Get yourself an immersion blender.

1 – I was really, really late to guacamole because I’ve always been lukewarm on the avocado. I’m a texture guy and it wasn’t until I started making my own guac with a consistency I liked that I really became obsessed.

It actually started last summer. I was watching a food network episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Michael Symon professed his love for a version of guacamole that had sage, blue cheese and bacon. Blue cheese and bacon? SOLD. I found a copy-cat recipe online, whipped up a double-batch and brought it to a birthday party. It was gone in under an hour and I had a new go-to for ball games and other get togethers. Traditionalists scoffed. I pushed back. How could adding bacon and blue cheese to anything be bad?

That said, there were problems. I often play fast and loose with my ingredients. A dash of this, a pinch of that. That looks like a [tablespoon/cup/ounce]. When playing around with something that had about 15 ingredients, the final outcome never tasted consistent.

The second problem was I finally tried a version that didn’t have all those extra ingredients and it blew me the hell away.

2 – I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite kitchen items in the past, but never the one that I’ve found the most useful in the past year. Immersion blenders are awesome. They’re powerful, versatile, efficient, easy to clean and store. The good ones will replace your regular blender and food processor. You’ll use them when you want to puree sauces or smooth out your soups. For example, when I’m making tortilla soups I like to use whole tomatoes instead of crushed. They go in the pot to cook and I use the immersion blender to smooth everything out.

I bring this up because it also helps make hella good guac.

Like I said, I’m very big on texture and consistency in my food. Sliced or chunky avocado is a non-starter for me. If it’s smooth and creamy? Now I’m on board. It’s with that in mind I give you my method of making quick and easy traditional guac that you’ll end up making all the goddamn time. I sure as shit do.

Ingredients:
2 avocados
1/4 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 jalapeno
juice of one lime
1 tbsp cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

I generally buy double what I need, make a batch on Sunday, saving the onion and jalapeno, and make another in the middle of the week. I go through a lot of this stuff.

1 – Put everything in a bowl:

guac1

2 – And use your awesome immersion blender to mix it until you get the consistency you like:

guac2

I don’t know enough about guac to say whether or not this is normal, but I think this stuff is best the next day (or even the day after that) provided you kept it in an air-tight container. The ingredients have had time to work together and the jalapeno has opened up. It just seems more flavorful.

But yea, I’ll go through two of these batches a week, putting it on sandwiches as a spread, or used as a garnishment for soups. Of course I’ll wolf down a bowl with pretzels. Hell I’ll eat it with a spoon. I brought some to a movie night with friends a couple weeks ago. It went from sitting on the counter to sitting in a friend’s lap as they ate it all. It’s so freaking delicious.

3 – If an immersion blender seems like something you’d find useful, this is the one I have. It comes with a variety of attachments and bowls, including the one above I used to make the guac. I can’t imagine you’ll be disapointed in it.

The best bacon you’ve ever made

I had my dual burner non-stick grill pan for six years, and I’ve used it more than any other tool in the kitchen. I think so much of it I bought ’em for friends and family. It’s quick and easy to clean, it doesn’t warp and it cooks incredibly well. But what I love most about it? It’s a bacon-cooking machine.

I used to suck when it came to frying bacon. It didn’t cook evenly, curled and I would end up with burns from grease spattering. Then, a couple years ago, I started making bacon in the oven on my grill pan, and all it did was easily make the best bacon I’d ever tasted.

After some trial and error I decided this was best method:

(note: oven temps vary. You may have to use a little trial and error too.)

1 – Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2 – Line your sheet with bacon, either across the grill marks or with them. It doesn’t seem to matter.

bacon1

3 – When the oven is up to temperature (my oven takes about seven minutes), pop it in the oven.

4 – Set your timer to 18 minutes. This is probably the max if you want firm, crispy bacon. I like mine just a shade under this and I’ll generally take the bacon out of the oven with a minute to go.

When you do so it looks like this:

bacon2

5 – Transfer the bacon to paper towels…

bacon3

6 – …and transfer the grease to a mason jar for storage in your fridge.

bacon4

7 – INJEST BACON.

bacon5

When you’re done, wait until the pan is okay to touch and give it a quick cleaning. Since the surface is non-stick the clean-up is a brease.

Pick yourself up one of these awesome little bacon machines here.