No. 73, 74 & 75: Margaritas, Mango-Avocado Salsa & Parmesan Vinaigrette

Travel can be tough, mainly due to the food situation. When you're starving in an airport, it's usually a choice between a dry turkey sandwich and McD's chicken nuggets.

But that all changed at O'Hare when Rick Bayless brought his wonderful Tortas Frontera to Terminal B. There you can find some of the best guacamole, mollettes and tortas anywhere.

It's so good that I'm actually kind of excited to have a longish layover in Chicago. Seriously.

Mr. McCormick was craving a little backyard cookout and some margaritas to close out the weekend. We decided to let Rick start the party with some margaritas and see where the fiesta would take us!

Rick's Top of the Line Margaritas

I loved the name of these margs.


Lime wedges
Coarse salt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup silver tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup coarsely cracked ice cubes

Rub the rims of glasses with a lime wedge, then dip the rims in a dish of coarse salt.

Combine the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur in a shaker. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.


(We aren't huge fans of salt rims, and we were headed outside so we added some ice cubes for the road.)

Gwyneth's Mango-Avocado Salsa

I think Gwyneth Paltrow is awesome. Intimidating and a tad out of touch? Yes. But I still really like her.

Everything I have seen and made out of her cookbook is terrific, so I knew this salsa featured on Bon Appetit would be fresh and lovely too.


1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 medium ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make

Gently combine the avocado, mango, tomatoes, basil, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a large mixing bowl.


Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

Parmesan Vinaigrette

We wanted another side for dinner and had some romaine on hand. A quick search found this simple vinaigrette by Melissa d'Arabian.


3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped

To make

Whisk the Parmesan, mustard, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil. Sprinkle the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

The results

We started the afternoon with Rick's margaritas and some sun on the back patio. Terrific. I highly recommend adding orange liqueur from here on out.

After we had received a counter offer on a house and then discussed our counter counter offer (it was a busy afternoon), we moved on to burgers on the grill.


The mango salsa was a pretty good topping for the burgers, but it would be even better on mahi mahi or with grilled shrimp. The parmesan vinaigrette jazzed up our little romaine side salads nicely.

It was an eclectic recipe round up, but made for a really fun afternoon.

Here's hoping we get a house tomorrow!!

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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina