Cure for Stress: Make Guacamole


Photo by Kate Andersen

To try chicken with guacamole and mushrooms, click here for the recipe.

One of my favorite things to snack on is chips and salsa, or chips and hummus, or chips and...any sort of dip. But my absolute favorite is, without a doubt, guacamole. The texture and hearty, refreshing flavors make it a definite winner. When I noticed we had giant bags of chips but nothing to eat them with, I decided I needed to make some. And however much I would've been okay with just chips and guacamole, I figured my roommates might want some other food (shocking, I know), so I ended up cooking chicken and mushrooms too (despite a roommate who isn't a big fan of mushrooms but very graciously agreed to try them).

It was a busy week--33 different sketches due for my drawing class, a paper in art history, and readings galore--and I took solace in the fact that this would be an easy, comforting sort of meal. It's still really all about the guacamole, though. Making guacamole for me is a little bit what baking must be like for some people--sort of calming and home-y. The simplicity of just getting everything out, chopping it up, and mixing it together is somehow very centering.

I started out with a quick marinade for the chicken, so I didn't have to waste any time waiting for it, and it could just sit in its juices in the fridge while I got everything else ready. I usually mix together a little olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and--in this case, since I had it for the guacamole--some chopped cilantro, and just seal the chicken in with the mixture in a big plastic bag. If you have some other favorite marinade though, feel free to substitute it--anything that was at all in the general scheme of flavors would work just fine (I even thought about doing barbecue chicken instead).

Dips of any sort are usually pretty easy, and that holds true here too.

While the chicken was marinating, I started on everything else. Avocados are a slight splurge item for our house (they're on our "fancy items" list pinned up on the fridge right next to our money-saving Stop & Shop card; the list consists of things we all like--ice cream, berries, fancy salsa, etc.--but can't spend money on all the time, so we rotate them out each week), but luckily everyone else agreed, so I went ahead with my plan. Dips of any sort are usually pretty easy, and that holds true here too. If you're not a fan of any of the flavors I use, or have texture preferences (chunkier, smoother etc.) feel free to change it up as you like. For example, I have a number of friends who can handle cilantro, but don't love its dusty flavor as much as I do, so its easy to hold back on--the same goes for the jalapeño for anyone who don't like much spice. At home, we load up on everything--lots of garlic, lots of cumin (which I know isn't very common in Mexico, but I can't help but associate it with the country's cuisine) and cilantro, lots of lime, and so on--but usually when I make it for other people I tend to dial it down a bit.

Presented by

Kate Andersen

Kate Andersen is a senior at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY, where she is majoring in Asian Studies (with a focus on religion and art). To learn more, visit her Web site.

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