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This warm patio weather makes me want to change “Taco Tuesday” to “Taco Today,” no matter what day it is! There's something about simple tacos and refreshing margaritas that feels like summertime. 

Story and Photography by Kerry Guice

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Tacos are like sandwiches to me. Peanut butter and jelly over and over would drive me crazy, just as beef tacos over and over do. You have to switch it up! It's hard to go wrong with taco fillings, and it’s always fun to try new recipes. I love shrimp tacos with charred shrimp and a refreshing crunchy salsa on top. I thought a watermelon salsa would be fun to try, and then I decided to incorporate pickled watermelon rind into the recipe so it's all at once sweet, spicy, briny, crunchy and refreshing! It's everything you want to go with charred shrimp. Or a tortilla. Or a spoon. It's best after about 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. The ranch style beans are the perfect warm-your-tummy complement to the crisp and refreshing tacos, and my Piña Margaritas are absolutely necessary to wash it all down! I wanted to create a cocktail that was between a piña colada and a margarita, but with no added sugar, and I think I hit the jackpot. It’s great frozen or on the rocks, and will put you in the fiesta mood! 


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Charred Shrimp Tacos

1 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp
(I used 21-25ct wild shrimp)
2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon each of:
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Chili powder
Paprika
Cumin
Oregano

Set broiler to high and place oven rack on highest setting. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and spices. Broil in the oven in a single row on high for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and serve hot, filling corn or flour tortillas with 4-6 shrimp, then topping with avocado slices, lime juice and pickled watermelon salsa.


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Pickled Watermelon Salsa

1 jalapeño, thinly sliced with seeds removed
(keep seeds for extra spicy salsa)
1 cup water
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4-6 small radishes, cut in half and sliced paper thin
¼ watermelon

Start by bringing the water, sugar and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, seeds and ginger. Let cool completely. 

While cooling, prepare the watermelon by slicing the red part of the fruit almost completely off, just leaving about ½ inch attached to the rind (save that in the fridge for snacking!), and then carefully slice away the dark green skin, leaving just the white rind and ½ inch of the pink melon. Slice into thin sticks and place in a large bowl. Slice the radishes in half, then slice as thinly as possible and add that to the bowl. Slice the jalapeño and add that to the melon and radish. When pickling liquid has cooled, pour over the melon mixture in the bowl and carefully toss to combine. Pour into jar(s) and place in refrigerator at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. Serve cold as a dip with chips or as a topping for salads or tacos.


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Ranch Style Beans

For the dough (makes enough for 2 large pizzas):

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cans pinto beans, drained
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup diced bell pepper
¼ cup diced onion
3½ cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon each of: 
Salt
Pepper
Chili powder
Cumin
Oregano
Ground mustard

Heat olive oil over medium low heat in a large pot. Add the pepper, onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and simmer 20 minutes. Serve hot.


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Piña Margaritas

Makes 2 margaritas

3 ounces fresh lime juice
6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
4 ounces coconut water
2 ounces fresh orange juice
4-5 ounces gold tequila
Lime wedges, pineapple wedges and
margarita salt for garnish

For margaritas on the rocks, add all ingredients to a shaker, then pour over 2 cups filled as high as possible with crushed ice. For frozen, add all ingredients to a blender and then add 1-2 handfuls of ice and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Garnish with frozen or fresh lime and/or pineapple wedges.