I first learned to make guacamole at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, where one of the activities was a cooking demonstration. Ever since, guacamole has been a regular party staple in our household. Who doesn’t like guacamole? Fresh and flavorful, guacamole is excellent all year round.
There’s room to play in making guacamole. Normally, I use a habañero pepper (about 1/2, deseeded), but you can also use serrano or jalapeño peppers, depending on your preference. Recently, we like using serrano peppers because they have a good balance of heat and flavor (David calls it “umami”). A few of my friends don’t like cilantro, in which case I’ll swap out cilantro for basil and make what I call “Mediterranean” guacamole. Although traditional guacamole uses yellow onions, sometimes I like to use red onions, which are sweeter. You can use heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes, depending of what looks best at the market. I like my guacamole crunchy, so you can definitely play with the ingredient ratios.
Here’s the basic mix as a guideline:
We’ve found gorgeous organic, heirloom mini-tomatoes here in Stockholm — perfect for making my “Mediterranean salsa” even more colorful! This “salsa” is great alongside meats (pork chops, steaks), as a dip (with gluten-free crackers, for instance), or with eggs (fried or scrambled). Very simple to make, and tasty. In a large bowl, mix together: chopped up the tomatoes; a small red onion, minced; finely mince jalapeno pepper (less or more depending on your tolerance for heat); a big handful of basil, chiffonade; and 2 tablespoons or so of capers (depending on how much you like capers). Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Drizzle some olive oil, and season with salt to taste.
P.S.> No need to use heirloom mini-tomatoes, of course. Any delicious, preferably organic tomatoes would make a great Mediterranean-style salsa!
As hors d’oeuvres for our “Swedish-inpspired” non-traditional Thanksgiving, I made deviled eggs with caviar. Recently, deviled eggs seem to have made a comeback as a trendy bar food around New York. One of our favorite Brooklyn bars called Henry Public has deviled eggs on its menu, which we love to order when we enjoy a late-afternoon cocktail at the bar. Deviled eggs make good hors d’oeuvres because they are easy to make, an appropriate size for finger-food, and look pretty. I decided my “Swedish”-inspired deviled eggs would be topped with caviar (2 types) and chives.
The best egg boiling instruction I received came from an episode of Ina Garten’s cooking show. She instructs that you put the eggs in the pot from the start – add cold water just enough to cover the eggs, and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, take the pot off the heat and leave the eggs in the hot water for 15 minutes. This method of egg boiling keeps the egg yolks from turning a gray color around the edges. I boiled the eggs the night before, so that they were ready to peel when I got home from work.
Peel the eggs carefully, and cut the eggs in half vertically (long-side). Gently take out the egg yolks and put them in a bowl. Finely mince half a small red onion and some chives, and add them to the yolks. Add a table spoon of Dijon mustard, and about a tablespoon of good olive oil, until the consistency of the yolk mixture is creamy. Season with salt. It’s imprtant to taste and adjust the seasoning/flavor as you see fit.
Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg whites.
Top with caviar and sprinkle some chopped chives. Serve on a platter. Enjoy!