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Archive for the ‘Avocado’ Category

Photo by Dontworry

So remember how a reader asked me how to feel more like a farmer in the city, and I answered her and said now this meant I had an advice column and you would all be justified in having fear feelings about this?

Yeah, well anyhow, remember how after that I answered a question about my potting mix recipe for tomatoes in containers and raised beds?

Are you starting to get the feeling that this advice thingy might be for real, and not just some passing fancy I entertained after 3 gin gimlets and a handful of tookies?  By which I mean, cookies?  By which I mean, tookies?

Good!  ‘Cause the questions keep coming, my adorable little misfits, and Bad Mama Genny ain’t one for leaving you in the homesteading dust, ‘kay?

Or any other kind of dust for that matter.  Who leaves people in dust?

So lest we all forget what this post was supposed to be about, (oh, honey biscuits, THAT SHIP HAS SAILED), I received a question from a Chicago reader named Mary yesterday, and it’s a query that I just know you city farmers are itching to hear all about:

“I keep reading that avocado trees are easy to grow.  I’ve heard that you can take them in the house in the winter and they’ll keep growing.  Do you agree?  What kind of tree is it that you said you have in your apt.?  Oh I would so love to have an avocado tree!” -Mary

Well, look, it’s out of the question for me to turn my back on a fellow guac-lover.

That’s just about the cruelest thing you can do to a person.  Deny them guac, I mean. That, or rip a run in their fishnets.  That’s pretty evil, too.

So here’s my answer for Mary:

Dwarf Avocados are entirely possible to maintain in containers in our Arctic corner of the Midwest, though they have a reputation for being finicky and many people can never get them to produce fruit.  If you’d like to do it, remember that quality plants can also be expensive.  If you’re looking for shade, starting a tree from a storebought avocado pit via that god-awfully tedious process with the toothpicks that we all learned in kindergarten (Shoot me.  Shoot me now.) is fine, though the growth habit may get out of control. This is not the way to go if you want fruit.  That’s because most storebought avocados come from hybrid stock that doesn’t produce true-to-seed: in other words, you won’t get the same avocado you got the pit from.  You may get a rock-hard, low-fruit avocado, or you may get none at all.

For fruit, contact a reputable nursery and get a quality plant, preferably one that has a year or two under its belt.  Little Cado and Holiday are a few of the varieties I’ve heard recommended; Don Gillogly is a variety that seems to a problem for just about everyone, so I’d steer clear.  A 5 gallon pot is usually sufficient for these guys, and they cap off at about 8 to 10 feet.  Thankfully, I capped off at about 5 1/2 feet, but then again, I don’t make avocados.  Dammit.

I don’t recommend investing in one of these unless you have a very sunny spot INDOORS.  These guys, like dwarf citrus trees (I have a dwarf Cara Cara orange tree), will happily go outdoors in the summer, but will need to be in a sunny, preferably southern-exposure spot in the house during the winter, or whenever nighttime temps are going to drop below 55.  At this point, the plant will be in dormancy and its water needs will be less–its feeding needs will be around zero.  In the spring, you’d start to fertilize here and there and increase watering to break the dormant period (but only if you have the sunlight to support new growth).  You’ll notice it taking off shortly after it’s moved outside.  Speaking of moving it outside, do this gradually–a few hours to start–and increase the outside time over the course of a week.

If space is limited and you just want to grow something tropical that makes you feel like a rockstar, I’d recommend Mayer Lemons or another dwarf citrus variety–they produce more reliably in containers than avocados.  But if you’re up for a challenge and an adventure, go for it!  Just remember that my advice here entitles me to a one third share in all resulting guacamole.  Sorry.  I don’t make the rules.

Well, whaddya say, misfits?  Have any of you successfully grown avocado trees in containers indoors?  If so, don’t be shy with the details–we wanna know how you did it and what varieties you grew!

Also, whether the resulting guac was mildly kick-ass, appropriately kick-ass, generous with the ass-kickage, mind-blowing ass-kicking, or leg-pulling mind-blowing skirt-flipping ass-kicking.

What?

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Oh, yes, I am easy, and delicious, and you want me!  That’s the crostini talking, not me.  Cough cough.

Excerpt from an email I sent my girls a week before Valentine’s Day:

So, have you guys ever looked at the MarthaStewart.com Valentine’s crafts and bouquet ideas?  They are sooo cute, and feminine, and adorable, but what man would want to receive any of that, and furthermore, do you know any straight men who peruse MarthaStewart.com looking for ideas on crafts to make for their wives and girlfriends?  It’s all so ridiculous.  Not that The Boy isn’t fantastic and all, but I seriously doubt I’ll be getting handmade glycerin soaps with “I Love You, Genevieve” etched on them.  Even though it would complete me if I did get those soaps.  I digress.

So anyway, it made me think that so much of Valentine’s Day is just girls enjoying being girls, and indulging in red and pink and lace and those tiny Hello Kitty valentine cards and stuff, and I kinda miss enjoying those things.  Would you guys be interested in maybe getting together, just the girls, sometime before Valentine’s to indulge in the silliness?

And indulge we did!  I hosted the little shindig, which turned into a seven hour binge-drinking heart-fest.  I provided everyone’s favorite pink Champagne, “Bitch,” and those luscious-looking crab and avocado crostini.  Other girls brought delicious chili, mouthwatering cherry-almond cupcakes, cookie dough truffles, and crayons and construction paper (you know…for making each other Valentines).  The silliness was unbelievable, the food was fantastic, love was in the air, and the champagne was flowing!

Seriously.  Our ratio was 1.35 bottles of champagne per girl.


One of my gf’s, getting her champagne cocktail on.  Those are frozen cranberries floating in the Bitch.  Haha.  I just said “floating in the Bitch.”  That’s a first.  Not.

We also held a bouquet exchange: we each brought a single kind of flower and then arranged a bouquet for each girl to take home:

And of course, what girly event would be complete without mani/pedis?  I sent each girl home with a set of mani/pedi tools:


The perspective on this photo is weird.  I tried rotating it and it didn’t stick.  Whatever, you’ll look at it and you’ll like it.

A fantastic time was had by all, a pasta-making party was scheduled, and we all left having gotten the pent-up estrogen out of our systems.  Not that the Boy doesn’t satisfy my craving for gossip, it’s just that…

the Boy doesn’t satisfy my craving for gossip.

Crab and Avocado Crostini

Ingredients:
12 ounces chunk crab meat (surimi will work)
4 green onions
1/4 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
salt and pepper
1 baguette
1 avocado

Directions:
Put the crab chunks into a bowl, breaking them up into flakes if the pieces are pretty large and throwing your voice to make it sound like there’s screaming coming from the bowl.  Thinly slice the green onions on top, and mix in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  I kept the mayo to a minimum because I didn’t want this to be creamy–just rich enough to hold together, with the crab as the real center of attention.  You can add a bit more if you like.  Just don’t tell me or I’ll be disappointed in you.  At this point, you can either refrigerate the crab mixture if you’re making it in advance, or move on to the next step.

Preheat your oven to 375F (or use your broiler setting CAREFULLY–these things burn in a flash).  Thinly slice the baguette into diagonal pieces, taking care to keep the slices around the same size and thickness for even toasting.  Place them on a cookie sheet and slip them into the oven.  Toast until the first side is evenly brown and crisp, and then remove the pan from the oven, flip the crostini over, and slip them back in until the other side is crisp and golden, too.

Now once your crostini have cooled off, arrange them on a serving platter.  Slice your avocado very thinly, so that the slices can be draped prettily and flexibly over the finished crostini.  See the photo if you’re not sure what I mean.  Now carefully (try using two spoons, like I did), heap little mountains of crab filling onto the crostini until they look generous and fragile.  (You knew you were going to get messy eating these, right?).  Lay two pieces of avocado on top of each, criss-crossing them for effect.  Et voila!  Crab and Avocado Crostini!  You saucy minx, you!

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