Fresh out of Father’s Day weekend, Laura agreed to pitch in & blog about kicking up the summer the kitchen.   Enjoy!

You don’t need to have reality TV aspirations to engage in some good old cook-off fun.  We recently had a big extended-family weekend at our house where my brother-in-law, Michael, (who happens to be a professional chef) & I had an unofficial guacamole competition.  All good-naturedly, of course, we bickered about who made “the best” guacamole and then proceeded to alternately make it every night for four nights in a row, in effort to prove our cases.

Up to their ears in guacamole, the samplers were quizzed on which ingredients added up to the better dish.  He insists the spicier the better, with hot chili sauce and fresh, hot peppers.   With kids around I usually skip the heat but I like mine extra lime-y and garlicky.  His is usually pretty consistently smooth and I make mine lumpy and chunky.  The rest of our recipes are pretty much the same, but the most important thing we agree on is finding perfectly ripened Haas avocadoes.  It’s not even worth making it if they’re not, in my humble opinion.  If you’ve got those, some salt, pepper & lime juice it’s hard to go wrong and almost anything goes.

The good news is that the testers got to eat a lot of really awesome guacamole.  And, truth be known, it wasn’t about competition at all, but about sharing good food and exchanging ideas about how to improve, change, mix-up & spice up our old ways.  Chef brother-in-law is coming out for the 4th of July weekend and I’m thinking of challenging my husband to take him on in a BBQ throw-down.  Pulled pork, Baby-back ribs, bar-b-qued brisket…. Yum!   I’ll happily be the judge.  Cooking for a group is a lot of work, but it can also be social, and such a pleasure, especially if you make it fun.


Guacamole Recipe
3 ripe Hass Avocadoes
½  medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, chopped
½ c fresh cilantro, chopped
1  Jalepeno pepper, seeded & diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced or smashed
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Mash the avocadoes with a fork.  Stir in the other ingredients using your taste as guide.