Fact: chances are very good that when you’re entering a guacamole contest, good avocados that will ripen at just the right time are hard to find. You will buy a small stash and dutifully place them in a brown paper bag for a couple days. And yet you will probably have to make an early morning emergency run to the grocery store the day of the contest to find avocados even close to what you need because those little friends in the brown paper bag didn’t get the memo that you need them. Now.
It will have snowed a couple of inches the night before. In a city that is surprisingly ill-prepared for snowfall. And once you get to the grocery store and have gently pressed every avocado in the produce department, you find a few that show promise and will (hopefully) mash up nicely. And naturally, they’re not cheap (they’ll go on sale tomorrow).
So, you go home and carefully slice through them. At least two of the three of them aren’t brown in the middle. You mix up your best guacamole with an ingredient list that matches the length and variety of your monthly grocery list, drive downtown (through the snow), and do your best to find a parking spot. There are plenty, but where the lines are is anyone’s guess. You hand over your container of mushed green stuff and walk around the indoor market three times before succumbing to one of the best and largest cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had while waiting for the contest to begin.
And then you stand and nervously watch the judges eating guacamole at 9 o’clock in the morning. Yours is first, and you are praying that the lady who brought hers in as the judges were sitting down and picking up their spoons doesn’t win because — snow or no snow — it was supposed to be submitted at 8:30 (though later you cut her a little slack because you find out that she also had to make an emergency run to the grocery store that morning for ripe avocados). After 30 minutes and the tasting of 8 entries, your guacamole (the one with bacon and beer) ties for second place because it doesn’t have enough heat. (Did you know guacamole is supposed to be spicy?) Your recipe loses to the one that tastes like chili seasonings. At least it wasn’t made by Eleventh Hour Lady.
A few weeks ago, I found myself in such a situation. I’m really not bitter about not winning and walking away with only my leftover guacamole in hand (there was no prize for second place). It was a good experience and an excuse to make guacamole — a little bit of cantina in an otherwise long stretch of winter. And who doesn’t need a little cantina when it’s snowing out?
Laundry List Guacamole
- 1 Roma tomato
- 4 avocados
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 Roma tomato, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (leave some seeds in for a bit of heat)
- 3 tomatillos, peeled and chopped (optional, but a nice addition)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1-1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- juice and zest from one lime
- 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. beer, optional (a good hoppy IPA preferred)
Chop tomato and place on paper towel to remove extra moisture. Cut avocados, remove pit, and scoop out flesh. Mash in medium bowl until chunky consistency. Stir in remaining ingredients. If not serving immediately, wait to add bacon, cilantro, and beer until serving time.