Wow – can you believe it? It’s the last day of July. Oh my, summer is nearly over. Typically by now we’ve had our annual vacation. This year, we’ve postponed travel to the final days of summer. More on that later – road trip through five states and some much needed time spent with extended family.
Today is National Avocado Day. With the exception of guacamole, my guys are not fans of avocados. I love them. Avocado Omelettes, Avocado Burgers, Avocado everything. Just the thought of avocados appeals to me. As I type this introduction, I realize we have an avocado and bacon in the fridge. Might just need to take a break from writing for an Avocado Bacon Sandwich. After all, it’s nearly noon lunch time!
Okay, that quick sandwich hit the spot. Where were we? Oh yes, National Avocado Day. I remember my first excited share for Avocado Day – it was amazingly over the top. Can you imagine a 4-course feast featuring avocados? Yep, in the appetizers, the salad, the main course and even the dessert. My Avocado Everything menu was crazy. The following year, things were far more reserved – just one dish – a California Burger.
This time around we are being practical. Mexican Avocado. That’s the makings for Guacamole. And what else? Tacos! I’m sure you’ve probably had a crunchy corn taco shell wrapped inside a soft, warm flour tortilla. These tacos are along the same line, only both the inside shell and the outer wrap are corn. Wow – what an amazing celebration of tastes and textures. Sort of like a taco with nacho chips inside. The avocado was perfect to bring a little cool to the otherwise very spicy filling. And then there were the raw jalapeno slices to really kick things up.
Speaking of peppers – every year we grown peppers in our garden. With Tomatillos, tomatoes and a collection of peppers, we put up all sorts of things in the summer Salsas to Verde Sauces. Jalapenos and Habaneros are always part of the landscape, along with Fresno and Serrano Peppers. This year we changed things up a bit. The Jalapenos are purple. They look more like little eggplants.
The Habaneros are chocolate. And we’ve added a new pepper from Spain – Padrón Peppers. These peppers are suppose to be mild, but their heat increases as the peppers mature from green to red. However; when given the right amount of sunlight and water, these peppers have been known to become quite spicy. Thus far, we have yet to grow peppers that run on the mild side, and our Padrón Peppers are no exception. Ours, while still green, are as hot if not hotter than any Habanero.
So yeah, with all this heat having guacamole as part of the taco was so welcome. And what is guacamole beside smashed avocados? So happy Avocado Day everyone.
Duel Wrapped Tacos
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 lb Chorizo
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 (16 oz) can Refried Beans
1/2 cup Water
2 tablespoons Taco Sauce
2 cups shredded Iceberg Lettuce
2 firm Roma Tomatoes
3 or 4 whole Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 cup Guacamole
8 oz shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Place the ground beef and chorizo in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Cook and stir the ground meats, breaking it up as it cooks, until the beef is browned and crumbly, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the excess grease. Keep warm until ready to assemble
Mash the refried beans with the water and taco sauce in a small saucepan. Heat the refried beans over low heat until simmering.
Meanwhile, shred lettuce, chop tomato and slice jalapeno peppers. Set aside.
10 Wide Fill Crisp Taco Shells
10 (7-inch) White Corn Tortillas
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place the hard taco shells on a baking sheet, and warm in the heated oven for 3 to 5 minutes.
While the oven heats and the hard shells warm, heat a flat griddle pan over medium heat. Lightly spray both sides of the soft corn tortillas with cooking spray and gently warm tortillas on the griddle. Stack soft tortillas on a plate until ready to assemble.
Assemble and Serve
To build the tacos, spread each soft shell tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of heated refried beans. Wrap the tortilla gently around a crisp tortilla shell. Spread guacamole inside the crisp shell. Fill with about 2 tablespoons of ground beef Top with cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes and jalapenos.
Farmhouse Mexican Rice
2 firm Roma Tomatoes
2 whole Jalapeno Peppers
2 cups Water
1 box Farmers Mexican Rice
Salt to taste
Chop tomatoes, set aside. Stem peppers, dice and set aside.
Fill saucepan with water. Add seasoning mix from rice, whisk to blend. Add rice, salt, tomatoes and peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Fluff and serve.
Finally, today is also National Raspberry Cake Day. Since we’ve just enjoyed an awesomely spicy Mexican Supper, a Raspberry Margarita Cake seemed the perfect finish, don’t you think? To create this cake with a little zip, all I did was to replace some of the water with a little tequila – just not too much. Although I’m not sure there is such a thing as too much Tequila!
Raspberry Margarita Cake
3/4 cup very hot Water
1/4 cup Tequila
1 box (4-serving size) Raspberry-flavored Gelatin
1 box White Cake Mix
1/2 cup frozen (thawed) Lemon-Lime Concentrate
1/4 cup Water
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
4 egg Whites
1 tub Whipped Vanilla Frosting
1 cup Whipped Topping, thawed
1-1/2 cups fresh Raspberries, garnish
Lemon Peel Strips, garnish
Lime Zest, garnish
Heat oven to 350-degrees. Spray bottom only of 13-inch by 9-inch baking pan with floured baking spray.
In small bowl, mix hot water, tequila and gelatin until gelatin is completely dissolved; cool slightly.
In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/4 cup of the gelatin mixture, 1/4 cup of the lemon-lime concentrate. Add 1/4 cup water, oil and egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Reserve remaining gelatin mixture and lemon-lime concentrate for the finished cake.
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove cake from oven, let cool slightly. While the cake is still warm, poke cake every inch with fork tines. Set cake aside.
Place 1 tablespoon of the reserved gelatin mixture to microwavable custard cup or small bowl, set aside for later. In another small bowl, mix remaining gelatin mixture with remaining 1/4 cup lemon-lime concentrate. Pour mixture slowly over cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
In medium bowl, fold together tub of vanilla frosting with the whipped topping. Frost the top of the cake with the frosting mixture.
Microwave the reserved tablespoon of gelatin mixture uncovered on High 10 seconds to liquefy. Using 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, sprinkle small drops of gelatin mixture over frosted cake. With a small spoon or toothpick, swirl gelatin into frosting to create an attractive marbling effect.. Slice into serving squares. Garnish each piece with raspberries, lemon peel strips and a little lime zest.