As a child I could never understand why my mom insisted on making such weird food. Instead of peanut butter and fluff on white bread, she insisted on peanut butter and banana on whole wheat – crusts on. Instead of french fries, we had avocado, sliced, pitted and drizzled with fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil.

I felt so different from the other kids, so healthy. If I had only known I was not alone; the avocado is popular all around the world, particularly in South America, Africa and Asia. Today, I can’t get enough of the creamy, soft texture and often split one with my 2-year-old daughter for lunch. While my husband thinks I’m crazy – he’d rather eat cookies, cake, or brownies – Ava gobbles them up as quickly as I do.

You’ve likely sampled this buttery fruit in guacamole and salads. While it tastes more like a vegetable, avocado acts like a fruit – refreshing, nutritious, and especially good in hot, tropical climates. July in Oklahoma is the time of year when I daydream about moving to Canada, but I’ve found it much simpler to make a meal of an avocado to keep myself – and the kitchen – cool.

There are so many ways to enjoy the mighty avocado. In Cape Verde, they mash the ripe flesh with chopped dates for a slightly sweet dip. In many, many countries around the world, avocados are blended into smoothies, such as the grapefruit and avocado version found in parts of the Caribbean. Today, we celebrate two avocado dishes, one from Africa and one from South America. Both are perfect for keeping cool. The first is West African Shrimp in Avocado Boats. Made with simple ingredients, the flavor depends on high quality seafood.

Our second dish is from Bolivia, where they fill avocado halves with fresh salad made with chopped tomatoes, onion, parlsey and vinagrette. Both recipes take only minutes to prepare, but both are beautiful and cooling – perfect for a party in the heat of July.

Sasha Martin is cooking one meal for every country in the world. Her picky husband and baby girl are along for the ride. Join the adventure for recipes, reviews and more at

West African Shrimp In Avocado Boats

Take a voyage to the African coastline with this elegant appetizer or light lunch, a beautiful avocado boat showcasing delicate shrimp. Make the shrimp salad an hour or two ahead and cut the avocados immediately before serving; your guests will never know it only took you a few minutes to throw together.

1/2 lb. frozen cooked shrimp, shelled and thawed?
1 tbsp. ketchup?
1 tbsp. mayonnaise?
1/4 of a fresh lime, juiced?
3 avocados?
Salt and pepper, to taste

Chop shrimp and combine with ketchup, mayonnaise and lime juice. Refrigerate until needed. Immediately before serving, halve and pit the avocados. Fill with shrimp mixture.

Bolivian Avocado Salad??

2 avocados, halved and pitted?
Minced red onion, to taste?
2 small tomatoes, diced?
2 sprigs fresh parsley, minced?
1 tbsp. olive oil?
2 tsp. vinegar?
Salt?and pepper, to taste

Tomatoes have never looked better. Even my picky husband ate this vegan salad right up. Serve slightly chilled but not cold (if the avocado is too cold, you won’t be able to taste the buttery flavor). Make the tomato mixture several hours ahead if you want.

In a small bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pile into avocado halves and serve immediately.

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