There must be many tasty appetizers, and what’s tasty depends, of course, on taste. But I can think of three that taste wonderful to me.
Here is the West the most popular is undoubtedly salsa. Still, I can remember only one restaurant (in Santa Barbara) that served salsa thick enough for my palate. And I certainly can’t recommend any store-bought salsa.
So I make it at home. My favorite recipe is so simple. I just throw chives, cilantro, garlic, stewed tomatoes, serrano peppers, salt, and pepper in my electric blender and pulse for just a second or two. Susan’s recipe for “Simple Texas Salsa” is my absolute favorite.
Since salsa is basically tomatoes, it can’t raise your blood glucose too much, something of great importance to everybody with diabetes. Salsa itself hasn’t been tested, but the glycemic index of tomato juice is 38 where glucose is 100.
Another favorite, particularly in the Southwest, is guacamole. You can find some decent brands in refrigerated supermarket cases, but they really can’t compare with what you can prepare at home in five to 10 minutes.
The keys to great guacamole are ripe Haas avocados, some sort of chili to your taste, and some lemon or lime. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like, but a wonderful simple recipe is:
3 ripe Haas avocados
1 can diced green chilies
Juice of 1 lemon or 3 packets True Lemon (http://www.mendosa.com/diabetes_update_86.htm)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons onion, fine chopped (use sweet onions, if available)
2 teaspoons dry oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together with a fork in a glass or stainless steel bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour before enjoying.
The main alternatives to this basic recipe are different peppers. Others often recommend serrano, jalapeño, and crushed red peppers.
Some people add cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, lime instead of lemon. It’s worth while to do a little experimenting to find the exact recipe that suits you best.
The glycemic index of avocado is too low to be tested. That’s because they are largely fat. And that fat is largely the best fat, monounsaturated. It’s the best fat because it reduces blood cholesterol levels. Fully 63 percent of the fat in avocados is monounsaturated, exceeded only by that in olives and olive oil, high oleic safflower and sunflower oils, and three nuts – macadamia, hazelnuts, and almonds.
Much less known in the United States but a great favorite in the Middle East and just as good as salsa and guacamole is something known as hummus. This wonderful dip originating in southwestern Asia hundreds if not thousands of years ago, but Americans are only now beginning to discover it. In fact, the word hummus first entered the English language just 50 years ago, in the 1955 edition of Elizabeth David’s A Book of Mediterranean Food, according to the definitive Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oed.com/).