Tuesday, June 17, 2008

South of the Border, New York

Maybe it's the tropical weather we've been having these past few weeks, or maybe I'm simply bored, bored, bored to death with Pinot Grigio + Sauvignon Blanc, but lately I've had a mean hankering for a big, salt-rimmed margarita, served straight up, with side of warm tortilla chips, and a molcajete filled with creamy guacamole just waiting to be dug into. I don't know about you blogoholics out there, but few things give me more pleasure than eating good, simple, handcrafted foods; make me a BLT with toasted white bread, real mayo, and ripe, red tomatoes (yes, I'm still eating tomatoes; salmonella, shmalmonella) and I'm the happiest girl in the world, pass me a bowl of fresh pasta with butter and grated Parmesan cheese and I will be your friend for life, and I can't even begin to to tell you what I will do for a crispy, thin-crust New Haven-style clam pizza, cooked outside on the grill. So, when I tell you that I've been itching for a couple of margarita's and a belly full of guacamole, I guess you know by now that it can't just be any old margarita, or ho-hum guacamole that passes by these taste buds, and down into this gullet of mine. Nope, I can't settle, and I won't let you settle either, dear reader; there's no time for bland guacamole or sour margarita's in our world.

With the longest day of the year just a few days away (yes, the days will be getting shorter after the 21st) I can think of no better time than right this second, to drop everything you're doing (unless you are holding an infant, carrying a vat of nitroglycerin, storing a priceless Ming vase, or juggling knives), to start squeezing limes, mashing avocado's, and kicking back with some good friends for an impromptu mid-week summertime happy hour.

I'm off to take my own advice...

From my book, Summer: A User's Guide

This recipe can easily be modified if you prefer a fruity, frozen Margarita. Simply add a handful of strawberries, some sliced mango, a splash of peach nectar – or whatever kind of summery fruit or fruit juice you have handy – and blend with ice.

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1-ounce Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec
1-ounce lemon juice
1-ounce lime juice
Kosher salt (optional)
Sliced limes (optional)

If you prefer your margarita with salt, pour salt onto small dish, moisten rim of chilled cocktail glass with sliced lime, and dip into salt. For a straight-up cocktail, add all ingredients and cracked ice to a cocktail shaker, shake well, then strain into a margarita glass. Garnish with a slice of lime. Makes 1 cocktail.

From my book, Summer: A User's Guide

If you’d like, you can add some minced jalapeƱos to this recipe to spice it up, or some chopped cilantro for a bit of South of the Border flavor.

2 plum tomatoes
2 firm-ripe California avocados
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Quarter tomatoes, remove seeds and chop. Halve and pit avocados, scoop flesh into a bowl and mash (you can use your hands, a masher or a mortar and pestle). Stir in remaining ingredients.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 cups.

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