Papaya Margarita

I have a horrible habit of buying tropical fruit when it’s on sale, which usually means it’s ripe to the point that it’s almost bad. Anyone else? When this happens, I usually try to eat it same day. If I can’t, I puree it and make some kind of fruit juice or… cocktails.

This papaya margarita combines a delicious papaya and lime puree with tequila, simple syrup, and bubbles on top. It’s everything you want on a summer Friday.

Give this cocktail a try and tell me it doesn’t transport you to an island. Don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

4oz papaya puree (see recipe below*)

2oz silver tequila

0.5oz simple syrup

4oz lime seltzer

Lime wheel, for garnish

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine papaya puree, tequila, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds, and strain into a glass.
  2. Top with the lime seltzer, lime wheel, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
  3. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

To Make the Papaya Puree*

  1. In a high-power blender, blend the flesh of ½ of a papaya, the juice of 1 lime, and ¼ cup water.
  2. Run through a fine mesh sieve and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Charred Sweet Potato Wedges with Roasted Corn and Goat Cheese Guacamole

The weather is hot and all I want to do is sip cocktails and eat appetizers at an outdoor restaurant setting, which for most people is starting to happen. However, with reopening also comes people flocking to restaurants and very long wait times to get a table.

When tragedy strikes with the restaurant waiting list, head home and whip up some of this delicious guacamole to satisfy your happy hour needs! It’s loaded with grilled corn and goat cheese, fresh lime juice, and cilantro and pairs so well with the smoky-sweet flavor of the sweet potato wedges. While I still love a traditional crunchy tortilla chip loaded with guac, the sweet potatoes are a unique flavor combo that I can’t get enough of.

The recipe provided directions for charring the sweet potatoes on the grill, but if you don’t have a grill you can easily do them in a hot cast iron skillet. You just want to make sure you consistently turn the wedges to avoid burning. We want char, but we don’t want ash.

When I tested this recipe, I served the guac with cilantro as a garnish because Jeff hates the stuff. However, if I wasn’t living with a cilantro-hating crazy person who eats 90% of the recipes I test, I would’ve loaded it up with chopped cilantro in the guac and also as a garnish, because I LOVE it. Do what makes you happy, though.

I hope you enjoy this different take on a classic appetizer, and happy weekend! Share your photos and thoughts by tagging me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes

1 ear “Best-Ever Grilled Corn”

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Juice of ½ lime, plus more for serving

Cilantro, for garnish

¼ tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for grilling

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch wedges and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Grill the sweet potatoes until charred and tender on the inside, approximately 5 minutes per side. If you notice they are burning too quickly before the inside cooks through, transfer them to the upper rack of the grill or lower the heat.
  4. Make the guacamole. Cut the kernels off of one ear of “Best-Ever Grilled Corn.” Add corn, avocados, lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl and mash to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the crumbled goat cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, and an extra sprinkle of flaky salt.
  5. Serve immediately to avoid browning of the avocado. Enjoy!

Carne Asada with Street Corn Salsa

This recipe for Carne Asada is so versatile, feeds a crowd, and is just downright delicious. I love to serve it stuffed inside tacos, over rice, or as a topping for nachos. The street corn salsa add a fresh, creamy component to the rich meat and the combo is truly awesome.

The beef starts with a simple marinade that is slightly non-traditional (as is everything else I do), and I’ve provided instructions for either a slow oven braise or a quick sear on the grill. The oven braise takes about 3 hours and give you tender, shreddable meat, while the grill version is smokier, charred, and sliceable. Either method is delicious, it just depends what you’re looking for!

I hope you experiment with this recipe to find which cooking method you like better. If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram! I love seeing what you guys are up to!

For the Carne Asada

Ingredients

3lb flank steak 

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lime

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp ground coriander 

½ tsp salt 

Optional garnish (see recipe instructions)

Instructions for Oven

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients except the steak in a large dutch oven with a lid (or deep roasting pan that can be covered with foil) and whisk together.
  3. Add steak and cover. Roast for 1 hour.
  4. Remove steak from the oven and give it a toss in the liquid. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and return to the oven for an additional 1.5-2 hours. The steak is done when it is falling apart and easily shreds without much force applied.
  5. Serve alongside tortillas, fresh lime wedges, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, and my Street Corn Salsa for a delicious taco dinner! Enjoy

Instructions for Grill

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic bag. Marinate steak for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat. Sear steak on one side for 5 minutes. Flip, and cook an additional 2 minutes for medium-rare. Cook longer for meat that is more well-done.
  3. Let steak rest for 15 minutes. After resting, thinly slice steak on a bias, against the grain.
  4. Serve alongside tortillas, fresh lime wedges, sliced jalapeño, cilantro, white onion, and my Street Corn Salsa for a delicious taco dinner! Enjoy!

For the Street Corn Salsa

Ingredients

1 ½ cups corn, off the cob

⅛ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ tsp chipotle chili powder

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

¼-½ cup sour cream, depending on desired consistency

Juice of ½ lime

1/4 cup cotija or queso fresco

Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. For a thicker consistency, use closer to 1/2 cup sour cream. Fold ingredients to combine and taste for salt. Serve and enjoy!