Part One: Something to drink, the Frontera Margarita
This is the best margarita you will ever have in your life. The best. If you’re having a Cinco de Mayo party or even if you’re not you’ll want to make this your official party drink of summer. Every host(ess) should have a specialty, and I encourage you to make this yours! This bit of lime and tequila perfection comes from, Rick Bayless,—public television superstar and the gringo authority on all delicious Mexican things. Now if you’re wondering if you’re alcoholic indulgences are vegan, look no further than this handy little site: Barnivore. Not much to look at, but the information is there and easily searchable.
To begin, we need to think ahead because this especial needs some time to steep. Like 6–8 hours. Get it started the night before. It will just take a few minutes and you’ll be so glad you did. It makes all the difference. You’ll never buy another jug of that disgusting sludge masquerading as a margarita mix, which by the way is guaranteed to give you a hangover. It’s not the tequila, it’s all that crazy corn syrup. Well, maybe it’s the tequila too, but the sugar isn’t doing you any favors. It’s as simple as tequila and limes folks, make it happen. Delicious but cuidado. That’s spanish for caution. These babies creep up on you. They’ll leave you hammered.
Eight servings, depending on who your friends are
6–8 to steep, about 10 minutes hands on to prepare
From Rick Bayless
A few tips on citrus zesting and squeeezing: Zest first, then squeeze. Before you give it a squeeze pop your limes in the microwave for 10–15 seconds. Then try using a pair of kitchen tongs to squeeze instead of your wimpy old hands.
- 1 ¾ cups tequila
- ¼ cup orange liqueur
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. lime zest, finely grated
- ⅓ cup evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
- ¼ cup coarse sea salt
- 8 lime wedges, for serving
- 3 cups ice cubes, for serving
- The day before you want to serve your margaritas, you'll need to combine the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, lime zest, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a pitcher. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.
- Spread the salt out in a shallow dish. Use a cut lime to rub the rim of each glass and then dip in the salt. Shake off the excess salt. Add the ice to the pitcher. Stir to combine and pour into the salt rimmed glasses. Garish with a lime wedge and serve.
Part Two: The Taco
And to keep it all on the up and up, let’s get some food in your belly too. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that one little humble tortilla can be so ripe with opportunity. My favorite combo is potato, spinach, mushroom and caramelized onion. Other optional ingredients: avocado, cilantro, cabbage, lime, salsa, lettuce, soy chorizo, beans, onion, tomato, roasted peppers. If you like to do things ahead of time, you can make the caramelized onions and reheat them before serving. Heck, you can make most of this and reheat it. I think potatoes get a little starchy when reheated, but the rest is good.
Tacos with Spinach, Mushroom, Potato and Caramelized Onions
Six to eight servings
One hour to prepare
- 1 lb. red potatoes, cut into 2-in. pieces
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, ½ in. slices
- 6 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- sea salt
- freshly black pepper
- 2–3 large yellow onions, sliced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 20 oz. fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
- pinch nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. lemon zest
- 6–8 small flour or corn tortillas
- salsa, for serving
- avocado, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Toss the potatoes with olive oil and turn them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30–45 minutes, turning halfway through.
- While you're waiting on the potatoes, start on the onions. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the sliced onions. Cook over medium heat for 30–40 minutes stirring occasionally. If you find you’re having to stir your onions often, lower the heat. Once the onions develop a rich, dark carmel color they’re ready.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the diced onion, mushrooms and garlic. When the onion begins to become translucent and the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5-10 minutes, add the spinach, nutmeg and lemon zest and cook until the spinach just begins to wilt.
- Make your stack and serve with salsa and avocado!