On Saturday, we decided to have a Mexican food themed dinner. It being Cinco de Mayo gave us an excuse to enjoy some of my favourite foods. On the menu was some yummy homemade guacamole, followed by spicy chicken enchiladas. But, by the time I got home at 8pm (a very late dinner time for me!), I didn’t have the enthusiasm necessary to cook the entire meal. So I started by making the guacamole, deciding that if we were still hungry afterwards then I would attempt to make the enchiladas.
The guacamole was quite filling. I’ll be making the enchiladas later this week. It was a very casual dinner/large snack. We shared the guacamole and a bag of tortilla chips while sitting on the couch watching Heroes.
I tried guacamole for the first time at Gabriel’s restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. In fact, I think this was also the first time I’d tried avocados! I remember the experience so clearly! It was my first visit to New Mexico (to meet Bryan’s family). The restaurant is famous for having fantastic guacamole made right at your table. The ingredients arrive on a cart and you choose what you want in your guacamole. The avocados are sliced and the limes are squeezed in front of you. All of the ingredients are fresh.
The first time I tried making it at home on my own, the avocados were not ripe and I was impatient. I wanted to share this recipe with my family, and decided I couldn’t wait for the avocados to ripen. Big mistake! I couldn’t cut through them (in fact, when I tried to anyway, I ended up cutting through the pit in the center of the avocado). I put the chunks I was able to peel away from the skin into a blender and they were roughly chopped, but not creamy nor tasty. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that waiting until the avocados are ripe is a very important step. Sometimes they are already ripe (or even over ripe) when you find them at the store. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it is firm, but squishes slightly when you press on the skin. If the avocados aren’t ripe, that is, they are as hard as a softball when pressed, be patient! Let them sit on the counter (not in the fridge) for a few days to allow the avocados to ripen. You’ll be glad you waited!
What Mexican foods did you enjoy this weekend? What is your favourite Mexican or Tex Mex food?
(adapted from a recipe on a magnet purchased at a museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico)
- 3 ripe Hass avocados – approximate cost $3.00
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered – approximate cost $2.00
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.25
- 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
- Or 2 tablespoons of concentrated lime juice – approximate cost $0.15
- 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.15
- Or 1 tsp dried cilantro if fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
- Sea salt (to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon) – approximate cost $0.05
Optional ingredients (not pictured)
- Lemon juice (if lime juice is not available) – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 roma tomato or other variety (if grape tomatoes not available) – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced – approximate cost $0.30
- 1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper – approximate cost $0.12
- Prepare all of the ingredients you would like to add to your guacamole (except avocados, lime, and salt) and set aside in a bowl. Preparing these ingredients first keeps the avocado from turning brown before serving the guacamole.
- Slice tomato into small pieces
- Mince garlic
- Mince cilantro
- De-seed and mince jalapeño pepper (See a tip on easily de-seeding hot peppers in an earlier post)
- Dice red onion
- Slice and scoop the “meat” from the avocados into a large bowl.
- Mash the avocados with the tines of a fork.
- Pour lime juice over the avocado and mix (this helps keep the avocado from browning).
- Add your choice of optional ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, etc.)
- Mix until the ingredients are coated in avocado.
- Salt to taste and mix well.
- Serve and enjoy with tortilla chips.
Makes 2 servings as a meal (approximate cost: $2.95 per serving) or 5 servings as an appetizer (approximate cost: $1.18 per serving).
We also tried the wine I brought home from Virginia. We passed the Peaks of Otter Winery (however, I picked up this wine at the market in Roanoke) on our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was slightly sweet with a hint of apple flavour. I enjoyed it. Bryan did not.