Carey Wooten: Fabulous avocado appetizer — simple yet elegant

Published 11:25 am Saturday, September 29, 2018

My favorite cookbook is Louise Dodd’s Eating from the White House to the Jailhouse. Ms. Dodd was born and raised in Georgia, and lived much of her life in Dublin, where she was an award-winning writer and creator of a weekly food column for The Courier Herald. She traveled all of the country — and the world — writing and cooking with the likes of Martha Stewart and Nathalie Dupree. She cooked for Jimmy Carter when he was President, and toured and tasted from kitchens everywhere, including the Bibb County Jail. Hence, the title of her cookbook (The Jailhouse Stew recipe is on page 181, and it’s delicious!). Like so many good cooks, Louise wrote a story to go with each recipe. She has stories and recipes from dinners with the Carters, Gladys Knight, the Reagans, and many other celebrities. Because she hailed from the same hometown as Herschel Walker and knew his mother, she includes his favorite chocolate cake recipe (p. 231). Although she passed away almost eight years ago, her memory is alive and well in mine and my mother’s kitchen. She and my mother were good friends, and she misses her, still.
Below is a recipe she received from Gladys Knight, an appetizer served in tall stemmed compotes like champagne flutes. Neither Dodd nor Knight had a name for it, but it is simply elegant and delicious (and, like all good recipes, a little trouble). She describes this special appetizer thus: “The rims of the glasses were dipped in lime juice, then encrusted with herbs and salt. Guacamole filled the bottom half of the glass and gazpacho filled the rest. Dollops of sour cream were on top, sprinkled with lime zest and two pieces of chives stuck into the sour cream.”

4 medium avocados, chopped not mashed
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon grated onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
8 drops Tabasco sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Combine all ingredients.

1 carrot, peeled
2 cucumbers, halved and seeded, but not peeled
8 plum tomatoes
2 red onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
46 ounces tomato juice (6 cups)
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
Roughly chop cucumbers, carrot, peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over-process! Then, combine processed vegetables in a large bowl; add garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer Gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Carey Wooten is Joni Woolf’s daughter, and is a great cook in her own right.