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Saturday, January 21, 2012

ULTIMO GUACAMOLE: Recipe for the Ages

EDITOR’S NOTE: In preparation for the Super Bowl, we blog about Southern California’s three major food groups: Avocado, Salsa & Guacamole. The Spicy Guacamole recipe is from Brittany over at Kitchenette Food & Photography blog.

GUEST BLOG: This is a recipe that really makes me miss San Diego. Guacamole used to be a fairly large part of my diet! Between my regular stops at a variety of Mexican restaurants and drive-thrus, and the near constant availability of quality guacamole ingredients, there was always an excuse to indulge in this flavorful dip.

Guacamole combines two things I love in one little bowl.

For starters, it’s Mexican food! We take our Mexican food pretty seriously in San Diego, as evidenced by San Diego's recent victory in the Burrito War. (Foil wrapped, steamed tortillas? Pfft.)

Also, it brings people together! Let’s face it – no Super Bowl or Cinco de Mayo party is complete without guacamole. I love to entertain, so anything that can be served at a party is my kind of food.

I suppose I’ve been working on this guacamole in some form or another for several years now. I didn’t start documenting the amounts of what I added until fairly recently, but it has pretty much always been made with the same ingredients.

The thing about guacamole is that it’s made from nearly all fresh ingredients, so a recipe isn’t going to be 100% foolproof. You’ll have to make some adjustments depending on how each ingredient in that batch tastes.

My guacamole tip is this: baby steps. Add maybe half of the fresh ingredients to the avocados and taste the result before adding the remainder. There’s nothing worse than finding out you got a really strong onion or an especially spicy pepper after you’ve added all of it to the bowl. Be sure to taste before you commit!

If you don't want this too spicy, you can take the seeds out of the pepper or simply add less. Regardless of your desired spice level, be sure to add the pepper, onion, cilantro, and lime cautiously. Add around 1/2 to 3/4 of each of these ingredients at first, taste the guacamole, then add more as you see fit.

• 6 ripe hass avocados (about 2 pounds)

• juice from 2-3 limes

• 1 large tomato, seeds and pulp removed, diced

• 1 serrano chili, minced

• 1/2 a red onion, minced

• 3/4 cup chopped cilantro

• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

• a few turns of freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon paprika method

• Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and place in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of two limes over the avocados and mix well. This will keep them form turning brown. Use your knife to cut up the avocados, but leave them in fairly large chunks. They'll continue to break up as you mix in the rest of the ingredients.

• Add the rest of the ingredients. Remember to be mindful of the fresh ingredients, they can be potent at times! Carefully mix everything together, trying not to turn the avocados into complete mush.

• Taste and add more lime juice, serrano chili, onion, and cilantro if necessary.
Yields: About 4 cups

To store leftovers, or if making ahead of time: cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning. Refrigerate.

Original photography by Brittany Everett/

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