August 11, 2009

Mimi’s Real Tex Mex Guacamole {Powernap}

My friend and neighbor Mimi Torchin is an incredible woman. Growing up in Laredo Texas she dreamed of living in New York, and moved here the moment she graduated from college. Wasting no time, Mimi took Manhattan by storm, acting on Broadway and writing theater reviews, until she became the Editor-in-Chief of Soap Opera Weekly.
After an accomplished career in publishing Mimi retired to devote herself to her longtime passion, photography. Did I mention she was our wedding photographer? I invite you to view Mimi’s gorgeous work on this post, and on her site – – and enjoy her delicious recipe for guacamole (below). I promise you, Mimi knows how to cook and makes a killer guacamole. After all, just because she’s lived in Manhattan for her adult life, doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her Texas roots. Let’s all hope that the next recipe Mimi loans to me is her four-star Texas chili, it’s easily the best I have ever tasted.

1. How did you become a photographer?: I just started taking pictures when I was a kid. I stopped when I became a teenager through my first few years of college. Then, when I went to St. John on vacation about 30 years ago, it was so beautiful I became inspired again. Bought better equipment, took a couple courses at the International Center for Photography and got some used darkroom equipment. It was really when digital became available that I got serious because I could do all the processing and printing literally from my bed! Coming to Martha’s Vineyard 20 years ago was the final inspiration. It was so endlessly gorgeous. It was just the thing I wanted to do.

2. What is your most favorite subjects to photograph?: I love landscapes and, especially, seascapes and water views. Sailboats make my heart skip a beat. In the city, I like to photograph people interacting with the urban environment and the juxtaposition of all that steel and concrete with the natural beauty in our parks. I adore Coney Island. I love fog and mist anywhere. I have taken more pictures of my cats than there are paintings in the Met!

3. What are your passions other than photography?: I am a complete TV addict. I mostly watch dramas; they fulfill some kind of an emotional need I guess! I’m a former actress and a theater critic and admire great acting. Films are a miracle to me and I have been an avid filmgoer since I was a child. Love the theatre and wanted to be a stage actress, but the fates had other plans for me. I love animals; I have 3 cats and as soon as I move to the country will have dogs, too. I am a complete foodie, but dieted most of my life. I don’t worry as much about that any more. Food is good; life is short. I love almost any kind of cuisine. I remember every meal I ever ate I think! I find cooking both creative and relaxing and am passionate about it. Eating and cooking go and in hand (hand and mouth?). I love both. I’m in love with nature, but I crave my creature comforts.

4. How did you become such an accomplished cook, what are your cooking inspirations?: My mother was a brilliant natural cook and she encouraged me to help in the kitchen. I inherited her natural ability. I’m a really good cook, but I’m not a fancy cook. And I don’t bake because she didn’t bake. Also, baked goods are really fattening! I cook all the time. I don’t cook much from cookbooks, but I love to read recipes and use them as a starting point. I like to try to make dishes I eat in restaurants. Fresh vegetables and herbs are inspirational. On the Vineyard, I eat huge amounts of seafood. It’s so fresh and available.

5. What are the 5 things in life you could never live without?: Can it be six, please???? Television, my mate, my cats, my cottage on Martha’s Vineyard, my computer, my camera ¾ in no particular order (but why did TV come out of my mind first??). I can’t do without any of them, though I have done so in various times in my life, of course.

6. What other people/photographers and/or artists do you most admire?: There are SO many, but let me pick the ones who come to mind first. I worship Edward Hopper as a contemporary artist. He connects with my eye and my soul. Alfred Eisenstaedt’s people, Helen Levitt’s distillation of New York City and her photos of children, Ansel Adams’s sweeping landscapes, Margaret Bourke-White’s muscular style, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s immediacy, Walker Evan’s heart, Annie Leibovitz, and all the French Impressionists! Of the Vineyard photographers, I’ve always loved Allison Shaw’s work. Obama for his courage and inspiration; Spielberg, Streep and Streisand for their artistry; and everyone who is selfless, courageous and giving in the way I wish I could be.


Mimi’s Real Tex Mex Guacamole

an original recipe by Mimi Torchin


3 medium, ripe Haas Avocados
1 medium ripe tomatoe
1 vidalia onion, chopped
½ fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 t. chopped fresh cilantro
2 t. salt
1 T. sour cream

Juice of one Lime

Optional: 2-3 Dashes of hot sauce


1. Peel and scoop avocados into a large bowl. Mash with a fork and immediately add lime juice. Keep one avocado pit, set aside for later.
2. To the avocados add the tomato, onion, cilantro, sour cream, jalapeno and salt. Mix together and taste ingredients for saltiness. If it needs more salt add a dash or two and taste again.
3. Serve with fresh tortilla chips. If you make the guacamole ahead, nestle the saved pit in the dip to prevent the avocado from turning black. Cover dip tightly with plastic and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Mimi’s Guacamole Tips: When shopping for avocados always choose ones that “give” just slightly. Only black Haas avocados will do, either smooth-skinned or pebbly. If all you can find are bright green Florida avocados, skip the guacamole and make stuffed mushrooms instead! If you must make a choice between buying over ripe or under ripe avocados, always choose over rip. The under ripe ones have no taste. To ripen an avocado at home put it in a brown paper bag with a banana for one day.

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