Growing up in the Boston area was a lot of fun. We would spend all of our free time outside playing baseball, fishing, swimming, riding our bikes somewhere cool or hiking around in the woods near our home. There were no computers or video games for us to get hooked on and it did not take us long to figure out that if we stayed in or too close to the house, mom would put us to work either cleaning the house or weeding the garden. There really is a lot to the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.”

After a hard day of play, the best thing in the world was to get a big whiff of charcoal being lit just before we heard the dinner bell. Yes, my mom always used a bell to call us to dinner. There were too many of us to call individually. The smell of the fire would let us know we were having a cookout. Sometimes it would be barbecue chicken or once in a great while we would have steaks. Mostly, it would be hot dogs and hamburgers.

No matter what the entrée was at a cookout, we would have chips and dip to go with them. Back east, if you ask for chips and dip you will probably end up with potato chips and a French onion dip. It wasn’t until I was 24 and living in Stowe, Vt., that I had my first chips and guacamole. I never would have imagined that dipping a fried tortilla chip into what, at first, looked like green goop would be so tasty. Guacamole has plenty of flavor and turns out to be a great alternative to French onion dip. It is even good on regular potato chips and baked or fresh pita wedges. Another use for the guacamole is to use it as a spread on a nice veggie, chicken or turkey sandwich instead of mayonnaise.

A whole cilantro leaf with a small spoon of guacamole and a thin slice of roasted red pepper on your toast is fast, fun and tasty for Bruschetta.

Just in case you need still more ideas of how you can use guacamole besides as a dip, try using it with appetizers at your next party. It is an excellent choice with which to stuff cherry tomatoes. A little dollop on an endive leaf is also good. One last idea is to use it as a Bruschetta topping. A whole cilantro leaf with a small spoon of guacamole and a thin slice of roasted red pepper on your toast is fast, fun and tasty.

Making guacamole is not difficult. There is no special order in which the ingredients need to be added. Nothing needs to be sautéed or cooked and no one is going to give you a hard time for not having everything cut precisely the same way. Unless, that is, someone happens to get a huge piece of the jalapeño pepper. Once everything is cut, all you need to do is smash it all together. I use a fork and I like to leave it a little chunky.

Now that I’ve given you a bunch of ideas on what to do with your guacamole, all you need are the ingredients. The basic recipe calls for: avocado, some type of hot sauce, lime juice, cilantro and, of course, salt and pepper.

Different people add different things. The recipe I use is one I learned while doing my apprenticeship. I thought it was so good back then that I never needed to change anything. The ingredients I add are: garlic, sweet red onion, tomato, jalapeños and Worcestershire sauce. It is always that last one that everyone questions.

Please note that the measurements of ingredients should be used as a guideline. Add quantities by taste until it is pleasing to you. This is because most of the items come in different strengths with different varieties and even the lime juice will differ depending on the limes used. Give it a try at your next party and enjoy.

8 avocados, cut in half, pitted & scooped out of the skin into a bowl
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (use seeds for a lot more heat)
½ sweet red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced & minus most of the juice
½ -3/4 quarters of a bunch of cilantro
3-4 limes, juiced
A few shakes of hot sauce
½ T Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and using a fork, whip them together until you get the desired chunkiness. Keep smashing for a smoother texture.