by Julie Snyder
If you've ever been known to get behind a taco, burrito, or head with your chips toward the dip, then you've probably enjoyed some spicy guacamole.
Have you tried making your own? It can turn an everyday meal into adventurous occasion.
All you really need for is ripe avocados and salt, but a few more ingredients improve a good thing! The next most important ingredient is lime juice; then cilantro, chiles, onion, and tomato.
September 16 is National Guacamole Day and November 14 is National Spicy Guacamole Day. Show your true green colors and mash up a batch, today!
Prep time: 10 minutes | Total time: 10 minutes | Yield: 8 servings
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1/2 mild onion
• 1/2 jalepeño, or 1 to 2 serrano chili peppers, to taste
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1/2 bunch cilantro
• 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/4 teaspoon cumin
• 5 avocados
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1 tomato
In a food processor, combine the garlic, jalepeño, tomato, cilantro, cumin, lime juice and onion. Process until the vegetables are in small pieces, about 20 to 30 seconds. If you don't have one, prepare by hand.
Cut avocados in half. Remove the seeds. Using a spoon, scoop out avocado from the peel. Dice the avocados in medium bowl. Add the vegetables, salt and pepper. Mix together, mashing the avocado cubes into smaller pieces if desired.
To prevent discoloring, cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the guacamole. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, chop the tomato, add to the guacamole and mix. Dip with your favorite tortilla chips, spread it on sandwiches or serve as a garnish to a Mexican main dish.
You might like your guacamole laid back or you could prefer it with an attitude! The secret is the right amount of spiciness!
You can control the temperature two ways. Add powdered cayenne pepper to bring up the heat or experiment with different types of peppers.
Even the same variety of chili peppers vary individually in their hotness, depending on climate, weather and growing conditions. Start with about two tablespoon of pepper. Add more until you reach the desired degree of hotness.
Peppers, from mild to wild:
✕ Seña -- flavor of a jalapña with just a hint of the heat
✕ Ancho -- good to stuff, eat raw or use it dips; they're tasty, but mild
✕ Anaheim -- can be used green or red; the redder the hotter
✕ Jalapña -- moderate heat and a good flavor; they're best toward the end of summer
✕ Serrano -- thin skinned, hot and uniquely flavored
Use food preparation gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers. If you skipped the hand protection, try not to touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
Guacamole recipes range from tradition to exotic to regional. What's your favorite?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.