Tag Archives: mexico

Ocho Margarita

ocho-margarita-with-flower

Ocho Margarita

Many claim to have invented the margarita. One of the most prevalent stories is that around 1938, Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed it at his Tijuana restaurant, Rancho la Gloria, for one of his customers, an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. Rather than give her the traditional tequila shot, he turned it into a refreshing drink, therefore satisfying his picky customer.

Another person that claims the title is Dallas socialite Margarita Sames who says she whipped it up for friends — among them Tommy Hilton — at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Tommy loved the drink so much he added it to the bar menus at his hotel chain.

Regardless of which story is true, one thing that’s certain is that few drinks are more refreshing than a margarita. And this recipe courtesy of Ocho at the Hotel Havana is San Antonio, TX is my favorite.

Read about the history of tequila hereSalud!

¼ cup kosher salt
1 wedge lime
1 ½ ounce blanco tequila (My fave is Toro de Lidia Tequila)
½ ounce orange liqueur
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce agave nectar

Spread salt on a small plate. Rub lime wedge around the rim of a glass and dip into the salt and lightly coat. Set aside.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled, about 30 seconds.

Fill the prepared glass with ice cubes and strain the chilled margarita into the prepared glass.

photo credit: Ocho

Chocolate Pots de Creme

chocolate-pots-de-creme

Chocolate Pots de Creme

The “food of the gods,” chocolate is native to Mexico where it was consumed by priests and nobility as an unsweetened foamy drink. The Aztecs prepared a highly spiced beverage called xocoatl, with cocoa beans that were roasted, pounded in a mortar and flavored with chiles, vanilla, annatto, and sometimes honey and dried flowers. (Emperor Moctezuma is said to have consumed 50 cups of chocolate a day because he believed it made him more charming and attractive to women.)

Chocolate was introduced to Europe in the 16th century and for centuries it was consumed exclusively by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie as a hot drink. The Spanish and French courts that added sugar, milk and exotic flavorings to it. It was first used for baking in 18th century England. Chocolate in 19th century France was most closely associated with la cuisine bourgeoisie and with the bistros, where chocolate pots de crème would appear on practically every menu.

For the pudding:
2 ¼ cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
crème Chantilly, for serving

For the crème Chantilly:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with ¼ cup of the sugar and the salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the cocoa powder and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar until blended. Add the remaining ¼ cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolks. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa pudding into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated, then scrape the pudding back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to boil, about 2 minutes.

Strain the pudding into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and incorporated and the pudding is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the pudding to six 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with lightly whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder. (The chocolate pudding can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

Prepare the crème Chantilly. In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together on high speed until soft peaks form in the mixture.

Serves 6

photo credit: Carin Krasner

My Mom’s Flan

flan

My Mom’s Flan

My mom is the best cook in the universe. She can pour cereal straight out of a box and it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted. This is her flan recipe.

Though we commonly associate flan with Latin American, sweet or savory egg custards were popular among the ancient Romans and were considered a health food in 15th century Italy! (I can’t call this recipe healthy but it’s definitely good for the soul and what I make when I’m feeling a little homesick.)

1 tablespoon sugar
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

Put the sugar in the bottom of a 6-inch cake pan and carefully place on the stovetop over medium-low heat, moving the pan, until the sugar begins to turn golden brown and caramelize. Be careful not to let it burn because it will quickly turn bitter. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare a double boiler. Place a large pot or saucepan large enough to fit your cake pan on the stovetop. Place a vegetable steamer on the bottom of the pan and add about an inch of water. Place over low heat.

In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, vanilla extract and eggs and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Carefully pour the mixture into your prepared cake pan (you may hear some cracking), cover tightly, and place on the vegetable steamer in the double boiler. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for one hour to one hour and 20 minutes until firm. Remove from the double boiler and let cool. Run a paring knife along the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides. Unmold onto a plate and refrigerate until cold – at least 4 hours but best overnight.

Makes one 6-inch flan serving 12 although I can eat it all in one sitting

Mangonadas

mangonada

Mangonadas

This recipe tastes like summer.

1 pound ripe mango, chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup water
chili powder to taste (I like Tajin)
1 to 2 tablespoons chamoy sauce

Blend mangoes, sugar, water, chili powder and chamoy sauce until smooth. If mixture is too thick add more water. Pour mixture into 8 ounce disposable plastic cups or popsicle molds and freeze. When freezing begins to set place a popsicle stick in the middle of each cup and return to the freezer until fully frozen, 3 hours to overnight. Remove from cup by running it under warm water. Enjoy!

Makes 6 to 8 popsicles