How We Make Guacamole for a Large Party

 

peeled avocadosI’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.

ready to make guacamole

Ripe avocados, fresh salsa, fresh cilantro and seasoning is all you need for delicious guacamole

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.

ripe avocados

Perfectly ripe California Hass avocados are still firm, but yield to gentle pressure when held in your hand and pressed with your thumb

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.

chopping avocados

To rough chop avocados, gently pull your knife through the fruit, criss-crossing the bowl. Try not to touch the bowl with the knife…the fruit will be creamy and easy to cut.

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.

mash avocados

Use a potato masher to mash the middle of the bowl, leaving chunks around the outside of the bowl that will be folded in later

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.

 

add salsa to avocados

Here is the first 16 oz. container of salsa…we use the medium salsa, but you might choose mild or hot, depending on your taste

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.

add fresh cilantro

Add chopped fresh cilantro to the guacamole

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!

taste the guacamole

Taste the guacamole and then add more seasoning or salsa until it pleases your tastebuds

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!

add more salsa and pepper

Adding more salsa, pepper and garlic powder for The Farmer

It is best to wait until an hour before the party to make the guacamole so it will be really fresh.

guacamole

Guacamole should not be over mixed…leave some chunks. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.

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.

plastic wrap

Plastic wrap helps keep the guacamole from turning brown before the party

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?

guacamole tops a fried chicken wonton

Someone brought homemade fried wontons to our last party, stuffed with delicious chicken. So we put guacamole on top!

“Join I Wash… You Dry and Southern Fairytale for the California Avocado Cinco de Mayo Recipe Fiesta, sponsored by the California Avocado Commission.”

If you’d like to order some fresh California avocados from our family farm,  visit our website: CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com

A Palette of Fresh Herbs and Spices in the Fridge…and Easy Stovetop Mango Chicken with Quinoa

herbs growing

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!)

Gourmet Garden fresh herbs

Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices come fresh from your fridge!

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.

Gourmet Garden Ginger

 

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.

mango in a bowl

I love the sweet smell of mango!

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.

Gourmet Garden, onion, mango

 

Easy Stovetop Mango Chicken

Author: Mimi Holtz

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Cooking time may be reduced if using fresh or thawed chicken.

 

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.

mango chicken on quinoa with avocado and broccolini

Mango Chicken Thighs on Quinoa with Avocado and Broccolini

 

 

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