Thursday, September 02, 2004

How to Make Guacamole

Keith Burgess-Jackson once again denigrates his culinary skills. But preparing delicious food is among the easiest things in the world. If Keith can do elementary bicycle repairs, as I presume he can, then surely he can learn some basic kitchen skills. Since he likes guacamole, here is how he can make his own. The home-made stuff beats the store-bought kind any day.

You need at least one avocado, and it must be ripe. To ascertain ripeness, grip the avocado between thumb and forefinger and squeeze. If it gives, it's ripe. If it's hard, leave it on the countertop to ripen. Buy only very dark green, almost black, avocados. The brand available to me are called 'Hass.' They tend to be relatively small. There are larger, light green avocados -- shun them.

Now carefully slice the avocado lengthwise with a sharp knife all the way around the pit, which lies at the center. The avocado should now fall into two hemispheres -- or to be exact, two hemispheroids. One of them will have the pit in it. To remove the pit with panache and elegance, jab the sharp end of the knife into the pit, wiggle the knife, and the pit will pop out. To disengage the pit from the knife Maverick-style, whack the dull edge of the knife against the rim of your kitchen trash barrell. It will fly into the trash and you will not have gotten your fingers dirty.

Scoop out the meat of the avocado from the hemipsheroids using a tablespoon and deposit into a shallow bowl, taking care not to get any of the skin of the avocado into the bowl. Now add a righteous gob of good mayonnaise to the contents of the bowl. A good mayonnaise is Best Foods; East of the Rockies this flies under the flag of Hellman's. Don't use any such crap as pseudo-mayo sandwich spread. How much mayo to add? How much arterio-clogging action do you want? Seriously, add a heaping tablespoon, or a bit more.

Now grab a couple of cloves of garlic, peel them, load them one at a time into your garlic press, and squeeze the rascals into the bowl contents. Add Tabasco, Arizona Gunslinger, or any hot sauce of your choice. Tabasco's latest offering, Tabasco Chipotle, is interesting, but at the end of the day, nothing beats Tabasco original.

The final step is a simple mashing operation using a fork. Mash -- or if you are a Leftist, smash -- the bowl contents until they are smooth. Other stuff can be added, but this is Basic Guacamole.

Eat as a dip with tortilla (tor-TEE-ya) chips. Also excellent added to tacos in lieu of salsa, or with salsa. Also good as a sandwich spread. Or try it as an omelet topping. The possibilities are numerous, e.g., Monterey Jack scrambled egg tacos with guacamole, etc.