Sunday, April 19, 2009

First-Warm-Day-of-the-Year Margaritas with Chips and Guacamole

Thank you, God.

I have been suffering through the winter months and asking myself if I should not do what I always thought I would do and move to California, where all sane people in this country live. But I think God has other plans for me, because it is finally warm in Ann Arbor, and my mental health may be returning. Or at least it will be. On Friday. When I arrive at the San Jose airport and begin my warm trip down the coast of California, with each little glorious stop reminding me that I am, indeed, alive. Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel. Santa Monica. San Diego. Ahhh. First, I have to write papers, which I've finally discovered bore me to death. Hence the recent feeling that I'm just not quite as alive as I should be. Analyzing discourse isn't nearly as thrilling as scooping out the supple green flesh of avocado on a warm day in April and eating it on my balcony with my husband while I secretly spy on people on the street below (I am ostensibly reading but really I have staked out one of the best people-watching spots in the neighborhood.)

Like it or not, though, when I wake up the guacamole will be gone and I will have to write papers. Ugh. That is why right now I'm celebrating the things that matter most, like warmth, and people-watching, and eating cool green avocado, and reading Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me with Apples on my balcony while my husband gets the grill ready on a Saturday evening in Spring. That is why I like to celebrate these things with events, why I invented First-Warm-Day-of-the-Year Margaritas with Chips and Guacamole. My papers will get done, interesting or not, and the Pacific ocean will be there soon. In the meantime, however, I have this, at least.

First-Warm-Day-of-the-Year Margaritas with Chips with Guacamole

For the Margaritas: (Recipe from the May 2008 Martha Stewart Living Magazine...yes, I do subscribe.)
*This recipe serves 1, so just multiply it by however many drinks you want and ta-dah! A perfect margarita for everyone.

1 oz (2 T) silver tequila
1/2 oz (1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp.) Triple Sec
1 oz (2 T) fresh lime juice
Ice cubes and salt for serving

Mix ingredients in a glass or pitcher and serve over ice.

For the Guacamole:

This recipe comes from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and is simply delicious. She says you can add cilantro, but I have never done that. The recipe will serve 2 as an appetizer, but be careful, because you just might eat all of it and not have room for dinner. I recommend serving it to at least 3 people, or saving some for the next day. It becomes even tastier when it sits in the fridge for a day or so and the flavors have time to meld together.

2 Haas Avocadoes, very ripe
1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
4 dashes of Tobasco sauce
1/4 c red onion, finely diced
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium tomato, diced finely

Scoop out avocado flesh and put it into a medium-sized bowl. Use a fork and knife to finely dice it, or else mash it with a fork, depending on the consistency you prefer. You can also do a little of each, which is how I like it. Immediately add lemon juice, salt, pepper, Tobasco, garlic, and onion. Mix together well. Add the tomatoes and mix again. Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Serve with tortilla chips.

*I invented this celebration last year when the temperature hit above 70 for the first time that year. It was actually about 75 for an entire week in mid-April. So, the one rule for this celebratory event is that the temperature must reach 70 or above. 75 or above is preferable, as that is sufficiently warm. The guacamole and chips should also be followed by a grilled meal, though you may not be very hungry for it.

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