Drinks & Beverages

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!

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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?

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Sunny Afternoon Cocktail

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Melon season is here and I believe mother nature really had something special in mind and knew what to give us to cool off and refresh our dry souls during Summer. Parallel feelings come to my mind when I think English people had the same in mind when PiMM’s was created. But what is PiMM’s? The tale says that Pimm, a farmer’s son from Kent, became the owner of an oyster bar in the City of London, near the Bank of England. He offered the tonic (a gin-based drink containing a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs) as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small tankard known as a “No. 1 Cup”, hence its subsequent name back in 1851…*

Pimm’s is basically a liquor concoction of gin and herbs that has a 25 percent alcohol by volume. It is a lightweight liquor that in combination with fruit, gingery or citrus fizzy soda, fresh herbs and lots of ice, can place one big refreshing smile on your face on the worst summer’s hot days.

So, using what is in season now in Texas, this Sunny Afternoon Cocktail combines a refreshing concoction of fresh juicy melon balls that have been frozen to keep your drink as cold as possible with out watering down the flavors. In combination with this Melon balls, Ginger Ale fizzy drink, ice, a little citrus action, is a generous splash of PiMM’S No.1 and dash of gin. The alcohol in this drink it’s just enough to put some natural blush on your cheeks.

The result is so refreshing, barely sweet, with a hint of gingery citrus, and herbs. I’ts really fun to eat the pieces of frozen melon while you zip on the refreshing gingery herbaceous drink…

This Sunny Afternoon Cocktail is exactly the kind of drink you crave on a Summer day, a fun way to hydrate, barely sweet, with fresh juicy melon pieces, a hint of citrus, and enough tipsy to relax you, but not to get you dizzy. If you never have had this liquor, I highly recommend you to start this Summer… Besides, who can resist a colorful and refreshing drink, with a trendy paper straw and some matching bamboo plates to complete the Summer look? The perfect match for a stay-home vacation, or a pool party!  If you’d like to get some Summer tableware glamour, check these links: Colorful Paper StrawsBamboo Plates, All the eco friendly tableware summer accessories on the photos were provided by our friends and sponsors from Restaurantware ~Fashion for food. Thank you so much, stay fresh and have fun!PIMM'S-Sunny Afternoon Cocktail-Celebrate-Summer_Yes,-more-please!

 To make this Cocktail you will need:

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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….

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Enjoy your Summer!

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Matcha Date and Almond Smoothie

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Loong time no see my friends! We apologize for the post delay, we have been dealing with some household chaos. I’ve been out of order for about 10 days, rough times I’ll tell you Back issues can be really painful I heart for people who have chronic pain. Thanks to Ian and his caring I’m feeling much better these days. In the meantime I hope you had time to make all the soup and all those recipes that you wanted to make last year , but you didn’t, because you can’t, but you want to, and you will and today is a good day to start. I hear you…. all this time in bed and I wanted to cook so bad, and I couldn’t. I made an awesome 3 1/2 minute soup that tasted just like it 3 1/2 minutes of big effort and glory! For me it tasted like if it had been simmering for hours. I guess when you are sick you just want some warm comfort. Any way this smoothie made my morning one of these sicky days it just put a smile on my face it felt like I was having a healthy dessert in a glass.

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Let me tell you all about this green creamy smoothie. The matcha and dates are a combination made in heaven; the sweet caramel dates play so well with the bright intense green tea flavor. The supporting cast: the almond milk, a couple of tablespoons of almonds and of course for texture and body a frozen banana. A small squeeze of lemon to brighten all those flavors, all goes to the blender….bleeeehhtzzz, blitzzzz, a little more blitzzz blitzzz …then pour it in a chilled glass and add a straw or two if you are willing to share… Enjoy!

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Matcha Date and Almond Smoothie

Makes 1 large non-sharable smoothie or two skinny glasses for a little afternoon snack.

1 cup almond milk
1 medium frozen banana peeled.
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder cooking grade
2-3 medjool dates / remove the pits. Start with 2 dates and from there decide if you want it more sweet, add another date.
1 small squeeze of lemon
4-5 ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients on a blender, bleeeeeeeeehhtzzz.
Pause then pulse Blitzzzz, blitzzzz just to make sure the dates are completely blend in.

Serve on chilled glasses with a straw.

Enjoy!

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Rosemary Paloma

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What are you going to raise a glass with this New Years Eve? Champagne? Well, that’s fine and well at midnight but for the duration of your evening we have something to share with you… A delicious Rosemary Paloma!
Try this very refreshing Mexican Classic cocktail made with grapefruit and lime juice, tequila, lots of ice, and sea salt. My spin a rosemary syrup that gives this Paloma a fragrant and festive flair.

Winter is the citrus season, and what better use than to add cheer and receive the New Year with some freshly squeezed grapefruit cocktails! They are calorie friendly and loaded with vitamin C…what a good omen to start your year!

I hope you had a great year. We had a blast! In this time of reflection and gratefulness we want you to know how grapefruit we are to you.

Thank you to all our friends, family and people that helped us, cheered us up and supported us with all your comments. We love what we do and sharing it with you gives us joy.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all, everywhere!From the bottom of our hearts.

This New Year will bring new recipes, music, more inspiration and fun!

We invite your ideas and comments; if you have a recipe in mind, if you want us to feature your favorite vegetable, fruit, meat, cheese, spice, anything goes!
Leave us a comment we would love to hear from you… Meantime I assure you this Rosemary Paloma, will knock your socks off!

Cheers!,  Salud!,  Salut!,  Kippis!,  Cin Cin!,  Nazdrivia!,  Skål!, Proost!,  Santé!,  Sláinte!,  乾杯!,  Noroc!, Živjeli!,  Saúde!,  Şerefe!,  Dô!,  अच्छी सेहत!,  Okole Maluna!,  Oppa!,  Skál!,  Yamas!

 H a p p y    N e w     Y e a r  !

I a n   and   M a r i a n a

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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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Mexican Hot Chocolate

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“If there’s no chocolate in Heaven, I’m not going.”
― Jane Seabrook

 

Chocolate must be, with out a doubt, one of the best gifts from Mexico to the world: Xocolat, Kakawa, Chocolate. Mayan and Aztec gods “seed of love and generosity”, manifested in a cacao bean, which they transformed into a beverage known as xocolatl meaning “bitter water”. Modern drinking chocolate is the result of the 17th century European addition of milk and sugar.

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. It lifts my spirit, brings happiness, joy, comfort, warmth, peace, and a great sensation of fulfillment. Love in a cup Mexican hot cocoa also features amazing warm cinnamon notes, vanilla, and frothed milk.

I have fond memories of my Grandma preparing a cup of frothy hot cocoa as dinner. It was almost like an adrenalin shot when we could hear her in the kitchen frothing the milk with her molinillo, the arousing aroma of chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla coming out of the kitchen was heavenly. What is the molinillo?…it  is a wood handled tool that is used to froth and dissolve the chocolate into warm milk. By spinning the long handle between two hands, air is churned into the liquid turning it into a light cloud of goodness. My Grandma definitely knew how to use her molinillo. Her hot chocolate was like sipping a light cloud.

The following recipe is a delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate which provides an exciting experience much different from the little packets to which you add water. In my opinion, this preparation is well worth the extra time and a few ingredients added to your shopping list.
In this recipe I made the addition of chile ancho powder and a hint of pasilla negro, which tickle and warm the throat and enhance the chocolate flavor. I know you will love the recipe. Serve it at your next get-together on a chilly day and watch faces light up with surprise and satisfaction.

Keep warm and enjoy the weather!

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Mexican-Hot-chocolate_ingredients

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Makes 2 generous large mugs, serves two yetis.

2 cups of whole milk
1 cup almond milk
2 chocolate tablets Taza Chocolate brand Chocolate Mexicano 70% Cacao Puro*
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or Mexican vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoon ancho powder. Start with one, taste and decide if you need the second one.
2 generous pinches of pasilla negro powder, cayenne or one dry chile de arbol
1 stick of mexican cinnamon
Agave nectar, turbinado sugar or piloncillo to your taste. This is totally up to you, I like mine barely sweet, some people like it sweet, or extra sweet. I would say start with 2 tablespoons and move from there up to your desire sweetness. 

1 wood molinillo or blender.
1 tall pot will work best.

Why Mexican Vanilla and Cinnamon?
Everything that grows together, for me it translates in flavors that belong together. Vanilla comes from an orchid endemic from Veracruz, Mexico and the Mexican cinnamon flavor is delicate and extremely fragrant , if you can get this two your hot cocoa will taste divine!.

Vegan or Lactose intolerance substitutions: Soy milk and Almond Milk/ Rice milk and Almond Milk 
Nut allergies?: Soy milk and coconut / Rice milk and Coconut

Preparation:

1. Place all the ingredients into a tall pot, over medium low heat. With a wood spoon stir until the chocolate tablet becomes a soft paste and the heat starts dissolving the chocolate.
2. Increase the heat to medium and watch the pot at all times. (Believe me the worst spillages on the stove are from milk it can haven in a franc of a second, so watch out!)
3. As soon as you start seen bubbles on the edge of the milk, and the color of the milk has change, star frothing the chocolate with the molinillo.
Place both hands and star swirling around, making sure the molinillo is half into the milk and half out to incorporate as much air as possible into the milk. Once you see a thick layer of chocolate foam , it’s time to serve the chocolate. I usually poor it from high to achieve even more foam. At this point everything goes, sprinkle  some cinnamon and extra cayenne powder or spike it up with some mezcal, rum, hazelnut liquor, coffee liquor…Keep warm!
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Lets talk about chocolate:


Other Mexican chocolate brands that I find extremely good, and they all can be purchased online:
Moctezuma, this chocolate comes from Michoacan, Mexico, it has an intense chocolate flavor, notes of cinnamon and vanilla.
Mayordomo, this legendary chocolate paste is from Oaxaca, and part of a production is still made by hand, absolutely divine.
Rancho Gordo, this chocolate comes from Guerrero, Mexico, its stone ground 70% cacao and its sweetened with piloncillo! amazing, be aware it goes fast on line, but if you are on their website, check for their beans, and multiple other goodies, you can scape!
La taza, hecho en Mexico, I like its strong but balanced flavor, and their varieties. Try other flavors like clove, rose petals, anis (my favorite!), canela, almendras.. etc..
This is a list of my favorite choices, for Mexican chocolate.

Great Chocolate Sources:

Taza CacaoXocolatlMayordomo ClasicoStone Ground Chocolate from Guerrero Mexico,

Chocolate Abuelita:
This is the most common used chocolate tablets for hot cocoa in Mexico. Unfortunately and to my surprise last time I prepared some, the flavor was not the same as it used to. I had to use almost double the amount to give the punch of chocolate and cinnamon flavor that was so characteristic of Abuelita brand…

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Music Pairing: Naufragar – Ana Ferper/Constantini

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