Get Me Guacamole: Stat!!!

I came to realize that what I thought was guacamole was really only a poor imitation of the real thing. My neighbor Marta, a great cook and Mexico City native had several “authentic” versions available whenever guests like me stop by that sent me begging for her recipes and scurrying back to my kitchen to try to recreate some of her family favorites.

Avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole. The Aztec’s and then the Spaniards who colonized the area documented their love of the fruit.  Avocados are a very healthy fruit with 60% more potassium than bananas. Avocados are also sodium and cholesterol free and have only five grams of fat per serving, most of it the “good-for-you” monounsaturated kind.
      Considered a New World produce, there don’t seem to be any date specific “first” guacamole recipes The Aztecs referred to guacamole as ahuaca-mulli which translates to “avocado sauce” or “avocado mixture”. Seems that one of the reasons they like it so much was that they believed that the avocado had supernatural aphrodisiac properties (ok, that’s obviously an entirely different column for a different time). 

Since avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole, it’s important to start with a fresh, ripe avocado. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. If there is no give, the avocado is not ripe yet and will not taste good. If there is a little give, the avocado is ripe. If there is a lot of give, the avocado may be past ripe and not good. For most purposes, the Hass variety of avocado is usually the best choice. It has a sublime buttery taste and smooth texture that is perfect for guacamole.

Fresh garlic is also a must.  The pre minced garlic (sold in a jar) or garlic powder just doesn’t have the punch of the freshly chopped. However, be careful that a heavy hand with the garlic doesn’t have it overpowering the avocado. Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice adds not only flavor and punch to your basic guacamole, it helps preserve it longer from browning. Fresh, finely-chopped cilantro is another ingredient thing that can enhance the flavor of your guacamole. However, be warned cilantro has a distinctive flavor and may not be to everyone’s liking. If you’re into onion, you’ll love the sharp flavor, crunch and texture it gives to guacamole. I also add chilies and peppers if I have them available. Last, but not least, I usually add fresh tomatoes.  Make sure your tomatoes are fresh and firm so that they keep their shape as well as adding a subtle tang to the recipe

             I’m planning my own personal guacamole party this weekend. Everyone’s invited, just make sure to bring your own chips, I’m not planning on sharing mine.

 

NOTE: For a very quick and easy “guac” just take a 1/4 cup of your favortite salsa and mix it in with 1 mashed avocado.

CLASSIC GUACAMOLE

4 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 ripe, medium Roma tomato, seeded, diced

1/2 cup minced sweet white onion

2 serrano chilies, seeded, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

4 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Hot pepper sauce, sea salt, white pepper to taste

Cut avocado in large chunks and mash them coarsely in large bowl with a fork. Add the cumin, tomatoes, onion, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper and hot pepper sauce and blend gently, leaving some small chunks is fine. Taste and adjust seasoning with more pepper sauce, salt and pepper if desired. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups.

PACIFIC RIM GUACAMOLE

1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

1 large ripe avocado

1 tablespoon shredded pickled ginger

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

-OR

3 tablespoons Cider vinegar, mixed with1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Wasabi powder or prepared horseradish

15 to 20 won ton skins

Place sesame seeds in a 7-8″ frying pan over medium-high heat. Shake pan often until seed begins to pop, 3-4 minutes. Pour them from pan; set aside to cool. Peel and pit avocado; dice into a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed, ginger, vinegar, and wasabi; mix gently. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining seed. Serve with wonton crisps.

.

wonton crisps: Preheat oven to 450.  Grease a cookie sheet. One at a time dip the wonton skins in water; shake off excess. Lay them in a single layer on the greased baking sheet. Bake for 4 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness of the won ton skins. Cool on racks. If you want to make the crisps a day or two ahead of time package them in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Serves 6

CAJUN GUACAMOLE

This spicy guacamole combines herbs, red peppers and cayenne and was sent to me by a reader from New York.

2 avocados, about 1 pound

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup small cherry tomatoes (cut in halves or quarters, if large)

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

3 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 rounded teaspoon dried

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the avocado in a bowl. Coarsely mash it (DO NOT PUREE). Stir in the lemon juice. Add the peppers, tomatoes, green onion, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix to combine. This recipe tastes best made as close to serving as possible. For short-term storage, seal in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the guacamole. Serves 6.

GUACAMOLE WITH CHUNKY CHICKEN

8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup ripe avocado, diced

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon roasted red pepper, diced

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon chili paste

Preheat oven to 350. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and place them in a baking dish and cover with foil. Cook it for about 35 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. When cool, dice into 1/4-inch dice. In a bowl combine the chicken, avocado, tomato, red pepper, oregano, cumin, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips or pita wedges. Serves 8

BLACK BEAN GUACAMOLE

1 large avocado, diced
juice from one lime
2/3 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
2 green onions chopped
1 tomato seeded and chopped
hot sauce to taste

In a bowl combine the avocado and lime juice. Add the black beans, green onion, and tomato. Mix to combine but don’t mash the avocado and add the salt and hot sauce to taste. Makes approx. 2 cups. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GUACAMOLE MOUSSE

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water

1 cube chicken bouillon, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup avocado, diced

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoon finely chopped green onions

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

chopped red peppers for garnish  

chopped green pepper for garnish

 Soften gelatin in cold water in a small saucepan.  Add the bouillon cube and salt.

 Heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin and bouillon are dissolved; cool slightly.

 In a bowl combine the avocado, sour cream, green onion, lemon juice, and hot sauce; stir in gelatin mixture.  Pour the mixture into a 3-cup mold and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold onto a serving dish and garnish with chopped peppers.  Serve with crackers.  Makes about 2 2/3 cups.

GRILLED ONION GUACAMOLE

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon pepper, ground

1 teaspoon cumin ground

3/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste

1 red onion large

3 avocados

1 tomato large, diced

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

3 Serrano chilies

3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Lime juice, fresh, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, ground pepper, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Place this marinade in a shallow dish. Slice the onion into 1/4 inch thick slices, add to the marinade, and let sit for an hour. Heat a grill or grill pan until quite hot. Drain the liquid from the onion and place on the grill, about 3 minutes a side. Cool slightly and then coarsely chop the grilled onion. Peel, seed, and cut the avocado into 1/2″ dice (do not mash). Seed and finely chop the chilies. In a bowl combine the garlic, tomato, avocado, chopped onion, cilantro and season to taste with salt and lime juice. Mix gently so as not to mash. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve. Makes 2 cups. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

GUACAMOLE WITH CORN

1 1/2 pound fresh or frozen corn kernels (not canned)
1/4 cup water
1 cup of your favorite guacamole recipe
1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers, jarred or fresh
1 to 3 tablespoon canned diced green chilies, (I use medium hot)
1 teaspoon rice wine or apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the corn in the water, either in a saucepan or in a microwave, until heated throughout, about 3 minutes. Cool and make sure to drain thoroughly. In a bowl combine the guacamole, peppers, chilies, lime juice and vinegar. Mix gently to combine and season with salt and pepper. Serves 6 to 8. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. guess who
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 07:33:29

    Ole!

    Reply

  2. Debbie
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 13:07:08

    Hi!
    Just had to tell this mini story. When I was 9 years old (VERY long time ago), my uncle was stationed in the Philipines and showed me how to make quac (my first real recipe!) No onions, what he called ‘sharp weed’ – aka cilantro, fresh tomato, lime juice and salt. He brought the avacados and sharp weed with him on this leave.
    We were up in the middle of the night, talking, laughing and finished off 2 bags of chips and all 6 avacados he brought to our house!
    I have made guacamole ever since.
    Love your blog!

    Reply

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