culinary crush

Some people swoon at the sight of actors or musicians, I’m enough of a food nerd that I get nervous and cagey around food luminaries. I ran into Cecilia Chiang two days ago at B. Patisserie and my husband had to push me to go say hello. I should mention that Cecilia is someone with whom I’ve interacted numerous times and have dined with, yet I transformed into a socially awkward 13-year-old at the thought of having a conversation with the “mother of Chinese cooking.” 

There are many chefs with whom I would love to spend time. The person on the top of my list is Rick Bayless. Restauranteur, author of many cookbooks, cooking show host, Top Chef Masters winner and seemingly all around nice guy, meeting Rick would probably catapult me into culinary nirvana.

A couple of years ago I ran across a Rick Bayless bacon guacamole recipe. This was during a time in which I had recently reintroduced pork into my life (more on that later), was obsessing over bacon, and couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

I made the guac and loved it, then gave Rick Bayless a shout out on Twitter about how much I loved the recipe. And guess what? My culinary crush responded to my tweet almost immediately. Regardless whether it was him or his social media staff who replied, I was even more smitten than before.

This bacon version imparts a smoky flavor that complements the avocado nicely and adds great texture.


My kitchen notes:

I like to use Benton’s bacon for this recipe. It’s a super smoky bacon from Tennessee and can be found in specialty grocery stores or ordered online. This bacon will give your guacamole just the right amount of smokiness.

I usually eliminate the onions, however, it’s good either way.

Rick Bayless Bacon Guacamole 

5 strips medium-thick bacon
3 medium-large, ripe avocados (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/2 medium-large white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, up to 3 chilies, to taste, removed from the canning sauce, stemmed, slit open, seeds scraped out, and finely chopped
1 medium-large, round, ripe tomato, cored and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cups loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, thick bottom stems cut off
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. In a large 10-inch skillet, cook bacon in a single layer over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then crumble into small pieces.

2. Cut around each avocado, from stem to blossom end and back again, then twist 2 halves apart. Scoop out pit and discard. Scoop flesh from skin into a large bowl. Using an old-fashioned potato masher or a large fork or spoon, mash avocados into a coarse puree.

3. Scoop onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Shake off excess water and transfer to bowl, along with chipotle chilies, tomato, cilantro (save a little for garnish if you wish), and about 2/3 bacon. (If guacamole isn’t being served right away, don’t add bacon until just before serving). Gently stir to combine all ingredients. Taste and season with salt (usually about 1/2 teaspoon) and enough lime juice to add a little sparkle.

4. Cover with plastic wrap directly on surface of guacamole and refrigerate until ready to serve. Scoop guacamole into a serving dish, sprinkle with remaining bacon (and cilantro if you have it), and you’re ready to serve.




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