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Eating Well: Avocados perfect summertime dip ingredient, experience

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features Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

I love guacamole and since avocados have been plentiful and relatively reasonably priced I purchase them quite often to make the easy, savory dip, which always disappears quickly whether you are eating it alone or sharing it with guests.

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When you're picking out your avocados, it is important to select the softer ones, unless you want to wait several days to use them.

Look for an even and unblemished texture, uniformly hard or soft over its entire surface. You can ripen the harder ones at home by storing them in a brown paper bag at room temperature for two to five days, away from direct sunlight.

Don't store the unripened avocados in the refrigerator. However, if they are already ripened they may be stored in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

You can also freeze avocado for convenient use later by pureeing the flesh with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per two avocados, then placing in a container that can be tightly sealed. Frozen avocado can be kept three to six months in the freezer.

There are hundreds of varieties of avocados, but the Haas, small and dark green, almost black in color, is a particular favorite with many cooks and is the one available in our area this time of the year.

The following recipes are all excellent prepared with the Haas variety.

The "Fast Guacamole" is one of the best recipes I've tried. You can throw it together very quickly and wonder why you ever bought ready-made guacamole at two or three times the price.

Just make sure the avocados you use are ripe. The guacamole is delicious served with chips, partnered with salsa. If you are making this for a crowd you are going to want to double or triple the recipe. You can also make more and use it in the "Delicious Six Layer Dip."

A little extra tip for the guacamole, if you want to make this in advance, go ahead, but be sure to sprinkle fresh lime juice all over it. It will help prevent the dip from darkening so quickly.

If you are in a really big hurry to make the guacamole you might want to take the simplicity one step further by purchasing the seasoning packets, in both the mild or hotter versions, that are usually positioned right with the avocados in the grocery store. They are so easy and delicious nobody would ever know you didn't mix up your own.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking.

Fast Guacamole

2 ripe avocados

1 tbsp. lime juice

2 tbsp. picante sauce

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Cut the avocados in half, remove seed, and use a spoon to take the avocado out of the peeling. Place in bowl and mash. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate and eat soon.

Six-Layer Dip

1 can (16 ounces) refried beans

1 recipe prepared fast guacamole

1 container (16 ounces) sour cream

1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 medium-sized ripe tomato, chopped

1 small bunch garden onions, chopped

Spread the refried beans on a 12-inch round serving platter, then spread the guacamole over the beans. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sour cream and taco seasoning; mix well, then spread over the guacamole. Sprinkle with the cheese, then the tomato and onions. Serve immediately with chips, or cover and chill until ready to serve.

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