January 11, 2006
Stinky Pete's Straight-up Chunky Guacamole

It's a trend. First, Kate over at Accidental Hedonist posted her recipe for guacamole. Then, The Food Whore posted her recipe for guacamole.

Well none of these are the one true recipe for guacamole which was fortuitously given to me many years ago in a bar in Pilsen by a 174 year old one eyed four-foot tall Mexican native by the name of "Stinky Pete". I think he was married to Charo.

OK, maybe Pete wasn't married to Charo, but he did tell me he was 174. And Mexican. Even with the shock blonde hair and the tongue piercing. He might have been lying.

Or maybe I'm lying about his existence, but this truly is the recipe that converted many a supermarket guacamole hater, including my mother-in-law Rosalind.

In any case, I couldn't agree more with Kate's assertion that eating commercial guacamole is just the worst thing you can do. I also would encourage the Food Whore to fight back against the tomato and tomatilla haters who beat her with a bag of chips when she introduced the round red vegetable (OK, I know it's really a fruit) into her guacamole.

Good guacamole, in my opinion, should be a mix of fresh tastes and a variety of textures. Overmashing must be discouraged. An avocado is a vegetable, not a butter. OK, an avocado is also really a fruit, not a vegetable, but roll with me here.

Way back when, I posted a chipotle guacamole recipe. That's a specialty guacamole that may not appeal to everyone. For example, I loved it and wife, the Redhead, did not. Try this one and see if everyone who likes guacamole doesn't just love the stuff.

And for Pete's sake (remember Pete?), don't buy those guacamole flavored chips. I don't know what that flavor is supposed to be, but it sure isn't guacamole.

Stinky Pete's Straight-Up Chunky Guacamole

About 4 avocados, plus one for adjustments
About 1/2 white onion, diced 1/4", plus one for adjustments
About 2 small tomatoes, diced 1/4", plus one for adjustments (you could substitute tomatillos for a more tart flavor)
The juice of about 2 small limes (not key lime small, just small), plus some for adjustments
1/4 cup or so of cilantro, plus some for adjustments
1/2 jalapeno, deveined, deseeded, minced finely, plus some for adjustments
2 cloves garlic or so, plus some for adjustments
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus some for adjustments

OK, so the first thing you'll notice is that this recipe isn't very precise. That's because we're working with all natural ingredients here. Flavor, intensity, size all differ from specimen to specimen. This is what being a cook or a chef is all about - working with the reality of your ingredients, not the arbitrary confines of a recipe.

What I have above is what I used for the latest batch of guacamole I made which was and is scrummy, let me tell you.

Cut your avocado in half, use a spoon and scoop out the pit, taking as little flesh with it as possible. Discard the pit. That stuff about the pit keeping the guacamole from turning brown? It's hooey, according to Harold McGee and Cecil Adams. Your lime juice is the anti-oxidation agent here.

Using a sharp knife, cut the flesh of one avocado half lengthwise into five or six separate sections. Don't penetrate the skin of the avocado (or the chef), but use enough pressure to make it through the flesh. Make about five or six cuts across the previous cuts so you have a number of small squares scored. Take a spoon and carefully scoop out the flesh from the peel, depositing it into a non-metallic mixing bowl. Repeat with the other half and the other avocados.

Chop the cilantro roughly. Add your diced tomatoes, the cilantro, onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Toss roughly to mix. Taste.

Sprinkle the salt and squeeze the lime juice into the bowl to taste and mix well. Now, if you insist on mashing your avocados, do so, with a fork, but only very, very lightly. Chunky is king. Taste again and adjust by adding more of anything that demands to be added.

Guacamole is easy, and even bad guacamole is pretty good if it's not too bad. Serve with chips and maybe a dusting of red chili powder for color.

If, by some miracle, there is guacamole left to store, put it into a container taller than wide and cover the top with lime slices. That should help delay oxidation.

If you enjoy this recipe, Stinky Pete salutes you.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at January 11, 2006 7:15 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
Comments

Hmmm...I love guacamole.

So...after taking that picture you put most of the guacamole into a tall container with lime slices, right? I can't wait to have some when I get home. :)

Posted by the Redhead on January 11, 2006 at 7:30 AM

Help, I'm having problems adjusting...

Actually, that sounds remarkably similar to my guacamole. I wonder which came first?

; )

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 11, 2006 at 7:35 AM

Rebecca - in fact there is a tall container with a bunch of guacamole in our refrigerator as I speak. When you get home from work - enjoy!

Meg - did we ever make guacamole together? I don't know that I ever had yours. Or maybe you also visited that bar in Pilsen where Stinky Pete held court?

Posted by barrett on January 11, 2006 at 7:37 AM

I'm pretty sure we probably made it once or twice back in the Dark Ages when we had a cement front yard and a second-hand barbecue grill...though whether you, I or we made it I couldn't say.

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 11, 2006 at 7:51 AM

Meg, if it was that long ago, I'm sure you made it. I'd have figured out some way to burn it back then.

Posted by barrett on January 11, 2006 at 7:59 AM

I was born in Mexico and I would be proud to eat this. Hmm, perhaps I should have first asked if you believe in paid endorsements. Oh well, consider that one a freebie.

Posted by Monica on January 11, 2006 at 10:17 AM

Monica, you never happened to run into a short, smelly, blonde, wrinkly guy with a tongue piercing while you were in Mexico, did you?

Posted by barrett on January 11, 2006 at 10:22 AM

Many, actually, but at least none were relatives. I do have a cousin named Pedro, but he is not particularly stinky. Well, except for too much cologne on occasion. That's teenagers for you.

Posted by Monica on January 11, 2006 at 10:43 AM

I thought Stinky Pete was a friend of Woody's?

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 11, 2006 at 11:18 AM

Meg, that's just coincidence. If you look in the phonebook in certain cities under "Pete, Stinky" or "Pete, S.", you'll see six or seven names, I'm sure.

Posted by barrett on January 11, 2006 at 12:15 PM

Ah, hell, I beat all of you out--I posted about guacomole way back in the summer sometime. ;-)

I think Stinky Pete is one of my cousins, which would mean he isn't really Mexican, but West Virginian. I think he is one Duck and Jick's brothers. (No, I did not make up Duck or Jick. They are my cousins. They may be dead by now, though....)

Anyway, on to quacamole--so long as one does not adulterate it with Miracle Whip or sour cream, and one does not puree it unto death, and one does not fear the chile, cilantro or lime, one can make good guac.

Mine has even convinced Zak, who is affronted by the idea of guacamole, that it is good. He even eats it.

Wonders never cease in this house. ;-)

Posted by Barbara on January 11, 2006 at 1:42 PM

Barrett,

This is almost exactly the way we make it, and my wife is Mexican. We'll give it a bit of a mash with a fork though, I find it helps the guacamole stick better.

Pete (yup, that's my real name..)

Posted by Pete Stathakos on January 11, 2006 at 2:48 PM

Barbara, you said Miracle Whip, but for some reason I pictured Cool Whip. Talk about a nasty mistake to make. Gag!

Posted by Monica on January 12, 2006 at 9:03 AM

Well, they are both nasty, but Cool Whip would be nastier for sure.

Certainly if found in quac.

Ick.

Posted by Barbara on January 12, 2006 at 9:45 AM

Love the chunkiness of your guac - only disagreement is the addition of garlic, which I've never seen done in the three areas of Mexico I've enjoyed it. The crunch of the onions doesn't need the competition.

Posted by Marianne on January 12, 2006 at 10:18 AM

But Marianne, without the garlic, Stinky Pete would just be known as "Pete".

I love the "hot" spike I get from the raw garlic in the guacamole. Even if it's not authentic, I think it adds something to the dish.

Posted by barrett on January 12, 2006 at 10:29 AM

Barrett, if you like raw garlic, nothing compares to the cold potato salad at Meson Sabika in Naperville. I like garlic, but that stuff is nearly inedible it's so potent. I swear The Redhead would make you sleep in another room!

Posted by Monica on January 12, 2006 at 2:53 PM

Ha! She already owes me one for coming back from a borscht party with a friend of hers where they sipped borscht, bit garlic cloves dipped in salt, then did a vodka shot.

Oh man did she have the garlic stink on that evening when I got home.

Posted by barrett on January 12, 2006 at 2:55 PM
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