Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cooking as a competitive sport

You don’t need to have reality TV aspirations to engage in some good old cook-off fun.  We recently had a big extended-family weekend out at our country house where Michael & I had an unofficial guacamole competition.  All good-naturedly, of course, we bickered about who made “the best” guacamole and then proceeded to alternately make it every night for four nights in a row in effort to prove our cases. 
            Up to their ears in guacamole, the samplers were quizzed on which ingredients added up to the better dish.  Michael insists the spicier the better, with hot chili sauce and fresh, hot peppers.   With kids around I usually skip the heat but I like mine extra lime-y and garlicky.  Michael’s is usually pretty consistently smooth and I make mine lumpy and chunky.  The rest of our recipes are pretty much the same, but the most important thing we agree on is finding perfectly ripened Haas avocadoes.  It’s not even worth making it if they’re not, in my humble opinion.  If you’ve got those, some S/P & lime juice it’s hard to go wrong and almost anything goes. 
            The good news is that the testers got to eat a lot of really awesome guacamole.  And, truth be known, it wasn’t about competition at all, but about sharing good food and exchanging ideas about how to improve, change, mix-up & spice up our old ways.  For the next family event I’m thinking of challenging the brothers (Michael & Eric) to a BBQ challenge.  Pulled pork, Baby-back ribs, BBQed brisket…. Yum!    Cooking can be social, and such a pleasure, if you make it fun. 

Guacamole Recipe
3 ripe Hass Avocados
½  medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
1  Jalepeno pepper, seeded & diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced or smashed
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper

Mash the avocadoes.  Stir in the other ingredients using your taste as guide.