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Savoring the Southwest

May 11, 2009

I’m back from vacation, and ready to start cooking again.  I’ll be trying out some recipes inspired by my trip to the Southwest….so check back in often!

For tonight, we’re going tasty but simple with a grilled menu– mesquite grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, grill-baked potatoes.  None of these dishes requires a recipe, but I’ll give you a couple of technical tips here. And be sure to make extra chicken and asparagus — they’re key ingredients in a recipe I’ll be posting later this week. I’m really excited about that one.

Mesquite Grilled Chicken — Soak a handful of mesquite chips in water for at least 30 minutes; longer is better. If you don’t have a smoker box, use a foil pie plate with holes punched in it. Fill it with the soaked mesquite chips, and sit right on the heating element (or coals, if you’re old school). Keep the lid on the grill down except when it’s time to turn the chicken. The mesquite adds so much flavor, all you need is some salt & pepper on the chicken. You could slather some BBQ sauce on the chicken, if you really need a sauce…in fact, I’ll be posting a Guava Bourbon BBQ sauce recipe in a couple of days.

Grilled Asparagus — Trim the ends, coat with olive oil, s&p, and grill just until they start to turn tender. A veggie grilling tray will keep the asparagi from falling through the grates.

Grill Baked Potatoes — Nuke the potatoes first, long enough for them to have some give. Then throw the potatoes on the grill grate, turning often. The skins will get crispy and delicious.

Now, wash it all down with a Prickly Pear Margarita, and pretend you’re dining on a patio in the desert.

Prickly Pear Margarita

(recipe from Cheri’s Desert Harvest)

4 oz. good tequila

2 oz triple sec  (I prefer Cointreau)

4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice (don’t use that sweetened, bottled stuff)

1 oz. orange juice

2 oz. prickly pear syrup (that Cheri’s site sells it)

Throw all that stuff in a shaker filled with ice. Shake it like a Polaroid picture, until the shaker starts to get cold. Pour into margarita glasses or over ice in rocks glasses. Serve with a wedge of lime.

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