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Great Guacamole

Why do avocados turn brown after being cut? This is called oxidation and it happens when the cut surfaces meet with the oxygen in the air. Apples, pears and artichokes do the same thing. Adding an acid, such as lime juice, helps prevent oxidation from happening. If you need to refrigerate your guacamole before serving it, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole. This will also help keep air from reacting with the surface of the guacamole and turning it brown.

Ingredients:

  • 2 green onions
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 5 or 6 fresh cilantro sprigs
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Directions:

Chop the green onions
Be sure an adult is nearby to help.

Put the green onions on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut off the root ends and several inches of the dark green tops. Slice each green onion in half lengthwise. Gather the pieces tightly together and chop finely crosswise. Put the onions into a bowl.

Seed the tomato
Put the tomato on the cutting board. Using the knife, cut across the top of the tomato to remove any stem or leaves. Insert the tip of the knife in the top and turn the blade in a circle, removing the tough core. Put the tomato on its side on the cutting board. Using the knife, cut the tomato in half crosswise.

Holding a tomato half over a small bowl or the sink, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Repeat with the other half. Discard the seeds.

Dice the tomato
Place the tomato halves on the cutting board and cut each half into 5 strips. Gather the strips, a few at a time, into a bundle and cut them crosswise to form small, even cubes. Add the tomatoes to the green onions in the bowl.

Peel the avocados
Ask an adult to help you cut the avocados in half lengthwise around the large pits in the centers. Twist in opposite directions to separate the halves. Using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh out of each half into the bowl. Throw away the pits and the skins.

Put the limes on the cutting board. Cut them in half crosswise with the knife. Twist each lime half over the cone of a citrus juicer to juice them.

Mash it together
Stir three-fourths of the lime juice and the salt into the bowl. If you want a little smoky flavor, add the cumin. If you like your dip a little spicy, add the cayenne.

Use a potato masher to mash everything together into a chunky paste.

Season the dip
Taste the guacamole and add more salt or lime juice if you want.

If you are serving it later, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole and put it in the refrigerator.

Add the cilantro
Just before serving, strip the cilantro leaves from the stems and place on the cutting board. Holding the knife in one hand and placing the fingers of your other hand on top of the knife, rock the knife back and forth over the cilantro leaves until they are cut into small, even pieces. You should have about 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro.

Stir the chopped cilantro into the guacamole until incorporated. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Fun Food, by Stephanie Rosenbaum (Simon & Schuster, 2006).