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Basic Ingredients: · Ripe Avocados · Onion · Cilantro · Lemon or Lime · Tomatoes · Fresh Garlic ·
Hot Peppers (Habanero, Jalepeño, Serrano, or something similar) · Salt · Fresh Ground Pepper

photo from mpslori

Last night I coached my roommate through making guacamole for the first time – it came out all kinds of delicious! This Aztecan dip is something that doesn’t have strict measurements, so there is a lot of room to play. And it’s something anyone can do. Traditionally, guac is made in a molcajete, but a fork, or even fingers work just as well. Below are some pointers or techniques that I have learned over time in making guacamole. Please, add some tips of your own!

The basic process: I match equal parts avacado and tomato, the rest is to taste. Finely chop everything up and then mash with a fork. Voi!

• The Avacados. The two most popular cultivars are Hass and Californian. Most types of avocados are grown in California, but the one that carries it’s name is larger than most and more vibrant green in color. I prefer the Hass (named after the mail carrier that originally cultivated it), which is also the most easily accessible. If the avacado is hard and green, it will be difficult to mash. You want some give when you press on the skin. If it has a lot of give and seems squishy inside, it’s liable to be brown and overripe. If you get hard and green avocados – put them in a paper bag overnight to hasten the ripening process.

Lemon or Lime? Sometimes I use both. But I always use lime over lemon. I just prefer the taste. The acidity of both work to break apart the consistency of the avacados, and keeps the green from browning. Sometimes people add sour cream as a preservative to keep from browning, but I don’t like to dilute the taste of the fresh ingredients in this way.

Salt. Kosher is always best. The thin flakes just mix better. A few tablespoons should do ya.

Cilantro. Substitute with Italian Parsely if you must. For three avacados worth of guac, I grab a fistful and chop it up very fine. I add it in smaller increments, so as to get the right amount. I usually leave a few full leaves aoff to the side to garnish the top at the end.

Onions. Red onions work well to add a contrasting color to the mix. But absolutely any onion will do. You can leave this out, but it really helps maintain a chunkier texture.

Peppers! Do you have a favorite? Use that. I usually choose the pepper based on the crowd I am trying to please. Habaneros are my favorite, but they top the Scoville Scale as the hottest peppers available, at least in Chicago. Habs can be too hot for a lot of people. Red peppers can add a nice color. Often, I’ll mix a couple different kinds of peppers. Leave the seeds in for heat, but you may choose to remove them.

Possible Additions: Paprika, Cumin, Worcestershire Sauce, Chili Pepper, …any other suggestions?