- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

With this delightful upgrade from simple bowls of chips and salsa, children can participate in preparations for a Fathers’ Day cookout or picnic.

A refreshing departure from nachos, tiny tacos are small-scale and can be appealing to people of all ages who appreciate a bite-size appetizer that delivers flavor without excessive volume.

This project is even more fun when the various toppings are set up with small spoons (baby spoons work well) and the children can create an assembly-line product and a handmade, edible Fathers’ Day gift at the same time.

You can expand the sophistication of tiny tacos by making homemade versions of refried beans, tortilla chips, guacamole and/or salsa. Older children love doing all the various tasks involved, and younger children are always happy to mash anything.

Tiny tacos

1 13.5-ounce package tortilla chips (small, round, flat ones work best)

1 1-pound can heated refried beans

1 cup guacamole (recipe follows)

1 cup fresh salsa

1/3 pound grated Monterey Jack cheese

Place chips on a plate. Spoon on a small amount of refried beans. Spoon on dabs of guacamole and salsa. Sprinkle on cheese to taste. Eat open-faced or add another chip on top to make a “sandwich.” Makes about 6 servings as an appetizer.

GUACAMOLE

Authentic guacamole is a simple preparation. It’s basically just ripe avocado with touches of seasoning. Although best known as a dip for chips, guacamole is tremendously versatile, providing a substantial, colorful accompaniment to many savory dishes, especially those featuring eggs, beans, tomatoes or cornmeal. This keeps for only a day or so, tightly covered and refrigerated, and is best eaten right after it’s made.

2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice

2 firm, ripe avocados (they should give slightly when gently squeezed)

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons minced red onion

Cayenne

Place lemon or lime juice in a medium-small bowl. Cut avocados in half, remove pits and scoop flesh into the bowl. Use a fork to slowly mash the avocado into the juice, adding salt as you go. When avocado reaches desired consistency (and that could well include a few lumps), stir in onion and add cayenne to taste. Serve at room temperature or cold. Makes about 1½ cups.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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