May it Please the Palate-Here's some recipes to make you shout OLE! and dance away the summer sun

When the hot August sun compels you to host one more get-together, you can't go wrong with a Mexican party, based on lime and salt.

Lime and salt serve as key ingredients for much traditional Mexican fare. Tortillas, fish and seafood, salsas, tequila, inter alia.

Today I'm going to give you no-fail recipes for guacamole and margaritas. Please don't tell me they're not "authentic." My margarita recipe is so far removed from traditional Mexico as to be laughable. But when you are sipping one of these puppies under the hot August sun, you will surely be shouting "Ole!"

By the way, I'm always amused at that sobriquet "authentic," usually used by arrogant Gringos who have once visited Santa Fe, and will confidently dismiss a new Mexican restaurant as the sixth circle of Taco Bell.

What is authentic are these no-fail recipes. Let's start with the guacamole.

There are three mandatory ingredients - avocados, lime, and salt. There are a few others that are recommended, but optional.

And there are a few that should never, ever find their way onto your chip, under penalty of disdain and ridicule. See below.

No-fail Guacamole


3 ripe avocados. You must use California avocados. If you use their larger cousins from Florida for your guac, you will lose all your friends. These Florida cousins are like Randy Quaid in the National Lampoon "Vacation" series - tasteless and pitiful.

1/2 to 1 lime.

Salt to taste.


Mash the avocados with a fork. Do not be tempted to use a food processor; you want your guac to be a little chunkified.

Add the juice of a 1/2 lime and salt to taste, and you are done. Viola! You have good basic guacamole. Add a little more lime and salt at your liking.

Here are the optional ingredients. FYI, I use them all. But you can add or subtract to taste:

1 clove garlic;

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro;

1/2 finely minced fresh jalapeno pepper;

1 tablespoon finely minced onion;

one diced, ripe tomato with the seeds and pulp removed;

and finally, a few drops of Frank's Red Hot Sauce (yes, I realize it's a Greek ingredient, but we can bend the rules just this once).

And here are the forbidden ingredients, besides the Florida avocados.

Do not add sour cream or mayonnaise. They are simply extenders for more expensive avocados, which are already bursting with healthy fats, and don't need help.

Likewise, olive oil is a no-no. (OMG, I thought I'd never write that sentence in my life.)

Although the guacamole is perfect by itself, it's also nice to serve with a good salsa as a foil, on top of your chip and guac.

Here's an easy recipe when you have an abundance of fresh garden bounty.

Toss some tomatoes in the food processor; if you're motivated, remove the pulp and seeds first.

Add an onion, a jalapeno pepper, a garlic clove, a small handful of cilantro, some lime juice, and maybe some Frank's.

You'll notice it's the same ingredients as for the guac, minus the avocado. What you're going for here is a contrast of texture, not taste.

If you prefer a good bottled salsa, I like Herdez or La Victoria, neither of which have added sugar.

The guacamole and salsa are also great to top your burgers or grilled chicken; the salsa alone would be great on grilled fish or shrimp.

Finally, be sure to use the perfect tortilla chip. I avoid commercial brands. There are some notable local products. B.T. chips are made in Beaverton, Michigan and have great heft and crunch. The Ann Arbor Tortilla Company also makes a fabulous chip in three flavors - salt, garlic, and lime.

Now to top it all off, here's the perfect margarita recipe I promised you. Don't laugh - it's ridiculously easy and delicioso. I wish I could remember who gave me this recipe to thank them. It has gotten me through many a hot day.

No-fail Margaritas


1 12 oz. can of Minute Maid frozen concentrate limeade

Kosher Salt, poured onto a dish

Limes, cut into wedges

Workaday tequila such as Jose Cuevo Gold, and a premium 100 percent agave tequila

Ice cubes

A blender


Open the can of Minute Maid. Empty contents into blender. Note that you are not making the limeade according to package directions - i.e., you are not adding water.

Fill can 3/4 full with Cuervo Gold. Empty contents into blender.

Fill blender with ice cubes.

Puree until you are satisfied with the consistency.

Rub rim of margarita glasses with a cut lime. Grind glass into kosher salt until it is rimmed with salt. If you do not drink margaritas with salt, skip this step; but you are making me profoundly sad.

Fill glass with margarita mix from blender.

Float 1/2 shot premium tequila on top.

Festoon the glass with a lime wedge.

And there you have your instant Mexican party. Your guests will be so pleased, they'll carry you on your shoulders around the bullfighting ring.

Just be sure to hide the empty can of Minute Maid.

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard and Walker, P.C., a litigation firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment litigation.

He can be reached at:

Published: Thu, Sep 1, 2011