Caramelized Onion Chipotle Chévre Guacamole- A Dip and Sip Challenge

As I mentioned in my blog post about my Piedra Azul cocktail- La Última Palabra– A Bolder Table was invited to participate in a Dip and Sip Challenge featuring Piedra Azul Tequila and Avocados in honor of National Guacamole Day, which is September 16. Sean and I had plans to invite friends and have a little soirée in our loft, but then Boulder suffered through a 100 year flood, making roads impassable.  In fact, we were asked to stay put so only emergency vehicles were on the road, and at the time of this posting, we’re still under a flash flood warning. So, needless to say, there was no fiesta with the $25 gift card we received to Whole Foods nor with the bottle of Piedra Azul Tequila. It was just the two of us, tequila, and avocados.

Before the flood of the century, I had plans to go to the Boulder Farmers’ Market for all of the ingredients I couldn’t purchase at Whole Foods. That, unfortunately, didn’t happen because the market was canceled due to flooding. Most of the farms, in fact, were totally wiped out, so I’m not even sure we’ll have a market for the rest of the season. But, disaster aside- plans changed. When life gives you lemons, make lemon-aide. When Piedra Azul gives you avocados and tequila, make guacamole and libations. It’s simple, sometimes.

When there was a break in the rain we rode our Linus bikes (couldn’t resist the plug) to Whole Foods to grab some Hass avocados, Haystack Mountain Boulder Chévre, and a few other ingredients to make an avocado dip to pair with my tequila tail and some veggie fajitas that the chef planned for dinner after working a ten hour shift at OAK.

The Dip and Sip Challenge is straightforward: Create a unique avocado dip and tequila libation. We received a $25 gift card to Whole Foods, a bottle of Piedra Azul Blanco Tequila, and Gaby Dalkin’s cookbook Absolutely Avocados.

When I lived in Santiago de Chile, I ate avocados every single day. After moving to Boulder and seeing a $2-$3 price tag per avocado, I pretty much made them a food specialty item in my kitchen. So, I was eager to accept the challenge, the gift card, and the cook book since I absolutely LOVE avocados. Disastrous flooding canceled our party, but the bright side is Sean and I had two days of serious avocado indulgence, which is not custom in our home.

Sean made a caramelized onion chipotle chévre guacamole for dipping with chips and spreading on fajitas. The recipe is straightforward:

Caramelize a yellow onion in olive oil. If you’ve never caramelized an onion before, it’s easy. Slice them thinly and add them to a hot pan with olive oil. Turn down the heat and let them slowly turn brown over 30-40 minutes, agitating them occasionally.

The caramelized goodness went into a food processor with a log of locally made Boulder Chévre and a couple chipotle peppers from a can of San Marcos Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce purchased at Whole Foods.

While Sean sliced the avocados, I had a giddy-as-a-school-girl-look on my face. But, we have no photo of that. Just the aguacates.








The final steps are simple- add the caramelized onion chipotle chévre mixture to mashed avocado, add Meyer lemon, French sea salt, Aleppo Pepper  to taste (recall those ingredients from my cocktail?), and mix well.

We enjoyed the dip with chips, and with veggie fajitas topped with locally made White Girl Salsa and Sean’s Habañero Hot Sauce.  

This was a fun challenge for both of us. We learned some interesting facts about avocados from Gabby’s book, were both challenged to create something new, and had a great dinner for two as a result.

¡Buen Provecho!

La Última Palabra- A Dip and Sip Challenge

Piedra Azul Tequila invited A Bolder Table to participate in a Dip and Sip Challenge, which will be judged by Gabby Dalkin, featuring avocados for the dip and Piedra Azul Tequila for the sip. As the owner of Local Table Tours, I bring guests on weekly cocktail tours and have had my fair share of tequila sips and tails for years now, so I jumped at the chance to create an original tequila tail.

A bottle of tequila blanco arrived at my door, and I was pleased to see it was distilled from 100% agave azul. Here’s a tip- when buying tequila, look for 100% blue weber agave or 100% agave azul on the label. Unless you’re buying Sotol or Mezcal, tequila that isn’t 100% blue weber agave can be distilled from all kinds of junk. Tequila law states that it must be distilled from at least 51% agave, so the remaining 49% could be sugar cane, cheap grains… anything, really. And, that’s the tequila that easily leads to a hangover. (I learned all of this from “working” as a cocktail tour guide:)

As I was saying… I was pleased to open a box and find an un-aged bottle of silver tequila. I tasted it and found it perfect for a mixing tequila. When I sip tequila, I tend to prefer reposados, but blanco tequilas are great for a number of cocktails since they impart the clean notes of the agave plant, not oaky, woody notes from barrel aging.

I don’t usually create my own cocktails because there is a well-trained group of bartenders in town who’s bars I frequent when thirsty. So, I really had no idea what I was going to do until I ordered a classic- The Last Word- while on vacation in Boston, and got curious how a tequila version would work out. I was pleasantly surprised on my first attempt.

The Last Word is my friend Molly’s favorite tail, and it’s simple: equal parts Gin, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur, and Lemon Juice, shaken with ice, strained, and often served in a coupe glass. Chartreuse, unfortunately, is really expensive, and having a bottle of Yellow Chartreuse at home, I wasn’t inclined to spend another $70 on the green variety. Also, I didn’t have Maraschino, but I did have a bottle of Roi René Rouge Cherry Liqueur (made by the makers of Combier, the BEST orange liqueur you’ll ever taste). So, I improvised.

As I was working with tequila and am fluent in Spanish, I made a tail I call La Última Palabra- equal parts Piedra Azul Tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, Roi René Rouge Cherry Liqueur, and Meyer Lemon Juice. I added 3/4 oz of each to the glass mixing glass of a Boston Shaker. Next, I mixed French sea salt and Aleppo Pepper from Savory Spice Shop, of course, rubbed the rim of my glass in Meyer Lemon juice, and rolled the rim in salt and Aleppo pepper. This is a great tip I learned on my tours- prep your glasses before mixing the drink so you’re ready to pour the drink as soon as you’re done mixing or shaking to avoid a watered down drink that was sitting on ice.

Once I had an Aleppo Pepper Salted rim, I added ice to the metal mixing glass, poured in my tail, shook, strained, and enjoyed.

As I’m not always a fan of salt with every sip, I enjoyed half of my libation through a locally hand blown Di Nalo glass straw. These straws always help me keep it classy.

Portland Cocktail Week, day 2, night 3

Well, it happened again. I woke up to a number of business cards and flyers and evidence of a great night spent with new friends. A highlight was a fantastic dinner at Little Bird, which was one of the best recommendations Mr. Tommy Klus could have made. Everything up until and including dinner is perfectly clear. Then it starts to get fuzzy…

I woke up Friday and got my ass in gear to get over to 12 and Hawthorn for a cocktail by Matt Lanning.

Remember him from my cheese dinner? Matt was guest bartending at the cocktail cart in a food cart cluster called Cartopia. He made me a cocktail named Scotchtopia.

Matt’s shift ended and we ate a putine from a food cart nearby, and then Ryan Layman of Steuben’s in Denver, also guest bartending, made me a cocktail named Wheels Are Turning.

So, by 3:30 I had had 2 cocktails by two Colorado bartenders here in Portland. Pretty cool.

Next, Matt and I took a taxi to The Jupiter, where most people are staying. As soon as we arrived Matt was asked to pour cognac (he’d been working, it seemed, this whole time)… We went into a room where he could pour cognac, and I Met David Delaney Jr.,  drank some cognac and a cognac cocktail, and talked to a number of people about cocktails. Totally appropriate.

Next stop was Kask for some cocktails by my buddy Tommy Klus.

Had a few cocktails there and then another at the Saucebox (and some green chartreusese) before an amazingly good dinner at Little Bird with a fantastically Oregonian Pinot Noir, shared with my new friend Spencer Warren of Pittsburgh, PA. Next on to the Crystal Ballroom for a party. Then to Cassidy’s for a Pisco tasting, Teardrop Lounge, pizza, back to The Jupiter… Taxi ride home around 4:30 am.

I think my liver hurts and it would yell at me if it had a chance. I am promising it that I will be in serious detox mode next week, and Bikram yoga will be my routine again. It must. There is simply no other option. Until then, the festivities continue. I’m going to attend a distillers fest, Bourbon 101, and an Absolut Sensory Analysis workshop before a Robots vs. Humans cocktail competition this evening. Ahhh… The life I live…

Crabapple Sangria

Well, I had to use the rest of my crabapples somewhere. Why not in sangria?

I must admit, I don’t usually measure when making sangria. I prefer to pour a little of this, a little more of that, etc.
For this pitcher, I used approximately 3 cups of red wine, 1/2 cup brandy, 1/2 cup Gran Gala, 1 can of seltzer, and 3 small crabapples.
I enjoyed this drink over ice.
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