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Guacamole Ole!

by Jane Worthington-Roth

The other day I overheard a very funny conversation in a restaurant. Two young guys were chatting about avocados. One asked the other, ”Why do all girls love avocados? I’ve never met a girl that doesn’t love avocados…” Well, I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, but this gal certainly loves avocados!

One of my favorite ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is with a big bowl of homemade guacamole. As a matter of fact, I could make a meal out of a big bowl of “guac” and bag of chips! It’s easy to make and the freshness of homemade far surpasses any prepackaged blends that often contain preservatives.

I don’t generally purchase kitchen products that are used for just a single recipe, but I have two exceptions: my wooden salad bowl for Caesar Salad and my molcajete for guacamole. Maybe it’s just the “ambiance” but I’m sure my guacamole tastes even better when made and presented in it!

A molcajete is a Mexican mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone. As it ages, this extremely heavy bowl gets darker and more “seasoned” – and is the perfect vessel for preparing guacamole with balanced creaminess and chunks. If you don’t have a molcajete, you can make the guacamole in a bowl using a fork to mash and combine the ingredients.

For my guacamole recipe, I prefer using Campari tomatoes because they have a lot of meat and few seeds. After first slicing them in half, I squeeze out as many seeds as possible to keep the guacamole for getting watered down. During the summer season, use local tomatoes from the farmers’ markets for the tastiest results. My guacamole is very thick, so you’ll want to purchase some sturdy corn chips for dipping.

Cinco de Mayo Guacamole

3 teaspoons jalapeño peppers (seeds and ribs discarded) finely minced, divided
3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped, divided
3 teaspoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, divided
4 Campari tomatoes cut into ½ inch pieces, seeds discarded
2 ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper
Corn chips, for serving

If you are using a molcajete, place 1 teaspoon jalapeño, 1 teaspoon cilantro, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon red onion into the bowl and grind into a paste using the pestle. The paste will coat the inside of the molcajete and help season your guacamole. If you’re not using a molcajete, just add the entire amounts to your bowl.

Into your molcajete or bowl, add the avocados, and mash/grind about half of them, leaving the rest chunky.

Add the tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and garlic and gently stir to combine. Sprinkle on about half of the lime juice, add about a half-teaspoon each salt and pepper, stir then taste. If you’d like, add more lime juice and seasonings. Serve immediately.

People tend to have a “love-hate” relationship with cilantro. There are those who absolutely love the fresh flavor, while others don’t like it at all. Although cilantro is traditionally used in Mexican cooking, feel free to leave it out, or add a little chopped parsley instead. You can adjust the heat by adding more or less jalapeño, but be aware that the flavors will intensify as the guacamole sits, so add more jalapeños a little at a time.