From the Kitchen of barb0812

Friday Night Margaritas

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margaritas on friday nights with recipe

So, Friday nights in my house are also known as “Margarita Fridays.” And I am not talking about Cuervo and some Margaritaville mix in a blender with ice: this is the real deal! The Margarita does not get better than this recipe, and I say this with all of my 50% Latina expertise!

How did this all come about, you ask? Well, I got this great book on Margarita recipes years ago and had to try one on a Friday after a long week of work. Then we discovered we had a key lime (Mexican lime) tree in the orchard, which made for one heck of a good recipe. Yup, I was hooked! I was also a novice, so initially my Margaritas were, let’s just say, a bit on the strong side. My Margaritas got a reputation among co-workers and beyond, and the motto became “What doesn’t knock you on your butt makes you stronger for round 2.”

This recipe has since been toned down, but can be easily modified to suit your taste. We have made these with regular limes, and although they don’t quite have that key lime sweet/tart taste, they are excellent nonetheless. BTW, go shaken, folks; there is just no other way to do it!

Items  you will need:
  • 1 glass
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 metal shaker
  • 1-2 ounces of a good tequila (we like Cazadores)
  • 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice (key limes or whatever is available to you)
  • 1 ounce of Tuaca
  • 1 ½ ounces of Triple Sec
  • 1 splash of Grand Marnier
  • Garnish and small plate with a bit of salt

In your shaker, add the ingredients as listed above in order minus the Grand Marnier.  Add ½ your ice cubes and shake for 10 sec.  Dip the rim of your glass in some lime juice and then in your plate of salt.  Add remainder of ice and shaker contents to your glass.  Add a splash of Grand Marnier, garnish and enjoy!

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

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From the Kitchen of barb0812

Through the Pyrex Glass

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Looking through a pyrex baking dish as a symbolic gesture

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Julia Child

I was never much of a cook. I am probably not much better even years later, but I have learned to practice this craft and appreciate the result of my efforts.

Ok, I do enjoy eating.

My taste buds have evolved over the years from my days of microwave dependency. Eating out of a box, can, or anything I could throw on a tortilla and nuke for 30 seconds eventually lost its appeal, but my interest in cooking was still pretty limited. I didn’t find any inspiration in the kitchen—especially since it was just cooking for one.

I never thought I needed to learn to cook for myself. It was just something I imagined doing out of necessity—because I would have a family to feed. I also grew up with the image of cooking being a “chore,” because I had a mother who didn’t much care to be in the kitchen.

I eventually began a relationship with someone who was a natural in front of the stove. Home-cooked meals with fresh whole foods became a regular ritual rather than a holiday event. I actually began to see the enjoyment in planning and preparing a meal.

Once I discovered I could actually make more than just mashed potatoes for the family Thanksgiving dinner, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Cooking took on a whole new meaning for me, and the more dishes I sampled, the more I wanted to dive in and experiment myself. It was both frustrating and satisfying for me. I made a lot of mistakes but still I plowed through. What could I try next? What could I “reinvent,” and so on. This became my inspiration, and I learned that the dishes I prepared reflected my own creativity.

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”― Craig Claiborne

Cooking is trial and error but it’s also about practice and timing. It’s stepping out of your comfort zone at times and being willing to try something new and different even at the price of an overcooked meal or forgotten ingredient. I enjoy the challenges and appreciate the times when it feels easy and relaxing.

I will always be a student in the kitchen, but I don’t feel as awkward as I used to. There are still many recipes that feel too daunting to attempt. I confess that I still nervously walk past the spring load pans at Bed Bath and Beyond, but when I muster enough courage, I will add one to my kitchen and attempt that cheesecake!

No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” ― Laurie Colwin

How do you find your inspiration in the kitchen?

 

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts

From the Kitchen of barb0812

So, You’re Not Betty Crocker

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A humorous look at learning to cookIf there is anyone I know who can flub up a good recipe, it’s me.

I am notorious for taking the easiest of recipes and turning them into science projects. The good news is that with a bit of practice, I eventually get my recipe to mostly resemble the beautiful photo of the finished dish.

If it sounds like I am bit too hard on myself, rest assured that I have long ago realized my limitations in the kitchen as well as other .   As a kid back in the 5th grade once said to me, after I had been the subject of debate between two dodge ball team captains forced to decide my fate, “Someone has to be the last chosen.”

This very idea is something my good friend and I discussed as she was always last chosen for sport games in school as well. We could recruit others and form our own team “last chosen” A Bad News Bears of sorts. We might not be very good, but with practice and motivation from each other, who knows?

This is really the attitude I take when it comes to cooking. Learning to cook or bake is a skill in which practice knows no bounds for me. There is much terminology and technique that I was unfamiliar with when I began experimenting with cookbook recipes. For example, certain ingredients need to be combined in a particular manner, and why the necessity of checking expiration dates matters.

I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way that I hope some will find helpful!

1. Before you begin a new recipe, read through it all first. If you are unsure of a particular technique used in the recipe, go to You Tube, and chances are someone has a video of it.

2. If you pull a recipe off of a cooking site that has been reviewed, read the reviews. You will find that more experienced cooks offer their opinions on different ways to modify the recipe. Sometimes this is helpful, particularly if you lack a specific ingredient or want to lessen your quantity or calorie count.

3. For recipes that require a lot of prepped ingredients such as chopped onion, peppers, carrots, etc., prepare and measure all these items ahead of time. Not only will it help you not forget to add something, it will allow you to keep from getting too far behind in your recipe steps. Anytime I am preparing something with many ingredients or I am new to the recipe, I always prep and measure as much as I can ahead of time.

4. Just because a recipe calls itself a 30-minute recipe, does not mean it actually is one. Unless this is a dish you have prepared many times, double the time it claims, especially if your dish is time-sensitive.

5. No, it’s not always your fault when a dish fails to resemble the picture. Unless a recipe claims to be “kitchen tested,” measured ingredient amounts can be incorrect or vary according to the quality of the ingredients being used.

6. Don’t fudge the steps. Unless you are familiar with other ways to prepare a particular recipe, follow the steps accordingly. They do make a difference! More than once, I have tried to shortcut steps only to find it drastically changed my dish.

7. Parchment paper will be your best friend. Always keep some handy!

8. If you don’t own a Kitchenaid mixer, consider the investment. It will save you loads of time and has as many uses as Duct tape!

9. Items that contribute to the leavening (rising) of your recipe such as yeast and baking soda do have expiration dates. Check these before beginning any baking if they have been sitting around in your kitchen a while.

10. Most, but not all, recipes can be cut in half by simply cutting measurements for all ingredients in half. Some recipes that require precision for baking can be halved by cutting ingredients according to their weight. Measuring by weight is more accurate than measuring by volume. For example, one cup of flour weighs approximately 4.25 ounces. To cut the recipe in half, you should weigh out 2.12 ounces of flour.

Keep a good attitude and your kitchen mellow. I like to listen to talk radio, so I often put this on when I am cooking. If I am baking, I turn on a TV in the kitchen, and put on something I don’t have to concentrate on too much. Be prepared to make some great dishes and some that might need a bit more practice but, above all, enjoy it! It’s the journey, right?

Posted By: barb0812

My dogs consider me the "greatest chef of all time"...I am lover of all foods vegetarian and advocate for growing your own veggies--no matter the size! I am one of the Co-founders of Hey Good Cookin' and a believer in cooking for yourself because everyone deserves it!

See barb0812's Latest Posts