Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guacamole & homemade low carb chips

Before sharing the recipe, I want to share my personal story.

Compared to those lucky guys who know what they want early in life and jump right in, I took a detour. My major in college was biology. In my home country, high school graduates have to choose their college major the summer even before college actually starts, and once chosen, it's incredibly difficult to change. Well, that's how China's higher education system is like. It sucks!! I chose biology because I was doing pretty well in high school, and we heard that biology is a front-line scientific field to explore so it's the most popular major back then. I wish we had some career consultants or workshop to let us know how important choosing a college major was. Well, having no idea what biology research was like, I chose it as many A students.

In college, I was selected into the extremely competitive Honors Program. They chose 50 students from 3500 freshmen to try this new elite program. Everyone thought students in this program were the smartest. Well, my vanity made it even harder to say goodbye to this.  While I got frustrated with biochemistry, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, college maths and physics classes, everyone in my class was talking about applying for graduate school overseas. Trying to prove I was as good as others, I, without a brain, joined them and got an offer as expected. This is the second big mistake I made.

In grad school, I started doing research in the laboratory environment. If the earlier stupidity was still hopeful, this time it's desperate. I saw by my own eyes how scientists do research in the lab and write papers  for tens of years until the end of their career. Imagining devoting my whole life working on something as microbial as, say, a membrane protein in E. coli is just suffocating. Everyday I was fighting with myself. "What am I doing? how long am I gonna be like this? I can't stand it any longer! Where is the end?" while another voice was saying" you have come a long way to get where you are. You just can't give up!! Hang in there. Everything will be fine. Don't disappoint your parents. No one totally likes what they do, but it's part of life." My mental world was completely torn apart. Seeing people busy with their research project, satisfied and happy, I was so jealous. Everyone is better at certain things than others. Happy for those who found it, I myself was still seeking. Finally, I quit the PhD program and left with a master degree.


This experience isn't completely a waste of time. On the contrary, I am grateful. I learned not to do something just because I am told to or I am supposed to, or for some superficial vanity. I learned to be honest with what I am.  I explored and understood my inner needs and desires, and I more respect the natural me.

I think my right side of the brain-the creativity part was better developed than the analytical left side when I was brought to this world, but it was left unexplored for over 20 years. Now it's time back to track! I registered a drawing class and bought a SLR camera to take photographs. I was the only one in my class who didn't take high school drawing, but the professor gave me A+ for the first assignment. Mostly importantly, I enjoy what I do. I find pleasure and satisfaction from the process of drawing and food photography. Besides classes, I work part-time in a graphic design shop. Design is another thing I like. Completely ignorant when I first started this job, I learn and progress bit by bit every day.

I saw something like this recently: Happy lives are similar-have someone to love, have something to do, and have some hope. Well, I have all, and I indeed feel happy.

 My first taste of avocado can't be described as pleasant. Neither sweet nor tangy and with some weirdly mild flavor, this muddy fruit almost made me throw up. I didn't touch it for a long time until I tried guacamole in a restaurant. wow, it tasted so good! Rich, spicy and savory, it got me at the first bite. I couldn't believe it was made of avocado. That flavorless dark green weirdo? I decided to make it by myself. Since then, it's been a constant snack food in our home. To go with it, I also came up with this low carb chips made of low carb tortilla.


3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed 
1 lime, juiced 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup diced onion 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced 
1 teaspoon minced garlic 
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. 
2. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. 
3. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.

Low carb chips

1. Cut one low carb tortilla into 8 pie shaped pieces.Lay on a baking pan and spray PAM evenly to coat the chips.  
2. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 mins or until turn gold. 
3. Cool them down before serving.


Carolyn said...

I have some low carb pitas that are about to go, and some avocados. This is perfect for me! BTW, I too went into a PhD program, discovered I hated it and got out with a Masters. Sometimes you need to discover what you don't want to do, to figure out what you do want to do.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Mine is not as drastic, but I too spent years thinking I wanted to become a lawyer before discovering my passion for food and interest in the problems with how Americans are feeding ourselves. I just started down a new career path involving 5 years of schooling, but I know 100% that I would've been miserable in law and that I'd rather be doing something I'm passionate about. Now that I've overshared haha, let me just say that this guacamole looks and sounds delish. I used to hate avocado so much that I poked it out of California sushi rolls but a good guacamole also made me a believer.

Jennifer (Savor) said...

LOVE your photos & the story. I also went to school for Biology, received my Bachelor, went onto a Masters, worked for a pharm. copany and have now been a SAHM for 5 years.

{Emily} said...

YUM!! I know what I'm making tonight!

Anonymous said...

Like your story but I'd call those chips high carb. Using low carb tortillas would help a little. I personally use chicharron-the fried pork skins. They are zero carb and go well with any dip I ever use including that yummy looking guacamole!


Helena said...

Beautiful photos and the recipe looks delicious!

Carolyn said...

Hi Yue. Thanks for your comments on my blog. I do low carb only because I have to, as I am pre-diabetic. But I've actually discovered that there is a lot I can make low carb and it still tastes wonderful!

Happy cooking!

Rabbittrick said...

i am completely with you on this, although i can't say i did the same thing. on my mother's advice to choose a career course at 18 (in poly), I enrolled into accounting as it would have meant having a stable career and money for the rest of my life. me, not being too bright, couldn't bring myself to force myself to go through the whole course. 6 months later i transferred and studied film instead. after graduation i pursued a degree in marketing, but career wise, i'm still having fun working in publication and editorial 7 years after deciding i could never do something i hated. to this day i can't tell you what i am meant to do, but i know that you don't ever want to regret anything when you're 40. that's about it =) congrats on your decision! (and avocados are great, so congrats on liking that too!)

Mark said...

I love the recipe! Guac is the best. Great job with the photography also. Thanks.