At age 9, I learned to make my guacamole from my neighbor who was an amazing cook. She was Jewish, raised in Guatemala, married to a Polish immigrant. I could ALWAYS find her in the kitchen and it was her guacamole, Enchiladas Blanca, and Spanish rice that healed me back to health when I was hospitalized at the age of 12.
After a 19 day in the hospital, for collapsed lungs, it was Goldy’s food and big huge personality that helped me gain back the 25 pounds that I had lost. Friday night Shabbat dinners were abundant and her table was set with beautiful dishes and enough food to feed our entire block.
This family was not only our neighbors, but they were our best friends. My dad and her husband would play tennis together almost every day, we traveled with them (usually to a tennis resort) and their daughter, Peggy, was like the big sister I never had. She and I would ride our bikes to the tennis courts, stop at Taco-Tio on our way home for a Taco Burger and then top it off with a scoop or two of mint chip from Baskin Robbins.
I make Goldy’s recipes often. And when I do I am reminded of those simple days on Killion Street, shuffling between their house and ours, playing kick the can with dozens of kids on our block, teasing and torturing Peggy’s little brother or simply hanging around watching Goldy create in the kitchen.
It is safe to say that Goldy, along with my Grandma Rose, were my cooking mentors. Through their passion and love for taking care of everyone around them, taught me that food is not just a vehicle for hunger. When done right and created from love – it heals almost everything.
4 ripe avocados
3 vine tomatoes
3 hard boiled egg whites, chopped fine
1 white onion, diced
2 hot chili peppers, seeded and diced fine
1 Tablespoon juice from hot chili peppers
juice from 2 lemons
1 -2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
fresh ground pepper
• boil water in a medium size heavy, duty pot.
• using a paring knife, make two slits at the top of the tomato (resembling an “X”). not too deep.
• once water has come to a boil, drop tomatoes into the boiling water. after about 30 seconds you should see the skin starting to separate from the tomato. once this happens, remove tomatoes from the water. drain. pour cold water over tomatoes to cool. set aside.
• in a wooden bowl, add onions and egg whites. and chop fine. I use a vintage gadget similar to this and it is a dream kitchen tool.
• when tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skin away from the tomatoes and discard. cut tomatoes in quarters and remove the flesh and the seeds. rough chop. add tomatoes to the wooden bowl with the onions and eggs and chop away.
• add hot chili peppers, salt, pepper, pepper juice, and lemon juice. taste for seasoning.
• cut each avocado in half. discard the peel, save the pit. in a separate bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. once it is the consistency you desire, add vegetable/egg mixture to the mashed avocados. mix well. taste for seasoning. I often add more lemon juice and salt.
• add the pit to the top of the guacamole (this prevents the guacamole from turning brown). cover and refridgerate for at least 2 hours before eating. should your mixture turn brown, before eating, discard pits and mix thoroughly.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com