Thursday, July 14, 2011


Two days ago I competed in the first ever Boston Grad/Faculty Ministries Guac-off at our annual summer team meeting/pool/jerk chicken BBQ party.

The competition was stiff.  Jeff, who hails from Southern California, hence has the most authentic experience with guacamole, brought the best avocados—large, creamy and in perfect condition (although his wife apparently told him he shouldn’t even compete—such is the strength of my culinary reputation!). 

As always, not my guac--but mine looks like this!
Only I don't own that great stone bowl
Marianne brought a guacamole flecked with cilantro, but was hampered a bit by making it the night before.  And I brought the guacamole I invented some years back when I learned that in Mexico limons are actually limes, not lemons.

I was nervous.  With all the craziness going on, I forgot to buy avocados in time, so mine were a little hard and not as creamy or flavorful as they would have been a day later.  I also never measure ingredients, so any slip of the hand could have sullied the batch.  Finally, I don’t claim to make the world’s best guacamole.  There are many other delicious guacamoles I’ve guzzled—the best probably being my friend’s brother-in-law’s.  He makes homemade jalapeno jam that he adds to the mix. 

I’m not about to make homemade jalapeno jam just so I can make fantabulous guacamole, so I settle for a very good guacamole.

We served our guacamole in matching plastic Chinese bowls because I’ve found it lasts longer in plastic than metal.  Tim later complained that I created unfair advantage because my bowl’s Chinese pattern was less worn than the other two, but I hadn’t noticed when divvying up the bowls—honest!

The 4 teammates who weren’t competing judged.  Everyone voted for their favorite. . . and Jeff got eliminated, with me and Marianne neck to neck with 2 votes each.   

Jeff was a gracious loser, shaking his head and reiterating how his wife told him not to compete but that this was the guac recipe he grew up eating. 

At this point, we needed some fair way to break the tie.  3 Spanish-speaking landscapers just happened to be ripping apart my yard during the guac-off.  We didn’t know what country they hailed from, but figured they would be the best judges of all.

It took some cajoling to get them to wash their hands and judge the competition—Jeff rejoicing in the chance to use his Spanish.  They shook their heads at the strange ways of these gringos (are Chinese-Americans gringos too?).  But finally, shaking their heads, they made their way over, grabbed a chip and dipped.

The result? 

I won by a landslide.  All 3 pointed to my bowl.

Tim claimed that they were unduly influenced because they wanted to get paid.  I maintained that there was no way they knew which was my guacamole, even if it sat in a darker bowl.

All in all, 7 of us and 3 landscapers ate 13 avocados worth of guacamole and chips—plus everything else.  I’m still trying to justify how eating a cup of guacamole is part of the i-diet. 

Despite writing about the challenges of being an InterVarsity staff 2 days ago, there are definitely perks—13 avocados worth!

Kathy’s Very Good Guacamole
(I don’t measure ingredients, so these are very approximate guesses—taste along the way to make sure you like how it’s shaping up)

4 avocados (preferably Hass, much creamier and fattier), ripened so the bottom gently gives way when pressed (if you buy them green, generally ready after about 3 days of sitting on a not too hot counter)
juice of ½ -2 limes (depending on how juicy)
¼- ½ tsp ground cumin or more
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
¼ - ½ tsp salt (if you’re serving with very salty chips, use less)
cayenne pepper (optional)
minced cilantro (optional)
¼ cup diced red onion or more
¼ cup diced ripe tomato, seeds removed first, or more

1.                             1.     Mash avocados with a fork (I like my guac chunky). 
2.     Mix in lime juice, garlic, cumin and salt. 
3.     Taste. 
4.     Add more lime, garlic, cumin and salt
5.     Taste again
6.     Continue tweaking with spices until it tastes delicious. 
7.     Add onion and tomato
8.     Taste final time before serving with tortilla chips (I like Tostitos lime flavored ones). . .hopefully there will be guacamole left for your guests!


Marie said...

I'd just like to say that you're lucky I'm no longer on staff because I make a very fine guacamole. =)

Suzanne said...

I use lime, too, but not as many other great ingredients, so I will be trying this one! Suzanne