Chunky vs Smooth isn’t just for peanut butter anymore

My husband was raised in Houston, TX and he is a proud Longhorn. I’m pretty sure that learning how to make a good guacamole and tomatillo salsa was a pre-marital requirement. That and agreeing to participate in the systematic brainwashing of our son that his first choice school will be UT (I put my foot down at painting his nursery burnt orange). The more I delved into the world of avocados, salsas, tomatillos, jalapeños, cilantro (I pity people who are genetically disposed to tasting soap when they eat it), serranos, chili pequin, and chipotles, the more these ingredients revealed their potential.

Let’s say you went to Costco and find yourself coming home with six avocados you convince yourself you’re going to use by the end of the week and the end of the week comes and behold those untouched, perfectly ripe avocados are still in that sexy fishnet stocking like bag taunting and teasing you from your kitchen counter. Could you mash them and put them in your hair as a conditioning treatment? Probably, but that is the subject of a different kind of blog. Here’s how to use those avocados in two different ways using the exact same ingredients; it’s all in the texture. Smooth or Chunky. 

Smooth Guacamole For Dipping/Spreading

2-4 ripe avocados, bunch of cilantro (well washed! Nothing will ruin a dish faster than gritty sand), one Serrano or jalapeno (or more if you like a lot of spice), two scallions, a cup of cherry tomatoes, juice of half a lime, salt and pepper to taste. To add a hint of smoky heat, add a touch of canned chipotle in adobo. A little goes a long way so add gradually and taste as you go.

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle some cilantro leaves or pepitas on top and serve with chips, veggies, etc or use a sandwich spread. Check out the how to video on the Flycakes Kitchen channel on YouTube.

Flycakes Kitchen Guacamole

Chunky Avocado Salsa

Now, do the exact same but instead of putting the ingredients in a food processor, cube the avocados, rough chop the tomatoes, cilantro, scallion, Serrano/jalapeño, throw in a dash of chipotle or lime infused olive oil, (future blog post in the works on infused olive oils),  lime juice, salt and pepper. Serve on top of grilled fish, chicken, pork or steak.

Same ingredients, two different results.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I frequently make a roasted tomatillo salsa that I use for chicken enchiladas, fish tacos or to serve with chips. My family loves it and the recipe yields so much, I can freeze the leftover salsa for use at a later time.

Take 2 lbs of tomatillos, remove the papery outer layer, put in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (they release yummy citrusy juice, which you want to capture) and char under the broiler making sure to turn them over so they brown evenly. Don’t be scared if you hear a ‘pop’ followed by a sizzle when they’re cooking, it’s just a tomatillo bursting open which just means you are on the right track.

Cut a poblano and a jalapeno or serrano in half, de-seed only the poblano and place them skin side up on another baking sheet or on a piece of tin foil. Broil until charred. Place the poblano in a baggy or covered plastic container to steam to cool and remove the skin. Let’s go crazy and char a scallion, or a few peeled garlic cloves.

Place all ingredients in a food processor (including the tomatillo juice), add a bunch of cilantro, a dash of salt, a tablespoon of agave nectar and pulse until smooth. Then for kicks compare your freshly made salsa with store bought and the difference in the color alone will convince you to make your own. The one that doesn’t look like pea soup is the homemade one.


I live in NYC with no access to a grill (it’s ok, don’t feel sorry for me) so I use a broiler to char my ingredients. If you have a grill or an outdoor kitchen (Yes, GP I’m talking about you) then by all means have at it.

Salsa Cruda de Tomatillo

OK, now turn your broiler/grill off (let’s pretend it’s Sandy all over again) and using all the same ingredients fine chop them by hand, add lime juice to taste, let it sit a bit to macerate and now you have a ‘salsa cruda’ (a raw salsa). It’s citrusy, refreshing and perfect on top of grilled fish or chicken.

From Mexico to the Middle East

Now, I’m feeling inspired and wondering if the same smooth vs chunky approach can work with hummus. I have such a love hate relationship with that middle eastern deliciousness; it feeds my soul and enlarges my bunda at the same time. I. Can’t. Control. Myself. It’s everywhere: delis, airports, street vendors, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Barney’s…That’s why few people I know (other than my mother) make their own. Why bother? But let’s say you’re inspired, here’s a recipe. By the way, there are thousands of hummus recipes on the internet but they all have one thing in common: Tahini (a sesame paste). There is no substitute for tahini, but it can be omitted.

Your Basic Hummus (The Kind You Really Don’t Have to Make If You Live On Planet Earth)

Take one 16 oz can of (preferably organic) chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drain and reserve about 1/4 cup of the liquid (I know, it looks gnarly but plays an important role in the recipe). Combine chickpeas, liquid, 3-5 tablespoons of lemon juice (or more to taste), 1 1/2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 garlic cloves crushed, and 1/2 tsp salt in food processor or Vitamix and blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Place in serving bowl, make a small well in the center of the deliciousness, add 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO to make a little pool of olive oil in the center. This is optional by the way because do we really need to add more calories to this high calorie concoction? These are heart healthy calories blah blah blah but my bunda didn’t get that memo so I omit. I’d rather allot those extra calories to the fine mezcal (it goes well with anything) I’m planning to enjoy with this hummus. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley or cilantro for some color and serve with warm pita or raw vegetables. In our Mexican food obsessed home we eat it with corn tortilla chips. Sometimes even Tostitos Baked Scoops. Yup. SCOOPS. I can hear you rolling your eyes.
Now, let’s try same ingredients, no food processor and let’s call it a:
A Hummus Salad You Can Chew
In a bowl combine two cans of drained chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds *, chopped parsley or cilantro, lemon juice, and maybe some lemon zest, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 2 tablespoons of EVOO and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and eat on its own as a meatless meal or as a side for grilled fish or shrimp.
*In a small pan, toast the sesame over medium-low heat until the sesame seeds begin to turn golden brown. Be careful they can go from golden to burnt in no time!
Happy cooking, and always let your taste buds soar!




10 thoughts on “Chunky vs Smooth isn’t just for peanut butter anymore

  1. Love you, your brilliant. Keep cooking because I need you and chocolate, it makes the world go round…just sayin:)❤❤❤

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