original. When it comes down to it, it’s really not much different than Mexican guacamole. It has the avocados, onions, cilantro, lemon, and chile, and it is the lively additions of coconut oil, mustard seeds, and curry powder that take this staple in a rapturous new direction. The smells that infuse your kitchen when making this are worth the effort alone. When the mustard seeds and onions hit the hot coconut oil, my oh my, kitchen alchemy. I even puttered down the hallway of my apartment building hours after making it, breathing in the buttery, caramel-y wonderfulness that lingered only in those shadowy recesses after my kitchen eventually lost its essence. That makes me a loon, doesn’t it?
Makes about 2 cups
2 large ripe avocados
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped + extra for garnish
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon Indian curry powder
1 serrano chile, minced
1.) Slice open the avocados, remove their pits, and scoop their flesh into a bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and tame it a bit with a fork, mashing only until the big chunks disappear. Set aside.
2.) Heat oil in a skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and shake the contents of the pan quite frequently with your hand. When the seeds start popping, cover with the lid (a plate will do) and continue shaking frequently until the popping ceases and desists, about 2-3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes or so, until beginning to brown.
3.) Add garlic, curry powder, and chile and saute for no more than 30 more seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from heat. Stir the onion mixture into the avocados along with the cilantro. Serve garnished with extra cilantro and whole wheat pita chips.
This recipe was slightly adapted from Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson. Published by Ten Speed Press; 2011.