Guacamole Without a Plan

French Fridays with Dorie

Guacamole without a planI’ve never seen anyone follow a recipe for making guacamole. I never even considered that anyone might actually need one. And yet here it seems that a very good recipe for it has ended up in a recipe book about Paris cooking that I have committed to cooking my way through from beginning to end.

Whose plan was that?

I guess that if you are completely new to guacamole or if your experience is typically Parisian in that the only taste of the stuff you have had is that green paste that comes in plastic containers then you should first start with a recipe and go from there. Ms. Greenspan’s is as good as any for this purpose and, in fact, it is better than most because it has all the elements you need (heat, acid, herb, onion and salt) that a good batch must have.

I just prefer not to follow a recipe.

I will, however, readily join this Dorista guacamole party, albeit fashionably late, even though the whole notion here seems strange. This is because you just don’t need to twist my arm when to enjoying a fresh batch of guacamole (or the agave margarita that goes with it perfectly.

So I overlooked this cultural dissonance and I tackled this French Friday’s with Dorie assignment.

The truth is, with or without a plan all you need for great guacamole is to start with avocados that are at just the right ripeness and go from there.  Guacamole must (yes it must) have some heat so use jalapeños (or any chili you like) or use hot sauce or black pepper or cayenne powder if that is all you have. Use all of the above if heat is your thing. Use as little or as much as is to your taste for half the fun of guacamole making is tasting it along the way.  Add some lime juice to get some acid in there. No lime? Use lemon. Heck, use both and then amp up the taste by adding some of zest.

The rest is gravy. For me some chopped onions or garlic is required. Some chopped tomato or bell peppers? Certainly. Cilantro? Yup. But go ahead and leave it out if you are one of those genetic mutants who can’t stand it.  Add salt. Guacamole needs salt.

Soon you will be enjoying it without a plan and tasting along the way. Until then, a recipe:

 Guacamole by Dorie Greenspan

Guacamole Without a Plan

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Guacamole Without a Plan

Please don't stand on ceremony with regards to the ingredients in this recipe. If you have avocados, you have guacamole only minutes away.

This is what you will need:

  • 2 avocados, halved and pitted
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 limes
  • 1/4 cup diced, red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

This is how you make it:

  1. There is no way to do this that is not correct. Just make sure all the ingredients end up together in a bowl somehow. I like to scrape the avocados into a bowl and add the ingredients on top and mash lightly with a fork. Add lime zest and juice and mash with a spoon or fork until chunky or smooth—whichever you prefer. Stir in the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Next, add hot sauce, if desired. Fold in the red pepper and tomatoes.


Pie Plate Salad! A Retro Food Celebration!

A Retro-Tastic ™ Food Celebration for July 4th!

Pie Plate Salad

It is impossible for us to separate our favorite holidays from the food dishes we crave when celebrating them. Who would dare host a Christmas dinner without a Butterball turkey and a can of mom’s favorite cranberry jelly? And consider the cries of disappointment if there wasn’t a no-bake pumpkin pie or multi-colored marshmallow yam casserole at the table when your family sat down to Thanksgiving dinner!

No, our families and friends deserve only the greatest foods at our holiday feasts.

This is why I always bring everyone’s favorite picnic side-dish: Pie Plate Salad (featuring popular Veg-All brand canned vegetables) to our neighborhood July 4th potlucks.  The neighborhood party just would not be the same without it.

Those backyard grilled hamburgers and hot dogs always need a fresh and wonderful side dish to go with them so while everyone else shows up with the usual macaroni salad or cole slaw I never  forget the Pie Plate Salad. Its a tradition that is sure to please.

You should see how much attention I get each year when we show up with this plate of bite-sized vegetables held in place with lemon Jello.  All eyes are always on this colorful picnic side dish each and every time I bring it!

A great nation deserves a great picnic side dish so please give this one a try at your celebration and you will be as filled with as much pride as your guests are with patriotism.

Pie Plate Salad

This post is part of what we hope will become an annual celebration of America’s mind-blowing “Retro-TasticTM ” culinary history. It has not always pretty folks but it’s ours and we think it should be celebrated right along with the rest of our nation’s heritage!

For every brownie and cherry pie in this country’s great culinary past there is something horrible made with gelatin and canned corn that probably should never have been dreamt up.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) there was no Internet back during this sweet spot of American kitchen domesticity. These creative masterpieces were not preserved for our visual pleasure the way today’s creations are. Our mis

sion therefore is to give these dishes their due and present them as they would have been presented ‘back in the day’…if only food blogs had been around to popularize them.

Pie Plate Salad!

You can find the inspiration for this event (and other Regrettable Retro Food Recipes) over at BuzzFeed or on the back of consumer packages everywhere. Please be sure to check out my co-conspirator and friend Trix at Tasty Trix for her effort at celebrating America’s forgotten culinary history as well!

Now who wants another slice of Pie Plate Salad?

Pie Plate Salad

Pie Plate Salad

Yield: 32 servings. Nobody takes that much for some reason.

Serving Size: 1-2 Tablespoons is all anyone can take!

This is what you will need:

  • 1 package lemon Jello
  • 1 can mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup "salad dressing"
  • lettuce or parsley for garnish

This is how you make it:

  1. In a medium bowl dissolve one package lemon Jello in one cup of hot water. Stir until completely dissolved. When dissolved add 1/2 cup of cold water.
  2. Add one can of canned mixed vegetables, drained., and peas.
  3. Add mixture to a clean, cold 8 or 9 inch glass pie plate and refrigerate until firm. 4 hours to over night.
  4. When ready to serve, un-mold onto a flat plate and garnish with greenery and 'whipped dressing" or tartar sauce.


There will be plenty of this for your guests to take home!

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