Easy Guacamole (No Measuring!)

Photo via chow.com

Photo via chow.com

Robbie makes tacos for dinner about twice a month, because he is the master of anything involving ground beef, and I just don’t prefer cooking with it for some reason. It’s not that it’s difficult. And I don’t mind eating it usually. I just think it’s weird. I don’t know why. We all have our quirks. For example, Robbie hates the way microfiber towels feel, and he can’t stand to touch loose change because it smells weird and is dirty. So, I am the change jar roller! And he is the ground beef cooker. And I no longer buy any type of microfiber towel. But anyway.

Robbie takes real pride in his secret seasoning combinations for steaks, burgers, taco meat, sloppy joes, and the like. And I find it totally impossible to cook refried beans properly, and he is actually very good at that, too. So, this is why he is in charge of taco night. Plus, I get to watch TV on the couch with my beer while he does all the work! Yassssss.

My ONLY job on taco night is to make the guacamole, which we use for dipping tortilla chips in while everything is cooking, and also for putting on our tacos as an extra condiment. Before he met me, Robbie had never had guacamole or avocados in any form (I KNOW!), and he claimed to not like it. He was afraid to try it the first time I made it for him. But I forced it into his mouth! Muahaha!

And he loved it. Now he asks for it any time we eat anything remotely related to Mexican cuisine. Sometimes I let him taste-test to make him feel like his opinion matters. Ha!

Funny story: Once, I tried to grow an avocado tree using the pit from an avocado I used to make guacamole. There are instructions on Pinterest for this. It started out really easy. Just skewer the pit with toothpicks and set it over a glass of water so it’s about half-submerged. It grows roots, then a stalk, then leaves, and then hopefully about seven years later you have fruit. Mine grew roots, and a stalk about three feet tall, but it never, ever grew any leaves. Everyone who came to our house asked why I had a stick in a flower pot. It did not make the move with us to the new house.

I am all about recipes that don’t require exact measurements. I’ve played around with different ways to make guacamole over the years and finally have a pretty good process that, in my opinion, is just as tasty (if not better) than the tiny $5 bowls you get at Mexican restaurants. The best part is that you don’t have to measure anything at all! Unless you are just very Type A and want to make sure it is totally perfect. I can relate to that, too.

Easy, No Measure Guacamole

2 avocados
2 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
On rare occasion, I also add a couple tablespoons of minced onion for a little crunch.
(All measurements are approximate!)

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop the meat out into a bowl. Mash with a fork until you reach the consistency you like. Some people like their guac a little chunky; some people like it smooth and creamy. If it doesn’t mash easily with a fork because the avocados are not quite ripe enough, you can use a fork and a knife to cut it up into tinier, mashable pieces.

Stir in the salsa and sour cream. I don’t use the tablespoon from my measuring spoon set. I just use a spoon from my eating utensil drawer — not the small cereal spoon, but the larger one. Like the one you would use to mix ingredients. I have no idea if that is actually the same as the measuring tablespoon or not. It seems close.

For the other ingredients, I just cup my hand as if I was trying to collect a handful of water from a faucet. I fill up the little divot it makes in the center of my palm with each ingredient and dump it in, stirring to mix well. That’s it!

Obviously, you can taste it as you go and adjust the amounts according to what you like. I don’t let Robbie taste-test it anymore, because he always asks for more salt than I normally add. But when I just present it to him already finished, he never mentions it needing more salt. SO. THERE!

The lemon juice seems to help it from turning brown so quickly in the refrigerator, and I can keep it for about 2 days after it has been made to use for leftovers. Be sure to cover it with plastic wrap, though! Enjoy on your own Mexican dinner night at home! Because who can even afford to go out to eat anymore?

Tasty Tuesday: Perfect Baked Potatoes

bakpot

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Like anyone doesn’t know how to make a baked potato.” Either that, or “Man, she sure does like potatoes.” Well, yes, I do. In fact, I might even go so far as to say they are my favorite vegetable. I like them in any disguise. And as a busy singleton, I can and do live for a while on simple meals like baked potatoes, tuna salad, and waffles. When I was growing up, my mom used to make baked potatoes in the microwave. It is definitely the quickest method, but really not the tastiest. I have experimented with different ways of cooking baked potatoes over the years, and I’m going to share with you my failsafe recipe. It’s easy, I promise.

All right, first you’re going to take a potato (any kind) and wash it. Scrub the dirt off (please use something with bristles) and cut out any bad places. Using a sharp knife, stab slits into the potato all over. Careful not to stab your hands, kids. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put about a tablespoon of cooking oil (any kind will do) on a small plate. Dip the potato into the oil and use your thumb to spread it out over the potato. You might do that on each side. Now sprinkle salt (any kind) onto the potato for a light, all-over coating. Set the potato directly onto the oven rack (in the middle), and leave it there for one hour. (“One hour, one hour, one hour! Thaaank YOU!” Can anyone ID the movie?) At that point, use a potholder to pull the rack out a little and transfer the potato to a plate. Let it sit on the plate for about a minute before you cut into it, so that it cooks just a little bit longer. Now, have your way with it using the toppings of your choice.

A couple of tips:

If you are using the smallest size red, new, or fingerling potatoes, you need to bake several at one time to use the instructions above. If they are so small that they’re going to fall through the bars on your oven rack, you should use one of those baking pans with the built-in rack over a pan. The reason for not using just a regular baking pan is that you want the air to be able to circulate all the way around the potato for even cooking.

If you’re using a gigantic baking potato, you might want to leave it in a little bit longer than an hour. Also, let it sit on the plate for maybe 4 minutes to continue steaming itself.

Sometimes I crank up the oven to 400 degrees F, because I like my potato skins as crispy as possible, and the higher heat seems to do the trick.