Lunch at La Troje invariably includes their guacamole casero served in a molcajete. Here is the Williams-Sonoma glamour shot of the same:
The San Jose Fresh Market on 15 just south of the 30 overpass has the same thing for $16 imported from Mexico with the tejolete plastic wrapped inside.
I looked online for instructions for seasoning a new molcajete. There are variations on the theme, but for the most part it involves several hours of grinding to achieve an initial polish… or… in layman’s terms… rub two rocks together until they are smooth. Suddenly my new toy seems like more work than fun…
I am undaunted in my pursuit aka obsession with various old school cooking tools and methods, so on I go. Some folks say grind a handful of rice, discard powder, and repeat until the powder is white rather than gray. Another suggested to progressively grind cracked corn, beans, rice and soaked rice with multiple rounds of each. Yet another suggested a few rounds of rice followed by garlic, cumin seeds and kosher salt.
My plan: 4 rounds of 1/4c cracked corn, 4 rounds of 1/4c black beans, 4 rounds of 1/4c rice, 3 rounds of 1/4c soaked rice, and a final round of garlic, cumin and salt. All while drinking a beer (or two…) and watching UFC. Anybody else contort themselves while watching a good submission attempt?! Figured I’d harness that nervous energy…
The second round of cracked corn ready to go. You can see some of the previous round packed into the porous surface.
My substitute grinder working hard… Spencer’s younger than I am and clearly not as wise because he thought this was “fun”… teenagers… they make no sense! The second round of black beans ready to go. A bowl of black bean flour… the corn was relatively easy to grind. The beans were a pain in the butt. My theory: the cracked corn is full of edges to grab and help the grinding along while the beans were smooth and rounded whole and as halves. Ever try to pick up a watermelon seed? Yep, that’s what it was like grinding dry beans. Time to change the plan… only two rounds of bean grinding for my seasoning project.
On to the rice grinding… much easier than even the corn. I think if the rice only method is used, one would have to grind A LOT of rice. The coarse nature of the corn and the hard nature of the beans prior to the rice acts sort of like sanding wood with progressively finer grades of sandpaper.
After the second round of rice, I didn’t really think the rice had changed color. So in keeping with the idea of “grind until the rice powder doesn’t turn gray,” I decided that was enough of that. I also decided to forego the soaked rice because I was running out of elbow grease and UFC fights. I figured the garlic cloves would be a paste and would serve the same purpose. I used 5 cloves of garlic, some ground cumin (didn’t do much for smoothing but smelled better than plain garlic) and kosher salt.
Stay tuned for: Guacamole casero en la casa Gareiss