Posts tagged guacamole
Here in Cleveland, people utter the words bacon bleu cheese guacamole in hushed tones. Celebrity chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon featured this guacamole in a Food Network episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The place where he sampled the guac? Lopez on Lee an unassuming restaurant in Cleveland Heights where Rick Bayless once donned the head chef hat.
I haven’t been to Lopez on Lee (the night Mr. Squid and I decided to go we ended up at a Cambodian restaurant instead). But as a guacamole fan, it’s easy to imagine how to pull off this recipe: good guac IMHO is a matter of mixing together half of your ingredients first while saving the other half to stir in. The half-and-half method makes for a creamy guac that still has chunks of flavor tucked inside.
Here’s how we make bacon bleu cheese guac at our house:
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 (easily doubled)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
4 strips bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Salt to taste
- In bowl, add the inside from one of the avocados and the Greek yogurt. Mash and blend using a fork.
- Mix in the cumin, pepper, garlic, and half of the bleu cheese; combine until smooth.
- Slice the other avocado into small pieces, then stir into the smooth mixture along with the bacon and the rest of the bleu cheese crumbles.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with tortilla chips.
My teen liked the pungent flavor of the bleu cheese mixed with smoky bacon and creamy avocado. My younger two sampled small tastes but weren’t real anxious to try more. This guacamole is definitely for more grown-up taste buds. If you’re looking for a 4th of July showstopper, this is it.
A molcajete is pretty much a the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle with Aztec origins. Mine came from a side street market in Mexico City and weighs 10 pounds (thank goodness my husband got it before the airlines started charging you to check your bags).
Made of volcanic rock, the molcajete’s porous surface absorbs the flavors of what has been ground in it before. So the garlic rub you might have used to start off a salsa a month ago will leave hints of flavor in the guacamole you make today; every batch is entirely unique.
For instructions on how to season your molcajete you can check out my post on Wandering Educators.
To create a basic tomato salsa at home using a molcajete here’s what you need:
Prep time: 15 minutes (depending on how hard you grind)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped into slices* (See note)
2 slices onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (or 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds)
Peppers (you can use whatever kind of heat your family prefers–cayenne powder, fresh serrano peppers, jalapenos)
- Place the cumin and garlic in the molcajete bowl. Grind into a paste using the hand tool.
- Next, grind the pepper of your choice in the molcajete bowl. I often use dried chiles, but fresh is great too.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro to the molcajete and start grinding. (My kids have fun doing this).
- Mix in salt to taste and serve at your table in the molcajete.
*Note: Many salsa recipes call for you to remove the tomato skins before grinding. I’ve found that the skin comes off during the process and you can take it out easily. Another option is to use drained, canned tomatoes. These work well, especially the roasted variety.
Your turn: Have you ever used a molcajete? What about a mortar and pestle?
For my birthday Mr. Squid made a Mexican feast–chicken and potato ancho-spiced taquitos, rice and refried beans. But we only had one avocado. Not enough for guacamole. So he poked around the refrigerator to see how he could improvise. Now we’ve been whipping Greek yogurt in with salad dressing and vinaigrettes for awhile now, so he figured the creamy consistency of the yogurt might pair well with avocado. It did.
A few good reasons to give this Mexican-Greek fusion guac a try? Here you go:
At least around here avocados are pricy right now–adding Greek yogurt into your guac makes it go farther!
Say your avocado isn’t quite mash ready; mix in Greek yogurt and you can get the perfect consistency, whether the avocado is ripe or not.
Kids who are turned off by regular guac might like this lighter version.
Prep time: 10 minutes
1/3-2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup salsa (green preferred)
1/2 lime (enough juice for 1 Tbsp.)
Tabasco (or other spicy sauce)
salt and pepper
- Cut the avocado in half lengthwise.
- Scoop both halves of the avocado into a mixing bowl along with 1/3 cup Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup salsa.
- Mix together using a emulsion blender (or you can use a blender).
- Add 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice.
- Adjust taste and consistency by adding extra salsa and Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.
- Blend and serve.
*For a chunky guacamole, put only half of the avocado into the Greek yogurt mix. Follow the remaining steps. Cut the other half of avocado into dices and mix with a spoon into the pureed guacamole mix.
Kids’ reactions: The teen gave it two thumbs up (it’s taken her a long while to like avocados). My two younger kids tried a dip or two of guacamole with their taquitos–they liked that it was dippable, but no rave reviews from them. I’m working on it.
Traditional Mexican taco shops, or tacquerias, often offer a liquidy version of guacamole along with salsas and such to put on your tacos. The thin guac is fine for tacos, but not so good for chip dipping. I wanted to come up with an in-between guacamole. Not too thin, not too chunky. Enter tomatillos, a mandarin-orange sized green berry that many people mistake for a green tomato. You can usually find fresh tomatillos in the produce section at the grocers near the chiles. Tomatillos have husks that cover the green berry, which is slightly sticky on the outside and tangy with a subtle sweetness on the inside.
Prep time: 15 minutes
2 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic
2 large slices white onion (about 1/4 of the onion)
1/2-1 fresh serrano chile or jalapeno
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup cilantro
1/3-3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons diced, canned green chiles (optional, but really good)
- Bring 1 teaspoon olive oil to medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed pan (I used my cast iron).
- Remove the husks, rinse, and then place the tomatillos, garlic, and onion into the hot pan.
- Roast for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the tomatillo skin is beginning to blister.
- Place the tomatillos, onions, and garlic into a blender along with the vinegar, 1/3 cup water, avocados, and serrano chile (keep in mind, the more chile you use, the hotter the guac will be so you might want to start with one half, before adding the entire chile).
- Add more water to adjust consistency. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.
- Blend in the cilantro (and green chiles, if using) and get your dipping chips ready!
Bonus: I made this guacamole a day ahead to serve with dinner and with the vinegar whipped in the color stayed bright.
I’m celebrating Cinco de Mayo all week long with info and recipes all about my favorite Mexican foods. So let’s get right to it. Serranos. You have to look carefully at this picture, but the serranos sold at my local market are always green (squint and you’ll see ‘em in between the red ones).
I prefer the flavor and bite of serranos to jalapeno peppers in fresh salsas and guacamole. (And truth be told, serranos are much more common in Mexico than jalapenos anyway.)
See jalapenos have a strong initial heat at the front of your mouth. The zing is overwhelming to the point I can’t taste what I’m eating. But serranos have a different heat experience entirely. It comes at the back of your throat, a little sweet, tingling of heat, building as you munch.
I usually toss in a serrano or two whenever I want to add some heat to a Mexican dish. For a real kick, don’t bother seeding them. For you slow cookers out there–add these to the pot too (the heat will diminish the longer you cook ‘em).