Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Rhubarbaritas and Stuffed Poblano Peppers

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I hate it when I invent something that’s already been invented. Maybe I’m not very original, or maybe I’m just a classic Johnnie-come-lately, but I seem to have a penchant for coming up with the best best BEST ideas only to be smacked down by the cool unforgiving hand of Google. I won’t get into the specifics of my past inventions, because I’m afraid I’ll start getting a reputation around here, but this last one, the invention that I invented specifically for you... well, we’re just going to have to sit down and talk about this because it really is good, and just because someone else invented it first is no reason to deprive you of my genius.

Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago my husband and I went to Tulum, Mexico, with our kids for spring break. We had a lovely time and enjoyed glorious beaches, big rolling waves, stinging hot sun, and those supersaturated greens and blues that seem to be specific to warm places when you’ve come from cold places. Best of all, we indulged in great, fresh, tasty Mexican food, in most cases at little beachside restaurants that we strolled into with bare feet. (Incidentally, it is a little known fact that food tastes better when you’re barefoot. I’m sure there is top-secret research being conducted on this issue in various academic centers around the world, but you heard it here first.) We ate crispy corn tortillas dipped in an array of salsas, ranging from chunky, smoky and green to smooth, fiery and red. We ate dark and broody molés with sassy citrucy slaws. We ate fish tacos, shrimp tostadas and beef quesadillas, all festooned with creamy guacamole and spicy pico de gallo, painstakingly chopped into the tiniest confetti of tomato, onion, pepper and cilantro. It turns out that if you want delicious tomatoes, mangoes and avocados in late March, you simply have to get on a plane and go to the place where they’re grown. We were eating fresh, healthy, local food and it could not have been more delicious and satisfying.

I came back to an early Minnesota spring, feeling energized and ready to cook. I looked forward to Cinco de Mayo and bringing you a tasty recipe, redolent of those beautiful barefoot beachy days we spent in Tulum. But the more I thought about it and looked around at what is fresh and available right now – early spring, or not – the farther away that fantastic pico de gallo seemed to get. Sure, I could make something with beans and meat and cumin and onions, but I was hung up on that edible confetti, the punch of jalapeno, lime and cilantro. I wanted fresh. I wanted mouth puckering. I wanted some bite, some kick. Some , Señorita! Some Andalé Señor!

And then it hit me.

Rhubarb margaritas!!!! Ta da!!!! What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the upper Midwest than to use our fabulous, bountiful, tart and lovely rhubarb in a drink that begs and pleads for that kind of tartness? Ay chihuaha, it was just so perfect! That is until I Googled it and found that not only does it already exist, it already has a really cool name: Rhubarbaritas. How cute is that? Sigh.

Temporarily crestfallen, I perked up at the prospect of test running this fabulous sounding drink. Out of all the recipes I saw, I liked the one featured on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table the best because I love her, love the Splendid Table, and it seemed the least fussy. But if you think my story of heartache ended there, you’d be wrong. When I went back to check the recipe in order to make the Rhubarbaritas, I was horrified to discover that our very own Lee Zuckor already wrote about my genius idea last June, waaaaaay before I was even a twinkle in SGT’s eye! Ay caramba! I shrieked. How could I have missed this? I wanted to write about Rhubarbaritas and that bandito, Lee, had beaten me to the punch by a whole year! Sigh.

Because it never hurts to be reminded, here’s the recipe for some seriously fabulous Rhubarbaritas. We sipped our tart, fresh cocktails while I made these Potato Stuffed Poblano Peppers. They came together in a snap and I was able to use my garlic chives from the Minneapolis Farmers Market and some Wisconsin-grown Yukon golds from the Linden Hills Co-Op, to boot. As usual, I took some liberties: I used buttermilk because I happened to have some, threw in some extra garlic, and skipped the bowl and cookie sheet step by simply coating and baking the peppers in a baking dish. The end result was cheesy, warm, comforting and delicious. Note to self: use poblanos for any and all stuffed pepper recipes from here on in. De-seeded, they aren’t considerably spicier than a bell pepper, but they pack a heck of a lot more oomph. Round out the meal with some chips and salsa and you’ve got yourself a Cinqo de Mayo fiesta, mis amigos. Andalé! Buen provecho!

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Mashed Potato-Stuffed Peppers
(from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool)
Serves 8

  • 4 medium poblano or Anaheim chile peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Yukon gold or any yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ to ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese (about 2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the chile peppers in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and stems, and scrape away most of the white membranes.

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and black pepper. Toss the chile peppers in the bowl to thoroughly coat. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the potatoes for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes with the chives. Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the potatoes, allowing it to melt. Mash it in with the potatoes. Continue mashing and add enough milk to make the potatoes smooth and creamy.

Turn the peppers cut side up on the baking sheet. Mound the mashed potatoes into the peppers. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


 Gabriela Lambert is a former lawyer who, after 10 years of practice, decided to stay home with her three kids and pursue a life of leisure. Given the choice between salty and sweet, Gabriela will hit the salty every time. Given the choice between pig and cow, she will clutch her chest and whimper that it’s like asking her to pick her favorite child. On her birthday, she is most likely to choose a trip to the farmers' market with her family, but that’s one of her favorite things to do on any given day. In addition to minding her brood, she spends her time practicing yoga, driving around in her minivan, and blogging at Her last post for Simple, Good and Tasty was Spring Panzanella: Here's a Way to Get Your Asparagus Fix.