Chef Laura's Guacamole
As a snack this Shabbat, I am serving guacamole in honor of Cinco De Mayo. I love this creamy, healthy condiment and look for any excuse to shmear it on challah, tortillas, and my favorite enchiladas.
The secret to good guacamole is simple: the ingredients should be ripe and really fresh, and each bite or scoopful should burst with flavor. This means no powdered garlic allowed and lots of tasting, to make sure the flavors are well balanced.
Contrary to popular food myth, leaving the pit in the bowl of guacamole will not prevent the avocados from oxidizing and turning black. To ensure that your guacamole stays green, cover the guacamole with plastic wrap or parchment paper and lightly press the wrap directly on the surface. Then go ahead and throw out the pit, or plant it.
Makes 2 cups
3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons best-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
2 medium tomatillos, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup diced red onion, diced finely
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced very small
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 radishes, diced very small (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Suggested accompaniments: crispy tortilla chips, jicama strips, cucumber slices, radishes, carrot strips
1. Place the avocados into a large bowl. Add the lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic.
2. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or fork until it is mostly mashed but some chunks remain. Add the tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and radishes, if using. Stir them in to combine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with your choice of accompaniments.
Quick Ancho Chile Sauce for Enchiladas
I make a lot of moles and enjoy the long process and especially the final results. But, when I need a quick sauce for enchiladas, I go for an abbreviated version. This sauce is quick and delicious.
Normally a sauce like this would be made in a molcajete (Mexican mortar and pestle) and the cook would spend hours grinding the ingredients to a velvety constituency, I am going with a blender this week!
10 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded (reserve the seeds)
1 cup oil
3 tablespoons of chile seeds, toasted in a dry pan until medium brown
8 cloves of garlic
½ cup raisins
½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Reserved soaking water from chiles
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 package corn tortillas
Suggested filling for tortillas: favorite cheeses, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and peppers, or pulled chicken or brisket for meat preparations
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the chiles, in batches, for about 10-15 seconds until they are dark red and puffy. Transfer the chiles to a large bowl filled with cold water. Soak the chiles for about 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles and about 1 cup of soaking water to a blender. Add the remaining ingredients except the chocolate and process the sauce until it is finely ground and has a thick-saucy consistency (you may need to add more water).
2. Heat a large saucepan, lightly coated with olive oil, over medium high heat and add the sauce at once. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and season to taste.
3. Dip a tortilla into the sauce, lay the tortilla on a board and add about 2 tablespoons of filling, roll the tortillas and nestle into a casserole. Top with additional sauce. Bake for 15 minutes before serving.
Light and Crispy Churros
My son Jonah loves these light and crispy Mexican crullers. They are delicious and addictive. I serve them for desserts and an occasional breakfast. The dough is easy and can be made a couple of hours ahead of using.
Of course the churros are best right out of the frying pan, but they are delicious and I have never had anyone turn them down several hours after frying.
I serve the churros with chocolate dipping sauce or fruit preserves.
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup butter or canola oil for pareve
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Oil to fry the churros in-I use canola oil
1. Bring the water, brown sugar, salt, and butter (or oil) to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Stir the mixture until it forms a tight ball of dough.
2. Place the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it until well blended.
3. Add the eggs one at a time with the machine running, being sure to incorporate each addition before adding the next. Add the vanilla.
4. Fill your pastry bag with the churro recipe dough and attach the largest star tip you have.
5. Heat 1½ to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a 10 to 12 inch frying pan to 375 degrees F. In a separate dish mix the ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
6. Test your oil by placing a small amount of dough in it. The dough should bubble up right away and start to brown.
7. Once the oil is hot enough, squeeze some dough into the oil about 4 inches long. I used my finger to release the dough from the star tip. Careful not to burn yourself.
8. Cook 4 or 5 churros at a time. Cook them about 1 minute and turn them over with a slotted spoon. Cook an additional minute or two until they are a golden brown color.
9. Remove the churros with the slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-covered plate to absorb excess grease. While still warm, roll each churro into the dish with the sugar and cinnamon until coated.