Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quick and Simple Guacamole




Guacamole is as simple as avocados smashed up with salt and an additional add in or two if you're feeling feisty.  My mom, a die hard guacamole lover, surprised me recently when she told me she had never bought an avocado.  What the what?  How can you never buy something that is so amazingly delicious and easy to work with?!  They're not so intimidating, just take a look at these little guys:



Pretty harmless.  I really wish I would have had googely eyes for that picture...

Oh but they're high in fat, you say.  Well yes they are, but they're high in monosaturated fat, the kind that can help to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, and they're also high in fiber, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K.  I found an interesting study that showed a significant reduction in bad cholesterol in participants who ate an avocado rich diet for a mere week.  You can find it here if you're curious.

Also, I find that if I'm eating a varied, whole foods, plant based diet, I can indulge away in things like avocados, coconut milk, and nuts without having to sweat it.  None of them contain cholesterol, and they all contain vitamins and nutrients that you won't find in animal products.  Everybody wins.

But the main reason I'm posting this simple recipe is just to encourage experimentation in the kitchen.  A few people in my life have recently been expressing an interest in doing more cooking, and they often don't know where to start.  My best advice is this:  start simple.  Let the foods speak for themselves.  You don't have to have mad skills, loads of money, or complicated methods to eat well.  You just need a nice little bag of tricks, small actions each day, and the willingness to try new things.

This guacamole comes together in five minutes.  You can add more exciting things to it if you feel so inclined - tomatoes, salsa, cilantro, and chili to name a few, but these additions are by no means necessary.  I made this little batch today to round out a bowl of chili.


INGREDIENTS

Avocado
Red Onion
Lemon or Lime Juice
Salt
Cumin

  • If the avocados are small, go with one per person.  If they're large, one half per person will do.*
  • Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.  I smack the knife into the pit, twist the knife, and the pit comes right out.  If you're too chicken to try this, you can use a spoon.
  • Scoop the flesh into a bowl, or a mortar and pestle if you have one.
  • Add about a tsp of lemon juice for each serving.  For the two avocados pictured above, which were small, I used the juice of half of one large lemon.
  • Add a pinch of salt, 1/4 tsp of cumin, and about 1 T of minced red onion for each serving.
  • Mash together and enjoy! 

Storage Tip 1:  If you don't eat all of the guacamole on the day you make it (like there's a major emergency that rips you away from the table or something), scrape down the sides of the bowl, smooth the surface, and press a small piece of plastic wrap down on the surface.  You want to avoid contact with air as this will cause it to brown.   If you're not inclined to use plastic wrap, a thin layer of olive oil would do the trick.

Storage Tip 2:  If you need to store an unused half of an avocado, squeeze a bit of lemon juice into a small amount of water (about 1/4 cup) and place the avocado, cut side down, into the lemon water.  It doesn't need to be submerged, you just want the cut side to be in the lemon water to keep it from oxidizing.  Make sense?

*If you're new to buying avocados, look for ones that firm, but yield a little bit to a squeeze.  If they're too firm, they'll need to sit on the counter for a day or two to ripen up.  Avoid avocados that that feel overly soft or mushy.  The ones in the picture were actually a little under ripe, but I was too impatient to wait.

Put it on your chili!  Happy cooking!


Chili recipe forthcoming...

4 comments:

  1. I LIVE to shock you. You do remember I am in Kansas, right? Might I ask....when is the best season for buying an avocado in my local grocery store?

    Love you,
    The Mommy

    PS: Your pictures on here are phenomenal.

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  2. Haha, I know you do :) And I do remember that you are in Kansas, where growing avocados isn't exactly in the cards. Since they're imported all year round, the best/worst season for buying would correspond to the best/worst season where they're coming from. Buy them when they're cheap and plentiful!

    Love you too, and thanks for keeping me on my toes (^______^)

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  3. Lacey, you rock star! I was just looking for some good ideas for guacamole and found some right here--I've never made it using red onion and cumin before. The Moroccan boyfriend will appreciate the spice!
    Also, did you know that if you save the pit of the avocado and stick it in the guacamole/leftover avocado it won't brown? (At least not much.)

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  4. Thanks for the feedback Dee! I'll definitely give the pit-in-the-quac trick a shot :)

    ReplyDelete