This post is about two things I really enjoy: eating alone and guacamole. So…the best of both worlds, logically, would be eating guacamole alone. Yet, guacamole seems like a social dish; you have it at parties, with margaritas, at the beach. It is not time-consuming to make, and yet, I like to chat with someone while I’m making it, usually discoursing on guacamole philosophy (chunky vs. smooth, how limey, how garlicy). I have a real block in my mind when it comes to making guacamole para una. For two, maybe. But guacamole for one? Why don’t I just make some margaritas and start whacking away at a piñata while I’m at it? Which is to say, isn’t guacamole food for a party — or at least for company?
No. Simple as that. There are a few things I believe in when it comes to food. I believe in local products. I believe in humane treatment of animals. I believe in Ben & Jerry’s. And I believe in the importance of cooking well for yourself and eating well even when you are alone.
Sure, sometimes I make myself scrambled eggs, or I heat up a can of black beans. But probably just as often, if not moreso, I make an omelet with goat cheese and tomatoes served with a nice salad and a glass of wine, or I sauté a chicken breast and wilt some chard to go with those beans. In fact, a good portion of the meals I’ve posted about on this blog have been prepared and consumed alone. For some reason, a lot of people — especially in New York — seem to think that eating alone is almost a shameful thing, to be done out of necessity, and in front of the tv. Sure, company is great. But sometimes your own company is just what you want. And why shouldn’t you have some good food to go along with it?
Guacamole, in some ways, is the perfect decadent alone treat. Because, really, when you have guacamole at a party, is there ever really enough guacamole? No. And even if there is, do you ever feel comfortable eating as much guacamole as you really want? Definitely not, at least not if you’re me, and you want to eat A LOT of guacamole.
Making guacamole just for yourself means that you can lick the bowl if you damn well please. It also means you can make it however you want, which in my case means super chunky, super limey, and super duper garlicy.
Another complaint people have about eating alone is that it just seems like a waste of time for amount of food cooked, or a waste of money for amount of groceries bought and amount of food cooked. Well, here’s a hint: Cook enough food for two meals, or four. More than four seems a bit much, but the point is cook enough for more than one. Then all you have to do the next couple of days is heat the food up, or incorporate it into a new dish, or eat it for lunch. Which may sound terrible and monotonous, but if you actually cook yourself something nice to begin with, you will probably enjoy eating it again, at least once more. Most everything can keep for a few days. Do not make salad, dressed, for more than a meal at a time; things will wilt and become disgusting. Rice, I’ve found, doesn’t keep particularly well, but there’s always fried rice, or you can add it to some soup. Eggs, I hope it is obvious, should not be cooked a meal ahead.
You would think guacamole would fall under the short list of do-not-make-aheads. But you would be wrong. True, guacamole has a tendency to turn brown on top and kind of musty if kept in the fridge, but — and now here’s something crazy — it doesn’t have to. Within this very post, I present you photographic evidence of the continued green-ness of my guacamole, over the course of three whole days. The photo at the top, with the entire bowl and the chip, is Day One. The next photo, with the plastic wrap, is Day Two. And the next photo, with just the chip and the perfectly green, unadulterated guacamole, is Day THREE. How did I do it, you ask? Simple. When I was ready to put it away, I pushed it all to one side of the bowl with a spoon, so that it would have as little exposed surface area as possible. Then I squeezed half a lime’s worth of juice all over it. And then, and this is key, I covered it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap as air-tight as possible onto the actual surface of the guacamole, as you can see in the photo.
I didn’t even touch it the second day, except to take the picture. The third day, I uncovered it again. First impressions were very limey, but a few sprinkles of salt and a good stir actually evened everything out. And then I ate it along with a sautéed chicken breast, black beans, and a salad. Alone. Delightful.
Chunky, garlicy, limey guacamole
(This made enough to feed me extremely generously for three meals. That’s 2/3 of an avocado at each meal, which is probably not necessary unless you’re also feeling in the spirit of solitary decadence. You can reduce or increase this recipe easily, just keep the proportions the same.)
2 Haas avocados, peeled, halved lengthwise, pitted, and chopped in large dice
1 tomato, chopped
½ red onion, chopped in fine dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lime (plus another ½ lime if you expect to want to keep leftovers)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Mash the avocados in a large bowl with the back of a fork to form the consistency of guacamole you want. I like mine with plenty of big chunks of avocado still floating around.
2. Add tomato, onion, and garlic. Stir to combine.
3. Squeeze in juice of one lime. Stir to combine. Taste.
4. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. I use a lot of each, and more salt than pepper. I added probably ¼ tsp. of salt at a time and maybe 1/8 tsp. of pepper at a time, stirring and tasting after each addition, and continuing to add salt after calling it quits on the pepper. This will vary each time you make guacamole, so just be a vigilant tester – as hard as it is to test guacamole over and over again.
Guacamole keeps in the fridge for a few days, covered with extra lime juice and with an air-tight plastic wrap seal.