Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco de Yummo

 If people are what they eat- then I married a wet super burrito with a side of street tacos. Clearly- the hubs loves him some Mexi food- and if he had his druthers, we would celebrate Cinco de Mayo almost every day. In reality, we come pretty close to that, and we tend to have some pretty impressive Mexican feasts, courtesy of the hubster, at least once a week. He occasionally goes all out and journeys into some less desirable regions to hit-up authentic Mexican markets (Mi Tierra on East 14th is his go-to) and the results are always tasty. What can I say, marriage has its perks, and in my case, taco night is one of them.

While I'd like to give him all the credit for something for a change, the real truth of the matter is that, in my opinion, a Mexican meal is really only as good as the massive pile of guacamole that you're dipping it into, and when it comes to the guac around here, I'm the one with the fail-proof family recipe.

Passed down from my beloved dad, a master of the art of dip preparation, this recipe is quick and easy, and if I do say so myself, the perfect balance of salty and zesty. So here it is mamas, have it at:

2 Avacados- should be relatively firm, but not so firm that you can't make an impression with your thumb using slight pressure
1/2 of 1 small fresh lime
Garlic salt to taste (about 1-2 tsp)
2 spoonfuls of  Herdez Casera salsa or Herdez Salsa Verde (or fresh pico de gallo)
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno- seeded

I like to cut my avos and use a nice big spoon to scoop out the contents. I've found a fork to be the best "masher" for an ideal texture. It's a good idea to always leave at least one of your avo pits in the dip, as this will keep it from browning for much longer.

Next, I squeeze the half lime directly into the mashed avo and mix.

Now, here's the key people- Garlic Salt. Regular salt will do, and, truth be told, sometimes I add a little extra plain ol' salt in with my garlic salt cause I'm crazy like that, but Garlic Salt will make magical guacamole love happen and just gives it that extra zing. You'll see.

Now for the salsa. Some of you may think this is cheating and maybe it is. You could just finely dice some tomatoes ( I like romano tomatoes for this, because they are the firmest and have the least juice/seeds in the middle) and some red onion and call it a day, but because I'm a flavor machine and we're riding this bus all the way to flavor town, trust me on the salsa. Chances are, when you're making a legit Mexi dish, you'll have some fresh pico de gallo around, but if you're poor like us and fresh pico de gallo has to be rationed in favor of paying utility bills, then Herdez is the stuff. I actually first discovered Herdez at a real Mexican supermarket while in Mexico staying at my friend's house. We love it because it comes in little 1 oz cans for 99 cents(sounds scary, I know), but it is surprisingly legit and perfect because we inevitably throw out half of those big old jars when we are eating for just the family. The ranchera works nicely, but occasionally I mix it up with some of the salsa verde for a zingier, spicier blend. Be mindful when adding your salsa- too much will take away from the texture- and a good guac should be chunky- not too creamy. I usually start with a single spoonful, and add more as needed. I'd say, for 2 avo guac, I usually use 2 small spoonfuls or less.  If you want more texture, supplement with the diced romanos and red onion as needed.

Please note, it is important to have lots of tortilla chips handy during guac preparation so that you can taste throughout each step as you add ingredients to gauge the amount necessary for each. Plus, I sometimes find that I have a tendency to go too salty when I'm not tasting with the already salty chip on my tongue.

Chop up your cilantro finely and add  the diced leaves in increments.  Taste as you add to achieve desired cilantro-ness. I like it because it adds a hint of freshness to the guac, but too much of it can totally overwhelm the dish, since it's a really strong flavor and scent.

Same goes for the jalapeno- dice very finely, remove seeds, add, mix and add more as needed- or eliminate altogether if your prepping for kids or lame people who don't like spiciness.

And- ¡Ya está! There you have it. I know six paragraphs is a little ridiculous, but clearly, I take my guacamole very seriously. As should you.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo Mamas Calientes!

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