When the weather gets warm there are few things I enjoy more than having a nice, cold, adult beverage on a weekend afternoon. It just feels so summer (sadly, I don't have a veranda, a lanai, a terrace, or even a stoop on which I can lounge, cocktail in hand. Ah, well. Such is life). This past Sunday just so happened to be one of those kinds of days. Mark and I had been to the farmers' market earlier and inspired by a small basket of jalepeno peppers that cost me just one single doller, I was busy whipping up a big bowl of guacamole to nibble on as we sipped our drinks (Diet Squirt and Kettel One - don't judge me).
The fun thing about guacamole is that, other than the required avocados, ingredients and amounts are all up to the individuals. It's barely a recipe. The first time I made guacamole I went online and did a little research. I remember I made a document that listed the requirements (the avocado, lime juice, and salt), the variations (tomatoes, garlic, and cilantro - yes or no, the types of onions used - red, white, brown, yellow or scallion, the variety of peppers used - jalapeno, poblano, serrano, chipotle) and the little twists that made one particular guac different that the rest (tomatillos and corn - either roasted or not, diced cucumber and pears, Miracle Whip). After comparing them all, this is the one I've come up with. It's not exactly revolutionary but it's not completely basic either.
4 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced (I remove the seeds from one of the peppers but leave the seeds in the other - I find it gives just the right amount of heat)
6 cherry tomatoes, juiced, seeded and diced
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
juice of 1 1/2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, garlic, jalapenos, and cumin. Give it all a gentle stir. Next, cut the avocados in half and discard the pit. Do we all know how to remove the pit without sloppily digging into the avocado meat? Here's what I do. Hold the half of the avocado containing the pit in one hand. In the other hand, take a large, sharp knife and sort of chop down at the pit, so that the knife's edge gets embedded in it. Then rotate the knife slightly so that the pit pops loose.
Then do we all know how to nicely dice the avocado without getting it all over one's hands or having it smear into one's cutting board? Another fun little tip. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut through the meat of the avocado, going down to the skin, but not through. Make a series of parallel cuts going in one direction and then make more going perpendicular to the first. It ought to look like this...
Then take a spoon and run it in between the skin and the flesh to remove the diced avocado. See? Isn't that fun?
Add the diced avocado to the tomato, onion, pepper mixture and then add the juice of half a lime and stir gently to combine. Continue to add juice, half a lime at a time and stir until some of the avocado has become creamy. I used only the juice of a lime and a half, but of course it all depends on the ripeness of the avocados and the number of them being used. Taste for seasoning. You will need a good amount of salt.
This is, in my opinion, the perfect guacamole. It's bright and fresh thanks to the tomato and the lime juice and it's chunky yet creamy enough that chips don't break off when dipping. The jalapeno seeds spice it nicely and the cumin imbues everything with a subtle smokiness. I'm telling you, cumin is the key. It's all about cumin, people.