Sun-Dried Tomato Guacamole

Trust me on this one.  I loosely followed a recipe so I’m going to give you all the details as to how I threw together this amazing guacamole for the Super Bowl last weekend.  This is super simple and would be perfect for any occasion.  Or just a margarita.

sundriedguac

Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 clove garlic
3 green onions
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced
salt
pepper
sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

In a food processor, whirl the red onion, garlic and green onions until finely chopped.  Add in the avocados, citrus juice and salt and pepper.  Taste to make sure there is enough salt – I always feel like I put in too much but you need a lot.

Transfer to a bowl and top with chopped sun-dried tomatoes.  Serve with fresh veggies or some chips.

 

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Mushroom and Charred Corn Tacos with Guacamole

While I won’t be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a fiesta and a margarita due to a meeting, I highly suggest you whip up some tacos or guacamole tomorrow.  Last week we enjoyed these tacos and even though they are meatless, they are full of flavor.  Big Guy’s favorite component was the chipotle crema.

The taco filling is a mixture of charred corn, sautéed poblano and mushrooms and garlic.  The mushrooms give the taco a little “meatiness” and the corn adds a fantastic texture.  But the real flavor comes from the quick guacamole and the chipotle crema.  To make the guac, simple mash an avocado with fresh chopped cilantro, diced red onion, lime juice and a good sprinkle of salt (the key to any good guac!).  You could add jalapeño if you’re a fan of heat but I love the smokiness of chipotle so I didn’t want to mask that flavor.

Like I said, one of the best parts of these tacos is the crema – and it’s honestly only two ingredients:  adobo sauce (from a can/jar of chipotle peppers) and Greek yogurt.  That’s it!

To make the tacos, spread some guac on a corn tortilla, top with the mushrooms-corn mixture and then drizzle on some crema. Finally, top with a sprinkle of salty feta.  Fold and devour.

mushroomcorntaco

So many flavors.

Guacamole makes anything a party.

So does a margarita.

Roasted Tomato and Charred Lime Guacamole

Oh, Monday.  I really don’t want to adult today.  But I have no choice.  Big Guy and I both worked hard on Saturday.  I worked a wedding on the farm (27,000 steps worth of work) and Big Guy put in a long day outside getting our yard and garden ready.  I am so excited for homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, zucchini, squash and herbs.

gardenmay

The best part is that he installed an automatic watering system so I don’t kill all.the.things.  I just have to be careful not to kill the hanging basket on the front porch.

After our hard work on Saturday all we wanted to do on Sunday was “hang out.”  We had a productive Sunday morning but after that it was #sundayfunday in full effect.

Roasted Tomato and Charred Lime Guacamole is perfect for any occasion but especially Cinco de Mayo on Thursday.  (Seriously, this upcoming weekend is insane between Cinco de Mayo, Derby Saturday and Mother’s Day.)

Tomatoes are tossed with EVOO, salt and pepper and then roasted at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Also on the sheet pan, halved limes.  Yes, you roast the limes!

Once the tomatoes and limes have roasted, it’s time to get to work on the guac.  Mash the avocados to your liking (I like a little chunk in my guac) and add diced jalapeño and red onion along with chopped cilantro and lots of salt.  Salt is key to good guacamole.  Juice the limes into the guac and then fold in most of the roasted tomatoes.  Top the guacamole with a little more cilantro and the remaining roasted tomatoes.

guac

I served ours with tortilla scoops and plantains (from Trader Joes) for dipping.

Oh, and a glass of bubbles.  But a margarita would be fantastic.

Now I’m off to adult…

But I don’t wanna.

Paloma with Salty Habanero Sugar {thirsty thursday}

TGI-almost-F!

So let’s have a cocktail.  But not just any cocktail.  I deem this the best paloma I’ve ever had.

Yes, yes I do.

The difference between a paloma and a margarita is the lack of Grand Marnier in a paloma.  Which is probably why I’m voting paloma > margarita.

The key to the best paloma ever is a.) fresh grapefruit juice and b.) grapefruit-lime syrup.  Oh, and a side of the best guacamole ever doesn’t hurt either.

I mixed some of the habanero sugar we brought back from a spice shop in Asheville with a little salt for my glass rim.  But you can totally follow Jessica’s lead with the salty chili sugar and it will be equally delicious.

paloma

These are dangerous.  AKA – you can’t taste the tequila.

 

 

 

Vietnamese Braised Beef Tacos {plus spicy cucumber margaritas}

This past Saturday was one of those days that I didn’t want to end.  The perfect mix of productivity and relaxation.  After a morning workout and massage, we spent the better part of the day soaking up the hot sunshine and staying cool in the pool.  Once home and showered, our day date officially started.

We kicked off the evening by preparing the ingredients for Spicy Cucumber Margaritas.  (I used a combo of recipes/techniques, but this was the inspiration.)

(On Friday night, we infused tequila with cucumber:  slice a cucumber and place in a mason jar; fill the mason jar with white tequila and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.)

First, prepare the cucumber puree:  peel and chop an English cucumber and add it to a blender with 1/2 cup fresh orange juice.  Once blended, strain.

On a shallow plate, combine 1 tablespoon each of coarse salt, sugar and chili powder.

Rub the edge of a glass with a lime wedge and then dip into the salt/sugar mix.  Add ice to the glass.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle a slice of jalapeno then add ice, 2 ounces cucumber infused tequila, 2 ounces of the cucumber puree, 1 ounce simple sugar and the juice of one lime.

Shake, shake, shake!  Strain into the rimmed glass.

Sip with smile on your face.

These go on the list of one of my top 5 margarita experiences.  Sweet, a little spicy and totally refreshing.  The infused tequila is the secret to this margarita.

But you can’t have a margarita without guacamole.  At least not around our house.

We really trashed up the guacamole with bacon (!!!!), caramelized pineapple, and feta.

I’m going to be honest – I think I’m a guacamole purist.  While I can’t deny I ate quite a few chips with this trashed up guac, I adore simple guacamole.  The simplest of recipes includes avocados, lime juice, salt (lots of salt), a little red onion, jalapeno and cilantro.

The star of the evening was dinner, though.

Without hesitation, I deem these the best tacos I’ve ever had.

The flavor profile of Vietnamese Braised Beef Tacos is like nothing I’ve ever tasted.

The tacos take a little time in the oven but it’s totally worth the wait.  Chunks of boneless chuck roast are seared before sauteeing diced onion, shallot and garlic.  Along with the beef, carrots, crushed tomatoes and beef broth are added to the Dutch oven.  And for the flavor, star anise, a cinnamon stick, Chinese five spice, brown sugar, a bay leave and fish sauce.

These are not your typical Tuesday night tacos.

After 3 hours, the meat is so tender is falls apart.  Taco assembly is simple:  charred corn tortillas (I used a cast iron skillet), green onion, jalapeno slices and chopped cilantro.

The tacos are sweet yet spicy bursting with flavor from the star anise, cinnamon and Chinese five spice.

And these recipe would feed a crowd – though I’m betting the leftovers are just as incredible as they were on Saturday.

Cucumber in my margarita, bacon in my guacamole and cinnamon studded tacos.

Could taco night get any weirder?

 

 

Crock-Pot Short Rib Tacos {and the best guacamole EVER}

Not only did I tease you on Instagram Saturday with beef short ribs but I teased you again yesterday.

This was my first time working with short ribs but let me be the first to let you know that it will not be the last.

Big Guy and I have been talking about short ribs for a while now.  (Yes, we have in-depth conversations about our meals and weekend eats on the regular.)  Yet for some reason we’ve never just bought them and experimented.  Until this past weekend.

I knew I wanted a Mexican-inspired dinner.  And I knew that we weren’t going to be eating beef on Friday night.  So I turned to my Pinterest page and stumbled upon crock-pot beef short rib tacos from How Sweet It Is.

So at 10:30am on Saturday morning, I seared the short ribs in a little olive oil and placed them in the crock-pot with spices and beer (I knew it was going to be good at this point) and let it cook for 8 hours.

guac beef 009

I doubled the amount of spices that the recipe called for because I was using a little more meat and I like a lot of flavor.  In the mix (along with salt and pepper that are unpictured), smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and ground cumin.  The spices were liberally sprinkled over the short ribs and then everything was doused with Corona Light (1 1/2 bottles).  Cooked on LOW for 8 hours (I did “move” the beef around once or twice during the cooking process).

The only down side to the crock-pot and short ribs is that you’re tempted for 8 hours straight by the smell.

Before we feasted on short rib tacos, we tamed our hunger with margaritas (those did nothing for my hunger) and guacamole.

guac beef 012

This is by far the best guacamole recipe.  Ever.

When I was making the guac, I never in a million years expected that I’d agree that it was the best ever.  There isn’t any cilantro in the mix.  And lemon juice?  In my guac?  I was confused.

Until I took a bite.

And it was perfection.  Guacamole perfection.

Who knew that lemon juice and chives could take guacamole to a whole new level.

And on another note, why have I not heated up store-bought chips before?  Because that was a genius move on our part, too.

Simply place in a 250 degree oven until warm.  And they’re suddenly brought back to life.

A couple hours later and it was taco time.

guac beef 016

I warmed up the corn tortillas in a little EVOO in a skillet and then topped with the scrumptious beef short ribs that had been so tender they fell off the bone.

The taco on the left is topped with caramelized onions (swoon) and cilantro while the one on the right is topped with lime-salted cabbage and cilantro.  To make the cabbage, simply slice up half a cabbage, sprinkle with sea salt and add the zest and juice of one lime.  I let the cabbage marinate for a few hours.  The onions were simply sliced thinly and added to a medium-low skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil.  I let them hang out and get all nice and browned before added a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Have you ever cooked with beef short ribs?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Please share!  I’m short rib obsessed now.

 

p.s.  I have a “challenge” I’m doing for the month of April that I’ll share with you tomorrow.

Blackened Shrimp Tacos

The plan was to have tacos on Saturday night.  But I ate too much guacamole.

guac 002

I know, #firstworldproblems

The recipe for this guac can be found here.  If I were to make it again, I would add some red onion and garlic and might even use feta instead of  queso fresco.  I’d also add more jalapeno.  I used 2 avocados and 1 jalapeno from the garden for this batch.  And Big Guy likes creamy guac, so I pulsed it in the food processor.

But it actually worked out – because tacos on Sunday may be my new thing.  Tacos are definitely in the Mexican-fare category.  But these Blackened Shrimp Tacos have a little bit of a Cajun flair to them.

The shrimp is seasoned with a mix of paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt and ground red pepper.  That’s the Cajun part.

The queso fresco sauce cools off the blackened shrimp and is quite delicious.  And messy.  I didn’t have buttermilk so I used 1% milk.  Worked just perfectly.  I also added more garlic.  Garlic is my thing.

guac 003

I “blistered” the corn tortillas on the stove top before stuffing with shrimp, homegrown tomatoes, avocado and the sauce.

guac 004

The shrimp were perfectly cooked.  And I loved the spice mix.  Not too spicy but a little kick in there to make sure I was awake.

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I’m telling you what, our tomatoes are so sweet this year.  The avocados melted into the taco along with the sauce but the shrimp and tomatoes gave the taco some real texture.

guac 006It was a two taco kind of night!