{stories and snapshots from my new york city life.}


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." 

Vote Pedro!!


  1. Vehicle for guac? My vehicle could be as much as a spoon hahah I love avocados too! They are nostalgic for me. Visiting my grandparents in the Philippines, I remember my grandfather always ending a meal with an avocado shake- sugar, milk, avocado...mush and stir. SO YUM.

  2. Pedro ROCKS!
    That avocado looks similar to the ones we have down here in Brazil - they take about a week to ripen, and I find them to be much less flavorful than our Haas variety, but with a little olive oil, they come in a close second.
    I'll take one "chimi" to go, please!

  3. Isn't amazing how food is the universal language, the THING that everyone can relate to somehow? Love that. Though I also would kind of love to have been there when you received the umbrella, and the photo.

    The grandmother of one of my bf's co-workers has an avocado tree that produces those same type of avocados and every year we get a big bag. You're right, they are sweeter, and I love that they're bigger! Yum.

  4. That is so sweet! And I love guacamole...it's one of the few things I make really well. I once dated a guy who brought back a salad I had been raving about since college when he went up by my old school on a business trip. The relationship didn't work out, but I always remembered that as being the sweetest gesture!!

  5. First of all...I'm dying to know what you do for your day job. Second, those chimichangas look yummy. Yeah, fried would be awesome but probably not Weight Watcher friendly.

  6. Yum yum! What type of avocado is it (do you know)? It doesn't look like the Haas or Bacon varieties we have here on the West Coast....
    Re: your question: I get lavender in a few places - a speciality food shop that sells lots of herbs and sea salts, and a couple vendors at the Farmer's Market in SF's Ferry Building. In NY, you would be able to find it at Kalustyans's.

  7. yum chimichagas are great and totally agree with you about food being the best gift, cupcakes yumm!

  8. Wow that's pretty sweet of him to bring back an avocado from puerto rico!! I bet the guac was extra delicious.

  9. ETP--I'm a therapist at a mental health clinic.
    India.Tea--Thank you so much for the recommendation! I've never heard of Kalustyan's, but now I have to check it out.

    Truthfully, I much prefer Haas avocados to the big one, but it was fun and special to try something new!

  10. That avocado could clearly kick the CA avocado's ass. Gigantorrr. For real though, that whole meal could be my last. I love both guac and chimis with all my heart. Give em here!!

  11. I loved hearing about this gift you received...and how food served as an initial connection for the two of you. I also loved what your avocado inspired! Your chimichangas look AMAZING. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. May the middle of your week be full of joy and laughter.