Here's a fun recipe I invented a couple of years ago. At least, I think I invented it, as I hadn't heard of anyone else making this. If you like guacamole but want something more sophisticated, think avo-chevre. By the way, I'm not sure if I'm making the argument that crackers are more sophisticated than chips, but I'm pretty sure that cracked pepper water crackers are step up from Doritos at a dinner party. This is a great, easy dish to take if you are in charge of appetizers and are looking for a delicious dip that only takes minutes.

This is also a good appetizer if someone in your party has a hard time tolerating lactose, like I do.

Here's what you need:

plain chevre
fresh-ground pepper
food processor

These ingredients will make one small serving, enough for about 3-4 people. If you eat a lot, then double the recipe.

In your Cuisinart (or whatever name is on the side of your machine), scoop out the avocado, sans pit, and pulse for just a second to chunk up. Then, add about 2-3" of chevre from the package, or about 1/4 cup. I use the Silver Goat Chevre available at Trader Joe's. It tastes great and is much more economical than the overpriced stuff you find at other markets. Pulse this until smooth, stopping every few times to scrape ingredients back to the center of the workbowl. Cut a wedge of lemon, remove seeds, and squeeze juice directly into mixture, add a few pinches of salt and a healthy grind of pepper, then mix again. At this point, keep tasting and tweaking to get the flavor you want. Add lemon, salt and pepper slowly, so that you don't overdo it--once it goes in, you can't get it back out. If you're feeling wild, cayenne will add a little zing, but please, a teensy bit at a time!

When it's done, the mixture may be a bit soft and saucy. Scrape the avo-chevre into the bowl you want to serve it from and chill to firm it up; bring out a few minutes before serving. Great with crackers, crudites and, of course, tortilla chips.



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