LET’S TALK GUACAMOLE
Serving great items in a restaurant is never easy even when it seems it should be easy. That’s probably true for any business offering exceptional items whether a surgeon, tire store, hair dresser or anything. Great results take special attention and focus!
Guacamole should seem pretty easy to do. In reality, it is not. There are many detailed steps to great Guacamole, and at Cafe Heavenly, even before we attempt to offer something, we research endlessly, from recipes online, to YouTube videos to articles on just where is the Best Guacamole. Then test, test, test.
Of course, there are many styles of Guacamole. Some prefer it smooth, some chunky, some basically plain with little other ingredients, some with more ingredients, some like it spicy with jalapeño, some saltier, and on and on. This was similar when choosing our Pizza style from our Wood Fired Oven. Dozens of styles and we finally decided on ‘Thin Cracker Crust’, a style developed in the Mid-West.
Our Guacamole style is Chunky with lots of other items like Red Onion, Jalapeño, Roma Tomatoes, Lime Juice, Olive Oil, Salt and, of course, Cilantro. If you love Cilantro (like I do), you’ll love our Guacamole!
But it’s not as simple to make as you might think. We had to first decide how we would treat each ingredient and the proper amount of each.
This is what we came up with and what we do to each ingredient:
1. First the Avocados, only California Hass Avocados or the equivalent Mexican or Central American variety, not the larger ‘Florida’ Avocados. We buy many, then let them ripe on their own. We’re getting pretty good at determining when an Avocado is perfect. Here is a cool Avocado prep tool made by Oxo, the ‘OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer’, $9.99 on Amazon.
Fun Fact: The earliest avocado was found in a cave in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico and dates back to around 10,000 B.C. An avocado-shaped water jar dating 900 A.D. was also unearthed in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. These plants have been cultivated in Central and South America as early as 5,000 B.C.
2. We cut the Avocados into large chunks, then add a small amount of freshly squeezed Lime Juice and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lightly salt, then freshly ground Pepper.
3. In a blender we add Garlic Cloves, Jalapeño (removing the seeds) and mince as finely as we can, then add Red Onion and pulse to a small texture, not minced, and add to the Avocados.
4. Next we prep the fresh Roma Tomatoes, and remove all seeds of the Tomatoes, by hand, of course. A little time consuming, but seeds add some bitterness which we don’t want in our Guac! Now chop the Tomatoes by hand into small pieces and add to the Avocados. Lightly Salt again.
5. Now for the Cilantro: We remove 98% of the stems, only using fresh Cilantro leaves, then hand chop to a small size. We choose to not use a blender as it cuts too quickly. Add the Cilantro to the Avocado mixture.
* Fun Fact: The key to keeping fresh Cilantro for 3 or 4 weeks (or any other herb leaf) is to remove as much air as possible from the package and make sure the leaves are dry. Here’s what to do: Dry the leaves as best you can with paper towels, then spread out your herbs and let sit to dry them out further, later drying them more with more paper towels. Get another roll of paper towels, then roll out 3 or 4 sections and place a handful of Cilantro (with stems) inside the roll. Roll the paper towels over the Cilantro, then more Cilantro, rolling the paper towels over again. After about 4 or 5 handfuls, place in a gallon size Zip-Lock Bag, and squeeze out most of the air, then seal. Place in refrigerator, and you’re ‘Good to Go’ for 2, 3 or maybe even 4 weeks!
6. Now, we’re almost done. With all the items now in a large bowl, gently hand mix to break up some of the Avocado pieces.
7. We then fill plastic Qt containers, tapping down so no air gets locked inside, filling to the very top to not allow oxygen.
8. Finally, smooth down the top of the quart of Guac with your finger, then add 1 teaspoon of fresh Lime Juice. Tilt the container to try to cover as much of the top area as possible.
That’s it. Once you do it a few times, it gets easier and a little faster, but we don’t make very much at one time because we want the Guac served at Cafe Heavenly to ALWAYS be FRESH! We realize we might sometimes be out of Guac, but that’s how we feel we must do it!
Last Fun Fact: Because the price of Avocados has more than doubled in the past year, from $37 a box to $84 a box, some restaurants have resorted to using Fake Guacamole, substituting Avocado for ‘Mexican Squash’, sometimes referred to as Mexican zucchini or Calabacitas “little pumpkins”.
Obviously, we’d never do this at Cafe Heavenly!
We believe our Guacamole is equal to any Mexican restaurant, even those restaurants in Puebla, Mexico!!