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Archive for October, 2009

3930562108_f07c8dec17Everyone on the internet is interviewing Jesse Bullington these days, with more to come, due to the imminent release of his keen debut novel, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart. The book is causing quite the ruckus in the world of literary reviews, and so not wanting to be a Molly-Come-Lately, I figured I better jump on the bandwagon and talk to Mr. Bullington about, well, something. Yet since Jesse is one of my best friends, and also my next door neighbor, I’ve already talked to him at length about The Grossbarts, so for VeganMoFo I’ve decided to interview him about guacamole, instead.


Q: Your face is too terrible. How do you prevent hairs from falling into your guacamole?

A: I have it on rather good authority that my face is nothing of the sort but I suppose I’ll humor you: Macomb Evelyn Jackson’s Muttonchop Bibs are available by mail order for any concerned gentlemen.

Q: When is the best time to eat guacamole?


Q: What ingredients do other people put in guacamole that you find to be wrong or nonsensical?

A: Mayonnaise. Even imagining James Mason enunciating the word in Lolita fails to soften the blow–one may as well drain a boil into the bowl. That said, I’m a bit of a purist–anything beyond avocado, lemon, salt, peppers, spices, and occasionly garlic and/or tomato strikes me as being overkill.

Q: What do you feel are common guacamole-related mistakes?

A: Like thinking it’s a pear in leather armor? Or like keeping the seed in the bowl to prevent it from turning brown? (This is a common myth! Alton Brown debunks it somewhere in his “dip” episode so at the end of here, and then here. But Jesse’s recipe (following) is better than his. Sorry Alton!)

Q: How do you feel about nutritional yeast in guacamole?

A: The same way I feel about nooch in every dish–are you really going to use that much?

Q: What about mayonnaise?

A: How could you not forsee this being included in your what-not-to-guac section? Na-nay-naise.

Q: Is there ever a time someone is making dinner and you feel that guacamole would be an inappropriate appetizer or side dish?

It hasn’t happened yet.

Q: How do you make your guacamole?

-five avocados of appropriate softness (I tend to go for three really ripe ones and one or two that are the slightest bit firmer)
-one lemon
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-white pepper
-random spices as I see fit
For pleasantly spicy guac add to this:
-chiltepan pepper and/or
-One or two large, fresh jalapenos or fresno chilis

Wash the exterior of all produce, including the avoacados because we are all OCD. Slice the avocados in half from top to bottom, removing the seed in that cool fashion Molly knows (it’s Alton’s! See above). Remove avocado from skins and place into bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Quarter a lemon and squeeze one quarter onto salty avocado, then set to mashing with a fork or a pestle.

Stop when the guac is still pretty chuncky and add another pinch of salt, as well as pinches of pepper and garlic and onion powder, and then squeeze the juice of another lemon quarter onto the guac. This is when you should add a pinch of chiltepan flakes or a diced hot pepper, de-seeded depending on how hot you want it, or a de-seeded tomato or two (OK, time out. Editorial aside: in my opinion this guacamole is so much better without peppers and tomatoes– they mask the taste of the avocado! Include them at your risk). Resume mashing, or mixing if you prefer a chunkier guac, and taste–as if you haven’t been tasting the whole time.

Add more salt, pepper, powders to taste in small increments–I usally use an entire lemon, but it’s best to add in wee little quartered increments to prevent overseasoning. Same goes for other additions like hot peppers or tomato–guacamole is very forgiving of late game additions, but few people have an extra avocado on hand to add if things get too salty or spicy. Enjoy with chips, on a salad, or straight out of the bowl with your fingers.

guac done

Thanks Jesse!

Alright, faithful readers, MoFoers, and Spambots: you should all be getting excited about the release of Jesse’s book–really, I’m not just saying that because he is my friend–and you should also be excited about applying his guac methodology. Seriously, he convinced me on the lemon-over-lime thing. I was an unbeliever, but he showed me the way. Anyways, I’ll probably take tomorrow off for MoFo-ing, but Monday I will come back atcha with the best recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve ever tasted– maybe the best pickles I’ve ever tasted, ever. Excited? Of course you are.

3930562108_f07c8dec17Chili is one of those foods I never really thought about until meeting Raechel, mostly because I never make it. I feel like chili is one of those foods that if you don’t eat it as a kid you don’t think to cook it as a grown-up. I ate it on chili dogs or whatever in the school cafeteria, and I think on a whim I once ordered it a Wendy’s, but I can’t really recall my parents making it. So never what Whoopie might call “chili chili.” (Too soon?)

Anywayz, when Raechel said she was making chili last night, I knew I needed to blog about it for VeganMoFo. Her chili is epic, both usually in quantity cooked, and deliciousness. Thus, I present you, the internet, with an interview with one Raechel the Chili Master, followed by her chili instructions.

Here is Raechel, eating guacamole:


Q: Some people never make chili (like me), but for the people who do make it, it seems to be a staple dish. When did chili become a part of your life?

A: My dad worked a lot when my sister and I were young, and though he really enjoyed cooking, he rarely had the energy to make anything fancier than a one-pot dish. So, he’d make a delicious chili to last a few days.

Q: There are lots of different chilis out there, how did you come by your recipe?

A: Well, I’ve never really used a recipe since chili is kind of a throw-things-in-a-pot kind of dish. I actually didn’t start loving chili until going vegan and realizing that it was a quick and inexpensive way to make a vegan meal to for a bunch of friends.

Q: Do you measure stuff out or do you make it more with whatever’s around? What ingredients MUST be a part of your chili for it to be OK for you?

A: I don’t measure anything out– chili is a great opportunity to use up soon-to-be-bad veggies! As for must-have ingredients, well, you know I love hot things. (She does, I verify this.) If I’m cooking for myself I tend to use three or four times as many peppers than if I’m cooking for friends. Blame my dad.

Q: OK your chili is done. How do you serve yourself a bowl? What toppings do you like?

A: I top mine with vegan sour cream and grated Follow Your Heart cheese. I hear nutritional yeast is a delicious topping, as well. (This is actually true, nutritional yeast is an essential chili topping.)

Q: Do you put anything underneath, like rice? What role does bread play in your chili consumption, typically?

A: I don’t really like rice with my chili. I love a good french bread, though. I’ll dip bread in pretty much anything.

Q: What would be your advice to a novice chili-maker?

A: It’s really hard to screw up chili. Beans and canned tomatoes are the standard base. From there, add whatever you think tastes good!

Q: Do you feel comfortable sharing a version of your personal recipe with VeganMoFo? This is for posterity, so be honest.

A: Sure!

Good! Picture tutorial and Raechel instructions, activate!

I typically chop up a yellow or white onion, a bell pepper or two, 4-5 cloves of garlic, and some hot peppers (habaneros are my favorite, but jalapenos are a bit gentler) and throw them in the pot with a little oil to cook. When the onions are turning clear, I add spices– I like cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and oregano– and 1/4 cup of water or so to keep it all from sticking while I stir.

veggies and spices

I cook for a few more minutes then add canned chili beans and diced tomatoes (drain the water off of these unless you like watery chili), then turn it on low, cover it, and let it sit for forever (seriously, anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours), stirring occasionally.

chili done

If you use as many veggies as I do, you’ll want to make a big-ass pot. I think tonight I used 6 cans of beans and 3 of tomatoes. Use fewer veggies for smaller batches so that it doesn’t taste too oniony. Then again, I’m a stickler for proportions. Except for where hot peppers are concerned because you can NEVER HAVE TOO MANY! (This is frightening, since waving a jalapeno over food makes it too spicy for me.)

ALRIGHT! Thanks to the lovely Raech. And for posterity, here is a properly suited-up bowl of chili, complete with vegan sour cream and plenty of nutritional yeast:

molly chili

Thanks everyone! Tune in soon for VeganMoFo: Guacamole Edition, wherein I attempt to interview Jesse about the one dish he makes: Guacamole! If he won’t do it I will just make up answers for him.

I know I recently claimed that I have a penchant for terrible trashy media, but I’m shamefully going to retract that statement in light of Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 100 worst-reviewed movies of the last ten years. I’ve only seen three. WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS? Me, of course. In my defense, I would have seen The Hottie and the Nottie but no one would go with me, but other than that. . . yeah.

Though I will still maintain that In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which did make the list, was completely worth the two hours and two dollars I spent watching it.