One of the things I love most about living in Texas, is that the weather is often nice enough for outdoor dining. And when the weather is nice that way, there is nothing I like better than to invite some family or friends over and for us all to enjoy a meal and some cool summer beverages in the great-out-of-doors (or as we generally refer to it: the backyard…).
One such friend recently urged me to post some of my ‘specialty’ recipes…the ones I’m sort of known for, and so with that encouragement, and since one of the recipes works perfectly with this whole great outdoorsy theme, I wanted to do that and share with you my recipe for guacamole, which I often make and take when I need a delicious, summer party dip, or anytime we do an outdoor thing that involves Tex-Mex cooking.
If you’re like me, and often like to turn your outdoor thing into something even a little more fun and festive, here’s some suggestions for pulling together a quick and easy Fiesta tablescape (pictured below).
For this festive table setting, the only thing I purchased was a set of colorful napkins and a few fresh flowers, which I picked up from the supermarket. Everything else I actually already had from other parties I’ve hosted in the past (PS: I just used an old mason jar to make a vase for the flowers…so easy and best of all…free!)
Although I’ve had mine for years, if you like any of the purchased items, most are actually still available in stores today: The multi-striped table runner with fringe, from Pier One was less than $25.00. The brown woven vinyl placemats, from Bed Bath and Beyond, were $2.99 each, and my new, colorful napkins, also from Bed Bath and Beyond, were just $9.99, for a set of eight!
Here’s how to make the guacamole that all my friends love.
Paula Reyne’s Simply Perfect Guacamole
4 ripe avocados
2 medium tomatoes
1 medium or 1/2 a large yellow onion
Bunch of fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Here is the main cast of characters…
Rinse, dry, and finely chop a handful of Cilantro, dice up the tomatoes and onion, and juice the lime and set aside to use later.
Note: It’s not mandatory, but I prefer to chop my cilantro pretty finely. I just find that with the finer chop, you run less chance of finding a big ol’ piece of cilantro stuck in your teeth that no one informs you of and you discover yourself when you take a potty break hours – and tons of stories where you know you were smiling a bunch – later. (Ask me sometime how I know this…)
Remove the pit from the avocados and scoop out the insides into a separate bowl.
Mash the avocados well. I used a potato masher, but you can also just use a fork to do this. (There’s no need to fuss over making it perfectly smooth either, since the vegetables are going to make it have a rustic texture.)
Add the lime juice, a bunch of the chopped cilantro and some salt. Mix it well and then taste it. Add more cilantro and/or salt, if needed.
The finished product should look like this (and taste even better):
The guacamole is ready to eat, just as it is, but it can also be made up ahead of time and refrigerated for later use. (To keep it from turning dark, just cover the surface completely with a piece of plastic wrap, placing it directly down on the entire exposed surface area. This prevents any oxygen from reaching it and causing it to turn dark.) Stored this way, covered by plastic wrap, guacamole will keep for several days in the refrigerator.