Spring is tomorrow. You know, spring. Sun. Flowers. Warmth. Scents.
I’m looking out my window now at the pre-spring landscape. Not a lot a green leaves yet. There is, actually, eight inches of snow. I can’t drive anywhere. The roads are ice. And I’m listening to an NPR program on global warming.
I would open my window and scream, “I’m mad as hell,” but it’s cold out there and I don’t want to disturb the deer. There are six of them ten feet in front of the house, standing in the snow and eating the last remnants from Suzen’s herb garden. They are lucky Suzen is not here to see this because I can assure you that when it comes to deer-eating-her-plants, Suzen is not a pacifist.
What am I to do? Fortunately, I have strawberries. It may not be spring here, but it is somewhere. This strawberry margarita is not just good but really, really wonderful. This weekend Suzen was careful to pick strawberries that were ripe and naturally sweet. Not over the hill, not meekly red. Strawberries just perfectly ready for our Vitamix.
For this beverage I used “Silver” tequila. Silver means new. It’s a waste to use more aged tequila here because that richer flavor will actually compete with the strawberries.
Brian’s Strawberry Margarita
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 2 ounces Silver tequila
- 1 ounce Mandarin Napoleon Liqueur [for orange flavor]
- 2 ounces freshly squeeze lemon juice [not lime!]
- 2 ounces simple syrup
- 8 stemmed strawberries, fresh is better but thawed is okay
- 1-2 cups of ice cubes
Put the ingredients in your blender, liquid first and the berries last — particularly if they are still frozen. You want your blender blades able to start up unimpeded.
Process until smooth. Add the ice cubes to your taste. More ice is colder but diluted.
Garnish, if you wish, with a floating strawberry. And, you can rim that glass with sugar or salt.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Attempting to make a prickly pear margarita, in the past weeks I began by trying to make my own prickly pear syrup. That first syrup attempt was a disaster.
Now, I am very happy to report dual success. I have a great prickly pear margarita recipe, using prickly pear syrup, and just the recipe to make that syrup.
You’ve seen Emeril Lagasse on TV and may have formed some opinion, pro or con. Take all those TV images and put them aside. Emeril is a wonderful man, so loyal to his employees and quite devoted to creating the best food possible.
This is his prickly pear margarita recipe. Now, I often play with a recipe and very often a cocktail will taste good, but not exceptional. This margarita is perfect. I would not change an atom in it and you will love it. It reflects great care in testing and balancing all the flavors to achieve a beverage that just rocks. It’s perfect.
It does use prickly pear syrup and the recipe for that follows below.
Prickly Pear Margarita
Yield: 1 drink
- 3 ounces tequila blanco [not gold because that will color clash!]
- ½ ounce Cointreau or other good orange liqueur
- 1 ½ ounces lime juice
- 2 ounces prickly pear syrup
- Kosher salt or Turbinado sugar for garnishing the glass
- Lime slices or kumquats for garnish if desired
Combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and pear syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously to incorporate. Wet the rim of a margarita glass and dip into salt, sugar, or a mixture of both. Pour the margarita into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a kumquat and curled piece of lime peel.
Source: Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network
Prickly Pear Syrup
Yield: 1 quart
- 8 prickly pears
- 2 cups of sugar
Skin the prickly pears and cut each one into 4-6 chunks. Put into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid through a sieve to remove seeds and any fiber.
If at all possible, use a Vitamix for this step. You’ll get significantly more liquid — 3 prickly pears will give you the same amount of juice as 4 using a conventional blender.
Measure the amount of juice. You should have about 2 cups. Place the juice into a saucepan. Use medium heat to bring the juice to a simmer. Add the same volume of sugar, about 2 cups, as you had juice. Stir constantly to incorporate the sugar. Let simmer for 2 minutes more. Turn off the heat and allow to sit in the pan for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
Source: Brian O’Rourke inspired by multiple web sites