I’m just back from a week in Scottsdale, Arizona, a/k/a the retirement and corporate meeting capital of the universe. I was there for a yoga conference, and I dragged my mom along with me. We stayed at the Hyatt (which rhymes, appropriately enough, with “buy it”); it’s a picturesque, serene resort in the northern end of town, with fancy pants amenities and an eerily cheerful staff. While I spent my days down-dogging, satsanging and furiously scribbling notes, Mom chilled by the bodacious pool, made friends with the concierge and polluted the serenity of our swank room with the putrid journalistic stench of Fox News. (Love ya, Mom.)
We also took the opportunity of being at a virtual adult summer camp to indulge ourselves in just about any way possible. We ate like complete animals, we watched plenty of trash television (see above), and we ordered tequila flights instead of iced tea. Mom and I were off the hook!
The resort had several restaurants to choose from, but we kept frequenting just one: Southwest Bistro, or SWB, for those in the know. SWB became our nightly hangout, and while the menu had all sorts of tantalizing, drool-inducing items to choose from, we were drawn to the same thing, night after night: guacamole, made fresh, right at the table. By the end of our stay, we had perfected our order, requesting extra lime, a pinch of red chili flakes, and a chunky texture. At the end of the meal, they even gave guests a postage-prepaid postcard with their guacamole recipe on the back. I’ve now got, like, six of those.
Poor Arkansas does not have the pleasure of plentiful, perfectly ripe avocados right off the tree. Most avocados I find at the store are either rock hard or in the final stages of decay; a prime, just-soft-enough avocado is hard to come by, and when one is found, the price will send you into a fit of blind rage, violently shoving your shopping cart in disgust before hurling your forehead into a butternut squash repeatedly, screaming, “WHY? WHYYY?” Most reasonable, mentally sound people choose to just buy the rock hard ones and wait a few days.
I have experimented with many guacamole recipes in the past – adding garlic, using lemon instead of lime, using spices like cumin or chili powder, the list goes on and on. All of these recipes are good in their own right, of course, but nothing compares to the holy trinity of avocado, onion and lime, with cilantro and tomato being the jewels in the crown. I don’t even bother with black pepper, my usual spice of choice – just a pinch or two of salt is all it needs.
I know, you’re probably thinking, “…A recipe for guacamole? What’s next, she’s going to tell me how to boil water and add pasta?” And I agree: guacamole is mind-numbingly simple – but y’all, you’d be surprised. There are many folks out there who are in dire need of a good guacamole recipe, and there are other people out there who – gasp! – think they don’t even like guacamole. Oh, the humanity!
The dip comes together in a flash, with a quick chop here and a swift mash there. Now, if I were a real go-getter, I would have made my own tortilla chips to go alongside; but to be perfectly honest, it is so blazingly hot outside that the last thing I need in my kitchen is a giant pot of boiling oil. If you’re still up for it, I’ve got step-by-step directions right here. For those new to guacamole making, be warned that fresh guacamole has a tendency to go brown in a hurry. I put my avocado pits back into the dip to help prevent the discoloration, and I also store it in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed directly on top to seal out any air.
Guacamole is a classic summertime staple, and you don’t need to go all out in order to make it special. Trust me, simple is best. And by best, I mean the freaking BOMB. …Cool people still say that, right? Enjoy!
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3 ripe avocados
1 small onion, diced
1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
Salt to taste
Scoop the avocado from its skin and set the pits aside. Combine the avocado with the onion, cilantro and lime in medium bowl and mash to the desired consistency. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir gently to combine. Season with salt to your liking. Place the pits back in the finished guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips or other dippers of your choice.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.