Appetizers · Sides · Vegetables

Guacamole

Guacamole

Whenever I’m in the produce section at the grocery store, I check out the avocados. It’s not often, unfortunately, that I find them at just the right ripeness. So when I do, I grab them and build my dinner menu around guac. It’s just so tasty! Fun to make, too, if you like mashing things, and who doesn’t?

I love cilantro. I didn’t always, though. I vividly remember the first time I tasted it, in salsa fresca made by my cousin (cousin-in-law, really, but who’s counting?). I really disliked it. I thought it tasted like soap, and not very nice soap, at that. But I figured he knew what he was doing, being a CIA grad and all, so I decided to use it a few times at home. Lo and behold, each time I had it, I disliked it less, until I stopped disliking it and started liking it more and more, and now I can’t get enough of the stuff. See? I told you he knows what he’s about. Then I stumbled across an article, Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault. Turns out, some people might be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro. Predisposed, not doomed. Happily, the human palate can easily be taught that cilantro poses no threat, and repeated exposure can bring immense enjoyment. Believe me, it’s so worth it! 

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Jalapeños can be quite variable in the amount of heat they pack. I like to cut off the stem end, & waft it under my nose. If it makes my eyes water, I know to scrape out the seeds & membranes (where most of the capsaicin resides) & just use the flesh. If not, then I pick up the stem (it gets thrown out anyway), & tap the cut end to my tongue. That tells me for sure if the pepper is too bland. This pepper gave me no heat at all – I could have been licking a bell pepper. So I scraped the seeds off & minced all the membranes in with the rest of the pepper, to get every bit of heat from it that I could.

A word about food safety. Most people know to wash an apple before biting into it, but it seems many don’t bother to wash the skin or rinds of produce they’re about to cut – I guess they figure they’re not eating the outside, so why bother? Look at what happens when I put a single drop of food coloring on the outside of an avocado before cutting it. Now imagine that the shopper who picked that avocado up before I did hadn’t washed their hands. Whatever nasty illness they have, is now inside the avocado. Eeeuw. Just wash it, okay?

The trick to getting the pit out is to first slice the avocado all the way around the long way (like in the second photo), down to but not through the pit. Twist the halves like an Oreo; one half will end up with the pit. Carefully whack your knife into the pit (put it down first!), just far enough so that it sticks. Then, knife in one hand & avocado half in the other, twist again. Out pops the pit. Hang onto it, though, you’ll need it later. Then you can use a spoon to scoop all the yummy stuff out of the peel. 

You’ll find a printer-friendly version of the recipe at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

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Sadly, only the cilantro here is from my garden. Gorgeous, though, isn’t it?

4 ripe avocados

juice of 1 lime

1/2 large Vidalia or other sweet onion (use a whole one, if it’s small), diced

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 fresh jalapeño pepper (plus or minus membranes, depending on how much heat you want), minced

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, stems discarded

1 tsp Mexican oregano (sure, you can sub regular, if that’s what you have)

Preparation:

1.) Have your lime juice ready. Peel and pit the avocados, then mash in a large bowl. I use a potato masher, as I like my guac a bit lumpy. Some people prefer closer to a puree. Return the pit to the bowl (it helps prevent discoloration), and pour the lime juice over all. Now, I’ve read that the pit trick doesn’t really work. It sure seems like I get a lot less discoloration since I started doing this, though, and it doesn’t hurt anything, so why not?

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2.) Add the remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. You can serve it immediately, but the flavors blend even better with an hour or two in the fridge.

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3.) In the unlikely event you have any left over, or need to prepare your guac well ahead of the meal, a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the guac (smooth it to get any air bubbles or pockets out) will really prevent discoloration.

guacNutritionLabel

Guacamole


Ingredients


4 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lime
1/2 large Vidalia or other sweet onion (use a whole one, if it’s small), diced
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped, stems discarded
1 tsp Mexican oregano (sure, you can sub regular, if that’s what you have)

Directions


1.) Have your lime juice ready. Peel and pit the avocados, then mash in a large bowl. Pour the lime juice over all.
2.) Add the remaining ingredients; stir to combine. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. You can serve it immediately, but the flavors blend even better with an hour or two in the fridge.
3.) In the unlikely event you have any left over, or need to prepare your guac well ahead of the meal, a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the guac (smooth it to get any air bubbles or pockets out) will really prevent discoloration.

(Nutrition note: This makes a pretty big bowl, but we eat it as more of a side dish than a condiment or dip – for those uses, there would be closer to 8-10 servings.)

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