Friday, May 21, 2010

Great Guacamole!

Here's what Farmer John had for us in Silver Lake this week:

Red beets
Negi onions
Collard greens
Russian kale
Red & green lettuce
Tat soi
Squash blossoms with baby zucchini

The minute I saw those avocados, I thought guacamole. Though I'll have to wait a few days until mine get soft enough to mash up; that's fine. It'll give me time to check out the Silver Lake, Atwater, or Hollywood farmer's markets this weekend and pick up the other ingredients: a beautiful ripe tomato - they're just beginning to show up from local farms, a juicy lemon - I'll get one right off my tree, and a fiery jalapeno. Hang on to one of theose Negi green onions; they're delicious in guacamole.

There are lots of great recipes for guacamole. Here's one of mine:

2 ripe avocados
1 large Negi green onion
1 small ripe tomato
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro or more (or less) to taste
1 t to 1 T minced jalapeno to taste (optional)
Juice of 1 large lemon (more or less to taste)
Red hot sauce, such as Cholula, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Split the avocados in half lengthwise. Remove the pit. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl and mash to your desired consistency. I like my guacamole to have some large chunks of avocado, so I don't mash it until completely smooth, but you can if you prefer.

2. Wash, dry, and mince the green onion. Add it to the avocado.

3. Wash dry, and dice the small tomato and add it to the bowl. If it's particularly juicy, you may want to drain off the juice.

4. If you're using cilantro, wash, dry, and chop it finely and add it to the bowl. I love the flavor of cilantro, but some people think it tastes like soap. Apparently this flavor sensation is genetic. So, it's fine to omit the cilantro. You can substitute a smaller amount (2 T) of chopped parsley, if you'd like.

5. The amount of jalapeno you use is truly a matter of taste. One tablespoon of minced jalapeno will produce a pretty spicy guacamole. So, start with a small amount and add more until you achieve your desired level of hotness. Use gloves when chopping the jalapeno. Remove and discard the seeds.

6. Squeeze the juice of one large lemon into the bowl and stir all the ingredients until well-combined.

7. Add salt, pepper, and a few shots of red hot sauce to taste. Stir again and serve or chill before serving, but not too long, as the guacamole will begin to darken.

The food writer, Harold McGee, says it's a myth that leaving the avocado pit in your guacamole prevents browning. Browning is caused by exposure to air and the pit only blocks this exposure where it actually touches the guacamole. The lemon juice in this recipe will discourage the browning process for a short while. You can further inhibit browning by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole before chilling it. However, it's best to eat guacamole soon after preparing it.



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