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September 16 is Mexican Independence Day – (Dia de la Independence to celebrate the “cry of independence” that started a revolt against the Spaniards in 1810. What better holiday to add to this than National Guacamole Day on September 16, honoring the indulgent, rich, satisfying and healthy dish that makes summer linger a little big longer.
I should know. I created and drove a decorated car with celebrities in the East L.A. holiday parade for years, including the first time when a shooting took place on the place we parked only hours later.
This year we dipped into SOL COCINA’s famous “Naked Guacamole Playa Vista (see below) and at Cocina Condesa in Studio City we tried Chef Eddie Garcia’s Guacamole Chignon dotted with Pomegranate seeds, dried apricots and crispy chicharrones. A revelation and a meal –especially dining outside under the awning with mist-ers along accompanied by a flight of Mescals!
Chef Garcia’s other interesting Guacamoles include: House Guacamole with cilantro, red onion, lime and sea salt (shown above); Guacamole Fuego with Cilantro, red onion, lime, sea salt, habanera chili, golden raisons and Guacamole Loco that adds to the mix Spiced mango, cotija cheese, lime and toasted crickets! We ate the toasted crickets in the special.
Created by Aztecs, the indigenous people of Mexico, adaptable guacamole does triple duty as dip, condiment or garnish). California chefs have choice avocados year-round and make the most of it. Everyone loves guacamole. And the nutritional elements seem too good to be true, as does the easy preparation of this complex dish.
Noted cookbook author Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina in Playa Vista (here with fan, Barbara Hansen, of the LA TMES) created two versions. Her Naked Guacamole features ripe avocados, cilantro, lime, onion, serrano chilies and tomatoes. Her recipe featured here of Guacamole SOL uses the naked guacamole as a base and tops it with mango, tequila, creamy goat cheese, and toasted pepitas.
Guacamole SOL Recipe
Created by Executive Chef Deborah Schneider
2 ripe Hass avocados
1 T. fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup white onion, finely diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 Serrano chile, minced (optional)
2 T. Roma tomato, cored and seeded, diced
2 T. ripe mango, peeled, cut into small dice
1 tsp. Blanco tequila
1 tsp. lime juice
1 T. goat cheese, crumbled
1 T. pomegranate seeds (if pomegranates are not available, substitute toasted pine nuts)
Garnish: cilantro sprig, fresh tostadas, lime wedges
The spectacular resort-like SOL Cocina Playa Vista in a brand new Jefferson Boulevard shopping complex is the perfect place to kick back and celebrate.
(photo courtesy SOL COCINA)
There are as many drinks and bars for what feels like a “stay-cation” intimate or large-groups as a resort (the owners are resort-operators). “Naked” guacamole (below) is served on the counter here on the veranda for an indoor-outdoor feast.
SOL COCINA, 12775 West Millennium Drive #160, Playa Vista, CA 90094; 424.289.0066; www.solcocina.com
Red O Award-winning Culinary Director (Mexican culinary food icon) Rick Bayless travels with his staff to a different part of Mexico each year to keep current. Here he keeps it clean and simple at Red O in Santa Monica where his Classic Guacamole keeps guests clamoring for more, with fresh avocado, tomatoes, onions, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and serrano chile. (photo courtesy bob Hodson)
Red O Santa Monica . 1541 Ocean Ave., Suite 120 Santa Monica, CA 90401; 310.458.1600; www.redorestaurant.com
Classic Guacamole by Culinary Director, Rick Bayless
Serves 8 to 12 Guests
2 serranos, stems removed
3 avocados, preferably the black-skinned Hass
A couple of tables spoons of fresh cilantro
1 small white onion (fresh knob onion—green tops still on—is best), finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Optional – A little crumbled Mexican fresh cheese (queso fresco) for garnish
A sliced radish or two for garnish
The burger – and all-out, super-friendly hospitality- may reign at Hache LA in Silver Lake, but it is all about the avocado for National Guacamole Day. Here Executive Chef Michael “Mick” Schepers unveils his recipe for Modified Guerrero Style Guacamole, which features secret ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, juice of half a lemon, two garlic cloves and a Roma tomato. (photo credit: acuna-hansen)
Modified Guerrero Style Guacamole Created by Executive Chef Michael “Mick” Schepers
2 regular avocados
1 Medium Size Jalapeño Chile
1 Serrano Chile
2 garlic clove
1/2 onion diced
1 large Roma tomato diced
1/2 tablespoon of EVOO
1 teaspoon Salt or to taste
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Method & Preparation:
Haché LA- 3319 West Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026; 323.928.2963;www.hachela.com
An avant garde dish using guacaamole as a garnish is Chef Jeff Lustre of Demitasse Cafe & Roastery in Hollywood, where the avant-garde crowd favorite Deviled Eggs are dolloped with guacamole, radish, and bubu aware (Japanese cracker in the form of tiny balls). Secret Ingredients include creamy yogurt and red wine vinegar.
Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen: 1542 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90028; 323.498.5155; www.cafedemitasse.com
Food blogger Svitlana Flom from Art de Fete has the perfect addition to all of your chips and dip appetizers, taco nights, avocado toasts, sandwiches – the opportunities are endless. The secret that makes Svitlana’s guac better are her three secret ingredients: lime juice, garlic, and a pinch of cumin. Whether you choose to include jalapeno and hot sauce is up to you, but this Spicy Guacamole will add a delicious kick to any meal.
Art de Fete’s Spicy Guacamole
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