It’s All About the Avocado

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In 2020, we’ve seen many Chef’s in residence picking up new recipes (that’s us!).  These Chef’s enjoy cooking and have a go-to-recipe for company or a frequently-requested dish to take to parties (including game night at home now).  Mine is guacamole. I have a number of other dishes I make really well, but no one seems to care. They always want the guacamole!

My first recipe for Guac.
My first recipe for Guac.

The first few times I made guacamole, I used The Little Black Book Of Hor d’Oeuvres for my recipe. I tinker with my recipe quite often.  When I lived in California, I have had access to an avocado tree in the back yard; loved to use those.

Isn't it gorgeous?

The Leto's tree is ground zero to avocados this fall.
Ground Zero

Avocado trees don’t produce fruit every year. Our next door neighbors had a tree in California and when it was in season – they had at least a couple of hundred avocados.  They would need some additional recipes besides guacamole to make use of those avocados.  Fresh avocados from back-yard trees are amazing – they are smooth as butter.

First pro tip: the avocados from Florida, they are about double the size of the ones in California and Mexico – they DO NOT MAKE GOOD GUAC!  They just don’t have the taste.  The best avocados are grown in a Mediterranean environment.  Learn more about where avocados are grown. Click on this link to answer those questions you have about avocados!

I make a few different versions of guacamole, one with no tomatoes and another with no garlic, but for this blog – let’s go with the whole enchilada.  Make note: I always make too much on purpose. Whether it’s for a small get together at our house or a party at someone’s house – we always want some the next morning on our eggs or with a few chips.

Everything you need. Good for tailgating or drinking Wright's Station's Pinot Nior!
Everything you need.

My recipe follows below. And because she is the Queen – here is one from Ina Garden as well.  A few of my “pro tips” for making guacamole (I’ve literally made it hundreds of times, trust me):

    • Use fresh-squeezed limes. If you don’t have a lime, use a lemon!
    • Salt is key! Sprinkle some kosher salt on the mixture, taste and, then salt some more.  My favorite salt these days is Gray Salt from Napa Style.My kitchen staple: Napa Style's Gray Salt
    • Most people don’t use red pepper, but it gives a bit of sweetness to the dip as well as some crunch.
    • A little garlic goes a long way
    • Recently I started using one heirloom tomato instead of Roma tomatoes. I salt it before I put it in because it brings out the flavor.
    • Leave a pit in each container of guacamole once it’s made. It will prevent it from browning.
    • Fresh Cilantro is also a key ingredient!
    • Once it’s in the container to chill in the frig, squeeze more fresh lime on it to keep it even more fresh
    • If you like it really spicy, then use a more robust pepper.
    • Eat with chips or even better, try Stacy’s Pita Chips. To cut calories, try carrots, slices of red pepper or celery instead.

      My tools make it so easy!
      Tools make it easy

Someone recently joked with me that I had a tool for every action in the kitchen. Thank you Williams Sonoma!

Brittany Kerns craved my guacamole when she was pregnant with her first baby.  When we got married, Brit, Dustin, and Emory gave us the mini chopper, guacamole masher, and pitter/slicer. I can make guac in 5 minutes with all these handy tools!

And the bowls are my pride and joy in my kitchen. I bought them 8 years ago at an antique store in Sonoma for $15. When I was dating my husband, I used to joke that if he broke one of them, he might as well walk out the door. I wasn’t joking.

Always the empty dish at the party: My Guacamole

1 /2 purple onion

1 Jalapeno peppers

1/3 cup of red pepper

1-2 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of Cilantro

1 red heirloom tomato (Roma is fine too and sometimes I use the little cherry tomatoes)

4 avocados (soft to the touch, but NOT BROWN)

2 limes (roll them on the cutting board before slicing into gets the juices going!)

Kosher salt or Napa Style’s Gray Salt

fresh crushed black pepper

 

Mixing instructions

Either dice the onions, garlic and peppers in the mini-chopper or by hand and place in the mixing bowl.  Add the diced red pepper.

Squeeze the juice of one lime on top the mix. Lightly salt.

Take the leaves off the Cilantro stalks and coarsely chop, adding to the mix.

Cilantro.
Cilantro.

Dice and add the tomato.

Cut the avocados in half, pulling out the pit and setting it aside. Add the avocados to the mix.

Pitting the avocado.
Pitting the avocado.

Juice the second lime.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

If it needs more salt, sprinkle some on top.

Add back in a bit or two and then refrigerate. (just don’t tell your family where it is!)

IMG_8547

When it’s go time, take a sample.  If it needs a little more flavor, add a sprinkle or two of salt along with a squeeze of fresh lime.  Time to eat!

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