Culture

Snack Stack: Summer Means Guacamole

18 Jun 2022 6:00am, by
several tortilla chips scattered on a light blue background. One chip has a dollop of green guacamole on it.

It’s summertime here in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to touch some grass.

This means doing inside stuff outside. Listen to music at a concert in a park. Watch a movie under the stars or, heck, just spread out a blanket on some lawn somewhere and gaze at the stars.

Day drink at an outdoor festival — arts, craft brews, music. (We’ve got popsicles for that if you need to be on the DL with public consumption of alcohol). Or even just eat your regular lunch or dinner only sitting outside in the sunshine, get you some fresh air and free vitamin D.

There are some geekily fantastic outdoor festivals like Austin’s Bat Fest (actual bats!), roller derby queens with plastic bats chasing down runners in the streets of New Orleans for San Fermin Festival, and poolside chiptune concerts while frolicking in the pool at MagWest.

Or just get your groove on at major outdoor music fests like Afropunk in Brooklyn or Down the Rabbit Hole in the Netherlands or you can always just, you know, go to Burning Man. Or maybe you are just invited to hang out with friends in a park or in somebody’s backyard. Big or small, they all share one common experience: food.

So here at Snack Stack Central we are going to share the secret ingredient to being boss of the backyard barbecue, patron of the potluck picnic: guacamole.

Homemade guacamole is the portable summer comestible because it’s five simple ingredients (six, if you count the bag of chips that by law must accompany your offering). You’re pretty much guaranteed to make something delicious because it’s 97%  pure avocado, the most glorious food nature has bestowed upon humanity (Fun fact: one nickname for avocados is “alligator pear” because of their bumpy skin … But also, alligators apparently love guacamole!).

No other dish promises such great odds for success, so long as you avoid the fatal pitfall of trying to proceed with rock-hard, unripened avocados. And yet, somehow, folks still fuck it up.

The Perfect Guacamole Recipe (for Real)

Many sins are committed in the name of guac. And we aren’t even talking about the overpriced buckets of nasty green slime that pass for grocery store guacamole.

At an annual Fourth of July nerdfest gathering with friends, someone proudly presented their signature “guacamole” — there was avocado in there, probably, but who could tell with all the mayonnaise and celery (!) and crumbled bacon (!!). It was just wrong. I said so out loud. It nearly came to blows.

So I present to you the perfect guacamole recipe. I will fight. The holy quincunx of ingredients.
Once it’s all mixed you can go ahead and make it your own by adding one or more of these acceptable add-ons: diced tomatoes. Cilantro. Fresh onion. Really, these should be in your pico de gallo, if you have the ingredients on hand already. (C’mon people, it takes about 30 more seconds to just make a bowl of pico.)

For the love of god, just don’t put anything else in it. No sour cream, no garlic powder, no lemon juice. No feta cheese or peas or pomegranate seeds or pepitas or anything else some fancy recipe urges you to try. Just … no.

Holy Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados*
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled**
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice***
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin ****
  • Salt — big pinch

Slice avocados in half lengthwise. Pry out the pit, then use a spoon to scoop out the luscious green flesh into a bowl. Push the garlic cloves through the press into the bowl with the avocado. Sprinkle it with the lime juice, salt and cumin. Mash with a fork. Taste to see if it needs more salt or lime juice. If you are taking it to a gathering, press and smooth plastic wrap down onto the top to prevent the top layer from oxidizing, or pack it to the top of a tub with a tight-fitting lid.

This recipe is infinitely expandable. For a party, I’d use at least six avocados, so triple every other ingredient quantity. You’ve got this, you’re good at math.

A Few Notes on the Guac Ingredients

* Avocados are temperamental, hard as a rock one day and then ready for a bright orange “ripe” sticker the next. What kind to choose at the grocery store depends on how soon you are planning to make your masterpiece.

If you are buying avocados to make same-day guac then you def need ripe ones, but don’t trust the grocery store stickers. The best way to check if an avocado is guac-worthy is by giving it a quick squeeze, but don’t press in on the sides — this can actually bruise the luscious green insides.

At an annual Fourth of July nerdfest gathering with friends, someone proudly presented their signature “guacamole” — there was avocado in there, probably, but who could tell with all the mayonnaise and celery (!) and crumbled bacon (!!). It was just wrong. I said so out loud. It nearly came to blows.

Instead, press down lightly on the stem end of the avocado with about the same amount of pressure you’d use to click a mouse. If it gives a bit but retains its shape, the avocado is ready to eat. If your finger leaves a dent, the avocado is likely overripe and could be brown inside, a serious guacamole no-no (or maybe you’ve been mousing a little too much?).

** Even if you hate garlic, you have to do this. Use fresh garlic, not that weird pre-minced stuff in the jar that calls itself fresh but is an abomination. I promise you the garlic disappears into the mix yet the flavor is essential. Also, buy a garlic press. You will be astonished how much owning one makes your kitchen life better. Unless you are genuinely allergic to garlic, in which case you are excused.

*** Squeezed from a fresh lime(s), not the battery acid in one of those green plastic “limes” the grocery store sells. Two tablespoons equal about one good juicy big lime. When shopping, look for thinner-skinned limes, smooth and a bit shiny instead of bumpy, to get the juiciest ones. Then roll it around on the counter a few times before slicing it open, this makes more juice come out.

**** I’m asking you to trust me on this.

Don’t forget the chips. Watch out for alligators. If you are having a party, invite me. Happy summer!

The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Real.

Featured image by Nele Skirp via Unsplash.