May 5, 2014
Damn, I’ve been riding this train longer than I thought.
A lot of living has happened in the past five years; I guess you could say that of any five years, but a bunch sure has been packed into this particular five. I went from being 26 to 31, from being in my second year of teaching to my seventh, from teaching sixth grade to eighth grade, and soon, onto eleventh and twelfth. I became a parent. I wrote a book.
So much witnessing of these big events has taken place here—Jill’s cancer especially comes to mind—and it’s hard for me to remember what I did before I had this space to document and share. This blog has afforded me countless opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, gifting me a whole host of new people to be connected with and teaching me: about myself, my tendencies, my voice, yes, but also about discipline, about the kindness of strangers (which, it turns out, you actually can depend on), about community and about storytelling.
I had the pleasure of being part of a panel on food writing this past weekend, and in answer to the question “Why food writing?” one of my fellow panelists, David, said it best—food is a lens through which we can examine nearly every aspect of the human experience. Whether at the global or the individual level, we track our evolution through food, we create containers for our memories, we comfort, we cajole, we delight, we explore, we seduce.
In honor of my blog’s little birthday, what the hell, let’s do a little giveaway. I’m so not on the ball—I realized yesterday that my blogaversary was today, oops!—but I’d really like to say “thank you” for being out there and reading and witnessing. It still feels like a miracle to me that there are people actually reading this who are not, say, my mom. (Hi mom! You’re the best!) So let’s say this giveaway is open until Friday at midnight, then Shiv & I will head to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, pick up some of our favorite local products, and mail ‘em out next week, along with a signed copy of my book. I might even bake you some cookies, you never know.
One of my favorite things ever in the whole world is when someone tells me that they’ve made one of the recipes from my blog, so to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment letting me know which recipe(s) from this blog you’ve enjoyed in the last five years. If you haven’t made one of the recipes from the blog, but plan to, you can say that as well. Or if you’re really just here for the writing and not the recipes, let me know which past post sticks in your mind. Or you can just say hello.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Jennifer! I hope you enjoy the little box of treats I sent your way. Thanks to all of your for your lovely notes; they really mean so much to me.
recipe barely adapted from Roberto Santibañez, as shared by Food 52 (side note: if you’re not familiar with the “Genius Recipes” feature on Food 52, I can’t recommend it highly enough – the recipes are always winners)
This recipe has become the new standard-bear in our house. For years and years, I made it the exact same way—the subject of my very first blog post, in fact—but ever since trying this recipe, the Carroll/Mehra clan has sworn allegiance to this garlic-free (!) version. I think it really allows the lushness of the avocado to come through, without overpowering it.
As the original recipe notes, texture is key, so don’t skip the two-part avocado treatment. To get perfectly ripe avocados, I’ve taken to buying them unripe, in bags, usually at Costco or Trader Joe’s, and letting them ripen on the counter near the bananas, then stashing them in the fridge once they give just a little and reveal green when you pull away the stem. Given the sheer amount of guacamole Shiv can eat by himself, when I make a batch now, I have to use AT LEAST four medium-sized avocados to feed the three of us, because he basically eats two avocados worth of guac himself. Sheesh.
½ small white onion, chopped
½ Serrano chile, minced fine (I remove most but not all of the seeds; if you want more heat, leave the seeds in, if you want less, take all seeds out or use a jalapeño instead.)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
juice of ½ a lime
½ tsp. Kosher salt or coarse sea salt
4 medium-sized Haas avocados
Transfer half of the chopped onion to a large bowl. Add the flesh from two of the avocados and mash with the back of a fork, just breaking up the avocado pieces but leaving plenty of structure. Cube the remaining avocado flesh and add it to the bowl. Set aside.
Place the other half of the chopped onion, all of the chile, half of the cilantro, lime juice, salt into a mortar and pestle, mashing all ingredients into a wet paste. Add this to the avocado mixture and very gentle fold everything together, leaving the cubes of avocado intact. (At this point, the original recipe says to think about properly dressing a salad in a vinaigrette, a comparison I find very helpful.)
Top guacamole with the remaining cilantro, then test for salt, and adjust if needed.