How Do You Do Your Guac?

I am no cook;  I know three or four dinner recipes and alternate them as best I can.  Beloved puts up with this.  (I think I've mentioned before he's a living saint.)  However guacamole is hardly cooking.  We have one of the greatest luxuries of California living:  our own avocado tree.  We are smack in the avocado belt.  Even now with most of the agricultural land in Southern California gone, there are still commercial avocado groves visible from our balcony. 

We are on such familiar terms with the avocado, "guacamole" is known simply as "guac" in this house.   I halve the avocado.  A Mexican waiter showed me the easiest way of removing the big slippery seed:  you hit the seed with a knife blade, middle of knife blade to middle of seed.  The blade gets stuck in the seed, which you can then pull cleanly out of the glowing green flesh.  Then knock the handle of the knife against the edge of your trash bin, and the seed pops right off the blade into the trash, leaving your fingers clean.  (Of  course you have to be very very careful with the knife.)  You don't need to hit the seed very hard with the knife blade.  It usually sticks pretty well.
Food pictures are tricky.  This looks terrible, but it was delicious!
 All we do for guac is to cut the avocado into small squares and mix in some fresh salsa.  That's it, that's all.  Stir enough so that there is a little avocado mush mixed in with the chunks of avocado and the salsa.  Done.  A little fresh ground black pepper is nice, but I often get lazy and leave it out.  I like the Santa Barbara Roasted Garlic salsa:  the touch of garlic is...mmmm.  The nice thing about a fresh commercially made salsa is the vinegar in it, which adds just a little acidity that brightens the buttery quality of the avocado.  You don't make it ahead of time, either.  You prepare and devour, like a soft-poached egg. 

My sister is more of a purist.  She likes just a token amount of salsa in there, or a bit of chopped tomato and a few drops of lime juice, and she leaves it chunkier.   Sister says she doesn't like to interfere with the flavor of the avocado.  I suspect Sister's Puritan approach is a reaction to her neighbor, who apparently whips the avocado to the consistency of corn syrup and then loads it up with garlic, salt, sugar, ketchup...well, I won't go on.  

While the rest of the neighborhood was watching The Big Game, Beloved practiced The Well Tempered Clavier and I went outside and to finish up the Fall Project before Spring hits.  I  decided against new raised beds for this year and will reuse the old ones.  I came up with a good layout, I think.  I have to straighten this out and measure and get everything perfectly spaced, but I think this will be it for this year:

The planting beds are now in the sunniest part of the area, the path is in the shadiest, it looks better, and it didn't cost much at all outside of my time and the health of my back.  Everything was reused.  I did spend $25 on a dwarf 'Cara Cara' orange tree, but I don't count that as part of the rehab.  Now what's left besides getting the spacing perfect is filling those raised beds with soil, which will make the ten cubic yards of mulch I put down seem like an easy easy job.  

Beloved got tired of practicing piano and finally turned The Big Game on, so I'll go watch the last two minutes with him.  I don't really have to watch it.  Our neighbor is a rabid Giants fan, and by his yells and shouts, I can tell exactly what is going on.  Sounds close so far.  The NFL strictly enforces the use of the copyrighted term "S---- B---", so everyone is starting to call it The Big Game instead.  The NFL I suppose will have to copyright "The Big Game", too.   Then what?  In the meantime, there is guac.   

Let me know via comment how you do your guac. 


  1. I'm not of Mexican descent, so I kind of had to learn what do with avocados. We also have a tree here in the San Fernando Valley and we get thousands of fruits every year. I've noticed those walking their dogs who are Mexican-descent how much interest they have in our tree because the stare at it and they salivate at the same time. One of the different ways I've learned to use avocado, which I would not have thought of except that living in L.A. you get much Mexican exposure and thus learn their culinary techniques after a while. Mexicans love to include fresh cut ingredients into their posole soup. And ever since I've tried that I've been experimenting with dicing avocado and tossing in on any soup, like lentil soup. I also add fresh diced onion and cilantro. It gives the lentil soup and amazing fresh taste that everyone in the family loves.

  2. Squish the chunks, lime, Tabasco, tad-o-garlic , very minced onion if in the mood. Sour cream if extension is needed.

  3. Your sister's neighbor's whipped guacamole reminds me of the "avocado cream"--chilled plastic quarts of liquid-y bile like something used to dress up Linda Blair's demon vomit--childhood friends used to swear by and which made me ill on sight.

    For every 4 avocados, I smash one up good and proper with a fork, and daintily cube the rest, about 1/4 inch and then toss with the rest of the ingredients. Lime zest, lime juice (1 lime per 4 fruit), the tiniest dab of crema (or creme fraiche, sour cream, even clotted cream will do in a pinch), lashing of roasted garlic paste, roasted serrano chile smashed and finely chopped, diced fresh jalapeno, diced red onion or shallot, coarsely chopped pickled red onion, big handful of finely chopped cilantro, smaller handful of epazote, salt, pepper, a couple pinches of toasted and freshly ground cumin and coriander. It's good, but a lot of prep work. I like your idea of adding the tomatoes, and I'm going to try that next time.

    Digging all the aloe photos!

  4. I do my guac by inviting my friend Erin down from Seattle for the weekend and failing to have anything fabulous planned for dinner. Inevitably this results in us deciding to do "snack night" and she whips up a tasty bowl of chunky guac that looks a lot like yours. Num.

    Luckily she's coming down for a visit in a couple of weeks!

  5. Our guac philosophy is similar to yours, but we mess with it a little more -- fresh pico de gallo from Trader Joe's (nothing from a jar, please), drained of excess liquid. Depending on time available, a minced shallot or minced slice or two of onion, some minced cilantro, and a squeeze or two of fresh lime (lemon is okay, but lime is much better). And yes, chunky guac has it all over that pureed dreck that reminds me of green toothpaste.

  6. Game...yawn! Enjoyed watching some westerns instead.

    But favorite is like my favorite Mexican food...simple. Mash up the avacado, add some garlic salt, and nothing else.

    I prefer Little Diner chips if I'm in El Paso, or a few other good ones here. (but we have to buy avocados at the store...not hardy here!)

  7. I really love how you wrote this post! But we don't eat our avocado in a guacamole. We put them in green salads with them neatly cut, not smashed, usually with vinaigrette. But we mostly use avocado as shakes and drink it. In my case, i simply slice an eight of the fruit, peel of the end and dip it in some sugar, peeling progresses as i bite the flesh, there i already have my avocado for health reasons.

  8. Oh my gosh, Hoovb, your veggie garden looks beautiful. The layout has just the right amount of symmetry. The tuteur looks great there!

    I have become a purist- hass avo smushed up a bit with salty chips. Every so often I add a drop of garlic olive oil. I also have a Mexican vegetable stir-fry that is fantastic with avocados, it uses peppers, onions, squash, fresh corn off the cob, cumin, and lime.


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