Guacamole and Chips

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I'm a big believer in snacks - cheese and crackers, cookies and milk, the list goes on...but I think the best combination is guacamole and chips. It was one of the only things I could whip up before I possessed any skills in the kitchen, and it's still one of my favorite things to make. My recipe is unadorned - the buttery avocado remains the focus, with a hit of citrus, minimal seasoning, and a touch of jalapeño for some kick. I also like to make my own chips by frying up corn tortillas. It only takes a few minutes, but makes a huge difference.

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Guacamole

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Ingredients (serves 2-4): -4 ripe avocados (they should be firm, with just a slight give) -1/4 cup cilantro, chopped -2 tablespoons fresh lime juice -1 tablespoon shallot, finely diced -2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced (remove the seeds if you don't want it quite as spicy) -1-2 teaspoons coarse salt, to taste -1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Directions:

1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel and place it in a mixing bowl.

2. Roughly mash the avocado with a fork. Add the cilantro, lime juice, shallot, jalapeño, salt and pepper and continue to mix well.

3. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve immediately.

Tortilla Chips

Ingredients (makes 96 chips): -12 corn tortillas -2 cups canola oil

Directions:

1. In a shallow pan, heat oil to 360 F.

2. Cut tortillas into even strips.

3. Gently place strips into oil, only a handful at a time.

4. Watch carefully and flip, if necessary, until they're just golden brown and crispy.

5. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on a paper towel.

6. Sprinkle with sea salt.