There are few tastes in this world equal to or better than fresh guacamole. That is just all there is to it.
I haven’t blogged about food in a while, which is odd because I’ve been cooking a great deal. I just bought a new 20 lb roaster yesterday (it was on sale for $3.47) and I am anxious to use it. I might buy a turkey this weekend just to roast something!
Back to guacamole. If you buy that garbage they sell in the grocery store that is pre-made, you are making a terrible mistake. Guacamole is so much yummier freshly made and it requires almost no skill to make. There is no excuse for eating nasty guac.
Here is my simple recipe.
You Will Need:
- 3 mid-sized to large ripe avocados (4 if they are small)
- 1 red onion (which is actually purple)
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 large red tomato
- white vinegar
- lemon or lime juice
- garlic powder
- chili powder
What to Do
Start with washing the fresh veggies. Dice the tomato and put it in a bowl. Strip the cilantro leaves from the stems (this is important!) and then dice the cilantro as fine as humanly possible. Put it in the bowl with the tomato. Peel the red onion and use half of it. Keep the other half for something else. Dice the half onion, put it in the bowl with the tomato. Chop the green onions, completely, but not as fine as you did the cilantro and put it in the bowl with the tomato.
Pour about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar over this mixture then dash in about a teaspoon of chili powder and garlic. If you do not want this spicy at all, you can cut back on the chili powder and garlic or go with a dash or two, taste it, and then add more if you desire. It is completely based on your own likes. Stir.
Peel your avocados and put them in a separate bowl. A quick note on when an avocado is ripe. It is ripe when, as you hold it in your hand, it dimples, or gives, to light pressure from your finger. If you are working with hard avocados, that means they are not ripe. You need to wait until they are ripe. Peel avocados by cutting through it to the core, then sliding the knife around it so that it is bisected. Then you pull it apart, pop out the seed and push the hard nasty rind off. If you need to, use a spoon.
After you peel the avocados, splash in a half teaspoon of the lemon or lime juice and a little salt and pepper. If you really like garlic, you can put a little more garlic powder into the avocados, but not too much. Remember this golden rule of cooking–you can always add spices later, but you can’t take them out! Use a hand blender (I use a Braun-multipractic hand blender which I received as a wedding present many many years ago) to break down the avocados. If they are ripe enough, this can be done with a fork but I always use my hand blender because it is so much fun!
Fold the mix from the veggie bowl into the avocado bowl and mix well. Do not blend again! Guac should be chunky for crying out loud, not creamy. Creamy guac is gross guac.
Taste it with a tortilla chip and decide what it needs more of (more garlic, more salt, more chili powder) or if you’d like to kick up the heat a bit with some Tabasco. It’s totally up to you.
Put it in the fridge, but you need to eat this dish within 24 hours, because after that, it turns a nasty blackish gray. The lemon juice helps with that a little, but that is just what avocados do when they are peeled. So eat up, and never make too much in one batch.
Why are Lent and Ash Wednesday a good idea?
This is a post from a previous year that I am re-posting today because, obviously, it is Ash Wednesday that, for me, helps answer some of that question.
This is the week that we Christians who follow a liturgical pattern of the year mark the journey through Lent and toward Easter. It all begins on Ash Wednesday. I consistently find that when I take the ash and observe Lent my experience of Easter is much richer and therefore more meaningful to me. I did not grow up in a church which practiced Lent and Ash Wednesday, so when I learned about it as an adult I was skeptical. However, as I dug around and realized that sin, prayer, confession and death with eternal judgment were all major themes, I knew I was all in. What kind of Baptist doesn’t get excited about that! But over the years as I have led my church to practice and observe Ash Wednesday and Lent I have encountered some objections to the practice.
1. Lent is only for Roman Catholics.
There is a certain amount of truth to that claim. Catholics do observe Lent and Ash Wednesday. However, the counter is true as well. Catholics also baptize and preach. Does that mean I should not baptize and preach? No, certainly not. The best answer to this argument though, is that the roots of Lent and Ash Wednesday go way back to a time way before there were any distinctions such as Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists. Much of Catholic history and tradition is also my tradition—we have a shared origin in Christ and the early church. Besides, some of the greatest Christians I’ve ever met, studied, read, or learned about have been Roman Catholics. It is time we put such prejudices and biases away.
2. Ash Wednesday and Lent are too negative.
Yes, I suppose that is the way it might seem. The major themes of Ash Wednesday are death, dust, mortality, sin, confession, fasting and contrition. Lent, if done correctly, will be very uncomfortable and sometimes a downer. People from traditions which emphasize the “Jesus makes me happy all the time” might be a little put off by such ‘negativism.’ The thing, though, is that the Scriptures call us to contemplate such. I should be painfully aware of my own mortality. “From dust I came and to dust I shall return” is a powerful thought. Our culture likes to pretend death isn’t real, but it is and therefore I must confront my sin and deal with it in this life. I should get my appetites under control and bring my body into discipline. Ash Wednesday and Lent help us do that with a focus and the help of our community.
3. We should always pray and fast and confess, not just one season a year.
I so agree. I try and make prayer and confession a part of my daily routine. Fasting is the kind of thing I’ve done in various ways throughout the year. I especially encourage fasting before making big decisions. It clears the mind. But again, I bring the counter argument to this objection by saying if we should always be doing it, then how can it be wrong to be doing it now, at Lent, when millions, if not billions of people around the world are also engaged in it. By fasting, praying, and confessing at the same time the Christian community is bound by a common experience which might have a powerful impact on the world.
I also ask, if you do not fast during Lent, then when do you fast? The New Testament seems to expect it of Christ-followers and if you’re not going to do it now, then when do you plan on it? Why not now?
Before I bring this to a close, I want folks to understand I am not trying to convince anyone they have to observe Ash Wednesday and Lent to be a good Christian or even for Easter to be significant. Many good, wonderful, Jesus-loving Christ-followers never follow Lent and are great people whom I admire. What I am arguing is that the practice of it is not inherently wrong or misguided, and that many people might actually be stirred by the practice in positive ways. It can’t hurt and it just might change your perspective for the better.
If you’re interested, but don’t really know where to start, check out Suggested Guidelines for Lent. It is a good place to start.