Thursday, January 21, 2010

Great Guacamole, not bad for a white girl!

Okay first off, I am not the type to make overconfident statements about my abilities. I think that sort of confidence should be reserved for famous people…or at least people who are employed…oh and aren’t 30 and living with their parents.
But anyways, so when I say, “Yes my guacamole is AWWWESOME!” you know it must be true. Now it is delicious because I know my ingredients. I have been making guacamole for years because every Monday is Taco Night in my house. This is a tradition that started some 40 years ago in Munich, Germany. My father was in the army, my parents (newlyweds) every Monday would head to the Officer’s Club and crowd around the TV to watch NFL highlights and eat tacos made by one of the officer’s Mexican wife. And so the Miles’ family Monday Night Taco Night was born.
Okay, back to the best guacamole every created. I will share with you my secret to make the guacamole that will be raved over. Here is it: great avocados. If you have watery, pale, stringy or old avocados there is nothing you can do to make them taste palatable. But perfectly ripe, beautifully green, tender avocado flesh, mmm, I could eat it out of the skin with just salt! When I plan on making guacamole, I want it to be the best. I have no problem heading to Gelson’s and spending perhaps double what I would pay at another store, because I know they have the top of the line produce there. Once I have my avocados, all I need are fresh lime (or lemon), red onion, garlic, salt and cilantro. Other recipes call for tomatoes or jalapeno or serrano peppers but personally I like to keep it simple so you can taste each ingredient and aren’t overpowered by a bunch of flavors. Plus tomatoes can make the guacamole watery and not everyone like the spiciness from peppers.

Here is my fool proof, best in the west guacamole:

2 large avocados (I know I know, how the hell are you going to know what a “large avocado" looks like! Well look for ones 4 inches long. And it is ripe when the nubbin at the narrow end pops out)
½ lime (or lemon) plus more to taste
½ cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon garlic puree (I will explain later)
¼ teaspoon salt to start
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Okay let’s get down to the method.

1. Halve the avocados, remove the pits, spoon out the flesh and put in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of one half lime over the avocado and mash (with a fork, potato masher or my favorite, a dough cutter) until you get the texture you want. I like it somewhere between chunky and smooth.
2. This is going to be probably the trickiest part for you : the garlic paste. Now, I have experimented and have decided that I really don’t like minced or even garlic passed through a press because the pieces are just too big for my taste. Now don’t get me wrong, I love garlic, just not so much when I get a big chunk on my chip. So, start out by smashing a few garlic cloves with the side of your knife to remove the papery skins. With skins removed, smash cloves again. Mince the cloves until very small pieces form, don’t forget to clean the side of your knife where the garlic sticks. Once you have very small minced garlic sprinkle over the ¼ teaspoon salt. Again, using the side of you knife mash the garlic until it becomes a sticky paste. Take your time and don't rush, and certainly don't cut yourself. After a few minutes of mashing, Voila! Garlic paste! You are a real chef now! Add 1 teaspoon garlic paste (reserve any leftovers, as you may need to add more to your liking).
3. Dice your red onion, smallish or large if you dig and add to bowl. Chop cilantro, again, run your knife through a few times or seven times, to your liking.
4. Stir all the ingredients until even distributed. And the best part of the whole process…taste! Add any ingredients that your guacamole needs and serve with tortilla chips and chow down! (Now isn’t this nowhere near like that olive green, bird poop looking stuff they sell at the grocery?)

Like I have written before, recipes=guidelines. Cooking involves all senses, taste the most important, so if you aren’t a fan of cilantro (never read my blog again!) leave it out. Don’t like as much garlic? Add less. Make it taste good to you. Because in my mind, anything you eat should be worth the calories you are consuming, right? And a word on salt, one of its many properties is that it acts as a flavor enhancer. Salt to taste. Ask yourself: can you taste the garlic, lime, onion, and cilantro? Is it a nice balance or do you need more of one thing or the other? Also, as guacamole sits, the flavors have time to marry. Make it ahead of time and check the seasoning right before serving. Remember, lime juice not only adds flavor but it also prevents the avocado from discoloring. I recommend making your guacamole only a few hours ahead of time. If it has to sit longer, cover the surface of your guacamole with plastic wrap to keep it from oxidizing and turning an unappetizing color. Okay, a little troubleshooting here. What if you add too much of one thing? Ta da! Add another half of avocado, because more is better in this case and it will certainly get eaten!!

I hope you think my arrogance about my guacamole recipe is appropriate, more importantly I hope you enjoy your guacamole! Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Blair,

    I have sent you some chili pequins, which are little wild chilis from South texas and Mexico. I put on per avavaco in my guac. A great flavor with a little heat.Tell your dad that if he has any balls left, he will eat one--a chili, that is.