Holy Guacamole!

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I am asked for my guacamole recipe almost as often as I am asked for my salsa recipe. One of the greatest things about this month of raw eating is being able to have one of my favourite foods whenever I want. Special thanks to Meghan who produced the guacamole for these pictures.

INGREDIENTS:
2 avocados
1 medium very ripe tomato (heirlooms have the best taste)
1/4-1/2 cup onion (I prefer white)
1-3 jalapenos (more for spicier salsa)
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
Juice from 1/2 lime
Sea salt to taste

The secret to my excellent salsa is in three things. First… FRESH INGREDIENTS. Look for the most ripe, deepest red tomatoes you can find. Organic and heirlooms are the best. Your avocados should be dark, almost black and when you pinch them in your hand they should be soft enough that your finger presses into the skin without much effort. They aren’t ripe yet if pushing requires any effort. They are over ripe if the skin is detached from the fruit inside and has started to harden (it will feel a bit crusty when you push into it). If you are on the wimpier side with spiciness but still want the taste and texture jalapenos offer the guacamole, pick ones that are light green. The more deep the green the more likely they are to be spicy… but they may surprise you… this isn’t a rule.

Second, DON’T MISS ANYTHING. Why!? WHY!? Why am I so often served un-delicious guacamole in restaurants when it is SO EASY to make? Because people use less than ripe ingredients or they leave out either the cilantro and/or the jalapenos. It is possible to make a “mild” guacamole while still keeping the jalapenos in… and for the love of the god of good food… DON’T leave out the cilantro!

And third!? Follow me on these three easy steps for which ingredients to cut/mix first. The order is important!

1) Chop the tomatoes first… chop them finely – it takes time but makes the difference. Next chop the onion and mix it in with the tomatoes.

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2) Next finely chop the cilantro and mix in with the tomatoes and onions. Now you are going to chop the jalapenos. I personally don’t like unpredictably spicy guacamole so I remove the seeds. Juice half a lime over the mix, adding in the salt.
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Finally, open your avocados in half. scoop out the fruit from the skin with a fork. Using the back of the fork press the avocado into the rest of the guacamole until it is consistent but still chunky.
NEVER ADD WATER. NEVER USE A BLENDER. Never ever add cumin, garlic, bell peppers, or sour cream/sour supreme. Blech.
Ta da! Delicious guacamole. Enjoy!
YIELD:
Feeds about 4 people (but expect it to be gone in about 10 minutes flat)
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Fresh Salsa

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This is one of my most requested recipes… and it is SO EASY to make! Fresh salsa goes with pretty much anything you can think of… I serve it with tortilla chips, molletes, any mexican dish, beans, rice, you name it!

INGREDIENTS
2 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped (I used a white onion)
1/2 – 1 cup of chopped cilantro (to your taste)
1-4 jalapenos, finely chopped (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/2-1 tablespoon of coarse salt
1/2-1 lime, squeezed juice
1) Cut all ingredients. When cutting jalapeno I recommend removing the white part and seeds from the inside as they add a different texture and unpredictable spiciness.
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2) Mix well and let sit at least 10 minutes to marinate. Serves 2-4 people.
Yum!

Red Salsa (Salsa Taquera)

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This is the sister recipe to the one previous – RED salsa! This salsa can also be used in pretty much any recipe and has a little more sweet and less acidic taste than the green salsa. It is easier to make because red tomatoes are more available (note: there are tomatillos are on the pan in the above picture but are not a requisite for this recipe). Thanks to Miguel for his guest contribution of this recipe!

INGREDIENTS
5 medium ripe red tomatoes (this recipe used heirloom tomatoes)
5-6 fresh serrano peppers (or jalapenos if you can’t find serranos)
1/2 onion (of your choice, this recipe used 3 shallots)
1 cup of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon of oregano
2 tablepoons canola oil
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1-2 dried arbol peppers (optional)
1 cube of vegetable stock (optional, only if tomatoes are not very ripe)
1) Using a flat, thick pan (could be a wok, cast iron pan, etc that you are willing to stain the surface. DO NOT USE TEFLON), bring the pan on high with NO OIL
2) Wash tomatoes and peppers. Peel and cut onion into quarters, placing half the onion, all tomatillos, whole peppers and tomatoes on the hot pan.
3) As with the recipe for green salsa, you will need to burn them on the pan, turn them once while burning them. As an alternative, you can boil the tomatoes in a pot of water if you prefer not to boil them.
4) Remove the peppers first before they become too burnt and place in the blender. When the other ingredients are ready, place in the blender. Do not add water (as tempting as it may be).
5) In addition to the tomatoes, peppers, and onion, put cilantro, salt, oregano, and optional ingredients. Blend to your preference of consistency – don’t blend too long or it will be too liquid.
6) Heat oil in a large stock pot on medium. Add the contents of the blender and let boil for 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let thicken in pot.
7) Taste your salsa – if it’s too spicy feel free to add more tomatoes. The reverse, if it’s too mild, this is the time where you could add more peppers, but you need to return at least a portion of the salsa to the blender.
red salsa boiling

Green Salsa

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This recipe is for the most delicious and versatile salsa which can be used in almost any mexican food recipe. You can make it milder or spicier than what this recipe calls for and the amounts are only approximations. Have fun using this salsa with enchiladas, chilaquiles, molletes, tostadas, sopes, flautas, chimichangas, burritos, chalupas, nachos, scrambled tofu, rice and beans… and more! Recipes to match this salsa will be featured in upcoming entries! Thanks to Miguel for his guest contribution of this recipe!

INGREDIENTS
approx 20-25 tomatillos (or 2 lbs)
2-3 fresh serrano peppers (or jalapenos if you can’t find serranos)
1/2 onion (of your choice, this recipe used 3 shallots)
3-4 dried morita peppers (soaked in hot water) – or dried chipotle peppers in a pinch
2-3 red tomatoes (this recipe used heirloom tomatoes)
1 cup of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon of oregano
2 tablepoons canola oil
1-2 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 cube of vegetable stock (optional, only if tomatoes are not very ripe)
1) Using a flat, thick pan (could be a wok, cast iron pan, etc that you are willing to stain the surface. DO NOT USE TEFLON), bring the pan on high with NO OIL
2) Remove leafy covering and stems and wash tomatillos and peppers. Peel and cut onion into quarters, placing half the onion, all tomatillos, whole peppers and tomatoes on the hot pan.
3) Let the burn! Don’t be afraid about the smell or the colour, in fact the more they burn the better they taste in the salsa. You will need to turn them once while burning them. Essentially you are burning the outside and letting the inside come to a boil.
4) Remove the peppers first before they become too burnt and place in the blender. When the other ingredients are ready, place in the blender. Do not add water (as tempting as it may be).
5) In addition to the tomatillos, peppers, tomatoes and onion, put cilantro, soaked morita peppers (without water), salt, oregano, and optional ingredients. Blend to your preference of consistency – don’t blend too long or it will be too liquid.
6) Heat oil in a large stock pot on medium. Add the contents of the blender and let boil for 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let thicken in pot.
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7) Taste your salsa – if it’s too spicy feel free to add more tomatoes. The reverse, if it’s too mild, this is the time where you could add more peppers, but you need to return at least a portion of the salsa to the blender.
8) Voila! Salsa is served!
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There are several substitutions you can make with this recipe – there are many different types of dried peppers and many types of fresh peppers. Dried peppers you can experiment with include: Mulato, pasilla, cascabel, ancho, arbol, negro, etc. Fresh peppers you could try include: cubanelle, guero, jalapeno, thai – do not use bell peppers.