Almost every weekend during the summer, I bail out of the big city and head down to my aunt's house on the jersey shore. And, just to clarify, I'm not talking MTV's "The Jersey Shore"-style shore. I wouldn't even think my aunt's town is in the same state as Seaside Heights but...it is.
Anyway, days flow differently down the shore. While I'm in the city, I'm up around 7:30 a.m. when the sun shines through my massive wall of windows (not that I'm complaining, the reason I have a wall of windows is because my apartment also has a balcony--yes, A BALCONY--in the middle of the city. and yes, it is todiefor.) Maybe for breakfast I grab a bowl of steel cut oats or just a Nature Valley granola bar. I'll eat lunch, if I remember, around 2:00 p.m. or sometimes even later, pushing dinner back to 9:00 or so.
Not so down the shore. While at the beach, I may or may not wake up by 9:00 a.m. (yes, I realize that is STILL not very late, but for someone who considers a late wake up to be 7:30, it really is). For lunch, my parents and I head to this wonderfully cold bar a town over and order bar pies and eggplant rollatini around noon. The rest of the afternoon is spent at the beach where, after a few lunch time beers, it is the perfect location for a nap.
But, by far, our biggest tradition...is happy hour. At exactly 5:00 p.m., my dad makes my aunt her drink (Grey Goose martini with a twist), appetizers are made so that no one gets plowed drinking what is essentially straight vodka, and the whole family sits on the porch for a couple of hours, watching the mass exodus of day trippers leaving the beach.
We have a variety of appetizers that we serve at this time. When we're feeling lazy, it is simply a couple of kinds of cheeses, stone ground wheat crackers and some grapes. If we're feeling fancy, it might be bruschetta. But, by far, the most requested appetizer is guacamole. Because, let's be honest, its just so damn delicious. And it's also pretty darn quick and easy to make.
Guac used to be solely the realm of my brother's girlfriend. For good reason--her guac is amazing. Sadly, the two of them have gotten extremely busy with races (his), work events (hers), travel (both) and weddings. Luckily, I've watched her make guac for years, and am pretty darn good at copy-catting recipes. So, while this isn't my own recipe, it is a damn good one that I highly recommend you make...immediately. Seriously. Go now.
2 Haas avocados (these should be a bit soft, but not mushy)
1 Jersey tomato
1/4 red onion
Chips, for serving
1. Over a bowl, dice the avocado (the easiest way to do this is to halve the avocado, remove the bit, and slice vertically and horizontally while still in the shell. Then use a spoon to remove the already diced pieces).
2. Chop the tomato and red onion and mix it into the avocado. Continue mixing until the guac is at your texture--my family likes it with, as you can see, big chunks of avocado, but if you keep mixing it will become a more creamy texture.
3. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the guac. Toss quickly. Serve with chips--I recommend blue corn tortilla or whole wheat Tostitos.