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Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch

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While growing up, Hibiscus-Jamaica agua fresca was often the drink of choice to refresh on a Summery day.  I remember my mom and grandma buying the dry flowers in bulk. Hibiscus-flor de Jamaica or Roselle should not be confused by the ornamental hibiscus plants, these ruby red flowers come from a different plant scientific name Hibiscus sabdariffa which are dried and used in many preparations, from sweet to savory dishes. The flavor profile of this Hibiscus is highly acidic, almost citrus like. It contains high doses of vitamin C and a unique flowery citrus flavor that is just right for refreshing drinks and tames the thirst on hot summer days. For me, growing up in Mexico, Agua fresca de Jamaica was my “cool”aid.

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With this in mind and thinking of something refreshing and fun to drink, I thought of making a fruit punch, or the good Sister of Sangria. This Hibiscus Mint Fruit Punch  just got loaded with lots of fresh fruit, and SVETIA sweetener which makes this Fruit punch the good sister of Sangria, or the healthiest Agua Fresca!

I found SVETIA by chance at the grocery store, I gave it a try and I think is a good option to naturally sweeten up drinks and beverages. It is Stevia based and it has a minimal amount of real sugar just to cut the edge of the natural bitterness of Stevia.
I think its a good naturally derived alternative. Check their website for more information click here SVETIA

We are almost on the last weekend of Summer, what a great way to refresh with a refreshing not-too- sweet Fruit Punch. Combined with fresh fruit its almost an afternoon snack itself.  Chunks of crisp apples, juicy slices of orange, Frozen grapes and plum cuts, or plums that you nibble as you drink are refreshing and fun to eat. I freeze some of the fruit, so your drink stays cool longer with out watering down the flavor. Other great additions of fruit could be strawberries or blackberries. I just stick to the ones I use in Sangria.

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To make this Punch will need…

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Hatch Piña Colada

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The kitschy Sassy, forgotten drink “the Piña Colada” what happened to it?

I think it was forgotten after the caloric curfew of the 90’s… I do not know why people stopped drinking this creamy refreshing and delicious pineapple concoction? Was it the calories or the bad infamous song?…

These days everything about coconut its “chic and healthy”. Coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut sugar, coconut cream, coconut beauty products, everything coconut can make you more shiny, fragrant, moisturized, and not to mention, those coconut based bronzers can give you a hell of a good tan!. The only forgotten situation related to coconut it’s on the music department; that, has not shown improvements at all. Well, who would attempt right? hehehe!

With this in mind, why not bring a healthier, kitschier, “Sassier” Piña Colada back?

My mission this time was to revamp this cocktail using great fresh ingredients, fresh pineapple, real pineapple juice, spiced rum instead of white rum, thick coconut cream no sugar added, and a coconut sugar simple syrup infused with Hatch peppers that adds high levels of Sass on my revamped version of this refreshing, tangy, creamy spicy cocktail.

An umbrella? Oh yes! a kitschy must!. Maraschino cherries, those I leave up to you, to tell you the truth I forgot to buy them at the super market, boomer!. Instead we used a dash of maraschino liquor. Go figure! some times accidents happen for a great reason, and in this case serendipity was on our side.

Because you love coconut, I love coconut, and every body loves coconut, This weekend, Let’s Piña Colada it!

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Hatch Piña Colada

Makes 4 / 8oz cocktails or 2 Sassy ones.

1 cup fresh Pineapple juice
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup thick coconut cream*
4 Oz. Coconut sugar-Hatch Simple Syrup, recipe follows.
1 hatch chile from the syrup, no seeds.
6oz. Spiced Rum… more, less,  upon how tipsy you want them, your call.
1 generous splash-ah-roo of Maraschino liquor, or a little splash of Maraschino juice from the cherries, if you wanna cherry it up!
3-4 Cups Ice cubes

Preparation Method:

1. Chill your glasses.
2. On a Blender place all the ingredients, blend the heck out of it until smooth and frothy.
3.Serve on chilled Glasses, pull out the umbrellas and straws.Enjoy!

Notes: I used Trader’s Joe’s Coconut cream, it is amazing, has no sugar added is thick, creamy and rich coconut flavor.

Coconut Sugar-Hatch Simple Syrup

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
1/2 cup  Turbinado sugar
1-1/2 cup water
2-3 Hatch Peppers, cut with a knife into strips, with out detaching the steam. see photo below.

In a small pot bring water and chiles to a boil simmer for 3 -4 minutes. Add the sugars, stir until dissolved. Bring to a simmer remove the chiles and transfer them into a 2 cup mason jar. Reduce the syrup until a lose glossy and glistening consistency. Set aside and cool for a few minutes. While still a bit warm add the syrup to the mason jar with the hatch chiles in it. Let it cool off completely before use. Best if made one day in advance for greater concentration of flavor. But If not, no biggy it taste delicious any way! Leftover syrup, Pancakes and Bacon any one?…ehem.

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Music pairing: Guardians of the Galaxy:

Awesome Mix, Vol.1 Full Soundtrack

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The Hemingway

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The great Hemingway, a classic cocktail, a daiquiri to be precise. This iconic Cuban drink was born in La Floridita restaurant, one of the favorite bars of Ernest Hemingway.

Summer is here, in full bloom and we thought about making this drink a lot. What can we add, what can we change… can we make it better? Well pretty much, no.

I think the Hemingway daiquiri is perfect as it is. The drink is a refreshing mix of white rum, fresh lime juice, fresh grapefruit juice and maraschino liqueur, the perfect combination for a summer drink. With simple ingredients, natural fruit juice, this drink is a hit. Refreshing, not too sweet, with a bitter edge.

We’ve seen various versions where is made on the rocks or as a Martini. But after reading what Ernest Hemingway said about one of his favorite drinks: “ The drinks had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow.” Now this sounds refreshing to me! We decided to take it “literally”.. ehehm, and we added a couple of scoops of ice to a blender and a rim of pink himalayan salt, making it a slushy. Now it lives, feels, and tastes like Hemingway’s description. Its just what you dream of on a hot summery day specially when you are dreaming of a beachy vacation that seems so far away… yet so close, as close as our couch on the living room besides our bookshelves.

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Yes, this is our staycation summery treat, along with a list of our books we aim to read, this are not the newest titles out there, they are what we have not been able to read, you know those books that stay on the bookshelfs and you promise yourself you’ll read them soon. Well we have quite a homework to do.

But first things first set your self up with a drink, relax, and read…

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To make a Hemingway you will need…

The Hemingway

Makes 2 generous tall glass cocktails

The juice of 2 medium size pink Grapefruits
The juice of 2 juicy green Limes
3 oz. White Rum
3oz Maraschino Liquor
2 large scoops ice

Himalayan pink salt and 2 lime wedges for the glass rims.

Preparation :

Juice the grapefruits, and limes directly into the blender, add rum, add Maraschino liquor, and the two scoops of ice. Blend well until a fine ice consistency.
Rim the glasses with lime and then dip them into the pink salt. Pour the slushy and Enjoy.

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Our Summer Book-it list…

Ian’s bookit list:

Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughsa breakthrough book from the beat generation.

Death in Venice, by Thomas Manna master of prose narrates a writer’s struggle with inner passion.

Kansas City Living The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker, by Stanley Crouch,…the greatest of the Be-bop musicians is born and grows up in the Midwest, influenced by the place and the musicians of the time.

James Joyce: Dubliners, a Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, Chamber Music.great stories and vignettes of a national identity.

A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway.

Mariana’s bookit list:

Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, Who would not have wanted to lived in Paris in 1920’s? Hemingway’s personal stories, specific places addresses of cafes, bars, hotels, and apartments, some of which can still be found in Paris today. Even if you stay at home this Summer, you can travel to Paris with this Novel…

Habitat Summum “Una Arquitectura concsiente del Sujeto y del Entorno, My Tesis, a colaborating project along with Igor Ivan Ojeda Delgado, and Juan Pablo de la Torre Ruiz Velasco my like brothers friends. We worked together about a year on this project, we believed in what we wrote and were convinced of our theories about the symbiosis between environmental psychology and architecture. Ten years later, I think it would be a good idea to refresh those convictions…

The Andy Warhol Diaries Edited by Pat Hackett,…This reads are for fun, this crazy Andy and the way he saw and talk to the world it is like reading a Woody Allen character, yet better…

The Nasty Bites, by Anthony Bourdain,… Who does not like a raw, sarcastic, honesty in food, coming from Bourdain everything is better, even hot dogs.

The Canal House Cooking the Spaguetti booklet,… These Ladies have such a simple narrative on their recipes, simple ingredients you can almost taste them in every page… Besides, for my waist line sake, it is better to read about pasta than to eat it…hehehe

Seven Fires, by Francissi Malmann, Grilling, the season. This is my summer bible.

Libro de cocina del hermano fray Gerónimo de San Pelayo, Coleccion de Recetarios Antiguos, by Dirección General de Culturas Populares e Indígenas en coedición con la Dirección General de Publicaciones…Cooking History, I’m always intrigued and amazed the ways the flavors, the food preparations before any pre-made, or fast and easy concepts… 

Nothing Fancy, By Diana Kennedy, A re-visit of the amazing Diana and her shenanigans in the kitchen, I love the Diana, I wish we cooks would have at least a dash of  her ethics and convictions in the kitchen.

Want to Know more about Ernest Hemingway?,

I found this great article: 10 things you probably didn’t know about Ernest Hemingway….

The Hemingway-There is no friend as loyal as a book-Ernest Hemingway-image by Ryan Sheffield_Yes, more please!

Enjoy your Summer!

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Ponche de Frutas – Warm Fruit Punch

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It is freezing and wet cold here in Austin, I really needed  a warm drink, so last night I geared up and made this warm fruit punch recipe, it is divine and it works like a charm!. This Punch is traditionally from Mexico and is served, on the cold weather months November, December, January, “Ponche de Frutas” Warm Fruit Punch is a delicious warm drink made with fall and winter stone fruits like apples, pears, crabapples, hawthorns, oranges, mandarines, guavas, prunes, plums, raw sugar cane sticks, tamarind, hibiscus tea, cloves, cinnamon well everything but the kitchen zinc!

Imagine all these ingredients gather in a pot, slowly simmering to magically deliver  fantastic warm aromas and wintery flavors with only one mission: warm you up!

There are no rules when making the punch, the only ingredient that is a must is the Mexican cinnamon. For the rest, you can make it with your favorite fruit combinations, but I will encourage you to use at least 2 kind of stone fruits, 1 citrus and either hibiscus or tamarind they add the acidity background note needed to balance the sweetness.

This drink is not meant to be overly sweet. In fact most of the sweetness comes mainly from the fruits so adding a small amount of sugar is just what you need to balance the flavors.

You can use brown sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, dark agave nectar, monk-fruit sweetener or piloncillo* which its my favorite option in small amounts. Piloncillo is raw-pure unrefined sugar compressed into a cone that resembles in flavor to molasses; some times you can find it with cinnamon, anise and a little vanilla added. It is used to sweeten desserts, drinks and bake goods. So a little goes along way.

Can you imagine the aromas that this concoction will bring to your kitchen? spices, apples, cinnamon, oranges, warming up the house!…**sigh**

This punch is served in mugs and with a little spoon so you can eat the fruits from the bottom as you drink along. It is great for parties and family gatherings kids love it!
For the grownups you can spike it up by adding a little splash-a-rooh of your favorite rum or vodka as you serve it.
Whether you make a large, medium or small pot, this fruit punch will definitely warm you up inside out!…

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For the recipe you will need…

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