Monthly Archives: September 2010

Jalapeño-Infused Tequila

I know, enough about the margaritas. I had planned on keeping this latest discovery to myself but, after recreating it at home, I simply have to share.

We went to Cafe Frida recently on the Upper West Side.  They have a jalapeño margarita on the menu that is so good I had to have two of them. We asked our server how to make them at home and he was kind enough to tell us.  The drink is made from jalapeño-infused tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice and an orange flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or triple sec.

The infusing of the tequila is the tricky part.  Not knowing exactly how all of this would turn out, I decided to make a small batch to start.  I used 8 ounces of silver tequila, and one and a half fresh jalapeños, unseeded, sliced width-wise into 1/4 inch disks.  I added the jalapeños to the tequila and let it rest for 36 hours.

WOW.  The mixture was entirely too spicy and our first margarita was undrinkable.  I recommend a couple of potential fixes here.  Either use less jalapeño, seed them, or let the mixture rest for a shorter period of time. Also, since you never know how spicy each individual jalapeño is going to be, I suggest tasting the tequila after 24 hours.

Once your infusion is where you want it to be flavor-wise, strain the tequila and discard the jalapeños or, better yet, use them to garnish your margaritas or cook with them.

From here on out it is basic margarita making –  2 oz of infused tequila, 1 oz of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1 oz of Grand Marnier, shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker.  Instead of the usual salted rim for the cocktail glass, mix some chili powder with the salt.  Cheers!



Filed under Alcoholic, Beverages

Peach and Blueberry Sour Cream Cobbler

M wanted a cobbler the other day so I made this one for him. If there’s anything he likes more than cookies, it’s blueberries and he eats them all summer long.

It starts when they are first available and we buy them even when they are still a bit too expensive.  The price drops as the months go by and as the price drops, it has the opposite effect on his consumption.

Sadly, it ends as it began. Scarcity sets in, prices rise, and then the blueberries disappear until next year.

The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.  “Right food, right place, right time” is his belief.  The book is written in diary form and chronicles a year in the kitchen creating seasonal dishes from local and readily available ingredients.

This recipe is actually from July 15,  but it can be made any time you are lucky enough to find fresh peaches and, of course, blueberries.   Here is the recipe…


Filed under Desserts

A Very Full (Vegetable) Tart

Gail came to town.  Perfect excuse for M and her to head on over to Kitchen Arts and Letters, where he never leaves empty-handed.  According to its website, it is the largest store of its type in the U.S. and possibly the world, with over 13,000 cookbook titles — domestic, imported, contemporary and out of print. M is like a kid in a candy store when he visits.

This time he came home with the most incredible vegetarian cookbook, Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.  The book is a collection of beautifully photographed vegetarian recipes, many of which appeared in different forms in The Guardian’s ‘New Vegetarian’ column in its weekend magazine.

Not readily available in the United States, M simply had to have it.  And who cares if we don’t know how many grams there are in a cup?  That’s what the internet is for, right?

The first thing that we made from this book was a wonderful vegetable tart, aptly named “A Very Full Tart.”  It is described as a fantastic Mediterranean feast, full to the brim with roasted vegetables.

And what a feast it is.  Fresh farm market vegetables combine with a creamy ricotta and feta spiked sauce and a flaky pastry crust to create a delicious savory dish that makes an excellent side to a piece of grilled fish.  The tart could also be (and was) served with a light salad and called dinner.
Here is the recipe…


Filed under Pies and Tarts, Savory


Tomatoes make me happy.  And not the mealy winter tomato flown in from who knows where.  I’m referring to the late summer farm market tomato.  We buy them every week while we can and enjoy them until they are no more.  They are one of the few things I miss about summer.

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup from the southern region of Andalusia.  I was first introduced to it by a friend’s mother back in Texas.  Cold soupy vegetables?  No thanks.  Now I can’t get enough of this liquid vegetable deliciousness. The best gazpacho I ever had was in Seville, on a hot early summer afternoon, in a bar, with a cold beer.  It came to the table with a big fat ice cube in the middle of it.

I have been making this summer delight for so long and have experimented with many versions.  Sometimes I add bread, often times I omit oil, maybe add a bit of garlic.  I have made it with tomatillos.  I once made a version with peaches and tomatoes.  I have used watermelon and no tomatoes.  Some of the time I purée it all the way.  Occasionally I leave it chunky.  Every now and then I purée it and reserve a few vegetable chunks to add in at the last minute.  And on and on.

But my favorite recipe is a simple one –  tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and onions and I have included it here.   It is not exact in any way so feel free to add and subtract as I have done over the years. Enjoy and hurry before all the (good) tomatoes are gone. Here is the recipe…


Filed under Soups