Party Guacamole Speaks with the Language of Flowers

Our latest bimonthly Cook the Books Club entry is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and hosted this time by Debra of Eliot's Eats.  If you'd like to join us, the party is open for your contribution until January 31st.  Everyone is welcome! Be sure to check out our Guidelines page if you have any questions.

From the Publishers:
"The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness."

A totally absorbing read, with a unique and critically important story.  Though some of this novel was difficult going, at least for me.  The main character, Victoria, was not easy to like, or even sympathize with, despite her awful childhood, which let's face it, was mostly caused by her own behavior.  It's a fairly simple concept: how you act brings about certain reactions and consequences.  For someone with her basic intelligence and sensitivity to others, this should have been obvious early on.  We fostered a young boy a number of years ago and he was delightful, helpful and a great fit in our home. So possibly I'm naive about fostering in general.  However, I loved how Victoria finally found her way out, thanks to one special foster parent (before she sabotaged that relationship as well), who taught her all about flowers and their meanings, using them to connect and help others.

We had plenty of flowers with symbolism, but not a whole lot in the way of inspiring food.  However admittedly, that wasn't really the focus of her story.  It does take place in California, where there is plenty of fruit, including avocados, and we have avocados here at the moment. So I came up with this Guacamole, adding in some flowers and herbs with meaning.  It's a party dip in good time for Holiday gatherings, with lemon for the zest, allium (garlic and onion) for prosperity, dandelions for their rustic oracle touch and parsley for a festive contribution.

Party Time Guacamole

2 avocados, flesh scooped out
1/4 cup green onions, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced (optional)
juice of 2 lemons (or 1 1/2 if very juicy)
1/2 tomato, diced
1 red chili pepper (small) seeded and minced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon dandelion greens, chopped and blossoms for garnish
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Chips for dipping (I used a new hit with us - corn chips with quinoa and chia seeds)

Mash avocado and stir in all the remaining ingredients.  Taste for any seasoning correction. Garnish with parsley, dandelion blossoms and leaves. Of course, if you are preparing this for a gathering, you will need to double up or more on all the ingredients.

Love it with those chips especially!  This then, is my contribution to our latest Cook the Books round.  Plenty of time if you want to join in. I'll also be linking with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event and with Heather for the December Foodies Read Challenge. Be sure to stop by for good food and book suggestions.


Debra Eliotseats said...

Love your inspired dip. I honestly remember a lot more food from the first time I read this novel, Claudia. In fact, I distinctly remember Grant being a great cook. Go figure. Glad you posted this before the holidays so everyone can enjoy this guac!!!!

Beth F said...

I saw dandelion greens at the store the other day . . . I'm going to give this version of guac a try if they're still available. No dandelions available in my yard right now. LOL.

Mae Travels said...

Guacamole is one of the most outstanding inventions of Mexican cuisine! I think yours would be delicious.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

jama said...

Just in time for the holidays! Thanks for the guac recipe -- love how you integrated symbolic ingredients.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I need to start this one. ;-) Your guacamole looks amazing. I love the addition of the dandelion greens especially--so unique!

Carole said...

Holy guacamole - inspiring. Cheers

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

The dandelion greens in the guacamole is very interesting. Very different

Tina said...

I had to laugh at Carole’s comment because I was thinking the same. Holy Guacamole! Looks great, I’m a chip fiend so I’d love a bowl of this for dipping.
Once again I didn’t get my act together to do CtB. Maybe I can do better next year.

Happy Christmas!

Claudia said...

Plenty of time Tina, until Jan. 31st, so yes next year:)

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

I'm so sorry you didn't like the novel. I loved it. It is so great that you had such a wonderful fostering experience. It is funny how people handle life's challenges. Our daughter, who we adopted from the foster system last April was very much like Vanessa with the self sabotage behavior. She lived with us for a year prior to the adoption and did everything she could to sabotage it. It was a tough first year but since the adoption she has gotten so much better and is healing wonderfully.

Claudia said...

Wendy, I did enjoy the novel, it was just difficult. I'm sure the good Lord knew my limitations and patience level with fostering. How great that your daughter is adjusting and healing so well! All the best in the New Year!

Camilla M. Mann said...

Claudia, your guacamole looks delicious! And you and Wendy are both angels for fostering and adopting. It take a very special person to do both of those things.

Simona Carini said...

The mention of avocado season on the Big Island brings up nice memories. Great choice of recipe: I particularly like the addition of dandelions :)