Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese

Hello, summer. With your abundance of tangy green tomatoes, your abundance of soul-melting heat, and your abundance of why-waste-my-time-flat-ironing-my-hair-when-it’s-just-going-to-look-like-crap-in-11-seconds-anyway humidity.

I can only help you with one of those things. The other two can typically be fixed by drinking any one of these.

Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese

This summery mac & cheese is spiked with minced chipotles in adobo and layered in a baking dish – and then topped – with thinly-sliced green tomatoes. The tangy tomatoes help cut the richness of the cheesy dish while the chipotles give you just enough heat to justify cooling off with that Fudge Bomb for dessert.

You know, if you’re still looking for an excuse.

Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese

Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese

A summery mac & cheese topped with tangy green tomatoes and spiked with spicy, smokey chipotle peppers.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb macaroni pasta
  • Salt
  • 16 oz grated cheese (I used half sharp cheddar, half colby jack)
  • 6 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • Pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp deli-style mustard (I use Creole)
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobo (2 Tbsp for a spicier mac)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (2 slices of bread sent through a mini processor works perfectly)
  • 3 large green tomatoes, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Bring salted water to boil and cook pasta for half the time suggested on the package.
  4. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.
  5. Leave the pasta draining in the sink and return the empty pasta pot to the cooktop over medium heat.
  6. Melt 4 Tbsp butter and whisk in 3 Tbsp flour.
  7. Let cook ~3 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  8. Add the garlic and whisk, cooking 1 minute more.
  9. Add the mustard, chipotles, and then slowly stream in the milk while whisking.
  10. Add a generous pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, and let the sauce cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture beings to bubble.
  11. Add the cheese and stir until it is completely melted.
  12. Turn off the heat and add the pasta back to the pot, stirring until evenly coated.
  13. Transfer half of the pasta to the baking dish and then layer half of the green tomatoes on top.
  14. Top with the remaining pasta and the remaining green tomato slices.
  15. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and stir into the bread crumbs.
  16. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the dish.
  17. Bake for ~30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have crisped to a golden brown and the pasta is bubbling.

Notes

Yields: 8-12 servings

Adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Grilled Pineapple Margarita Grilled pineapple is currently my very, very favorite thing on the planet. ‘Cause Lord knows, the soccer-hockey-basketball trifecta of worthless sports sure as hell isn’t. HOW IS IT NOT FOOTBALL SEASON YET?!

{I would just like to note that since posting this, I have now watched more soccer than in my seven previous lifetimes combined. And, well, I am a fan. BUT MY ORIGINAL JUDGY DISDAIN FOR BASKETBALL AND HOCKEY REMAINS.}

So I obsessively pour over NFL OTA reports from bloggers who think they know more about football than I think I know about good margaritas. And I obsessively try to work grilled pineapple into anything and everything. Like margaritas.

A tart, fresh lime margarita really doesn’t need anything to make it better, but there’s nothing stopping you from blending it with a leftover slice of grilled, caramelized pineapple.

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Fruity, summery, and with just the slightly hint of char and smoke from the grill. You could do a lot worse in your search for a signature summer cocktail. But you can’t do much better.

Unless you’re a cilantro fiend like me. And then you’ll probably adore the next margarita even more.

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Grilled Pineapple Margarita

A tart, fresh lime margarita blended with grilled, caramelized pineapple.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz silver tequila
  • 12 oz homemade margarita mix
  • 3 oz orange liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp juices from grilled pineapple*
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of grilled fresh pineapple, plus more for garnish*
  • Crushed ice
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • * The pineapple should be grilled and chilled so plan ahead. If you aren't using a slice of leftover, already-chilled pineapple, give yourself an extra hour in prep time.

Instructions

  1. To grill a pineapple, remove the husk, slice into ~1-inch thick rings, and place on a preheated grill.
  2. Cook ~4-5 minutes each side until nicely caramelized.
  3. Transfer the pineapple (and all accumulated juices) to a bowl and place in the fridge until cold.
  4. Add the tequila, margarita mix, liqueur, the pineapple juice from the bowl, and a slice of grilled pineapple to a blender.
  5. Blend on high for ~1 minutes until smooth.
  6. (You can strain here if light pulp bothers you - I did not.)
  7. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with small chunks of grilled pineapple, if desired.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes

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Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Did I ever tell you about that time I was picking a half-million serrano peppers a few summers ago and I’d spied a reddish-brown “pepper” (airquote spoiler!) that had fallen off the bush, got caught on the vertical support net, and was hanging there… “drying.” I pulled it off the net but before I could toss it over in the general direction of the compost bin, it wiggled in my hand .

I then proceeded to totally and completely and entirely lose my shit. (And then I hurled over the brick fence and it probably landed in the street thereby ending the circle of life.)

The “pepper” wasn’t a pepper at all. It was a cocoon… or maybe a chrysalis. For what Google Images told me might have been a hawk moth. Or not.

[shudder]

While moths [gag] and wiggly “peppers” [triple gag] freak me the heck out, I have no problems surgically removing and destroying vine borers or walking with Landry through the Cockrell Butterfly Center at HMNS.

On the contrary, she and I always wear red in hopes that one will land on our shoulders. And when that doesn’t work, we accept the consolation prize of watching them mate on the sidewalk for an aaaaawwwwkwardly long time.

Monarch Butterflies Mating (giggle)

I headed to the garden this morning to pull a fennel bulb for some fennel salsa verde and found 6 monarch black swallowtail (I think) butterfly caterpillars happily munching on the fennel fronds. The seedlings I started this spring to attract monarchs didn’t survive transplanting but it looks like someone else still managed to find a home.

Besides the &^%$#@! vine borers.

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Spicy Jalapeño and Watermelon Margarita Recipe

“All good drinks burn on their way down, right?” –Me. Between coughs and gasps for air.

I still remember the very first time I made a spicy margarita. I dropped some sliced, fresh jalapeños in tequila. And then I walked away. For like a week.

The peppers were insanely spicy. The tequila was… What’s a good word for “insanely &^%$#@! hot?” That.

But you only make an undrinkable margarita once. (Twice, if you count my failed Hatch Chile Margarita experiment.) ([shudder]) ([gag])

Spicy Jalapeño and Watermelon Margarita Recipe

For these spicy watermelon margaritas, ice cold watermelon cubes are blended and strained for the juice, mixed with homemade margarita mix, spiked with some homemade jalapeño tequila, and served over crushed ice in a salt-rimmed glass. Because everyone knows that salt and watermelon go together like… chocolate and peanut butter. Rachel and Ross. Peyton and Omaha.

Tequila and lime.

Spicy Jalapeño and Watermelon Margarita Recipe

It’s hot, cold, refreshing, and spicy. But don’t forget. When it comes to making Jalapeño Tequila, less is more. (Less soaking time, that is. More tequila is always better. And the answer to most of life’s problems.)

Jalapeño and Watermelon Margaritas

Fresh watermelon is blended with a homemade jalapeño tequila for a spicy and refreshing margarita.

Ingredients

  • For the jalapeño tequila:
  • 6 oz silver tequila
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, sliced
  • For the margarita:
  • 1 cup homemade margarita mix
  • 2 generous cups chilled watermelon cubes (seeds removed if not seedless)
  • 4 oz orange liqueur (or orange juice)
  • 6 oz jalapeño tequila
  • Salt, for rimming

Instructions

  1. Place the tequila and jalapeño slices in a jar and let sit in the fridge for at least one hour but no longer than overnight (you have been warned!)
  2. Place the watermelon cubes in a blender and process for ~1 minute until smooth.
  3. Pour through a strainer and discard the solids - you should have 1 cup of juice.
  4. In a small pitcher, mix the watermelon juice with the homemade margarita mix and orange liqueur.
  5. Add the tequila and reserve the jalapeño slices, stirring to mix well.
  6. Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice and serve, garnishing each margarita with a tequila-soaked slice of jalapeño.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Adapted from Tide & Thyme

Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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