TRADITIONAL GUACAMOLE

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If I had to describe my perfect date night to you it would start with dinner at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, followed by either dancing or going to the movies (this all would depend on how much food I ate at dinner). I would also probably throw in Haribo gummy bears somewhere in that equation. 

So when the often dreaded question of "What should we have for dinner?" is asked, my answer almost always is naming off five different Mexican restaurants in the area. To me, nothing is more fun than having a round of margaritas and eating one too many chips, all before your plate of carnitas comes to the table.

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Despite all of this, my history with avocados and guacamole has been somewhat of a rollercoaster. When I was little, I was a very picky eater to the point that I'm pretty sure I existed only on chicken tenders and fries for dinner. Even when my family would go out to eat at restaurants, I would still order that exact meal. So when I first tried guacamole at about the age of 10, I was pretty hesitant of the green stuff but it soon grew on me and I eventually became obsessed with it. This obsession was short-lived when my family was all together during the holidays and we had a giant Mexican meal at home. Lil Shawna kind of went ham with the chips and guacamole, and one thing led to the other; before I knew it, I couldn't even look at an avocado without feeling sick.

This food aversion of mine with avocados/guacamole lasted until after I graduated college, so about 12 years! Guacamole came back into my life thanks to Trader Joe's and their free samples where I was able to try their "Guilt-Free" guacamole made with greek yogurt. I guess that version was less in your face with the guacamole flavor and before I knew it I was back to loving guacamole again and adding avocado to everything. Thank you Trader Joe's!

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This recipe for guacamole from Roberto Santibañez is, in my opinion, perfect. It is very straight forward with only 6 ingredients, but recommends using a molcajete (a mortar and pestle). I got mine for a great price at either TJ Maxx or Marshalls (they're pretty much interchangeable to me and I love them both), and I still always see some for sale every time I visit. The molcajete is key to making the "paste" of cilantro, chile, onion, and salt that is added to the avocados, but if you don't want to add yet another tool to your kitchen, you can definitely create the paste with a knife or fork.

Alex and I have made this countless times and even though people are usually hesitant to try our version because they're used to a different guacamole - one with garlic, red onions, and/or tomatoes - 100% of the time we end up being asked for the recipe: it really is that good. Try it and let me know what you think!

Traditional Guacamole

Recipe from Roberto Santibañez

Makes about 3 cups (we always make this portion but it can easily be halved)

Ingredients

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  • 4 tbsp. finely chopped white onion

  • 2 tbsp. minced serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeds included (more or less depending on what you can handle; Alex and I prefer serrano peppers)

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (this may seem like a little, but I'd rather everyone start with less and then season to their liking at the end)

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided

  • 2 large or 4 small ripe avocados, halved and pitted

  • A squeeze of lime

Directions

  1. In your molcajete, mash together the onion, serrano or jalapeño pepper, salt, and half of the cilantro until it is a paste. If you don't have a molcajete, mash the ingredients together as well as you can on a cutting board with a knife or fork.

  2. With the skin still on, score the avocados in a crosshatch pattern with a knife, being careful not to cut through the skin, and scoop out into a bowl. Add the paste to the bowl and toss together well, and then add the rest of the chopped cilantro and mix with a fork.

  3. Add a good a squeeze of lime. Taste the guacamole and season to your liking - you may need more salt or more pepper. Enjoy! My favorite way is to eat it with tortilla chips, preferably Have'A Corn Chips.