While searching through a recipe folder at home the other day, I found proof that I was constantly thinking about food even before I started writing about it. It was an e-mail from my colleague, Natalee Waters, with a pasta recipe she shared in exchange for my chicken pot pie recipe. Often, that’s where I find the very best recipes — not in cookbooks, not on the Internet, but from a friend who simply says, “Hey, you gotta try this!”
Alas, I had never made Natalee’s recipe, probably because it got lost in my overflowing folder of “someday” recipes. But I went ahead and made it Monday night, and it was as quick and delicious as promised. It calls for canned tomatoes, a can of cannellini beans, spinach, feta cheese and, if desired, some shrimp for added protein. Chicken would also be a satisfactory addition to this dish. Check out the recipe and print it, if you like, in the recipe database here.
And now for that cocktail: I love Mexican cuisine so much that I’m rarely unhappy with a dining experience at a Mexican restaurant. But every once in a while, I’ll order a regular lime margarita and my stomach will rebel as if I’ve just consumed battery acid. It’s the acid in the lime mixer, of course, and chasing it with spicy food only makes it worse.
Last night, my friend Ken made me the most amazing blackberry margarita. It struck me that if I want to enjoy tequila cocktails without the stomach-eating effect, alternative fruits such as blackberries, cherries or peaches are a wonderful idea.
Ken simply bought a bag of frozen blackberries at the grocery store and cooked them down with a little sugar. He then pureed them and ran it through a strainer to separate the seeds. This beautiful dark purple juice was then mixed with good tequila and just a squirt of lime juice. Ken served the cocktail over chipped ice with a lime wedge for garnish, and it was a lovely summer drink.
Try that method with other fresh or frozen fruits and see what you think! The fruit juice can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or even frozen, and if you don’t drink alcohol or aren’t in the mood, mix a little bit with some seltzer water for a refreshing change.