whole food ~ well made

Avocado Pure and Simple with Vinaigrette

I know I’m not the only one suffering from the 80/20 syndrome. On any given day, 80 percent of what I hope to accomplish remains undone.

I’ve started to picture my mass of projects being bulldozed from one calendar day to the next as a way of lightening my mood about it all. I hate to think that feeling perpetually overwhelmed is the bane of modern life.I know I’m not the only one suffering from the 80/20 syndrome. On any given day, 80 percent of what I hope to accomplish remains undone.

Last week, I got to step off the treadmill on an overnight trip to the Imnaha River and the cabin of my wondrous friend Pam. The brown austere and forbidding-looking canyons were not beautiful to me when I first moved here in 2001. I preferred green trees and snow-capped peaks. But I’ve learned to love the river canyons, the basalt cliffs that are nature’s cathedrals, the spring blossoms and shoots sprouting 3000 feet below my home.

Also, I’ve learned that these gorges leading to Hell’s Canyon are magical. Time stops, or at least slows down to walking pace. Think about that: ambling, not rushing, and you just start breathing more deeply, don’t you?

Naturally, such tranquility is not everyday fare. But mealtimes are one place to begin. Take this avocado, which was my lunch at 2 p.m. today. Amazing how that giant pit creates a cradle for the perfect amount of  vinaigrette to eat with a spoon.

Would you believe that I was once served this at a French friend’s home in Paris? Yes, that Paris.

Casual fare, for sure, but how simple and yet how elegant is that? [It so happens that it was in France circa 1986 that I tasted my first avocado.]

“Do you always cook like this?,” people ask me after one of my cooking classes.

No, sometimes I cook like this, or not at all. Sometimes, like tonight, it’s just soup. I believe in soup and that we should all eat more of it, serve it to company so that we’ll all ratchet down our expectations and eat better for less with less.

Maybe with a half avocado with its demitasse cup of vinaigrette as an appetizer.


and become a forager

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is the dressing that I mix and store in a bottle in the cupboard for everyday salads. It is the dressing my kids prefer, bar none. And it can be embellished in innumerable ways. Sometimes, however, simple is best.
Course Salad, Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 pint


  • 1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil best quality
  • 3/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar best quality
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • pinch black pepper


  • Combine the olive oil and vinegar in a glass bottle with a stopper or lid. Add the salt and pepper and shake. Taste for seasoning.
  • Store at room temperature away from light and heat for up to 1 month.

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