Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Long Is Your Rhubarb Season?

fresh rhubarb

It's rhubarb season. Or is it?

I started asking for fresh rhubarb over a month ago, only to be told by market managers, "It's too early." Then this past week I was told, "It's too late. Rhubarb season is over."

So, by my calculation, rhubarb season in Southern California was about two weeks long this year. That's absurd.

It's a good thing I bought rhubarb three times in that two week window. But it wasn't enough for this New England bred gal. When I was a kid, rhubarb season was usually a couple of months long. You didn't have to buy it at the market because half of your neighbors grew it in their yards. I remember going to my great aunt's house where those crimson stalks stood at attention along the side of her house. I'd rip one right of the ground and bite into it like it was a carrot. I'd do it till my eyes watered, my lips went numb, and my belly turned sour. Ah, those were good days.

Nowadays, I have to rush to get my rhubarb fix. And rhubarb should not be rushed.

rhubarb and berry compote
Berry Rhubarb Compote with a dollop of ricotta cheese.

Since my belly isn't as steely as it used to be, I forego raw rhubarb for stewed, sweetened dishes like crumbles, crisps, and compotes. I have made many rhubarb compotes, but this one is special. The rhubarb is tempered by sugar and enhanced by freshly squeezed orange juice, aromatic ginger, and sweet blueberries.

Compotes are best served warm or at room temperature with a dollop of Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, mascarpone cheese, or ricotta cheese. If you've got leftovers, then swirl it in your oatmeal, spread it on toast, or just eat it by the spoonful.

Rhubarb season generally runs from April to September. So, I'm curious, what's your rhubarb season like where you live? 

Berry Rhubarb Compote
Makes 4-6 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 pound rhubarb, sliced
1/3 cup sugar, or more depending on the tartness of the rhubarb
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
The zest of 1/2 medium orange
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, quartered or unthawed frozen berries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries or unthawed frozen berries
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1. Place rhubarb, sugar, water, and juice in a medium pot over high heat. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Add zest, berries, and ginger. Lower the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until the rhubarb is soft but still has some shape. Cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, mascarpone cheese, or ricotta cheese.

You might also enjoy these rhubarb recipes from Food Blogga:
Triple Berry Rhubarb Crisp
Strawberry-Rhubarb Calzones
Strawberry-Rhubarb Sponge Pudding
Pork Tenderloin with Indian Spiced Cherry and Rhubarb Chutney

Here are more tasty rhubarb recipes from other bloggers:
Rhubarb Margarita recipe from Andrea's Recipes
Rhubarb Fool recipe from Real Epicurean
Rhubarb Maple Crisp recipe from Whipped
Rhubarb Blueberry Turnovers recipe from Pinch My Salt
Blackberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Make Mondays Better with a Veal Cutlet Sandwich with Garlicky Greens, Smoked Mozzarella, and Prosciutto

veal cutlet sandwich with garlicky greens, smoked

Italians love to egg, bread, and fry foods. From vegetables like cauliflower and zucchini to meats like chicken and veal, there aren't too many foods that don't taste better when egged, breadcrumbed, and fried.

When I was a kid, veal scallopine Milanese, veal cutlets coated in egg and breadcrumbs and fried until crisp, was always a beloved feature of our Sunday dinners. No one could resist that crunchy, glistening exterior and tender, moist interior, which paired perfectly with garlicky broccoli rabe.

Of course, the best part about making veal scallopine Milanese on Sundays was the sandwich you'd take to school on Monday. My mom wasn't a believer in dainty sandwiches. She never even bought sliced white bread. Instead, Mom would spilt a chunky Italian roll down the middle and wedge a veal cutlet inside. Then she'd smother it with leftover garlicky broccoli rabe, some Provolone or mozzarella cheese, and maybe one of my dad's hot cherry peppers, if we were lucky.

Lately Jeff and I have been on a veal cutlet kick, thanks to Mom who bought us three pounds last time she was here.

"Mom, three pounds for two of us?" I said.

"If you can't eat them all now, just freeze them, honey. They won't go to waste," she replied.

Each time I make veal scallopine Milanese for Jeff and me, I promise myself that I'm going to top them with Marsala spiked mushrooms or sauteed baby artichokes and asparagus. Then I do what I always do: make sandwiches.

You should do the same. This isn't just any sandwich, it's a dense, crunchy, salty, smoky, garlicky sandwich that is wholeheartedly satisfying. So go ahead, mangia!

By the way, Mom was right. That sandwich you're looking at was made from the third and final pound of veal cutlets.

Veal Cutlet Sandwich with Garlicky Greens, Smoked Mozzarella, and Prosciutto
Makes 2 sandwiches
Print recipe only here.

1/2 pound veal cutlets, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry, plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese

Garlicky Greens:
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
4-5 ounces (about 2-3 cups) chopped greens, such as kale, escarole, or Swiss chard

2 ounces prosciutto
4 slices crusty Italian bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted until golden

1.Place the veal cutlets between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them gently with the toothed side of a meat mallet to soften the meat. Then use the smooth side of the mallet to flatten the scaloppine to about a 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness.

2. Spread the flour on a sheet of wax paper or a large plate. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs, cheese, red pepper flakes and salt.

3. In a medium skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until mixture starts to bubble and foam.

4. Meanwhile, dredge the veal in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip it in the egg, letting any excess drip into the bowl. Finally, gently place it in the bread-crumb mixture and turn to coat evenly. Repeat with remaining pieces of veal. Place in the skillet, without overcrowding. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the underside looks crispy and golden brown. Turn once. Add cheese, and cook about 2 minutes more, until cheese is melted. Turn off heat.

5. To make the garlicky greens, heat heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and lightly brown, 1-2 minutes. Add greens, tossing frequently, until cooked down and tender, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat.

6. Add prosciutto to a hot skillet just until crisp, 30-60 seconds.

7. To assemble sandwich, place half the veal on one slice of toasted bread. Top with half the garlicky greens and prosciutto. Repeat with second sandwich. Serve immediately.

You might also like these sandwich recipes from Food Blogga:
Frittata Sandwich
Grilled Lamb Sandwich
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich with Broccoli Rabe and Provolone

You might also like these veal recipes:
Veal Marsala recipe from Always Order Dessert
Pork Saltimbocca recipe from Proud Italian Cook
Veal Chops with Morel Sauce recipe from Sunday Nite Dinner
Breaded Veal Cutlets recipe from Bleeding Espresso

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

30 Days to a Food Revolution with Lemony Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ricotta, and Mint

Are you a part of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? You know, the revolution to transform America's eating habits by ditching unhealthy processed foods and replacing them with healthy whole foods? If not, keep reading. Then, join the revolution!

I'm happy to be a part of "30 Days to a Food Revolution," a food event hosted by Diane Eblin of the blog, The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Inspired by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution in America, Diane has gathered 30 bloggers to share their tips for healthier eating and living. Be sure to visit her blog to read more guest posts, gather delicious recipes, and get great tips.

Here's my tip: Make the most out of your farmers' market trips.

When people ask why my husband and I live in San Diego instead of moving back to Rhode Island, I usually say, “the farmers’ markets.” I’m joking. Sort of. Really, how many other places have over 40 farmers’ markets that are open year-round? We’re lucky, and we know it.

Fortunately, farmers’ markets are located across the country. So no matter where you live, here are nine ways to make the most out of your trips to the farmers’ market.

fresh English peas from Hillcrest farmers' market in San Diego
English Peas from the Hillcrest Farmers' Market in San Diego.

1. Be prepared. Before you leave the house, make sure you have some sturdy, eco-friendly reusable bags and plenty of small bills (ones and fives) and quarters. Consider bringing an insulated bag for items such as farm fresh eggs or cheese.

2. Be patient. Resist the urge to purchase the first plump tomato or crisp red bell pepper you see. Always stroll through the entire market once to assess the produce and prices.

3. Engage in farm talk. Unlike a trip to the grocery store, you have the unique opportunity to ask the farmers all types of questions, so don’t be shy. They’re usually excited to talk about their work (provided there isn’t a line of 10 people waiting to pay). If the farmer’s produce isn’t “certified organic,” be sure to ask about his or her farming practices. Many small farmers practice organic farming but can’t afford to have the “certified organic” designation.

4. Plan ahead. Find out how long the season will last for different crops, especially maddeningly short seasonal crops such as fava beans, English peas, or cherries. That way you won’t miss out on your favorites (which has happened to me) and perhaps preserve them for the off-season.

5. Be adventurous. Try something new or strange. If it weren’t for farmers’ market samples, I would never have discovered some of my favorite fruits, including cherimoyas, kumquats, and jujubes.

6. Save money the right way. If you’re looking to save money, then buy in bulk. Most farmers are more than happy to sell you a bushel of peppers or a half a dozen flats of strawberries at a discounted price. It’s considered impolite, however, to ask for a discount on single items or small purchases. Keep in mind that farmers usually set fair prices from the outset; paying full price supports them and the local economy. Another way to save money is to shop just before closing time when farmers often discount their goods to sell before hitting the road.

7. Spread the wealth. We are creatures of habits, so many of us tend to buy from the same vendors each week. Try someone new next time you’re at the market. You might discover a new vegetable, a new recipe, or a new friend.

8. Create good karma. Compliment farmers on their produce. Give them feedback about the quality of their goods as well. Tell them about a recipe you made featuring their goods. If something was disappointing, then let them know in a polite manner. Exchange recipes with them. Or surprise them with a dish made from their goods.

9. Promote your market. Tell your friends, family, and local schools about the farmers’ markets. Host a dinner featuring only locally produced foods, and tell your guests about the farmers who provided it. Blog and tweet about your farmers’ markets. Mention them on Facebook, and post pictures on Flickr. Do anything you can to spread the word.

Lemony Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ricotta, and Mint

Lemony Pasta with Fresh Peas, Ricotta, and Mint
Makes 2 servings
Print recipe only here.

6 ounces pasta shells
4 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
The zest and juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon juice)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh shelled English peas
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
2 tablespoons freshly grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Lemon zest curls, optional garnish

1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to direction, until al dente. Reserve a cup of hot pasta water.

2. In a small bowl, stir ricotta cheese, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. Thin it with a little bit of hot pasta water. Stir until creamy but not watery.

3. Drain cooked pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add peas and ricotta mixture and toss well. Stir in mint and grated cheese. Drizzle each serving with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with lemon zest curls, if desired.

Variation: For a meat version, add 2-3 ounces crispy prosciutto or pancetta. If you're gluten-intolerant, then substitute gluten-free pasta.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fresh Beets: The Polarizing Springtime Vegetable

fresh beets

Cilantro haters have been vindicated.

The New York Times recently ran a story: Cilantro Haters, It's Not Your Fault, in which Harold McGee, respected food scientist and author, explained why cilantro really does taste like soap to many people.

According to experts from flavor chemists to neuroscientists, some people "may be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro." Turns out that cilantro's aroma is created by fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes. Flavor chemists have shown that "the same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions...."

So cilantro-haters are not crazy after all. But what about beet-haters? Why do so many people say beets taste like dirt or metal? Is it chemistry? Canned beets? Craziness?

Mention beets and people react extremely. Lovers wax that beets are as sweet as sugar. Haters wane that they're dull as dirt. Literally. This could be because they failed to properly clean their beets and ate dirt, which studies have shown tastes like dirt.

President Obama famously banned beets from the White House garden.

What about the metallic taste in beets? Lots of people blame the metal can, which studies have shown tastes like metal. But that doesn't explain why many people say fresh beets taste like metal. Perhaps it's iron. Beets are high in iron, which is why they're recommended for people with anemia or for menstruating women.

I'd like Harold to do a piece on beet haters next. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this enigmatic vegetable, and clearly it isn't going to be President Obama.

In case you haven't guessed already, I am a beet lover. Although even I admit that sometimes beets taste a little like dirt, or as we foodies like to euphemistically say, "earthy."

My friend Karen of Family Style Food said it best:"I think they do taste like dirt but with sugar on top."

So, tell me, dear readers: Do you like beets? 

springtime fresh strawberry and salad with rosemary-lemon vinaigrette

Fresh Strawberry and Beet Salad with Rosemary-Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 2 servings
Print recipe only here.

2 small beets (will yield about 1 cup cooked and sliced)
2 teaspoons olive oil
6-8 cups mesclun
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1-2 tablespoons lightly toasted pistachios

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or white balsamic)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and center a rack. Wash beets, pat dry, and cut in half. Place flesh side down on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Close the foil, creating a tent. Place on a baking sheet. Cook for 60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from oven and rest on counter (still wrapped in the foil) for 20-30 minutes. To remove beet skins, gently rub with your thumb until they peel off. (You might want to wear gloves to avoid red stained fingers.) Slice beets. (At this point, beets can be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days.)

2. In a large bowl, toss mesclun, strawberries, and beets.

3. In a small bowl, whisk all vinaigrette ingredients. Taste and adjust accordingly. Pour over the salad and toss well. Garnish servings with toasted pistachios.

Here are more springtime recipes you might enjoy from Food Blogga:
Fava Bean and Dill Crostini
Creamy Goat Cheese and Beet Green Pasta
Warm Bulgur Salad with Beets, Fennel, and Oranges
Springtime Farro with Baby Artichokes, Mushrooms, and Peas 

Here are more beet recipes you might enjoy: 
Beet Risotto recipe from Cook 4 Seasons
Beet Hummus recipe from Simply Recipes
Grilled Beets with Feta recipe from Sarah's Cucina Bella
Can't Be Beet Chocolate Cake recipe from Fat Free Vegan

Monday, May 10, 2010

Strawberries 101: How to Select, Store, and Eat Everyone's Favorite Springtime Fruit

san diego farmers' market strawberries

When my in-laws from Rhode Island were visiting recently, I mentioned that our strawberry season was coming to a close.

My mother-in-law said, "You mean it's starting, right?

"Nope," I said. "California's strawberry season usually starts in January and ends in June."

"But I don't understand. That's when our strawberry season is just starting," she said. 


California is the advanced-gifted child in the classroom of strawberry production. The United States produces about 2 billion pounds of strawberries every year, 90% of which are grown here. Thanks to our temperate climate, we're able to produce strawberries in the wintertime and ship them across the country. That's why people in Massachusetts can buy fresh strawberries at the Stop & Shop in frigid February.

It also means, however, those berries are "grown for production" --  picked ripe, but not at absolute maturity, and "gassed" (treated with a carbon dioxide solution to prevent spoilage) to maintain a 5-7 day shelf life.

In contrast, strawberries "grown for flavor" are vine-ripened; that is, they are not picked until fully ripe. The resulting berry is deep scarlet, sweet, and juicy. If you look inside of a vine-ripened strawberry, you'll see what looks like sugar crystals: they are the strawberry's natural sugars that provide its sweetness. As a result, vine-ripened strawberries have a shorter shelf-life of 2-5 days.

san diego farmers' market raspberries and strawberries

Almost every state in America grows strawberries at some point between May and July, which is when you should eat them. There is nothing quite as pleasing as the flavor of a locally grown vine-ripened strawberry bursting with natural sugar.

Since moving to Southern California a few years ago, I have spoken with many strawberry farmers and have learned some great tips about selecting and storing fresh strawberries. Here's what they have to say.

How to select fresh strawberries:
*Look for bright red berries with a shiny exterior and no bruises. Be sure the berry's "hat" is red too, which means there is no white at the top of the berry.
*Look for fresh, bright green hulls with no trace of mold or mildew.
*Buy large or small strawberries; size does not correlate directly to flavor.
*Check the bottom of the container. If it's wet, then the berries have begun to spoil.
*Ask about pesticides and other farming practices if that is important to you. Since delicate strawberries do not have a protective skin, they are more prone to absorbing pesticides.

How to store fresh strawberries:
*Always try to eat fresh strawberries the day you buy them. Otherwise, refrigerate by placing berries in a paper-towel lined plastic container. They should last 2-5 days.
*Keep berries dry with the green hull intact until you are ready to use them. Remove the hull with a pairing knife.
*To freeze strawberries, remove the hull, rinse, and pat dry. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place in Ziploc freezer bags, and enjoy year-round. The consistency will be softer, so they're best used in smoothies, jams, or sauces.

How to eat fresh strawberries:
*Toss them in salads. They pair well with spicy greens like arugula, sharp cheese like goat's cheese, and earthy nuts.
*Add them to toast, oatmeal, or cereal: Add sliced strawberries to toast topped with mascarpone or ricotta cheese.
*Dip fresh strawberries in melted dark chocolate or Nutella for a decadent treat.
*Bake with strawberries: Make cobbler, crisp, shortcake, muffins, scones, pie, cake, or just about anything else you fancy.
*Make smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream, sorbet, or drinks such as margaritas.
*Explore the savory side of strawberries: they are delicious cooked in sauces and salsas and spooned atop meats such as chicken or pork.

Are you ready to eat some strawberries now? Then check out these savory and sweet strawberry recipes:

strawberry muffin rack pink
Fresh Strawberry, Almond, and Coconut Muffins

skinny parfait 1 striped
Skinny Berry Parfaits

seductive strawberry salad
Seductive Strawberry Salad

pork strawberry salsa cut
Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry-Mango Salsa

strawberry rhubarb calzone
Strawberry Rhubarb Calzones

strawberry cardamom crumb cake
Strawberry Cardamom Crumb Cake

Here are some more strawberry dessert recipes you might enjoy:
Strawberry Cupcakes recipe from Milk and Honey Cafe
Roasted Strawberry Scones recipe from The British Larder
Strawberry Shortcake Sliders recipe from Simply Recipes
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe from Gluten-Free Goddess
Learn more about California strawberries: Decadent Strawberries Sweet in Summertime

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Forget Mother's Day Brunch. Just Make Mom Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts.

Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts

Mother's Day is this Sunday, which means you're either taking Mom out for brunch or making her brunch at home. Last year I provided a week's worth of recipes for Mother's Day brunch and had planned on doing the same this year. I have decided against it.

Instead, I'm going to provide you with one recipe, one sublimely simple yet decadent recipe, for Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts. Crunchy Italian toast is slathered with creamy Nutella and rich mascarpone cheese then topped with sweet, sliced fresh strawberries.

When I posted on Facebook that I was creating Mother's Day brunch recipes and that one included Nutella and mascarpone, my dear friend Kate of Kate in the Kitchen, replied, "Well, what else do you need???" Exactly.

So if you want to become Mom's favorite child (even if only for a day) make her these Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts.

Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts

Mascarpone, Nutella, and Fresh Berry Toasts
Print recipe only here.

You really don't need measurements for this recipe. An (8-ounce) tub of mascarpone cheese and 2 pints of berries should make about a dozen toasts.

A (1 pound) loaf of sliced Italian bread
Butter for toasting
1 jar Nutella
1 (8-ounce tub) mascarpone cheese
2 pints fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries

1. Lightly butter bread and toast until golden.

2. Smear on a layer of Nutella, then top with a Layer of mascarpone. Arrange fresh berries on top. Serve immediately. Await praise.

If you're an over achiever, then here is a slew of recipes from Food Blogga that are perfect for Mother's Day brunch:

Baked Goods:

Fruit and Granola:


Entrees and Sides: 

Here are more Nutella recipes you might enjoy for Mother's Day or anytime:
Nutella Banana Gyoza recipe at La Fuji Mama
Nutella Banana Bruschetta recipe from Perfect Pantry
Nutella Swirled Poundcake recipe from More Than Burnt Toast
Rose Scented Nutella Brioche Pudding recipe from No Recipes

Monday, May 3, 2010

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Sweet and Spicy Banana Margaritas

This Wednesday as most people imbibe one, okay two margaritas in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I hope they take a moment to give thanks to Bing Crosby.

The crooner with the liquid voice loved Mexico, and he more than anyone else, was responsible for bringing the margarita north of the border and making it wildly popular in Hollywood during his heyday. Bing also had a soft spot for San Diego, which because of its proximity to Mexico, may be the most margarita-friendly city in the country. Our chicest mall, Fashion Valley, has a Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge, a modern-day supper club with live music, deep, cozy booths, and delicious cocktails.

So in honor of Bing, who also happens to have made my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, I'm making sweet and spicy banana margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

I happen to have the key to making a perfect margarita. That's because last week I  interviewed Juan Calderon, certified sommelier and beverage director of San Diego's hip El Vitral, Restaurant and Tequila Lounge, which houses over 200 types of tequila.

margarita from el vitral, san diego
(Classic house margarita at El Vitral.)

According to Calderon there are three steps to making the perfect margarita:

1. Use freshly squeezed lime juice.
2. Use good tequila. Make sure the bottled is clearly labeled "100% blue agave" or "100% de agave." Look for bottles that range between $18-28 dollars. Top shelf tequila isn't necessary for a great tasting margarita.
3. Nix the candied margarita mix, and use Curacao, a citrus flavored liqueur, available at liquor stores. (Grand Marnier or Cointreau work well too). If you're making a fruity margarita, use naturally sweet fruit purees instead of juice. Calderon recommends the brands Culinary Traditions: The Perfect Puree or Monin, which are available at most liquor stores or online.

To make a classic margarita, put equal parts fresh lime juice to Curacao in a shaker. Add 1 1/2 ounces tequila. Shake, then serve on the rocks with a salted rim and a lime slice. That's it.

sweet and spicy banana margarita DSC_0002

This banana margarita is made with smashed ripe bananas, though an ounce of banana puree or creme de banana liqueur would also work. The tart lemon and citric Grand Marnier balance the banana's sweetness making it pleasingly refreshing with a smooth finish. If you're considering skipping the cayenne rim on the glass, don't. When you sip the margarita the cayenne makes your tongue and mouth tingle with heat which is then cooled with the icy margarita. Ahhhh, it's so good.

Oh, and don't forget to play some of Bing's tunes along with the mariachi music.

Banana Margarita
Makes 1
Print only recipe here.

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ripe banana, smashed (or 1 ounce banana puree)
cayenne pepper

1. Rub the rim of a chilled margarita glass with lemon juice and dip in cayenne pepper.

2. In a shaker combine alcohol, lemon juice, banana, and ice. Shake until your hands freeze and the banana is completely smashed. Strain into the glass. Enjoy.

spicy black bean dip and chips DSC_0003

I'm serving my banana margaritas with chips and Spicy Black Bean Dip. You might want to do the same.

Here are more recipes you might enjoy for Cinco de Mayo from Food Blogga:
Boozy Beef Chili
The Southwest Burger
Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad
Chicken, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Quesadillas
Goat Cheese and Poblano Quesadillas with Pineapple-Mango-Habanero Salsa
Want to learn more about margaritas? Check out my latest piece on, "Cinco de Mayo: Perfect Your Margarita, Just in Time."

You might also enjoy these margarita recipes from bloggers:
Raspberry Margarita recipe from Serious Eats
Pomegranate Margarita Martini recipe from Dine & Dish
Prickly Pear Margaritas recipe from My Sweet and Saucy

Photo of Bing Crosby courtesy of Bafflegab26580 on Flickr.