Sunday, May 31, 2015

Guacamole with Grace and Kailey

A weekend favorite we're always dying to bring out again.

Whenever my sister's home from school, there is a huge demand for her to make her famous guacamole, especially on weekends. This stuff goes fast, and if you don't take your spot at the coffee table and swoop in with enthusiasm, you don't get any. It truly is a case of you eat or you don't get any in the Game of Guacamole.

Sorry, that was bad.

Honestly, I didn't used to like guacamole much, but after trying some at a restaurant out of desperation - I was starving and our food was taking forever to arrive - I've become a fan, much to the disappointment of my other family members because that means one more person to compete with for it.

I've been wanting to share this with you guys for months, and Abby and I finally found a time to do it this weekend! Since Grace and Kailey are our Girl of the Year dolls and this really isn't a historical recipe, they're hosting this post, and my sister got to be the hand model you see in most of the pictures.

Guacamole has a very long history, dating back to at least the Aztecs, who called it avocado sauce. It became popular with Spanish conquistadors and settlers, and has grown in popularity all over the United States over the last seventy or so years. The primary ingredient is obviously the avocado, which has been domesticated in Mexico for years. The trees have both male and female flowers, which means it can self pollinate, but because of the timing of the blooms, it's generally recommended to have a second tree near by to maximize your fruit production. Because of this, some people have taken to using the avocado as a sign of love and relationships, as you generally need two people to make one of those work, too!

Abby said she wasn't really sure how she got started making guacamole. She's pretty sure the first time she had it was out in California with our great uncle and his then-now-ex-wife, who made an excellent guacamole. She ate and ate and ate and ate it, and then at some point a few years later decided hey, you know what, I want to learn how to make this myself! Which is really the best solution to cravings for a particular food.

To make her guacamole, you start with three Hass avocados. Split each one down the middle - mind the pit! just let the knife sink into the skin and move it all around the length of the fruit - and separate the halves. Set aside at least one of the pits for later. Cut the meat of the fruit length wise so you've got a few centimeters in between each cut and then once or twice width wise. You can then easily push or pry the meat out into a medium sized mixing bowl.

The major difference between my sister's guacamole and most other people's is that she uses lemons instead of lime for her citrus, because she is a bit of a lemon addict. I have seen her eat one like an orange on many occasions. Honestly, I prefer lemon flavor to lime too, so this works out great for me. You need the juice of a whole lemon and a whole ripe jalapeno pepper. When prepping the pepper, you might want to wear gloves to protect your hands from the hot oils, and remember to remove the seeds before adding them to the bowl. The pepper should also be finely chopped to make sure there's enough heat throughout the guacamole, not just centered in a few giant chunks.

Next goes in a whole tomato, which should also be finely cubed. Abby precuts hers in one direction before slicing in the opposite direction, which gives you decently even sized chunks of tomato for mixing in with the other ingredients. Fresh chopped cilantro goes in next, and this can be tweaked according to taste. Most of the spices in this dish are put in based on flavor, not a specific measurement.

After mashing up the avocados and mixing everything together, add in salt, pepper and cumin, again to taste. You can add other spices if you want, but this is pretty perfect the way it is.

Remember how I said you needed to set aside the pit for later? Now's the time to plop it in the middle of your bowl. You're ready to enjoy!

Why is the pit in the middle of the bowl, you ask? This was a trick taught to us by our great uncle's ex-wife. Leaving the pit in helps prevent the guacamole from turning brown if you need to refrigerate it or otherwise make it in advance for a party or get together. This isn't a magic fix - it'll still get gross if you leave it to sit for too long - but it makes a huge difference.

Good guacamole recipes don't often have many ingredients to them. You want the avocado to be the star of the dish with a couple extra layers of flavor from the spice, citrus and salt. If you want even more flavor and texture, you're welcome to add an onion in, but we generally don't feel they're necessary. This recipe definitely has some kick from the jalapeno, but it's not so spicy that it's hard to eat a lot of or to sell to a large audience. The only person in my family who shies away from it is my grandma, who's spice tolerance is so low that we often joke she would think a banana is too spicy.

So there you have it, my sister's famous guacamole. I hope you guys enjoy it if you decide to try making it yourself! Now that I know how to do it, it might be fun to try out an authentic early guacamole recipe sometime and compare the two. Guess I'll have to pencil in to the schedule sometime.

Special thanks to Abby for making the guac and telling me about how she got into making it, and to my family for being patient with me while I staged pictures with the dolls before they got to descend on the bowl with tortilla chips. I appreciated it!

This entire bowl will be gone in ten minutes at most. I'm dead serious.


  1. I love guacamole! It is one of my favorite dips. I like mine without the jalapeno, but it might be fun to try the next time I find it on the menu at my house.

    1. It's definitely something you can add a little or a lot of if you want to take a risk and see where it goes! This batch was pretty spicy, but I think we used a bigger pepper than usual.

  2. That trick with the pit is a good one to know, thanks for that!

    1. You're welcome! Happy to pass it along, I know it made a huge difference for us. xD

  3. The only person in my family who shies away from it is my grandma, who's spice tolerance is so low that we often joke she would think a banana is too spicy.

    "Went to Mexican Restaurant. Chips too spicy, no one spoke English. 0 stars on yelp."

    1. I definitely laughed, but I want to take a second to clarify that that's not what's going on with my grandma - she loves trying new things and is very much a fan of cuisines that don't match her ethnic background, she just is very sensitive to heat.

  4. I never put jalapeno in my guacamole -- just lemon juice, salt, garlic, and sour cream. And, of course, avocado. (I think that guacamole is like turkey stuffing; the variety you grew up with always seems like the definitive version.)

    To keep your guacamole from turning grey, add more lemon juice. Or put plastic wrap right down on the surface of it.

    1. I'd actually heard the tip about the plastic wrap before! Ours just never winds up sticking around long enough to need it anyway, haha.