Lemon Margaritas and Nachos

It was Tuesday yesterday and I was out of taco shells. We had to settle for nachos instead. Que lastima!

To make the nachos, I took a pie plate and made a multi layer recipe by layering tortilla chips, then ground beef that had been browned with cumin, chili powder and chipotle powder, some canned black beans I warmed in a saucepan and lots of Monterey jack pepper cheese. I then made another layers and slid it in the oven until the cheese melted.  It went on the table with some salsa and we dug in.

I basically do a layer for each person eating on it – with two us, I did two layers and it only takes 5 minutes in a 400 degree F oven but, when doing more layers, add in more time but watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Served with a lemon margarita because sometimes life gives you lemons.

Lemon Margarita

¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup tequila
3-4 tablespoons agave nectar

Zest a lemon before squeezing into a shaker. Squeeze more lemons to get ¼ cup juice. Add in the tequila and 3 tablespoons agave nectar. Shake well with ice. Taste and add more agave nectar, if necessary.

Mix the zest with coarse salt. Rub one of the squeezed lemon rinds onto the rim of two cocktail glassed and coat the rims in the lemon salt. Pour in the margarita and enjoy!

 

 

Blackberry Mojito

The other night, I pulled out the mortar and pestle and most of Michelle’s bar supplies in order to play mad scientist with a batch of blackberries and limes. After a few experiments, I came up with a delicious blackberry mojito using more of the blackberries Michell had picked and a generous helping of Cajun Spice Old New Orleans Rum. The drink was so delicious and refreshing. It went really well with the pulled pork sandwiches that Michelle and I had with our friend, Lydia.

Mojitos usually include mint but none of our pots of mint had survived the most recent dry spell, and I didn’t really want to use the dried mint in a cocktail so we skipped that step. While our drinks were excellent without it, next time, I will add some to the muddling.

Optional – top with a splash of club soda. I didn’t have any, so we just enjoyed the drink in all its intensity.

Blackberry Mojito

Blackberry simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen

Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir regularly until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the blackberries and let sit for 30 minutes, mashing the berries. Pour the simple syrup through a sieve to remove the seeds. Put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Per drink:
1 lime, quartered
handful of blackberries
1/4 cup rum
2 tablespoons blackberry simple syrup

Muddle together the quartered lime and blackberries in a shaker. Add the rum and simple syrup and shake well with some crushed ice. Strain as you pour over ice.

Blackberry Bonanza

Michelle has been picking blackberries around her house and we had more than enough to make a pitcher of blackberry lemonade and a batch of lemon blackberry sorbet plus plenty for freezing for later. These recipes made a very refreshing drink and sorbet – beautiful, tasty and loaded with antioxidants.

One day’s haul

To do these two recipes, make a simple syrup with 2 cups of water and two cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves. Pour over 2 cups of blackberries that have been lightly mashed and let steep for 30 minutes. Press the simple syrup, juice and berries through a strainer. You should have about 3 cups blackberry simple syrup. If you’re only making one of the items, either double the recipe ingredients or drop the simple syrup ingredients (sugar, water and blackberries) to 1 cup.

Leftover syrup can be added to tea or used in cocktails.

Blackberry Lemonade

1 1/2 cup blackberry simple syrup
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cups water

Add blackberry simple syrup and lemon juice to a large container. Add up to 3 cups water to taste.

For an added kick, add a 1/4 cup bourbon to the final mixture.

Lemon Blackberry Sorbet

1 1/2 cup blackberry simple syrup
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Combine chilled simple syrup with the lemon juice and zest and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the sorbet is made, transfer to a container. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.

Strawberry Cream Dream

We made gelato (see recipe here) and had a bit of heavy whipping cream, a tad of evaporated milk and smidgen of sweetened condensed milk left over. After pondering and googling, we decided to puree it all with some strawberries. It works as a drink and, after some time in the freezer, as a sorbet like dessert.

Strawberry Cream Dream

1 cup hulled and diced strawberries
1 cup cream (we used half cream and half evaporated milk)
1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk

Place everything in a blender and puree until it is frothy and well mixed. Pour into glasses.

For a pleasant kick to your cocktail add in some banana rum.

Satsuma Tequila Sunrise (or Sailor Sunrise)

Leonard on Big Bang Theory said about the Tequila Sunrise, “This drink is a wonderful example of how liquids with different specific gravities interact in a cylindrical container!” Science aside, it is quite tasty, too.

While home for Thanksgiving, I was able to pick a lot of satsumas off my Dad’s tree – there is a five gallon bucket on the floor beside him that is also full of fruit.

We decided to use some of the juice for cocktails. Of course, if you drink a lot of these, you won’t be seeing the sunrise but, who needs to get up early when you spent the evening with a glass this pretty!

Tall glass is the tequila version while short glass is the rum version

A regular Tequila Sunrise is made with tequila, naturally, or you can substitute rum for a Sailor’s Sunrise. We found the best results using regular rum, not spiced.

Sunrise Cocktails

2 ounces tequila or rum
4 ounces satsuma juice (or orange juice)
1/2 ounce grenadine syrup

In a tall glass pour in the tequila or rum. Pour in the juice. Over the back of a spoon, pour in the grenadine. Do not stir.

Bourbon Milk Punch

This cocktail has a nice warmth from the bourbon which is a lovely contrast to the decadently rich combination of milk and cream. The hint of vanilla makes this really taste almost like dessert and definitely like more.

I’m really enjoying the vanilla paste Michelle got for me – it has vanilla seeds in it so it is a step up from regular vanilla extract but not as pricey as vanilla bean pods.

Bourbon Milk Punch

1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half & half
1/4 cup cups powdered sugar
1 whole vanilla bean pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or 1 tablespoon quality vanilla extract)
Bourbon

Combine milk, cream and powdered sugar in a container with lid. If using a vanilla bean, slice in half and run the back of the knife over the interior to remove seeds. Add vanilla beans and pod to the jar and seal, shaking vigorously to combine. If using vanilla paste or extract, add it and shake well. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

To make the drinks, mix 3 parts vanilla milk with 2 parts bourbon. Place in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into glasses. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg, if desired.

 

Blackberry Bellinis

We are having fried chicken and waffles for dinner and decided we ought to kick the meal up a notch with a cocktail. Michelle has been out picking wild blackberries, so we decided to have blackberry bellinis.

This recipe makes 4 average drinks or 2 generous ones.

Blackberry Bellini

1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons honey
Champagne, moscato, prosecco or other sparkling wine

In a blender, puree blackberries, mint leaves and honey. Let sit in blender for 15 minutes. Pulse again and then pour in a sieve over a bowl. Use a spatula to press out the juice from the seeds and leaves. Discard pulp. Let the juice sit in a bowl for another 15 minutes. You should end up with about a 1/2 cup of delicious juice.

Put 2 tablespoons of juice in a glass and pour over your choice of sparkling wine. Pour only a little at first and let the bubbles calm down before slowly filling the glass.

Garnish with mint and toast!