Sunday, June 23, 2013

Homemade Guacamole

Photo of Guacamole in a "molcajete" from Williams-Sonoma
On a vacation earlier this month, we stayed at a Hampton Inn in Downtown Miami, Florida. We picked the hotel because it was less than one mile from the port where we were getting on a Carnival Cruise.  We got to the hotel when it was dark out and we were hungry for dinner. We walked out of the hotel and found an area, just a few blocks away, where there were lots of good looking restaurants and lots of folks out and about enjoying the warm evening (who am I kidding... it was hot, damn hot... and so muggy it was sort of misting out).  We also noticed a lot of really fancy cars and we noticed the people were rather dressed up.  I am thinking this was a "bar scene" for young folks. We were in an area called "Brickell" and we decided to go to a nice looking Mexican restaurant called "Rosa Mexicano". 

My husband and I both ordered fish tacos which I've always wanted to try.  Zach ordered Carne Asada Steak and he said, "This is the best meal I've EVER had!" (Here is a description of the dish I found on line).

As a treat, we ordered the guacamole on the menu which was served as an appetizer with crunchy corn tortilla chips. What I did not realize was that the guacamole was made fresh at your table.  Dinner and a show!  The server wheeled out a cart which was full of ingredients and a "molcajete", which looked like a mortar and pestle made out of volcanic rock.  I found the photo above of a "molcajete" on Williams-Sonoma website.

The server made quite a production of making the guacamole before our eyes.  I learned quite a few things.  The server added a number of ingredients to the bowl first with salt and ground them into a sort of paste. It's almost like he used the salt for it's abrasive quality.  Then he added in the remaining ingredients and gently folded them together with a wooden spoon. I like that the hot Serrano peppers were pureed like they were so you did not bite into a big chunk of hot pepper; instead the heat was distributed throughout.  Also, the guacamole was still kind of chunky since the avocado, tomatoes, and more onions were added at the very end.  I was also surprised to see the server added salt two times; once when he pulverized some of the ingredients in the "molcajete" and again at the end when he gently combined all the ingredients.

I could not remember the exact order of the ingredients but I've made this at home twice since our trip and here's what I came up.  I used a mini-food processor in the place of a "molcajete". 

Homemade Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, coarsely diced
2 Serrano peppers, coarsely chopped (remove seeds and inner membranes to make it less hot)
1 small yellow onion (1/2 coarsely chopped, 1/2 finely chopped)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed, and finely chopped
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, a few grinds
cilantro, about 1/4 cup loosely packed (a handful)
two cloves of fresh garlic
juice from one lime

In the bowl of a mini-food processor (a blender may also work), combine the Serrano peppers, the 1/2 of the onion which is coarsely chopped, the cilantro, the cloves of garlic, at least 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the juice of half of a lime.  Pulse until a loose paste forms and all ingredients are really pulverized (resembles pesto). Place the pureed ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add in the diced avocados and the remaining finely diced onion, diced tomatoes, and more salt, pepper, and lime juice, as desired. Serve immediately.

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