Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cheater Margarita Smoothies

DIY restaurant style fruit margaritas at home--simply blend your fruit with a prepared margarita mix and ice. And for the kids--blend limeade with fruit and ice for a nonalcoholic smoothie

Cheater Margarita Smoothies by Farm Fresh Feasts

Recipe testing for this post has been so. much. fun!  It's my first beverage post, and I started off with a bang, seeing as this is also an alcoholic beverage as well as two recipes in one post.  I'm not going to start any cocktail post trends--Friday pizza and Monday muffins are enough for me--though I do have a lovely winter chai apple blend to share when the weather warrants it, and perhaps a summer ice tea concoction . . . but first--the Cheater Margarita Smoothie. It's too easy and too tasty not to share, and if you've got any lingering fruit in your freezer this will make quick work of it, enabling me you to empty and defrost the freezer before the new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share season begins.

Cheater Margarita Smoothies by Farm Fresh Feasts

I was wondering why it is that I just don't mix cocktails at home, and I've come to the conclusion that it's because I have spent a good portion of my adulthood in states that don't sell hard liquor everywhere.  In Virginia, for example, you need to go to ABC stores (run by the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control) in order to purchase anything stronger than beer or wine.  [In Hawaii the ABC store is where you get sunscreen and a can of macadamia nuts before heading to the beach.]  Ditto living on a military base, but it's called a Class Six store.  [I have no idea what classes one through five are.]

Since I'm not used to having bottles of spirits around and mixing and measuring, I gravitate to the premixed bottle of margarita stuff.  I can't enter into a debate about the merits of this or that tequila because I just don't know enough about them.  I just know I like the frozen slushy fruit margaritas at restaurants.
During the winter I spent some time in Florida watching my son march with his high school marching band in Disney and sharing HashtagOrangeWeek here.  Our last night there, my daughter and I were too pooped to venture past the TGIFridays in the hotel lobby for our dinner.  Conveniently, it was Ladies Night, and when I ordered the strawberry margarita the server brought two!  Score! Finally I slept well in a hotel room!
Cheater Margarita Smoothies by Farm Fresh Feasts
with an Easy Cheesy Vegetable Enchilada bake
The recipe I'm sharing is terrific for a family Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Start by making a pitcher of limeade-based fruit smoothies for the kids, then make a pitcher of margarita-based fruit smoothies for the grown ups.  Everyone gets a fruity drink which makes them happy.

I've made this with blueberries, with blueberries and raspberries, with strawberries, with bananas, blueberries and raspberries, and with peaches.  [Told you recipe testing was fun.] So far my favorite is the mixed fruit with banana--the addition of banana adds a nice creaminess to the base much like it, or yogurt, can do for a standard smoothie.

Cheater Margarita Smoothies by Farm Fresh Feasts

One note--Kate over at Diethood asks the hard questions to find out what we all wanted to know:  how do you get the margarita salt to stick on the rim of the glass? The answer will surprise you.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar

Light tender muffins sweetened with wild violet syrup and sprinkled with wild violet sugar for a Spring floral treat

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar | Farm Fresh Feasts

About the only thing worth foraging in my yard these days are violets.
The garlic has woken up from it's deep winter slumber though it's no where near harvesting. The shallots, chard, peas and spinach planted recently haven't poked their heads up through the new layer of leaf mulch, and there's barely enough dandelion greens and chickweed for a composting guinea pig's Spring fantasies fancies.

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar | Farm Fresh Feasts
My spouse took this bug's view of a violet in our front yard yesterday.
Since I'm pretty much done playing with the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve and I'm sick of using the put up vegetables in the freezer and pantry, I wanted to forage with something fresh.
Wild violets it is.

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar | Farm Fresh Feasts

Did you ever wish you could take a Potions class?  Try making wild violet syrup--or jelly--instead.  The results are totally neat and taste much better than any Polyjuice potion.
Or so I'm led to believe, having only tasted Wild Violet Syrup and Wild Violet Jelly and Wild Violet Sugar but not any Polyjuice Potion.
When you add acidic lemon juice to an infusion of wild violet flowers, the resulting color change is dramatic.  Make sure you call everyone in the house into the kitchen so they don't miss it.  Here is a recipe for Wild Violet Syrup.

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar | Farm Fresh Feasts

And if wild violets are as abundant near you as they are near me, use some to make Wild Violet Sugar--this stuff is gorgeous, naturally purple and such fun to play with.  I got my recipe for Wild Violet Sugar here.

After you've had your fun playing with potions--what next?  We are not huge syrup fans, though maple is great, thanks--so I played around with the basic muffin recipe from Muffins: A Cookbook (Amazon affiliate link) swapping yogurt for milk, wild violet syrup and wild violet sugar for the sugar (and reducing that too), and boosting the fiber with some whole wheat flour. I dunked those little treats into butter and more wild violet sugar to finish them off--and then my kids finished them off.

Wild Violet Muffins with Wild Violet Sugar | Farm Fresh Feasts

Pretty tasty for a Potions class.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper and Hatch Chile Enchiladas

A rich vegetarian dish, these avocado, bell pepper, and caramelized onion enchiladas are spiced with roasted Hatch chiles and covered in plenty of cheese

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Hatch Chile Enchiladas | Farm Fresh Feasts

My New Years Resolution to add more avocados to my life continues.  [Ya think, since I've posted 2 avocado appetizers in the past month or so?] Since we like enchiladas I wondered about using avocado as the filling for a vegetarian dish.  Low fat or skinny this is not--it is rich!  Instead of a tomato-based enchilada sauce like I've used most recently in Confetti Turkey Enchiladas, or a tomatillo-based salsa verde, like in my Fish Taco Enchiladas, I made a spicy white sauce with Hatch chiles. 

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Hatch Chile Enchiladas | Farm Fresh Feasts
Simon and I walked down to fetch freshly roasted Hatch chiles last summer.
In this dish I used bell peppers from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share plus roasted Hatch chiles from my local grocery store.  Both of these peppers can be frozen when they are harvested and thawed for using in baked dishes like I've shown here.  It's another way I feed my family local foods all year long. The caramelized onions are also freezer-friendly flavor boosters. I use both Dorothy's Slow Cooker Method or Alanna's Flavorful Slow Cooker Onions.

This is an involved dish, with multiple steps, so I'll skip any further chitchat and get to the chopper recipe.

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Hatch Chile Enchiladas | Farm Fresh Feasts

Wait--one note--next week I'll share my recipe for the Cheater Margarita Smoothies shown in several of the photos. I rarely suggest wine pairings with my recipes, but I can say with confidence that a Cheater Margarita Smoothie--or two--goes well with these enchiladas.
Another note--if you want to boost the structure of these enchiladas, feel free to add 1 or 2 cups of cooked grains (rice, faro, quinoa, etc) to the vegetable filling. We ate ours with rice on the side.

For more enchilada ideas, vegetarian or with fish, chicken, or pork--hey, no beef, yet, huh--please enjoy my newest Clickable Collage of Recipe Suggestions below.  As always, Anyonita taught me this party trick via this tutorial.

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion and Hatch Chile Enchiladas | Farm Fresh Feasts
Click on the top 6 photos to be taken to the recipe, the bottom row are "coming soon"!
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