Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recipe: Guacamole

Ahhh, guacamole... The pinnacle of chips, dip, and summer past times. There are so many versions and methods of how to make this wonderful dish, but few that actually taste good! Many are too thin, bland, processed, or just plain funky tasting. The #1 crime being committed? Too many ingredients!

Chipotle released their guacamole recipe to the public in the past and it surprisingly contained a minimal amount of ingredients. In fact, it's borderline close to seasoned mashed avocados. And the result? Well, with the amount of people raving about it, it speaks for itself.

To understand why less is more in the case of avocados, let us draw upon some comparisons. When we buy a beautiful piece of steak, the golden rule is to let the meat stand for itself. With salt and pepper as the essentials, some can argue that no more is needed. Salt brings out the flavor combination of meat and fat, whereas pepper, garlic, thyme and other seasonings enhance and augment the flavor profiles. To make amazing guacamole, we simply have to change our view of avocados as a fruit, to avocados as a piece of meat.

Avocados are composed of almost 75% fat, as well as many vitamins supplementing healthy diets. Simply said, treat fats similarly. We will season with salt and pepper, and accent the avocados with fragrance.

Let's take a look at Chipotle's guacamole recipe as a reference:

- Avocado
- Lime Juice
- Cilantro
- Red Onion
- Jalapeño
-  Kosher Salt

Simple says it all. Now how about we improve the recipe and change it to our own liking!

Meet the Molcajete
Made of rock solid basalt, this monster will allow you to demolish and pulverize avocados with the same enjoyment as watching a slice of butter melt atop of a stack of flapjacks.

I picked up this molcajete (left) from Costco for a steal of around $25. On the right is a small mortar and pestle from Home Goods for $8, which will work in a pinch and save space. You just won't be able to make as much in one go

Living in California where the avocados are simply amazing every summer, it was definitely worth investing in the molcajete. I highly suggest doing so!

- 4 Large Ripe Avocados
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes
- 4 large cloves of Garlic
- Juice of 1/2 a Lime
- 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped Red Onion

- Be very careful when adding cumin. It's very potent and can be overwhelming if used incorrectly. Start with a smaller amount and work your way up to your personal tastes. I think this ingredient is essential for a much needed earthy fragrance.
- Use jalapeño instead of crushed red chili flakes if you want to. I've found that jalapeños are always a mixed bag of spice levels, so by using the chili flakes I can control the subtle accent of spice more accurately.
- General rule of thumb: 1 garlic clove per large avocado.

- Juice all of the lime at once. I've found that limes can also have varying levels of potency that can be overpowering also.
- Add tomatoes! I know, it looks pretty and may taste great, but the salt content of guacamole plus the water content of tomatoes will inevitably lead to moisture being drawn out, turning your dip into a sloppy mess!

Mash Away!
Start by adding in your salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic into your molcajete. The salt and pepper act as an extra abrasive to help mash the garlic, as well as draw out some juices from the garlic cloves.

Grind until you reach a fine, paste-like consistency.

Add in your avocados!

Pulverize! Then add the rest of the ingredients!

I used white onion this time for this recipe because I forgot to buy red onions. So no worries! You can forget also!

Now once everything is mixed together, I highly suggest storing it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows all of the flavors to meld, the salt to draw out more flavors from the onions and garlic, and mellow out the sharpness of each individual ingredient! This chill time is also exactly why I am against adding tomatoes. They will simply bleed all of their liquids out and give rise to a wet, sloppy dip! And don't even think about adding sour cream in this. I mean...why?

To store properly, be sure to press plastic wrap on top of the guacamole in an air tight container. This minimizes the amount of air exposure, decreasing the rate of oxidation of avocados. In other words, to prevent rapid browning.


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