Browsing Tag

fiesta

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Pink Grapefruit & Cilantro Spanish Gin Tonic

July 9, 2017
This pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonic is an ultra-refreshing sipper for summer. Flavored with cilantro-grapefruit syrup and a hefty splash of tonic.

Are you familiar with Spanish Gin Tonics? I wasn’t until a few months ago, and now I can’t stop drinking them. I am normally late to the game. I rely on my well-healed, childless friends to keep me up to date on what happens in the world after 9pm and apparently its Spain, Gin, and Tonic Water, plus other stuff.

Spanish gin tonics are like regular ‘ol English gin and tonics except lighter, more flavorful, and without that bothersome and word in the middle. They are frequently served with lots of garnishes so you can mix and match what you’d like in your drink. They also switch up the tonic and sometimes substitute mineral water, soda water, or (in this case) fresh fruit juice.

pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonics

Here’s how I like to Spanish-up my GT

First, make a herbal syrup. It is pretty common in a Spanish gin tonic bar to have a variety of herbs to choose from when making this style of cocktail because they highlight the flavors in gin. I made a syrup with cilantro and grapefruit rind. At first it might seem like a ridiculous amount of cilantro, but trust me, just do it.

Second part: use a big balloon wine glass. This will make all the difference I swear. Fill the glass halfway with ice then add some of the chilled syrup, your favorite gin, and fresh-squeezed, kinda sour, kinda sweet pink grapefruit juice. Stir until the syrup dissolves and top with fizzy tonic water. Do not use the stuff in the little cans from Trader Joes—it was gross (sorry Trader Joes).

pink grapefruit gin tonic

That’s it. Drink. Repeat. Sit in the sun. Enjoy.

Pink Grapefruit and Cilantro Spanish Gin & Tonic
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This pink grapefruit Spanish gin tonic is an ultra-refreshing sipper for summer. Flavored with cilantro-grapefruit syrup and a hefty splash of tonic.
Author:
Serves: 1 drink
Ingredients
For the Grapefruit-Cilantro Syrup:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 thick pieces grapefruit rind
For the drink:
  • ice
  • 2 ounces fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces gin
  • ½ ounce grapefruit-cilantro syrup
  • 2 ounces tonic water
Instructions
To make the syrup:
  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add cilantro and grapefruit rind and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Cover and remove from heat. Let cool completely. Strain and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use. Keep syrup covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.
To make the drink:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in the order they're listed in a large wine glass. Stir to combine and garnish with a pink grapefruit slice and sprig of cilantro if you'd like.

pink grapefruit gin tonic

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

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Apps, Breakfast, Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Side Dishes, Snacks, Sweets

The Ultimate Summer Fruit Board

June 12, 2017
One thing Mexico and Italy have in common is their love of fresh fruit. This ultimate summer fruit board combines the two different styles in one board!

This evening precisely at 6pm we will board a plane to Italy where we will stay for the next five weeks, then it is off to London for another week before returning home.

I am so incredibly excited and honestly never thought this day would come. Armando and I spent three months in Italy 15 years ago and I truly thought that I would never be back. There are just so many places on Earth to see I didn’t think (as much as I absolutely fell in love with the country) that I would have the luxury to visit the same place twice. Now, here we are, packing—albeit a much bigger—suitcase, with some of our clothes we bought there last time, and not only returning to Italy but bringing our children with us too.

I will try to post here while I’m gone but I’ll be honest with you, I’m actually looking forward to having a break. I hope to spend most of the time replenishing my creative juices and stocking up on inspiration. I will be posting our journey on Instagram in stories and pictures so make sure to check us out there.

Before I take off however, I wanted to leave you with an idea I’m pretty sure you’ll use all summer long. It is not really a recipe but simply an easy idea that will make every party you throw or attend from Father’s Day to Labor Day. We took this ultimate summer fruit board to our friend’s last night where they were celebrating their son’s 4th birthday and it was loved by everyone from the smallest munchkin to the most sophisticated adult (who was not me, BTW).

This fruit board also ties in to our upcoming trip because if there is one thing Italians and Mexicans have in common it is their love of fresh fruit. I’ve separated the board to highlight the different ways fruit is enjoyed in both places and strangely enough they go very well together; a little sweet, a little spicy, something creamy, something salty. I guess there’s a reason I have such an admiration for both cultures, they are very much in lock step with each other in so many ways.

HOW TO PUT TOGETHER THE ULTIMATE SUMMER FRUIT BOARD

The most important detail of putting together a delectable fruit board is to choose the ripest, most beautiful fruit you can find. Ideally the Farmer’s Market is the place to shop, but wherever you go, make sure the fruit is fragrant and at it’s peak.

Anything goes as far as which fruits to select. Here’s what I chose:

  • black grapes, mango, kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, oranges, cherries, red grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, green grapes, nectarines

For the Italian side of the board I added:

For the Mexican side of the board I added:

Have a wonderful summer my loves!!

Oh, and if you have any recommendations for things to see, do, eat, enjoy in Italy I’d love to hear them. Anyone want to meet up?

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

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Apps, Mains, Recipes

Friends Who Fete: How to Throw a Whimsical Bridal Shower for the Globetrotting Girl

June 8, 2017
How to throw a whimsical bridal shower for a travel loving girl who, oh yeah...already eloped! With a menu, decor ideas, florals, and a DIY champagne bar.

** Click here to enter THE ULTIMATE BRIDAL SHOWER GIVEAWAY worth over $1000 or scroll to the bottom of the story to enter!!**

How do you throw the perfect bridal shower for the girl who’s been everywhere, seen everything, and oh yeah….already eloped?

Well that is just what my dear friend Meg (from This Mess Is Ours) and I set out to do a couple weeks ago for our friend and partner in party-making, Aida Mollenkamp (from Salt & Wind). Aida is so fabulously sophisticated it was no easy task. We had to find the choicest of locations, put together the most elegant of menus, and of course some sort of fancy cocktail situation. Not to toot my own horn; but I think we nailed it! Let’s take a peek.


THE MENU

Aida is the queen of travel so we wanted to create a menu that reflected her worldly view with flavors from around the globe. Instead of a sit-down lunch, we opted for finger foods offered up buffet style so everyone could not only help themselves but mingle and talk while they nibbled.

Moroccan Passionfruit Minimalist Iced Tea || Salt & Wind

Spring Asparagus and New Potatoes with Harissa Goat Cheese Dip

  Gougeres Tea Sandwiches with Moroccan Chicken || Salt & Wind

Gougeres Tea Sandwiches with Mint, Date Paste, and Goat Cheese || Salt & Wind

Gougeres Tea Sandwiches with Spiced Carrots, Tapenade, and Ricotta || Salt & Wind

Avocado Deviled Eggs with Dukkah

Spicy Papaya Lime Shrimp Skewers

Easy Watermelon Canapés || This Mess Is Ours

Individual Pistachio Pavlovas with Strawberries || This Mess Is Ours

THE ULTIMATE CHAMPAGNE BAR

Nothing is more festive than champagne so we needed bubbles….and lots of them. Meg put together a DIY bar with homemade syrups, fruits, and edible flowers to really knock it out of the park.

How to Build the Ultimate Champagne Bar || This Mess Is Ours

Vanilla Bean and Plum Syrup || This Mess Is Ours

Apricot and Orange Blossom Syrup || This Mess Is Ours

Hibiscus Syrup


SETTING THE SCENE WITH THE HUNTED FOX

 

We needed to find a space that echoed Aida’s luxurious and colorful flare. The Hunted Fox studio in downtown LA brought our dream to life. With their bright, airy space and rich textiles, our intimate gathering celebrated the bride in style. Their handmade ottomans, pillows, and linens added unique elements to the party making it feel cozy and charming. If you want to read more about The Hunted Fox check out Meg’s shopping guide!

THE FLORALS

Meredith Ambruso mimicked the party’s whimsical feel with arrangements of edibles like button chamomile and dill flowers along with roses and olive leaf. A long table runner of flowers, herbs, and fresh fruits from Melissa’s Produce adorned the buffet.

She also created a stunning floral wreath, similar to the individual ones she created for our Italian Polenta Party. The wreath, made of Willow Eucalyptus, Spray Roses, Fern, and Statice, all of which she dried and reshaped and gave to Aida as a keepsake for her front door.

WATERCOLOR WHIMSY

This delightful watercolor menu filled with elements from the buffet was created by artist Jessica Weymouth.


SHOWER GIFTS….AND A SURPRISE

To be completely honest, I’m a little bit jealous of Aida’s fabulous bridal shower gifts. She received one of the brand spanking new, recently released miniature Kitchen Aid Mixers, a beautiful selection of cookbooks, and a handmade Hunted Fox pillow which are all wonderful presents to start a new home. Not to mention a gorgeous 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven, a hand-painted card, and an artisan foods gift basket from Melissa’s Produce.

Now for the truly exciting part: I might not be able to have these gifts but guess what? YOU CAN!! As part of our bridal shower celebration we wanted you to be part of the fun too! Whether you need gifts for an upcoming wedding or want to keep them for yourself, we are giving away all these gifts to one lucky winner, a prize package valued at over $1000!

ENTER NOW!

Click here to view this promotion.

FRIENDS WHO FETE

If you know anything about me, you know I love to get together with friends and family and celebrate for any reason…or no reason at all. That’s why every few months I join forces with Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours to throw a party and give you all the details so you can too! We call it Friends Who Fete and you can find all our fiestas here!


SOURCES

Many thanks to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for all the gorgeous photography and Melissa’s Produce for the beautiful fruits and vegetables.

And a big thank you to our giveaway sponsors: Le Creuset, Kitchen Aid, Melissa’s Produce, The Hunted Fox, and Jessica Weymouth.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

 

Apps, Condiments and Salsas, Recipes, Snacks

Spring Asparagus and New Potatoes with Harissa Goat Cheese Dip

June 5, 2017
Learn how to make homemade harissa then use it in this creamy Harissa Goat Cheese Dip; perfect for tender asparagus spears and summer's first new potatoes.

** Click here to enter THE ULTIMATE BRIDAL SHOWER GIVEAWAY worth over $1000!!**

It always intrigues me how cuisines from one culture can be worlds apart physically yet be exact replicas in almost every other way. The Tunisian spice paste harissa and the mole pastes of Mexico are a perfect example.

I hadn’t really thought too much about their similarities until last week when I decided to make harissa from scratch for the first time. Dried chiles got toasted and soaked, whole spices were warmed filling the entire house with their fragrance, vegetables were charred under an open flame until their skins crackled and blackened. The entire process felt like second nature, incredibly familiar to one I’ve done many times making homemade mole sauces and ground chile salsas.

My inclinations probably gave my harissa more of a Mexican flavor than is traditional—smoked morita chiles and charred tomatoes I don’t think are authentic. But it made a lovely dip on it’s own and when mixed with soft chèvre goat cheese and a little bit of cream cheese to ensure lusciousness in a harissa goat cheese dip.

I made this creepingly spicy dip for gently blanched asparagus and new potatoes; a very special seasonal crudite-style platter I brought to the Friends Who Fete Bridal Shower Meg and I threw for Aida over Memorial Day weekend.  Any leftover harissa goat cheese dip was quickly consumed with tortilla chips and as a drizzle over a big plate of carne asada, grilled vegetables, and rice.

All the party details will be coming out this week so make sure you follow along the #FriendsWhoFete hashtag for lots of effortlessly elegant party tips!


Spring Asparagus and New Potatoes with Harissa Goat Cheese Dip
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
For the Harissa:
  • 4 dried morita chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, halved, and seeded
  • 1 serrano chile
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dip:
  • 8 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the Veggies:
  • 1 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
Instructions
To Make the Harissa:
  1. Heat broiler to high. Place dried chiles, red bell pepper, serrano chile, and cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet.
  2. Place baking sheet directly under the broiler and char the vegetables. Watch the dried chiles carefully as they will toast first, turn them occasionally until they are darkened on all sides, then remove and let the remaining vegetables broil.
  3. Remove the vegetables from the baking sheet as their skins char on all sides, the cherry tomatoes will be done next followed by the serrano and red bell pepper which could take up to 10 minutes.
  4. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the toasted dried chiles and let soak at least 15 minutes.
  5. Combine cumin, coriander, and caraway in a small frying pan and toast, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until fragrant and starting to brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a mortar and pestle, let cool, then grind into a powder. This can also be done in a clean coffee grinder.
  6. Once the charred veggies are cool enough to handle, remove all charred skin and the stem of the serrano chile. Remove the serrano seeds too if you don't want it very spicy.
  7. Drain the dried chiles and combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until very smooth. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed. Harissa can be made up to 3 days in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 1½ cups of sauce.
To Make the Dip:
  1. Combine harissa, goat cheese, cream cheese, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Blend until smooth and well combined. Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Dip can be made up to a day in advance, covered in the refrigerator.
To prepare the Veggies:
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, whole and cook at a gentle boil until just tender when poked with the tip of a knife. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Add asparagus to the boiling water and cook until vibrant green and just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half or quarters if they are big.
  4. Arrange the vegetables on a tray with the dip and serve.
Notes
Substitute store-bought harissa for the homemade if you'd like; you will need 1½ cups for this recipe but don't add it all at once. Because the flavor of store-bought will be different you might need more or less depending on the brand and how spicy it is.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

A big thanks goes out to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for the beautiful photography and to Melissa’s for supplying the fresh produce!

Apps, Dairy Free, Recipes

Avocado Deviled Eggs with Dukkah

May 30, 2017
These irresistible avocado deviled eggs are use fresh, ripe avocado instead of mayonnaise. The Egyptian spice blend, dukkah gives them a nutty finish.

** Click here to enter THE ULTIMATE BRIDAL SHOWER GIVEAWAY worth over $1000!!**

If you are going to have one thing on your summer rotation these deviled eggs should be it. I say this with complete confidence because I made them for last weekend’s Friends Who Fete Bridal Shower (lots more on that to come) and they were a huge hit.

They are like Mexican deviled eggs with an Egyptian twist. What does that even mean? I don’t know. All I know is they are damn good and you’re about to eat a dozen by yourself in one sitting. Trust.

First things first: What the heck is dukkah?

Okay, so dukkah is kind of like sprinkling heaven on your food. If you are a nut-enthusiast like I am than you will be putting this Egyptian spice blend on just about errrything. You can buy dukkah already made, Trader Joe’s used to sell a good mix but they have since discontinued selling it–err.  But you can find plenty of options online or in the spice section of your grocery store.

I, however, like to make my own because this allows me to control the flavor profile and salt level. For example, dukkah’s main ingredient is typically hazelnuts but I wanted to go with something less assertive to let the flavor of the deviled eggs shine through so I used almonds in this recipe instead.

Any leftover dukkah can be used to coat fish before roasting, mixed with olive oil for a quick dip for flatbread or, how I use it most often: For lunch, sprinkled over a bowl of quickly fried rice and sliced avocado.

Second things First: What the heck are avocado deviled eggs?

A while back I made these guacamole deviled eggs where I substituted ripe avocado for the mayonnaise. They were so good I decided to go with that little maneuver from now on. The avocado makes the deviled eggs just creamy enough without being heavy and if you hate mayonnaise (which I don’t, but a lot of people do) than you can have your deviled egg and eat it too!

On a kind of related, kind of completely unrelated note; the results from our first ever ¡Hola! Jalapeño Reader Survey are coming in (if you haven’t taken it yet, please take a few minutes to give your feedback). I am pleasantly surprised to see you guys want more entertaining ideas! Which is YAY!! Because Meg (from This Mess Is Ours) and Aida (from Salt and Wind) and I got together last weekend to celebrate Aida’s recent elopement with a Friends Who Fete Bridal Shower. I’ll be sharing all the details with you over the next couple weeks but it was an effortlessly elegant party and I know one you are going to want to recreate this time of year with all the weddings and baby showers and such going on so I’ve got all the details from the recipes down to the decorations to make your next party absolutely perfect!

So there you go, your wish is my command. Now go make yourself some deviled eggs!

 

Avocado Deviled Eggs with Dukkah
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These irresistible avocado deviled eggs are use fresh, ripe avocado instead of mayonnaise. The Egyptian spice blend, dukkah gives them a nutty finish.
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
For the Dukkah:
  • ¾ cup slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
For the Deviled Eggs:
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the eggs
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Thinly sliced scallion for garnish, optional
Instructions
To make the Dukkah:
  1. Place almonds in a medium frying pan and place over medium heat. Toast until fragrant and golden, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate to let cool.
  2. Toast pumpkin seeds in the same pan over medium heat until starting to brown and pop, about 2 minutes. Remove to the plate with the almonds.
  3. Toast sesame seeds in the same pan over medium heat, stirring continuously until golden, about a minute or two. Remove to a separate plate to cool.
  4. Add fennel seeds, peppercorns, caraway, cumin, and coriander to the pan to toast until they are fragrant, stirring frequently, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the almonds and let cool.
  5. Once all the almonds, pumpkin seeds, and spices are cool, grind them in a mortar and pestle or food processor until finely chopped, but not a paste.
  6. Place in a medium bowl and add sesame seeds, salt, and marjoram and stir to combine. Dukkah can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month or up to 6 months in the freezer. Makes 1 cup.
For the Deviled Eggs:
  1. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Pour a generous amount of salt into the water (about a handful) and place over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring the water to a boil then cover and remove from heat. Let eggs sit covered for 8 minutes. Drain and chill with ice water.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a food processor.
  4. Add the flesh of the avocado, cilantro, dill, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Blend until smooth. Taste to see if it needs more salt or lemon juice.
  5. Spoon filling back into the eggs and sprinkle a pinch of dukkah over each egg and a few slices of scallion if you'd like. Enjoy!
Notes
Eggs can be made and filled up to 3-4 hours in advance. Sprinkle with dukkah just before serving.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

A big thanks goes out to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for the beautiful photography and to Melissa’s for supplying the fresh produce!

Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Skinny Cherry & Lime Leaf Margaritas

May 22, 2017
This skinny cherry margarita made with fresh sweet cherries and fragrant lime leaves is a cocktail you can sip on all summer and not feel an ounce of guilt.

Hello! Hello! Who’s interested in kicking off a Monday with a margarita? Heeyyyy!

I’m partnering up, once again, with my pals at Powell and Mahoney to create a summer cocktail that tastes amazing and will keep you looking good in that bikini, you little beach vixens. Meet the Skinny Cherry and Lime Leaf Margarita.

WHAT IS A SKINNY MARGARITA ANYWAY?

Amongst Powell and Mahoney’s many delicious cocktail mixers is their Skinny Margarita Mix and it is the key ingredient to having your margarita and drinking it too. Their Skinny Margarita Mix is a low-cal mixer made with lemon and key lime juice then sweetened with agave syrup and a little pear juice to cut down on the sugar and keep it refreshing.

I wanted to use fresh fruit to accent all the fruit flavors in the mix and settled on big, juice-packed sweet cherries because they are just coming into season and, more importantly, require basically no work other than plucking out the stems and tossing them in the shaker—it’s important to keep the work level low when making a cocktail, amiright?

The lime leaves are an addition that if you don’t have a lime tree might seem a tad obnoxious but let me explain. I adore cooking with kaffir lime leaves. Also known as Thai lime leaves they are the very distinctive flowery-sour flavor in Thai curries and noodle dishes. They can be found in most Asian grocery stores or easily ordered from Amazon, so substitute them in this margarita if you don’t have a lime tree in your backyard.

However, if you happen to have a lime tree or know someone who does, did you know you can use the leaves to cook with? Snap one off a stem and break it in half, stick it up to your nose and be prepared to inhale a most sublime fragrance. That is what you add to your food (or in this case, cocktail) when you use the leaves.

HOW TO MAKE A SKINNY CHERRY MARGARITA

To make the margarita combine the cherries and leaves in a cocktail shaker and crush them with all your might until the cherries are mostly pulp and the leaves are bent and smashed into submission. Add the margarita mix, a good handful of ice (I like crushed), and the tequila. Then shake-a-shake-a lots of times.

At this point you can strain the drink over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed glass (salt not optional). It will be sharp with cherry flavor and bright shots of lime. You can also just pour the whole shebang into the glass; bits of cherry, lime leaf, and all. A warning on this method though; the pits will still be in there which doesn’t really bother me and I like the added flavor from having the fruit in my drink but if it bothers you, you can either pick out the pits (which is rather cumbersome) or just go with the straining method, up to you.


Skinny Cherry & Lime Leaf Margarita
 
Prep time
Total time
 
This skinny cherry margarita made with fresh sweet cherries and fragrant lime leaves is a cocktail you can sip on all summer and not feel an ounce of guilt.
Author:
Serves: 1 drink
Ingredients
  • 12 sweet cherries, stems removed
  • 4 lime leaves (or kaffir lime leaves)
  • crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Powell & Mahoney's Skinny Margarita mix
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
Instructions
  1. Rim a large glass with salt and fill with ice.
  2. Combine cherries and lime leaves in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler until cherries are smashed and have released their juice.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and shake until cocktail shaker is beaded with sweat. Strain margarita into prepared glass and drink up!

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

This cocktail post is sponsored by Powell & Mahoney, all opinions are my own.

Comida Latina, Mains, Recipes

Stacked Enchiladas Suizas with Chicken

May 17, 2017
These Stacked Enchiladas Suizas combine creamy layers of green chile-coated tortillas, poached chicken, and two kinds of cheese into the best comfort food!

For the most part I like to keep things healthy around here. Armando can’t eat dairy, therefore most of my recipes have no cheese, sour cream, or anything of the sort. Because we never eat cheese my kids don’t even like it (what kind of insane beasts am I raising I ask you?!!!) But sometimes I get cravings. Like real. bad. And Enchiladas Suizas have been high on the cravings list for a while now.

One of my first jobs was waiting tables at this Mexican restaurant in Des Moines where I grew up. What I really wanted to do was work in the kitchen but no one wanted to hire me for that job. Probably because I was 16 and more likely because I was a girl. Girl’s waited tables or looked pretty at the hostess stand so that’s what I did. I was not a good waitress. One time a swinging door slammed against a fully loaded tray I was carrying and all the plates of bubbling enchiladas and smoking fajitas went flying everywhere. It was an awkward time.

One thing I did like about that restaurant were the Enchiladas Suizas. Tender chicken and cheese rolled up and coated in a creamy green chile sauce then covered with more cheese and broiled until bubbling, golden perfection. I never even used silverware to eat that dish, just scooped up all the rich, delicious bites with a chip. At least I could eat my feelings.

As mentioned, I don’t make this kind of food very often but bit the bullet and did last Monday because I knew we had dinner guests coming and I wouldn’t embarrassingly eat the whole thing myself. Besides this is the perfect thing to feed a crowd. If you have a graduation or any family celebration coming up I recommend making one or two of these. Initially I thought making them stacked would be remarkably easier than rolling and filling each tortilla but turns out it took me just as long. I loved how each layer revealed hidden pockets of cheese or chicken or sauce so in the end I’m going with that it was a good idea.


Stacked Enchiladas Suizas with Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These Stacked Enchiladas Suizas combine creamy layers of green chile-coated tortillas, poached chicken, and two kinds of cheese into the best comfort food!
Author:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 pieces chicken (about 2 pounds--I used legs and thighs)
  • 1 large onion, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed and washed
  • 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeds removed if you'd like it less spicy
  • ½ cup cilantro (about ¼ bunch)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 large corn tortillas (6-inches or as big as you can find)
  • 1¼ cups queso fresco, crumbled
  • 2½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • Crumbled cotija cheese, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces, ½ of the onion cut into slices, 2 cloves of the garlic, the bay leaf, black peppercorns and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large saucepan.
  2. Cover with water by 2 inches and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from broth (strain and save broth for another use) and let cool. Shred into bite-sized pieces discarding any skin or bone and set aside. You can do this step the day before or use store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  4. Combine tomatillos, remaining onion half, sliced, remaining garlic cloves and, serrano chiles in a large saucepan. Cover with water by an inch and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Drain and transfer to a blender with the cilantro, 2 teaspoons salt, and sour cream. Blend on high until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquid, cover the blender with a thick paper towel instead of the lid to prevent explosions. Pour sauce into a large pie plate or shallow baking dish.
  6. Heat oven to 400°F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  7. Heat ½ cup of the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering, place 1 tortilla into the oil and fry until golden on both sides, about a minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining tortillas, adding more oil ¼ cup at a time as needed.
  8. Dip a tortilla in the green chile sauce until coated on both sides and place in the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Continue with three more tortillas spreading them out in the bottom of the pan to cover as much surface area as possible.
  9. Top with half of the chicken and a third of each cheese. Repeat with another layer of sauce-coated tortillas, remaining half of the chicken and another third of the cheese. Coat the remaining tortillas in the sauce and place on top and scrape any remaining sauce over the enchiladas spreading to coat evenly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the tortillas.
  10. Place the enchiladas in the oven and bake until the cheese is browned and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese if you'd like.
  11. Slice into wedges and serve. Enchiladas can also be cooled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw completely, then remove plastic wrap, cover with foil and bake at 400°F until heated through, about 20 minutes.

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Apps, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks

Salsa de Cacahuate {Creamy Peanut and Chile Salsa}

May 5, 2017
Salsa de Cacahuate is a creamy, spicy salsa made from ground peanuts, arbol chiles, charred tomatoes, garlic, & onions. Goes amazing with margaritas!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

I couldn’t leave you with nothing to nibble on! This peanut salsa is exactly what you want to go with your Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita.

Pineapple Hibiscus Margarita

It is a spicy little number, full of dried arbol chiles but creamy with ground peanuts to calm the heat.  I like to add a couple of charred tomatoes to add some smoke and make it just thick enough to coat a salty tortilla chip but not so gloppy it just runs right off.

The sweet margarita calms the spice from the salsa de cacahuate and it is an incredible pairing with blanco tequila bringing out the darker, earthier flavors in the spirit.

Salsa de Cacahuate

Have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo and be sure to check out the over 60 Margarita-inspired recipes we have on the Margarita Week page!!

Salsa de Cacahuate {Creamy Peanut and Chile Salsa}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Salsa de Cacahuate is a creamy, spicy salsa made from ground peanuts, arbol chiles, charred tomatoes, garlic, & onions. Goes amazing with margaritas!
Author:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 small tomatoes, cored
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup raw peanuts, plus ¼ cup toasted and chopped, for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 dried arbol chiles, stems removed
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves in a dry comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides. The garlic will cook sooner than the other vegetables, remove them as they are done cooking.
  2. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the garlic and place in the blender with the other vegetables. Blend on high until smooth and keep in blender.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ½ cup peanuts, oregano, chiles, peppercorns, and cloves. Fry, stirring occasionally, until peanuts are toasted and chiles are fragrant. Let cool slightly.
  4. Add peanut mixture to blender with the tomato mixture and the lime juice and salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt as needed. Top with remaining chopped peanuts.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita

April 29, 2017
A strawberry pink peppercorn margarita hits all the notes of a perfect cocktail, a little sweet, a little sour, a tad bit spicy, and full of tequila!

Making a strawberry margarita is not half as difficult as you might think, and this one is made even easier with the help of Powell & Mahoney’s margarita mix.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita Recipe

Are you still with me? I did say the “M” word (mixer). I know, I know, I thought the same thing too; why would I replace my fragrant, fresh-squeezed lime juice with a high fructose corn syrup gut bomb?

Slow your roll, this stuff is not, I repeat, not the margarita mix of your college days. The Powell & Mahoney Margarita Mix is handcrafted with all natural ingredients and cane sugar, and is the perfect sweet to sour ratio that I’ll admit, I like to drink with the added fizz of a little Topo Chico on any given afternoon when tequila wouldn’t exactly be appropriate.

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita

I came up with the idea for this Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita when the kids and I were out on a hike a few weeks back and came upon a peppercorn tree hanging heavy with just ripening pink peppercorns. I’m not a huge forager (let’s just say, I’m not always right) but the fragrance of peppercorns is undeniable and these were especially well…peppery. I picked a green one off the tree, cut into it with my thumbnail and held it up to my nose. A flood of black spice filled the air and I quickly filled my pockets with as many as they would hold.

For those of you not wanting to wander around in the semi-arid desert mountains looking for a peppercorn tree, store-bought pink peppercorns will work just as well and you can use them for all kinds of other cooking adventures too—a grilled steak perhaps?

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita

I love a crushed strawberry margarita so much this time of year when the strawberries are flushed red all the way through and bursting at the seams with juice. All you need to do is pull the stems from a few and crush them in the bottom of your mixer with a muddler or back of a wooden spoon. In this case you’d add the peppercorns too, then shake it all up with tequila and the mixer. Simple as that!

Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita

Head on over to the Powell & Mahoney’s site for the complete recipe and check out their new Margarita Everyday page with tons of fun ideas for Cinco de Mayo!

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

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Apps, Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Recipes, Snacks

Mint and Sweet Pea Guacamole with Sweet Potato Chips

April 25, 2017
Mint and pea guacamole may seem odd at first but the two flavors are naturals with ripe avocado. Try it for Cinco de Mayo when fresh peas are at their peek!

We have a winner! CONGRATULATIONS to Daniela Cho!! And thank you to everyone who entered. We had over 700 entries!! Come right back here next Tuesday for a Mother’s Day giveaway with Wolf Gourmet! 

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner (and knowing full well all I’ll talk about then are margaritas) is there any better time than now to talk about guacamole? Specifically mint and pea guacamole?

This is, by all means, a break from the norm, but we are officially in spring and I seem to be all about health-ing stuff up these days (much to Armando’s chagrin). Last week when I brought home the tortilla press, then promptly made lentil turmeric tortillas with it…well.

mint and pea guacamole

“Corn tortillas”, he asked, “why can’t you just make corn tortillas?”. I really shouldn’t have gotten his hopes up like that. He did not, not eat them though (because they were very tasty, thankyouverymuch) and we had no problem finishing off this guacamole and sweet potato chips last night over some margaritas.

These chips are really fun, initially I was going to make plantain chips to go with the guacamole but got the idea for using white sweet potatoes while browsing an old issue of Bon Appetit that talked about having thin strips of sweet potato they initially thought were pappardelle at Lord Stanley in San Francisco. I know it sounds complicated but they are super easy to make, you just peel the skin off a white sweet potato (I don’t know if it works with other kinds of sweet potatoes/yams but let me know if you try) and then keep peeling it into thin strips with the vegetable peeler. Crisp them up in just a drizzle of hot oil on a comal or griddle pan for a minute or two and then sprinkle with salt.

pea and mint guacamole

The guacamole is dreamy too, a bit sweeter than you might expect but if you use really fresh Farmer’s market peas you’ll be really surprised at how delicious the pea-avocado combo is. The mint is a nice touch—just screams spring—making this the perfect guacamole to make at your Cinco de Mayo party next week!

Oh, by the way, do you like the sizzle platter and bowl I used in the images? Because they could be yours!! To celebrate Cinco de Mayo I’ve partnered with Le Creuset to give one lucky winner a Le Creuset Sizzle Platter and Round Multi Bowl….enter below for a chance to win! One lucky winner will be picked, at random on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Open to US residents only. 1 winner total. Good Luck!

pea and mint guacamole

Mint and Sweet Pea Guacamole with Sweet Potato Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mint and pea guacamole may seem odd at first but the two flavors are naturals with ripe avocado. Try it for Cinco de Mayo when fresh peas are at their peak!
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
For the guacamole:
  • ¾ cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
  • 3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped (add more or less, depending on how spicy you like things. Remove the seeds if you'd like it less spicy)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the chips:
  • 1 large white sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • salt
Instructions
To make the guacamole:
  1. If using fresh peas, remove them from the pod and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath until cold, then drain. If using frozen peas, microwave them until thawed, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Place peas, avocado, scallions, serranos, cilantro, mint, lime juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until well combined, but not completely smooth.
  3. Scrape into a serving bowl, taste to see if it needs more lime juice or salt. If not serving right away, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the guacamole (touching it) and refrigerate until ready to eat.
For the chips:
  1. Peel sweet potatoes then using the peeler, peel the sweet potato into large strips until all of it has been used.
  2. Heat oil in a large griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Add sweet potato strips, a few at a time; don't crowd until starting to brown and get crispy, about 1 minute. Flip and cook the other side, about a minute more.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Chips are best eaten the day they are made.

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One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!