Plain and Perfect Guacamole

Over the 10 years since I perfected my guacamole recipe and won a Los Angeles-based Guac-Off, it has become nothing short of a legend in my own mind. My guacamole has been talked about (mostly by me), written about (mostly here), and copied, even by people who normally don't go around copying things. My guacamole inspired the one the trend-setting chef Nancy Silverton serves for her Mozza restaurant staff parties. But the one thing my guacamole hasn't done during that time is change. Because it's perfect in the way that only simple things can be. I learned it from my step-grandmother, a Oaxaca native living in Mexico City, who casually mashes up a molcajete of guacamole the way you or I might whisk an egg. Like: No. Big. Deal. The key word here being MASHED. The word guacamole comes from the word "molir," which means "to grind" or "to mash." It does not mean "to mince." Minced onion-and-tomoato guacamole is more like avocado pico de gallo. Where this (if I do say so myself) perfect gua ...

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Double-glazed and ready to eat. Every summer, for me, has its culinary victory. One year it was gelato. Another: jam. There was the summer when the takeaway, clearly, was old fashioned American pie. This year, as the days get shorter and the occasional tree begins to turn color, the one thing that is obvious to me is that this summer was all about lamb and if you forced me to get specific, I'd say it was about lamb ribs. Lamb as a victory and a theme for my summer has everything to do with the fact that I was collaborating on a MEAT book with Pat LaFrieda, New York City's paint balling, turkey hunting, Prada shoe-wearing, scimitar wielding celebrity artisan butcher. Before that, I wouldn't have known there was such a thing as lamb ribs. I mean I knew lambs had ribs. I have ribs. My dog has ribs. But who knew you could or that anybody did eat lamb ribs? Lamb being fatty, lamb ribs are also fatty, in the best way, and lamb being exceptionally flavorful, lamb ribs... don't even get me sta ...

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I'm not superstitious, but I do appreciate when certain superstitions give me an excuse to do something I want to do anyway. In Italy, lentils, called lenticchie (pronounced "len-TEA-ki-yay") are traditionally eaten for New Year because they are supposed to bring prosperity to the eater. The reasoning being that the little legumes are vaguely reminiscent of teeny tiny coins so by eating them, you will be showered with money. (Makes perfect sense, if you like lentils.) Which is why, when 2012 rolled around, thinking my friends and I could use a little prosperity ourselves, I invited a few over on a sunny January first, and decided to give the experiment a go. I started with Umbrian Lentils, which grow in and around a town called Castelluccio, in Umbria. Lenticchie di Castelluccio, like the more widely known French Lentils du Puy, are granted IGT (protected geographical indication) status, which means in order to bear the name Castelluccio, they have to be grown in that particular regio ...

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In honor of National Snack Food Day tomorrow, I decided to once again repost my famous guacamole recipe. As many of you know, I was once a guacamole purist, willing to go to insane lengths to grind every last bit of loose gravel from a lava molcajete, which as it turns out is just plain not possible. But last Labor Day, when my friend, the brilliant chef Nancy Silverton asked me to bring enough guac for 40 to contribute to the burger feast at her house, well, let's just say I gave in. Here, you can see, I started with a molcajete, and all the best intentions. But it soon became apparent that my avocados were bigger than my molcajete. And I don't mean that metaphorically. So I resorted to this: one of the most beloved and used gadgets in my kitchen: the Cuisinart Mini Prep, AKA: the Modern Man's Molcajete. I chose this particular color to post here because it is the color of the house we lived in in Tijuana until I was three, where I must have eaten my first ever guacamole in its ...

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