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Archive for June 20, 2017

TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Ingredients For Summer Tacos

Summer Chicken Tacos

Fish Mango Tacos

Chicken tacos with radish and avocado. Here’s the recipe from Heather Christo. [2] Fish tacos with mango. Here’s the recipe from How Sweet It Is.

 

The 2017 summer solstice falls on Wednesday, June 21st at 12:24 A.M. If you’re having a midnight dinner tonight, you can officially have summer tacos.

What are summer tacos? Tacos with lighter ingredients: chicken, fish and vegetarian instead of beef; summer vegetables used as garnish or in vegetarian tacos.

Bonus: These ingredients are more bountiful in the summer; hence, better priced.

Here are 12 ingredients to add to your tacos:

1. Basil. While it’s available year-round, fresh basil in a Caprese salad is the aroma of summer. Add some shredded basil to the taco or mix chopped basil into salsa. If you’re near a farmers market, pick up different varieties: lemon basil, opal (purple) basil, etc.

2. Beans. Add beans and/or grilled tofu to a vegetarian taco. Use black beans, or think outside the conventional box of beans.

3. Chives. For a subtle onion flavor, consider some chopped chives. We often add chopped red onion; but in the hot weather, chives are a lighter alternative.

4. Corn. Use fresh corn kernels as a topping. You don’t need to cook them. Or, make corn salsa.

5. Eggplant. While not the most obvious addition to a taco, it makes a delicious vegetarian taco and also pairs well with chicken and fish. Grill it and add it. For a vegetarian taco, combine it with summer squash and beans.

6. Fish. Most Tex-Mex restaurants use frozen tilapia, a lower-cost fish (better restos use mahi-mahi). After you fry it and add the garnishes, who notices? We notice! During the summer, better fish are available in larger quantities; thus the price goes down. Treat yourself to black sea bass or striped bass, grouper, hake, mahi-mahi or red snapper (if you like strong fish flavors, we recommend bluefish, usually a bargain). Enjoy the fresh fish flavor with grilled—not battered and fried—fish.

7. Jalapeños. Pickle your own: Slice them and add to a jar with brining liquid to cover (one part white vinegar, one part water and a big pinch each of salt and sugar). Add garlic or other spices or aromatics (e.g. diced onion). Then cap the jar, shake to blend, and keep in the fridge.

8. Mango and pineapple. Dice and use them as a sweet contrast. We like mango as is, and the pineapple grilled.

 
9. Radishes. This spicy veg adds crunch to the taco. Check farmers markets for heirloom varieties.

10. Summer squash. Zucchini and yellow squash, also available year-round, are at their best in the summer. Chop them raw, add grilled zucchini to chicken and fish tacos, make squash salsa.

11. Tomatillos. These green orbs—not related to tomatoes—are the base of salsa verde. You can add them raw, sliced, to the taco, or make your own salsa verde. Simply husk the tomatillos, give them a light char on the grill or under the broiler, and toss them into a food processor with cilantro, sliced jalapeños, salt and lime juice.

12. Tomatoes. They’re at their best and least expensive in summer. Treat yourself to heirloom tomatoes. Diced or sliced, they make a big difference over the bland plum tomatoes used year-round.
 
 
These ingredients will make better Taco Tuesdays, for sure!

Tonight we’re having black bean, grilled zucchini and corn tacos. How about you?

 
  

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PRODUCT: Grow Your Own Tea

If you live in hardiness zones 8-10—the southern United States—and have a spot with full sun, you can grow your own tea with plants from Burpee.

One individual commenting on the Burpee website had success in Zone 6.

Here’s the USDA map of hardiness zones.

Tea, Camellia sinensis, is a perennial plant. The same plant yields black, green and white tea. The difference is in the processing; basically, how much heat is applied to dry the leaves.

At $16.95 per plant, it’s a fun opportunity to grow what you drink; and if you have younger children, a nifty project.

You harvest and dry the tea leaves in a wok or pan.

Buy the plants now and harvest them in the fall. Send some as gifts to tea-loving friends with green thumbs. Here’s where to order.

Different states have particular shipping restrictions. For example, you can’t ship lemongrass plants to California or Colorado, or potato plants to Florida or Montana.

Check here to see if tea plants can be shipped to your state.
 
 
PREFER HERBAL TEA?

Herbs can be grown anywhere! Read our article on growing herbal tea at home.
 
 
TEA TIME: TIME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT TEA

A Year Of Tea Party Ideas

Black Vs. Green Vs. White Tea

Brewing The Perfect Cup Of Tea

Have An Iced Tea Party

The History Of Tea

Pairing Tea With Food

Tea Glossary: All The Tea Terms You Need To Know

 

Grow Your Own Tea
Grow it.

Cup Of Tea
Drink it.

Cup Of Green Tea

Enjoy it! (Photo #1 courtesy Burpee, photo #2 courtesy Chateau Rouge Fine Foods, photo #3 courtesy Republic Of Tea._

 

  

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