Guttenberg New Jersey is a tiny town on the Hudson River. Guttenberg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guttenberg,_New_Jersey) was where I first tasted Guacamole. I was in my early 20’s and a restaurant on the river named The Lighthouse was reported to have the best Fettuccine Alfredo in the state. So if a restaurant had the best fettuccine I had to go. The night I went the crowd was out the door and everyone was shuffled into the bar so that the business could sell more alcohol while you waited patiently for a table that was probably empty the entire time you were waiting. As I made my way to the bar atop the counter sat a large bowl filled with green stuff.
“What the hell is that?”
The bartender gave me a look like what planet do you live on and said,
“What the hell is Guacamole?”
Realizing I was a true Yankee who lacked any sense of cultural awareness outside of the NY-NJ area his tone softened.
“Avocado dip. You eat it with chips.”
Next to the bowl of green stuff was a bowl of chips. I still didn’t know what Guacamole was because I didn’t know what an avocado was. My educational enhancement options at the time were limited in the pre-Internet, pre-cellphone days and the bartender left to serve someone else who was more likely to spend more money on alcohol. I wasn’t getting enough information to discern what the green stuff actually was. I remember grabbing what I thought was a potato chip, took a dip, and ate Guacamole for the very first time in my life. Funny to think back on this because I recall nothing about the Guacamole. All I remember was the chip.
When the bartender came back hoping I would finally order an beverage I asked,
“What the hell kind of chip is that?”
And with an attitude of this guy is asking too many questions and wasting my time he went off to serve someone else. Thus ends the story of my first encounter with Guacamole and CORN chips. I wouldn’t have any more such encounters until I moved to Texas and tried Mexican (actually Tex-Mex) food. But this is another story altogether.
BTW I love Guacamole now and I know what a corn chip is.
Asian and Alton Brown Inspired Guacamole
3 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, peeled
1 large lime for fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons medium red onion, minced
1 medium sized tomato, diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Scoop the avocado into a small mixing bowl.
Squeeze most (but not all) of the lime juice over the fruit.
With a fork or a spoon mash the avocado but leave some small chunks (for chunkiness).
Fold in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Sample for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
Serve with CORN chips.
I take a paper towel and gently drain the tomatoes before adding to the fruit. The paper towel will absorb excess juice, pulp, and seeds. This dip is basically the kid version and is very mild. The adult version can be bold. I usually add several dashes of hot sauce. Fresh garlic and jalapeño peppers will also give a nice kick. Remember the most but not all part of the lime juice? If you’re not serving immediately, squeeze some lime juice over the top of the dip (don’t mix in) and stick it in the fridge. This will help delay oxidation. No one likes brown Guacamole.
1 can Great Northern White Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup tahini, organic, unsalted
1 and 1/2 large lemons, juiced
1 tsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp cumin
Salt to taste
The Office Christmas party is at the house this year. I was asked to make some hummus for the event. Since I was going to dirty up the juicer and the food processor I decided to try something different. I made more hummus. There was a leftover baked sweet potato in the fridge. A quick Google search turned up this recipe which I’ll credit as my inspiration.
Bake the sweet potato for around 75 minutes or until soft to the touch. I actually had my potato in the oven for 2 hours at 425F because I forgot about it. Allow to cool and set aside.
Process the garlic first.
Toss everything else in the pool and process until smooth and creamy.
Did you take the skin off the potato?
Find some pita bread or crackers STAT.
The first thing is to avoid any arguments about whether or not you can call this dip hummus. It has no chickpeas so technically it’s not hummus. Google “is hummus without chickpeas really hummus” and take a side. The second thing you have to get used to is the color.
Pink. The dip comes out pink.
Put this hummus out at a party and tell everyone it’s a salmon dip.
Have your smartphone cameras ready for your guests’ reactions.
In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, drop the garlic and process until minced. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the hummus is smoothly pureed. Serve with fresh whole wheat pita bread wedges.
I’ve been making hummus since my college days. There was a graduate student from the Middle East whose name I’ve forgotten that had a room down the hall from me in the dorm. What makes this memory so unforgettable was the introduction of hummus to my taste buds. Love from the first bite. Like I said, I’ve been making hummus for a long time. This hummus recipe was one of our appetizers at this weekend’s gathering of exquisite friends. Before I get off point let me share my hummus tips.
I never thought there would be a big difference between organic and regular tahini/canned chickpeas. I was wrong. Use organic chickpeas and you’ll never go back to the private label brands ever again. Raw garlic is pretty garlicky. Use one clove. Any more fresh garlic than a single clove and you will no longer have gatherings with your exquisite friends. Most hummus recipes call for a lot more tahini than a 1/4 cup. Go ahead and use more tahini if you prefer but I’ve found out that a little tahini (like raw garlic) goes a long way. I happen to like my hummus lemony. One lemon is usually what your exquisite friends will tolerate without forcing them to abruptly depart mumbling something under their lemony breath. Go easy with the salt but use enough extra virgin olive oil to create the consistency of hummus you prefer.
And that’s it. We like to spread our spread thinly on a large serving plate, drizzle with more EVO and sprinkle a little paprika and parsley on top.
Two cloves of garlic and the juice from 1.5 lemons.