Jalapeño + Cilantro Margarita

After sharing two incredibly healthy (and delicious) dinners, I present to you a cocktail to get you through the week.  This might just be my new favorite margarita and it couldn’t be easier to make.  I made Big Guy and myself a couple of these on Friday night to celebrate cinco de mayo along with flank steak tacos topped with sliced radishes and quick pickled red onions.

These margaritas are spicy and tart – just the way I like ’em and the only sweetness comes from a small amount of triple sec.  I altered the recipe a little bit by cutting down the amount of alcohol and amping up the amount of lime juice (can’t get enough).

margarita

To make one margarita, muddle together a slice of jalapeño (with or without the seeds) and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro in the bottom of your shaker.  Add ice along with 1 part silver tequila, 1/2 part triple sec and 2 part lime juice.  Shake, shake, shake.

Rim a glass with salt (or sugar if you like it sweet) and add lots of ice and then pour your margarita in the glass.

CHEERS!

And if don’t know about you but it feels like Friday and it’s only Wednesday…

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Smoky Potato and Greens Tacos + Blood Orange Margaritas

Taco Tuesday!  Last week I found myself with leftover blood oranges and decided I would shake up a margarita to celebrate the end of the week.  This margarita couldn’t be easier and only requires three ingredients.  You’ll need tequila (our “house” tequila is 1800 Silver 100% Agave), fresh blood orange juice and fresh lime juice.  I personally like a salt rim but if that’s not your thing, no biggie.  To make the margarita, simply combine 2 parts tequila with 2 parts blood orange juice and 1 part lime juice.  Serve on the rocks with a lime slice.

margarita

To go along with our margaritas, we enjoyed smoky potato and greens tacos.  I made a few changes to the original recipe, using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.  To cook, I peeled the potatoes and cut into cubes.  Toss the potatoes with some EVOO plus hot smoked paprika and spread on a baking pan covered with aluminum foil.  Bake at 425 degrees until roasted, turning once.  Instead of collards, I used swiss chard as my greens and simply sautéed in a little EVOO.  Once both the greens and the potatoes are cooked, toss them together to combine.  In the corn tortillas, a heaping spoonful of the potatoes and greens plus radish slices, cilantro, feta cheese (I find it has so much more flavor than queso fresco) and some hot sauce.

tacos

Margaritas and tacos were made for each other.

 

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?

 

 

Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa {plus margaritas}

This past Saturday we had our first guests in what seems likes forever!  I love entertaining and for some reason I often entertain with Mexican food.  It’s just so delicious and a lot of the planning is done for you.  When you serve Mexican food guacamole is an obvious appetizer along with margaritas.  My in-laws aren’t picky eaters so I knew that I could get away with just about anything.

First up, margaritas!  I made them two ways:  a basic, but delicious margarita and a Sage and Blackberry Margarita.  I was torn between so many margarita recipes on Pinterest but I ultimately decided on the sage and blackberry ‘rita because we have sage growing in the garden.

The recipe was actually quite strong and I would recommend using only 1 or 2 ounce of tequila.  I love a good margarita.  The blackberries were so juicy and plump and were a great addition to the glass.  Blackberry and sage margaritas like a sugar rim while the “regular” margaritas pair better with salt.

Along with the margaritas, the best guacamole ever!  

And for dinner, Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa.  This recipe is perfect for strawberry season.  Thankfully the strawberries this year are so much better than last year.  In fact, Big Guy and his parents went to get freshly picked strawberries from a local strawberry farm (Strawberry City in Nashville, NC) on Saturday morning while I was volunteering.

So ripe and juicy.

The shrimp marinated for about 30 minutes before grilling to perfection.  Plump and succulent.

The tacos were topped with the salsa that I could have eaten by the spoonful and cotija cheese.  The recipe called for queso fresco but I find cotija is much more flavorful.  The cheese added a perfect amount of creaminess and saltiness to the mix.

And while the food was amazing the company was even better.  It was nice to catch-up with the in-laws without having interruptions or other places to be.

Who’s coming to visit next?