Saturday, April 21, 2018
Cooking

From the food editor: For Cinco de Mayo, tips for making guacamole and a recipe for queso

This week's Taste issue is devoted to some very special people: moms. Specifically, how they help shape our cooking and eating habits, and offer wisdom in the kitchen — wisdom that often applies there and beyond.

We asked readers and Times staff to share any stories they had about their moms and food, and we heard from dozens of you. There were beloved recipes, quick tips, long stories. We've published some of these stories on Pages 4E-5E as a way to honor the subjects this Mother's Day.

There's also another holiday this week, one that traditionally inspires food and drink: Cinco de Mayo. To kick the festivities off Thursday, check out the margarita drink of the week recipes on Page 6E.

And when you get hungry, check out this week's featured recipe — a dip that is so hearty it can almost serve as a meal. It can also be the basis for a holiday spread of smaller bites. And in that spread, don't forget an essential Cinco de Mayo food: guacamole.

If you've never made the avocado dip from scratch, know that it's easy and typically more flavorful than the premade varieties. Here are four tips for perfecting it.

• Ripe avocados are a must. If you can only find firm ones at the grocery store, make sure to buy them a couple of days before you need them. For optimal guac, you want your avocados to yield to pressure when squeezed.

• Don't overmash. Don't be afraid to leave your guacamole chunky. Leaving larger bits of avocado throughout the dip, instead of pureeing it to death in a food processor, will add textural interest.

• Use fresh ingredients, especially herbs and citrus. A good squeeze of lime goes a long way toward making guacamole irresistible. And chopped fresh cilantro will brighten the whole thing up.

• Work lots of flavors in. Don't be afraid to go big with things like garlic (try adding it both raw and roasted), chopped white onion and tomatoes. And what about fruit? Go tropical and add mango or peaches, which will offer a pop of sweetness. Tight on time? Grab a jar of salsa and add a large spoonful of that in with the avocado.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

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