Smarter Than Pancakes

Monday, May 5, 2008

It’s Easy Being Green

Filed under: Side Dishes — shaye3 @ 10:00 am
Tags: ,

Just in time for your Cinco de Mayo tortilla chip dipping pleasure, I present to you:

Homemade Guacamole and Homemade Tomatillo Salsa!Guacamole & Tomatillo Salsa

Both dips are completely delicious, and neither takes long to make! They’re both very forgiving, and the measurements are more like a starting point. I would highly suggest that you taste and tweak both until they’re just the way you like them.

Homemade Guacamole
4 avocados –more if they’re small
1 4 oz. can of diced chiles (or you can roast your own fresh chiles and dice them)
1 ripe tomato
1 onion
1-2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
minced garlic to taste (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. When you buy avocados, you want them to give slightly when you press near the stem, but you don’t want them to be mushy. If you get them a day or two ahead, you can get unripe/harder avocados and they’ll ripen on your counter in a day or two.
  2. Chop your onion, put it in a medium sized mixing bowl, and throw your lime juice on top of it. (The acid in the juice helps keep the sulphuric/oniony smell at bay.)
  3. Do the same with your garlic if you’re using it.
  4. Peel your tomato by making a tiny “X” in the bottom with a sharp knife, then drop it into a small pot of boiling water for a minute or two. As soon as the skin loosens, move it into cold water. The skin will come right off, then you can cut it into small pieces and throw it in with the onion.
  5. Open your can of chiles, drain and dump it in -OR- take your fresh, mild, green chiles; wash them; then throw them either under your broiler or on your grill until the skin starts to blister and char–turning several times so it roasts evenly. Pull them out, put them in a closed container, and let them steam for a few minutes so the skin comes off easily. Cut off the stem, then open them up and remove the seeds. Dice and throw in with everything else. (If you want to reduce the heat in peppers, take out the inner membrane where the seeds connect to the pepper. Roasting helps reduce the heat a little, too.)
  6. Take a sharp knife and cut each avocado in half around the pit lengthwise. (Through the stem end to the bottom.) Twist slightly and it will come apart leaving the pit in one side. You can carefully thwack the sharp part of your knife (closest to the handle) into the pit and twist. The pit will will come out–stuck to your knife. Pinch the blade just behind the pit (from the dull side) and the pit will pop right off your knife. Cut each half lengthwise in half again, and then you can either pull the peel off with your fingers, or use a spoon if you don’t want to get messy avocado fingers.
  7. Drop all of your avocado pieces into the bowl with everything else.
  8. Now you need cut and mash your avocado together with your other ingredients. I use a sturdy pastry cutter. I’ve also used my potato masher, a fork, or two cutlery knives in a pinch.
  9. Your guacamole will be exactly as chunky as you want it. We like to leave the pieces of onion, tomato and avocado a little bigger, but you can mince your onion and tomato pieces very small and mash the heck out of your avocado if you want. Heck, if you like it perfectly smooth you can throw the whole mess into your food processor!
  10. When it’s all mixed, add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. If you have leftovers, put them in a tightly sealed container, and press some waxed paper or plastic wrap directly on top of the guac so it isn’t exposed to air. Avocados turn brown quickly, and putting something directly on top of it helps prevent that. If some of it does turn brown, just stir it in and it’ll be fine. It’s ugly but won’t hurt you.

* * * * *

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

1 1/2 lbs. fresh tomatillos in their husks (Feel them to make sure they aren’t squishy. Also do yourself a favor and try to get the ones with loose husks so you don’t have to spend much time removing the husk.)

3 unpeeled cloves of garlic (Of course I used more.)

Chile peppers of your choice (The original recipe called for 5 Serranos, but the reviews on the original recipe said that it was almost too hot to eat that way. I used 2 jalapeños and it still had some kick, but wasn’t painful. Your mileage may vary.)

1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro (I leave the bunch in the rubber band to wash and spin dry in my salad spinner, then I use scissors to chop it.)

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1-2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (I used juice of half the lime for the guac and half for the salsa.)

2 tsp. coarse salt

  1. Remove the husks from your tomatillos, then rinse off the sticky residue. Cut them in half, then put them on a broiler pan or a sheet pan with at least a little bit of a lip to hold the liquid that drains out.
  2. Throw your pepper(s) and garlic cloves on the sheet with the tomatillos, and put the whole pan under your broiler–an inch or two from the heat. Roast until it starts to char a little, then turn everything over and allow everything to char a little on the other side. (Maybe 10 minutes total?)
  3. Take the skins off the garlic, remove the stems and seeds from the peppers, and throw all of the ingredients into your blender or food processor. (I didn’t add all of the liquid from the roasted tomatillos because I didn’t want my salsa to be too soupy.)
  4. If you aren’t sure about how many chiles, it doesn’t take long to roast more. Try a conservative amount, then if your salsa isn’t hot enough for you, you can always throw in more later!
  5. Taste for seasoning, then allow to cool and serve exactly the same way you’d serve any other salsa.

This is perfect to use with my friend Nikki’s Chicken Verde, and it’s also great to simmer pork in. Yum!!



  1. YUM YUM YUM! I want some guacamole and salsa. This looks delicious Shaye, i can’t wait to make it.

    Comment by Jen — Monday, May 5, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  2. Hello! These look delicious! Hubby and me adore guac – we actually had it both days this weekend, divine. Isn’t it the best? Great blog! 🙂

    Comment by Ann — Monday, May 5, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  3. Jen, I hope you start feeling better so you can have guacamole! At least salsa is fat free.

    Ann, I can’t make guac very often because we eat ourselves sick. (I can tell that you and your husband have no such problems or you wouldn’t be able to make the amazing treats you have posted on your blog!)

    Comment by shaye3 — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 7:45 am | Reply

  4. Well done on two great looking dips….I wish I could scoop a tortilla chip through there…

    Comment by nina — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 8:33 am | Reply

  5. Thanks Nina! I have to say that the chips with a hint of lime were particularly good! (I know they’re heavily processed, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.) 😉

    Comment by shaye3 — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 10:03 am | Reply

  6. i found your blog from canary girl – love it! i think we have a lot of the same tastes, and i, too am working toward getting healthier and learning a lot about ingredients in the process. i’m excited to have found you and will be checking back! the tomatillo salsa looks awesome!

    Comment by the delish — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 11:48 am | Reply

  7. Thanks Delish! I was just over at your blog drooling. I’m excited about trying a lot of them!

    Comment by shaye3 — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  8. Shaye, those look fantastic! You know how I love guacamole, but I’ve never made tomatillo salsa! I should, too, because it’s not always easy to find. Yum!

    Comment by Elle — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  9. L, You know the only reason I started making it was to make Nikki’s verde. 😉 It was a whole lot cheaper than the jarred, too.

    Comment by shaye3 — Tuesday, May 6, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

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