Ever since I first tried Mexican-style grilled corn, I have been planning to make a salad that would bring the flavors of the fresh corn, lime, cheese and sweet chili flavors. Yesterday I made this corn salad for a potluck party … it was so good I wanted to eat it before the guests arrived! Continue reading
I’ll never forget the first time I met The Farmer. He came to a potluck party in a church social hall carrying a very large Tupperware bowl that was filled to the brim with guacamole. I had never seen so much guacamole in my life. He had the attention of all the girls in the room, believe me!
Fast forward 31 years later…Making huge quantities of guacamole is now a family specialty. Living on an avocado farm has its perks, and an unlimited supply of avocados is one of them!
If you missed The Secret For Perfectly Ripened Avocados , click here right now and catch up. The best tasting guacamole begins with the best California avocados… grown on healthy trees with excellent care from the farmer, picked and ripened to perfection. I’ve given you the inside scoop on what it takes to manage a large quantity of avocados so they will all be ready to eat on the same day, so don’t miss my previous post.
By the way, you can use the same strategy for the avocados that you eat every day! I know that many of you buy California avocados when they’re on sale, or receive your avocados through the mail via subscription from growers like California Avocados Direct (our family farm). Keep some of them in a cool basement (45-55 degrees), bring some into the kitchen and monitor them daily. If you have several ripened at one time, hold them in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Notice that these perfect avocados are not dimpled, not too black, not mushy. Cut them in half, twist to separate the two halves, and remove the pit.
(There is some controversy about whacking the pit with a knife, as some folks have injured themselves doing it. I think whacking is the best and fastest way to remove the pit…but you don’t need to use a giant sharp butcher knife to do it…just use a table knife! I have even used a plastic picnic knife! Whack the pit with just enough force to barely lodge the knife into the pit…you don’t have to karate chop that pit!)
Turn the knife gently in one direction and the pit will move…then the pit will come off easily. Cut the avocado into quarters and peel the skin away from the beautiful flesh of that perfect avocado.
Collect all your peeled avocados in a bowl and then rough chop them by gently dragging a knife through the fruit in different directions.
Be careful not to over work the fruit…you want a nice chunky guacamole. Mash the fruit in the middle of the bowl until it is no longer chunky…but not really smooth. Use your knife again to make sure the chunks on the outside of the bowl are not too large.
At this point you have a choice. Do you want to chop onions, tomatoes, chili peppers, and cilantro? If so, have a wonderful time! I prefer to buy fresh salsa already made and save myself the prep and clean-up. For this batch of guacamole, I started with 16 ounces of fresh salsa….but ended up adding two more 16 oz. containers.
Gently fold in the salsa and add more until the guacamole looks right to you. Some folks like more salsa and some like less. You can always put salsa on the side for people to add later on.
Now here is a VERY important detail. Fresh cilantro. I know a few of you don’t enjoy fresh cilantro, but adding it to guacamole makes all the difference! If you want your guac to taste authentic, be sure to chop up a large bunch of cilantro and add it to the bowl.
Next it’s time to season the guacamole. We love to add garlic powder, black pepper and some “Ben’s Blend” all purpose seasoning. Use what you like…add a little and then taste….the tasting is part of the fun!
We usually let several people taste the guacamole before we decide that it’s perfect. Sometimes we put some in a separate bowl and season it for the folks who want more or less spice. Some of our family love black pepper and extra garlic powder, and heavy on the salsa!
It is best to wait until an hour before the party to make the guacamole so it will be really fresh.
Once the guacamole is mixed, cover it with plastic wrap, pressing so that all the air bubbles are eliminated. This will help keep the guacamole from turning brown before the guests arrive.
When the party is ready to start, serve the guacamole in small bowls or heap it on plates with plenty of tortilla chips nearby. Some of your guests may prefer the pure deliciousness of fresh avocado. If you have plenty of avocados, save some for slicing! Sliced avocados are delicious on salad, sandwiches, burgers…or just by themselves!
So now you know how we make our guacamole for a party. There are plenty of ways to get creative with your guacamole by adding special ingredients or using it as a topping in unusual ways. What is your favorite way to serve guacamole?
If you’d like to order some fresh California avocados from our family farm, visit our website: CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com
I have always been interested in herbs. I remember when my high school English class in Vermont visited a woman with a huge herb garden next to her old farmhouse. She showed us all the beautiful plants, told us how to use them, and let us pick sprigs so we could appreciate their delicious and unique aromas. I was fascinated by the different textures, sizes and shapes of the leaves, and the potential of the knowledge for my cooking. My ambition was to have a kitchen herb garden some day. And I have tried, I really have. I have planted herbs. I have brought home tiny pots of fresh herbs as well as larger collections. The trouble is, I don’t water them. I get distracted, or go out of town and they die. No lovely kitchen herb garden for me.
When a recipe calls for ingredients like fresh basil or cilantro, I think about how nice it would be to have that little garden just outside my kitchen. Sometimes I just skip over recipes because it’s too much trouble to drive the 10 miles to the grocery store from our home for one or two ingredients. I’m not good at planning ahead either. When it’s time to cook, I look for what’s in the pantry, in the freezer or on the kitchen counter. (We usually have plenty of avocados!)
This week my dream of having a kitchen herb garden came true! At last I have fresh garlic, cilantro, basil, lemon grass, cilantro, Italian herbs, oregano, parsley, dill…and even fresh ginger and chili pepper! I received the most beautiful selection of fresh herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden after meeting them at Camp Blogaway. It’s like having a palette of colors to brighten up our meals! The fresh herbs for Gourmet Garden products are organically grown, harvested, washed, chopped, blended and packed fresh into tubes that can be kept for three months in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer.
Now I can have all of the fresh herbs I want, exactly when I need them! Thank you so much to Gourmet Garden for sending me this generous gift to try. They arrived in a cute little cooler, nestled in with ice packs to keep them fresh. I’m so glad that I’ll be able to replace them all … they’re sold in the refrigerated section at the grocery store! (Yes, they’re also Gluten Free!) I even signed up for their Herb eCooking School on the Gourmet Garden website to receive recipes and tips on how to use them to enhance everyday meals.
I happen to have a few mangoes left from the box that was sent to us by the National Mango Board after Camp Blogaway last week. Our family has discovered a whole new perspective on life now that we’ve tasted those fresh mangoes. It’s hard to want to cook with them, as the fruit is so deliciously sweet and juicy that we gobble each one up as soon as it’s ripe. Today I decided to make Mango Chicken on top of the stove. I have to admit that I ate about a third of the mango instead of adding it all to the marinade. Sigh.
Easy Stovetop Mango Chicken
- To make the Marinade/Simmer Sauce:
- 1 fresh mango sliced or chopped
- 1/2 small brown onion chopped
- 1 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Gourmet Garden fresh cilantro
- 1/2 tsp. Groumet Garden fresh garlic
- 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
- about 1/2 cup of water use it to get the last of the mango-y goodness from the Vitamix or blender
- Frozen or fresh skinless and boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- Puree the above ingredients and pour it over frozen or fresh chicken.
- Cook on medium heat, covered, until the chicken is tender.
- Serve over rice or quinoa.
Since my husband is a farmer, he comes in for lunch every day. He was happy to find Mango Chicken on quinoa with avocados and broccolini all ready to eat. Now that we’re eating healthier, it’s a pleasure and a treat to include mangoes in our meals and to have fresh herbs and spices at our fingertips for our everyday needs.