Grande Non-Fat Molcajete
This past weekend was my 23rd birthday. Todd had a great night planned for us. We were going to see Taken 2 and go to the best international tapas restaurant in the city, La Merenda. He made the reservation 2 weeks in advance, but the only time available was 9:30. We were trying to figure out how to make that work with the movie times, but it just seemed like a lot more work than it was worth. We decided to stay in, relax, order pizza, and watch a documentary. Not as exciting – or as cultural – as our first plan, but it was a perfect night.
I got a lot of amazing gifts from my family, including a buffet/workbench that I saw ONCE shopping with Todd. I don’t know how he remembered that I loved it, but I was completely surprised when I pulled off the two blue plastic tablecloths Todd wrapped it in to find it sitting there in our living room. I really have the best husband in the world. If you want to debate that, I’m game.
My parents got me mostly food-related gifts, which is ALWAYS welcome in my home. Just check out the list of appliances we’ve accumulated over the past 4 years. The piece de resistance was the molcajete they gave me. For those of you that don’t know, a molcajete (mole-kuh-HEH-tay) is essentially a mortar and pestle, like the one I use to grind up spices (seen in my banner above). It’s used to make guacamole, and I’ve wanted one for a long time.
I can’t wait to make my first batch of guacamole, but first I have to season my molcajete. I had no idea you had to season a guacamole stone, but I guess it makes sense. My molcajete is made of volcanic rock, so there are gritty bits that can and will come off if I don’t season it. Just in case anyone else out there wants to get a molcajete to make some super awesome and authentic guacamole, I thought I’d share my experience seasoning my molcajete.
While I’m sure that Crate & Barrel knows how to season their own guacamole stone, but I thought I’d check out some other literature on the subject… just to be sure. While all the blogs I found suggested the same combination of techniques, one in particular – Homesick Texan – made me laugh. And second-guess my decision to go through with this process. So thanks for that!
I grabbed my molcajete (certainly not with one hand or with much speed, as it’s about 15 pounds of stone forged by the Earth’s core) and began the long and tedious process of seasoning my present.
Step One: Soak the Molcajete in warm water for 2-3 hours. This is the easiest step.
Step Two: Grind up about 1/4 C of rice in the Molcajete. Some sites say wet, uncooked rice. Others just say rice. Considering the molcajete was already wet, I just went with dry rice. Now, rice is going to fly everywhere. I don’t care how careful you are. I repeat. Rice IS going to fly EVERYWHERE. You can’t stop it. It’s a fact of life. Just go with it. There’s always the vacuum.
Step Three: Once the rice is a fine powder, you should dump out the powder and rinse out the molcajete. Now, all the sources I found said you should keep repeating steps 2 and 3 until the powder is completely white, instead of grey. But my powder was never grey… so I just repeated it 3 times. I’m sure you’re probably supposed to use fresh rice each time, but I just kept reusing the rice (because my hand was starting to hurt already).
Step Four: Mash up 4-6 cloves of garlic and about 1/4 C. of rock salt in the molcajete, trying to cover up as much surface area as possible. I think this acts as a kind of sealant for the grit. I don’t know how accurate that is, though. Leave this paste in the molcajete overnight. (This is the “long” part I talked about.)
The dried paste is how I imagine a salt-lick. An Italian salt-lick, given the large amount of garlic. To be clear, I DO NOT recommend licking the dried salt paste. If you thought that for even a second, then you must have an extremely low opinion of me, and I’m hurt.
Step Five: Rinse off the dried salt mixture. They suggest using a brush, but I was too afraid to undo all my hard work, so I just rinsed it thoroughly and tried to scrape off excess chunks of salt.
Theoretically, this molcajete should be ready to go. So let’s take it for a spin…
I know you’ve seen my avocado trick in the cactus fries post, so I won’t bore you. I used 3 avocados for the base of my guacamole.
Next, I chopped up 2 roma tomatoes and 1 onion. Here’s where things started to go downhill. We all know that I’m extremely sensitive to onions. I found a trick that I thought would work. I started keeping our onions in the fridge, thinking that the cool temperature would slow down or even stop the onion juices from spurting into my eyes. For some reason, I thought that if it works for batteries, it would work for an onion. When I type it out, I see the flaws in that logic quite clearly.
However, at this step in the guacamole process, I was still hopeful that this method would work. I sat there, casually slicing and chopping my onion, feeling totally liberated, able to chop onions without fear of tears or having to ask my big, strong husband to come chop OH MY GOSH! MY EYES! I was too busy daydreaming to realize that the onion gases had sneaked up on me and drilled holes through my irises. I think I should consider investing in one of those Chemistry Lab eyewash stations…
Here’s where I started blaming Todd for things that could not possibly be his fault. “I thought you were getting chips. It’s your fault I’m stuck sitting here, surrounded by onion juice.” That doesn’t even make sense. Clearly, I could just get up and go anywhere else. Instead of pointing out my obvious lapse in judgment, Todd went to the store to get chips.
I needed to just hurry up and be done with this batch of guacamole so I could see if my molcajete was successfully seasoned. In my haste, I dumped in way too much salt. I tried to fix it with copious amounts of onion and a couple scoops of yogurt – because yogurt usually fixes my over-seasoning issues – but it was too late. When Todd got back from the store, I apologized for being ridiculous, listing all the things that were wrong with my prior accusation. He said, “I’m not going to say anything…” and smiled. I’m pretty sure I said that Todd’s the best husband ever, but I think it’s worth mentioning again.
Needless to say, we don’t know yet if I have successfully seasoned our new molcajete. But I do know that I have a husband who understands that sometimes, it’s just the onion talking. And while my perfect record of delicious guacamole is now tarnished, at least I have my first failure to add to the Food Flops page. That is a lot of F-ing alliteration.
Until the next taste,