Christmas Eve Guacamole for a Feliz Navidad!

Christmas Eve Guacamole 500

Our family always celebrates Noche Buena – Christmas Eve – southwest style. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without Carol’s Traditional Tamales, White Enchiladas and this year I’m starting a new tradition: Christmas Eve Guacamole.

The soft creamy guacamole, the tart crunchy pomegranate seeds and the salty white queso fresco make a fiesta of flavors and textures. This is a show-stopper on a plate with green, red and white Christmas colors. Why didn’t I think of this before???

I saw pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top of some guacamole recently – I can’t remember where – but I decided to take guac to a whole new level and make a stack of festiveness.

My daughter came into my kitchen yesterday when I was making this and she was skeptical. “Pomegranates – in guacamole?” But then she tasted it. The verdict was “Yum!”

!Feliz Navidad a Todos!

— posted by Donna

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Tuscan BLT Guacamole Bites and Dinner with the Too Hot Tamales

image Tuscan Bacon Lettuce Tomato Guacamole Bites

What do you get when you mix a ski lift, a power outage, California Avocados and Too Hot Tamales together in a room filled with bloggers?  A guacamole throw down, Top Chef style, of coarse.  That, and a night for the memory books.

Let me set the stage.  It’s Friday evening at the Canyons Ski Resort in Park City, Utah.  The dinner hosted by the California Avocado Commission and the Too Hot Tamales is sold out.  I don’t have a ticket.  Enter distant storm clouds and rumors of lightening.  A power outage stops the chairlift taking the line of eager bloggers with tickets up the mountain to the event, stranding one blogger in mid-air.  As time passes, with no sign of the emergency generators starting up, the line dwindles.  Spotting my chance, I duck my head and step in line.  “I’m Heidi from Foodie Crush,” I say as I sneak onto the platform and slide onto a seat.

That’s how the best night of the Evo ’12 Conference began.  A night of fun and laughter, of celebrity chefs cooking by the light of an iphone, of breaking the rules… all the rules, even the avocado rules.  You know the ones that say, “avocados must be mashed into guacamole” and “guacamole must be a Mexican dish with onions and jalapenos.”

Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (better known as the Too Hot Tamales and  Top Chef Masters) challenged the room filled with bloggers to break those rules and think outside the box to come up with an avocado dish using flavors and ingredients we would never have tried before.   After breaking us into twelve groups and giving us 10 minutes to make our dish, the chefs gave us the “Top Chef Masters” treatment and made us present our offerings for judgment.  Let me tell you, they were tough.
image Bread for Tuscan  Bacon Lettuce and Tomato  Guacamole Bites

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Spring Pea Guacamole Recipe for a Light Fresh Cinco de Mayo

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Spring Pea Guacamole

I am one of those people who never makes guacamole the same twice. So many things influence my guac – my mood, the occasion, what I have in the fridge and pantry.

I love to be adventurous with my guac, as you will see by my Roasted Garlic Guacamole. So. I decided to give a fresh springtime spin on guac.

The addition of peas is a delicious update on both flavor and healthiness of guacamole. They give a light texture and sweet taste to this classic southwest dip. And, lightens up your guacamole by decreasing the overall fat level. Highly, highly recommend pureeing some fresh peas and stirring them into your guac!

There is my recipe below – but please experiment on your own – so many things can be delicious in guacamole. I am impressed by the Cucumber Pomegranate Guac at A Cozy Kitchen – such great flavors and textures!  Wow – check out Crab and Blackberry Guacamole at Healthy Delicious. I’d love to try Maria’s Guacamole Grilled Cheese at Two Peas and Their Pod. I now have a crush on the Chunky Citrus Guacamole at Foodie Crush. Love the presentation of Guacamole Cones at Super Healthy Kids. Adn helthy fat meets bacon in Food Blogga’s Bacon Guacamole.

So many guacs. So little time.

Must try a few for Cinco de Mayo!

— posted by Donna

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Guacamole Tostado Recipe Quick and Easy for Meatless Mondays

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I haven’t joined the Meatless Monday movement yet, I’m easing into it slowly.  This recipe for guacamole tostados is an easy way to get started.  It’s delicious and you won’t even miss the meat.

I just took a cooking class with one of Phoenix’s top chefs, Silvana Salcido Esparza, chef-owner of the Barrio Cafe. The Barrio is one of the best modern Mexican restaurants ever. Along with preparing a fantastic menu with new twists on great Mexican food, she shared her tips for the Barrio’s guacamole.  Her guacamole is so good, it has been featured in several magazines including Vanity Fair!

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“Guacamole is guacamole.  It can’t be that different.”

That’s what you think right now.  Just wait until you try guacamole from the Barrio!

All the talk about guacamole reminded me of how much I love guacamole tostados.  They are hard to find on the menus of chain restaurants.  I guess they’re an Arizona thing just like cheese crisps, chimichangas and green corn tamales.  When you do find them, they are usually covered in refried beans (which is great if you like beans but, we all know how I feel about beans).  I did add them to mine today, though, for Meatless Monday.  I like Donna’s Black Bean Puree because the enchilada sauce and the salsa add a great flavor.

Now, the key to a perfect guacamole tostada is, of coarse, the guacamole.  Here are Chef Esparza’s tips for the best guacamole:

You’ll have to wait to see what her secret ingredient is!

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