If you're around me for more than an hour, you'll see that the conversation turns to avocados. And I'll say (knowing I'll get a laugh, of course), "I can't sleep if there are ripe avocados in the house."
They have to be perfect (no strings, no big bruises). If they are not ripe, forget it. I have the best luck with Costco, though Dandelion Organics has been putting an occasional ambrosial avocado in my weekly veggie delivery. And the only reason I'd ever consider moving to California is the possibility that me or someone on my block might have an avocado tree. Can you imagine? Heaven!
I read a tidbit recently (Bon Appetit, maybe?) where a chef talked about putting celery in his guacamole. I tried it, and now it's a must. It adds a fresh, neutral crunch that complements the avocado. I've tried guacamole many different ways--with or without garlic, with or without onion. If your avocados are good and your don't skimp on the lime and salt, you can hardly go wrong. But here's how I do mine these days:
Finely chop 1/4 of a white onion, a big handful of cilantro, 1/2 of a seeded jalapeno (if you like) and one stalk of celery, leaves and all. Scoop out the flesh of 3 avocados, and mash everything together in a bowl or with a mortar and pestle. Add plenty of kosher salt (tasting along the way) and juice of one lime (if it's small) and 1/2 a lime (if it's big). Top with a little more chopped cilantro and maybe some red pepper flakes.
P.S. Saveur has nominated In Praise of Leftovers again in 2014 for best Family Cooking Blog! As you know, I adore this magazine, and it's played such a part in my love of food. If you'd like to vote for me, click here.