May 15, 2014

Tequila Fajitas & Margarisu

EJMARSUWhen I realized the Improv Challenge for May was going to be Lemon & Lime, I decided to celebrate them Cinco de Mayo style. Having fresh citrus from our trees out back makes summer so much more tasty!
First project was to make some gluten-free lemon Savoiardi biscuits (or Ladyfingers). Here’s where you can find my recipe for those.ejlfbake
Then I made a pound of mascarpone using fresh cream with a little lemon juice following this recipe from The Alchemist. (Oh! Yum! -- so easy & soooooo delicious!) ejmascarpone(please ignore the huge finger swipe in this picture… ummmmm… I have no idea how it got there…)
DSCN0562After the cheese chilled 24 hours, I blended in a half cup margarita mix to make it “spoonable” for layering in the trifle dish.
ejlimecurdI zested & juiced six little limes to make an incredible lime curd according to this recipe I prepared over a year ago. I did it all in a single sauce pan, using my stick blender to get the sugar/butter/eggs to the proper consistency.
I thought of flavoring the whipped cream with a touch of tequila, but decided since this was to be shared with three under-aged sons I should probably tone it down… Open-mouthed smile I simply whipped it with powdered sugar.

ejreadyFinally I was ready to assemble our Margarita-inspired Tiramisu so that it could be ready for the following night’s dessert.
ejsugarrimFirst I rimmed the trifle dish with a wedge of lime, then dipped it in orange sugar. ejladyfingerzI dipped each cookie into orange-infused tequila and placed them in the bowl.ejlayerzThese were topped with a goodly dollop of the margarita mascarpone. Next was a beautiful layer of lime curd, followed by the whipped cream. The layers were repeated two more times, then limes were thinly sliced for the garnish.ejmargsuI covered it with plastic wrap & sent it to the frig to chill.
With the meal’s finale taken care of, it was time to marinate the fajita meat. You can read how I did all that here.
Needed another recipe to use lemons; so we made guac with those instead of lime juice. (Funny side note: in all my “authentic guacamole recipe” research, everyone kept insisting that true south-of-the-border recipes used limes instead of lemons. Everyone else kept insisting that you had to use lemon juice to make it taste like Grandma’s. Well! Here’s your answer: ejyellowlimesI took this pic in the produce department of our favorite Hispanic market. Mystery solved!)
ejitasDinner was excellent -- but dessert was even better!ejdishedup

Would you like to see some more Lemon & Lime recipes? Check out these links from my friends:

Orange-Infused Tequila & Orange Sugar

When I first contemplated making a MARGARISU for May’s Improv Challenge, I knew I wanted the “orange-ish” part of this dessert margarita to be the liqueur the cookies get dipped into. I wished to mimic the traditional Italian limoncello drink; but since it would be the only alcoholic component in my dish, I decided to make the infusion with clear tequila.ejotequilaejotequila2ejotequila3
ejotequila1ejotequila4ejotequila6Assuming there would be quite a bit of sugar already in the dessert; I used stevia for sweetening the infusion. Not a good choice. A bit of sugar or honey would probably taste better.ejotequila5Here it’s aged 2 weeks. Exquisite orange flavor, but a little bitter, I think because of the stevia instead of sugar…ejotequila8
Since I had more orange zest than I wanted in the bottle, I decided my Margarisu glass should be rimmed with orange sugar.ejosugar1
ejosugar2ejosugar3My orange sugar usage has not stopped with this dessert! It tastes incredible! I’ve used it over fresh-sliced strawberries, in iced tea & sprinkled over honey on waffles. I’m looking for other areas to utilize it…

Tequila Lime Fajita Marinade

I guess I just can’t believe I’ve not marinated beef in tequila before! ¡Qué delicioso!ejteqrecWe took the steak and sliced it thinly -- not quite all the way through.ejteqsliceWhile it was still on the cutting board I rubbed the top with my dry ingredients.ejteqdryAfter we slid it into the sealable bag, we poured the liquids over top.ejteqwetIt rested in the frig for 8 hours; but I turned it a few times to make sure everything got good & soaky!

After the meat was on the grill, I added the sliced bell peppers & white onions to the remaining marinade. I poured it all into a large pan and roasted them @ 450° until they were just tender and some were browning.ejteqgrillWarm tortillas, fresh guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese, diced tomatoes & chopped romaine rounded out our meal.ejteqeat

gluten-free Lemon Savoiardi Biscuits (Ladyfingers)

ejgfladyfingersIn order to build my #GF Margarisu (Margarita Tiramisu) I needed to make gluten free ladyfingers. I researched a bunch of recipes, but decided to base my cookie on the traditional one found here. I was not disappointed! ejgflfI believe you could probably sub any gf flour. Next time I make this I will replace the rice flour with one that is a little less grainy. ejgffloursAlso, please note that it calls for potato starch, not potato flour! (Please don’t ask how I found out the difference… it was not pretty brick at all!)
ejlfbatterI’m not sure this recipe needs a “gum” added for binding gluten-free flours. At least not the quantity I used -- for the yolk/flour mixture was almost too stiff to fold the whites into.
ejgfbaked(The batch of cookies baked on the silicon mats had a much more beautiful bottom than the ones I pried off the parchment after cooling.)
ejgftextureI was quite pleased with the subtle lemon flavor & decent texture of these little pillows of tastiness. So happy there were a couple dozen left after making my Margarisu.

May 3, 2014

Patriotic Swag

I’m getting more comfortable designing pieces to cut with my Silhouette Portrait. However, when an expert designer offers a free cut file -- well, who am I to turn that down? Birds Cards is a wonderful site! So much good information & how-to-do-its for newbies like me…
So, I “borrowed” Bird’s box:Box1byBird-300x222I cut some stars:ejstarbox
I cut some stripes:ejstripebox
I added some velum:ejvellumbox
I added some battery tea lights:ejlitbox
I added a little ribbon:ejstrungbox
Oh my!
twinkle lanterns