How To Make Authentic Guacamole

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My first experience with guacamole was the one in The Barefoot Contessa book, a flavorful guacamole that has the requisite avocados, red onion and lemon juice, but departs from the norm with fresh garlic and a few hits of Tabasco. Up until last weekend, if I were sent to the store to shop for guacamole ingredients, I probably would’ve stuck to The Barefoot Contessa formula. But then my friend Mark entered the picture.

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Tortilleria Nixtamal

Yesterday I made a journey I’d been putting off for a while.

Actually, it wasn’t even a journey I knew I could make. See, for my cookbook, I needed to track down fresh corn masa. I wasn’t sure where in New York I could get that until I read this excellent post on the Cooking Issues blog which details Dave Arnold’s attempt to make fresh corn tortillas in the French Culinary Institute kitchen. Dave ultimately finds fresh corn masa at a place called Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens.

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Make Your Own Chicken Burrito

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Running on the treadmill, it’s useful to dangle an image carrot in your brain: something you can run towards, something to look forward to, a reward for all your hard work. And last week, for me, that was definitely a chicken burrito. I was craving one, hardcore.

The problem is that where we live in Park Slope? The chicken burritos leave much to be desired. Craig is very much NOT a fan of Los Pollitos; I think it’s passable, but certainly not a reward for burning millions of calories on the treadmill. No, if I wanted a good chicken burrito, I’d have to make one myself.

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Quesadilla at The Brooklyn Flea

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Hyperbole is the crutch of the lazy food writer. Take the post below this: “The Best Broccoli of Your Life.” With a title like that, of course you’re bound to read that post. And my enthusiasm, while authentic, is expressed in the most simplistic language possible; like all polarities–“good and bad,” “right and wrong”–“best and worst” are overly reductive, a 4th grader’s tools of expression, not an adult’s.

It is therefore with great humility and restraint that I must avoid titling this post what I wanted to title it: “The Best Quesadilla of My Life.” For the quesadilla I had yesterday at the Brooklyn Flea Market was, without question, the best quesadilla I’ve ever had in my life; yet, I’d lose all credibility if I had two “best of” posts in a row. So let’s just say this quesadilla, which doesn’t look at all like a quesadilla, is much closer to the “best” end of the best/worst spectrum that simple-minded folk like me revert to when writing about food.

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