Ever wonder about a mix you've seen in the store? Is it any good? Could it replace something you'd otherwise make from scratch? Welcome to Mixed Review, where the whole point is putting mixes to the test! —The Mgmt.
I tried out Rick Bayless's Frontera Guacamole Mix last weekend, when I was hosting a barbeque and didn't have time to make guac from scratch. Normally I don't mind all the mashing, mincing, and dicing, but in the summer I'm all about easy entertaining. Was it worth the price? And, more importantly, were my guests fooled into thinking I made it myself?
At $3.99, this mix is a great bargain. The ingredient list is short, fresh, and all-natural: tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, onions, cilantro, garlic, and cane sugar. To prepare the guacamole all I had to do was mash up four avocados, add the mix, and stir. I was really impressed with the guac's appearance: it had big chunks of charred tomatillo, spicy chili flakes, and a sprinkling of bright green cilantro.
The flavor easily passed for homemade, too. The guacamole came out perfectly seasoned—I didn't even need to add salt and pepper. It tasted fresh and mildly spicy, with the garlic and cilantro in perfect balance. Most of my guests were completely fooled. When I revealed it was made from a mix, however, they did have a few comments. Some noted the lack of lime juice, while others missed the bracing bite of red onion, or the burst of heat provided by minced jalapenos.
One observant friend noted that "it tastes like avocados mixed up with a jar of tomatillo salsa, which is exactly how I make guacamole when I'm in a hurry." He was absolutely right. (But Rick Bayless makes a pretty mean tomatillo salsa.) I would highly recommend this mix if you are preparing guacamole as part of a larger party menu. It was bright, balanced, and flavorful, and will definitely save you a bit of time and energy in the kitchen.