With spring in full swing, many folks are rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty in their gardens. In warm places like the west coast where I live, we're already seeing the fruits of those labors with gorgeous flowers to look at and fresh veggies to eat. . . . Or is that fresh veggies to look at and gorgeous flowers to eat?
One time, I had fried squash blossoms as an appetizer (yum), but this past Cinco de Mayo marks the first time I ever had flowers as the main ingredient in an entree. I was a little skeptical at first, but I needn't have worried - it was incredible!
As the recipe indicates, we started out with dehydrated hibiscus (jamaica) flowers that needed to be boiled to rehydrate. The water became so dark red and the aroma so strong, I was concerned it wasn't going to be something I was going to like. And then I tasted a piece after it cooled off and wondered how something so sweet was going to work in an enchilada. I was also scratching my head because I'd only ever made enchilada recipes that involved baking, and these enchiladas were supposed to be simply 'assembled.' Hmmmm. My husband and I were so concerned about a potential FAIL, we actually halved the recipe (so we wouldn't have a boatload of something we didn't end up liking) and put a call in to the the bullpen to get the PB&J warming up just in case. But, as I mentioned, we needn't have worried.
The sweetness of the hibiscus and the onions and peppers really complemented each other well and provided a nice contrast to the spiciness of the chipotle sauce, which was sooo good. It had a nice full flavor and just enough heat to add complexity without setting of any fire alarms. You can, of course, make it hotter if you like, and you can always cut the fire with more of the sour cream and queso fresco if need be.
Herbalists claim hibiscus is good for, among other things, reducing high blood pressure. Something else good for reducing your blood pressure? . . .
On Cinco de Mayo, it only seemed fitting to have a drink with a Mexican influence, and what could be more Mexican than tequila? This recipe is a nice twist on an old standard - and much more interesting than popping the top off a boring old Corona. I squeezed fresh grapefruit juice for our drinks, but, if you're not interested in doing that much work for your drink, you can, of course, just use some from a bottle; it'll be a little sweeter, which you might prefer anyway. If you do go the bottled route, I recommend Simply Grapefruit.
Got any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes?? Please share!
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