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Archive for Cinco de Mayo & Dia De Los Muertos

TIP OF THE DAY: Chili + Chocolate Fondue

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with chili-accented
chocolate fondue. Photo courtesy
Sugardaddys.com.

 

Chili and chocolate are an ancient combination. The Mayas and Aztecs, who did not have solid chocolate but consumed cacao as a beverage, flavored it with chiles. (See the history of chocolate.)

Today, chocolatiers combine the two flavors in delicious “Mexican chocolate bars,” also called spicy chocolate bars and chili chocolate bars.

In between chocolate beverages and chocolate bars, there’s fondue, just waiting to be spiced with chiles as a Cinco de Mayo treat. Try this recipe from Fairytale Brownies, which makes 6 servings:

RECIPE: CHILI CHOCOLATE FONDUE

Ingredients

  • 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fondue dippers (40 chocolate fondue dippers)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MELT all ingredients except the vanilla in a double boiler.

    2. REMOVE from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a fondue pot and set over a small flame to keep warm.

    3. SERVE with dippers including fresh fruit (banana chunks, grapes, orange segments, strawberries), plain cookies, pretzels, cubed brownies or pound cake, and other favorites.

    MORE CHOCOLATE FONDUE RECIPES

  • Spicy Chocolate Fondue with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, curry, ginger and nutmeg
  • Chocolate & White Chocolate Fondue
  •   

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO RECIPE: Pineapple Margarita

    We’ve received plenty of Margarita recipes this “Cinco de Mayo season.” But when is a Margarita not a Margarita?

    A Margarita is more than a fruity tequila-based drink. It combines tequila with lime juice and Cointreau (or other orange liqueur) with a salted rim. Here’s the history of the Margarita and the original Margarita recipe.

    Orange and lime are the flavors that ride on the backbone of the tequila. In the spirit of the recipe, you can add fruit purée to make a guava, mango, passionfruit, peach, strawberry, etc., Margarita.

    But you can’t switch the orange liqueur for pomegranate liqueur (or other fruit liqueur) and call it a pomegranate Margarita. You’ve created a pomegranate and tequila drink that requires a different name.

    This recipe adheres to the script. It’s from the book, Frontera Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless.

     

    Fresh, puréed pineapple makes this
    Pineapple Margarita a special treat. Photo by
    Paul Elledge | Frontera Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks.

     
    It’s rimmed with homemade rimming salt, flavored with guajillo chiles, medium-heat chiles. You may like it so much that you use it on all your Margarita recipes.

     

    Reposado tequila is aged to a pale yellow
    color. Photo courtesy Hornitos Tequila.

     

    PINEAPPLE MARGARITA RECIPE

    Ingredients For 8 Cocktails

  • 1½ cups 100% blue agave reposado tequila
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¾ cup orange liqueur
  • 1-½ cups pineapple purée (see recipe below)
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Guajillo salt for rimming (see recipe below or substitute coarse sea salt or kosher salt)
  • 6 cups ice cubes
  • Garnish: 16 pieces of cucumber (1/4-inch-thick sticks, about 4 inches long)
  • Garnish: 16 pieces of peeled jicama (1/4-inch-thick sticks, about 4 inches long)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and pineapple purée in a pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

    2. WET the rim of eight 6-ounce Martini glasses with a lime wedge. Then dip the rims into a plate of the guajillo salt to coat them lightly.

    The pineapple purée can be made in advance.

     

    3. FILL a cocktail shaker half full with ice and pour in a generous 1 cup of the Margarita mixture. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, then strain into two of the prepared glasses. Repeat for the remaining Margaritas.

    4. GARNISH each glass with a spear or two of cucumber and jicama, plain or dipped into the guajillo salt.

    PINEAPPLE PUREÉ RECIPE

    This can be made up to three days in advance. It makes about 3 cups of pineapple purée.

    1. PEEL and core ½ medium pineapple. Cut it into roughly 1-inch cubes (you’ll have about 3½ cups) and place in a blender or food processor. Add ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water, cover and pulse until the pineapple is finely chopped. Then process until smooth and foamy, usually a full minute.

    2. STRAIN into a sealable container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.

    GUAJILLO SALT RECIPE

    1. MIX 1 part pure crushed or powdered guajillo chile to 2 parts coarse (kosher) salt.

    2. ADD a little more chile if you’d like extra heat.
     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE MARGARITA RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO RECIPE: Mexican Lasagne

    Mexican lasagne, a crowd-pleasing recipe.
    Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Here’s a fun and tasty Tex-Mex comfort food dish for Cinco de Mayo, from Taste Of Home: Mexican lasagne, which adds Mexican flavors to the classic Italian dish. Serve it with a big green salad.

    The correct spelling of the word, by the way, is lasagne, ending with an “e”; lasagna ending with an “a” is an Americanization.

    MEXICAN LASAGNE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies or finely chopped jalepeños (more if you like things hot)
  •  

  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons hot salsa
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese or a Mexican cheese mix, divided
  • 12 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles (we used whole wheat noodles for better nutrition)
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) mild salsa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped, optional
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, chilies, taco seasoning and hot salsa.

    2. LAYER 1/3 of the noodles and meat mixture in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice.

    3. COMBINE salsa and water; pour over top. Cover and bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until heated through.

    4. TOP with sour cream, olives, onions, tomatoes if desired and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes longer. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.
     
    VARIATIONS

  • Substitute corn tortillas for lasagne noodles, 6 per layer, overlapped.
  • For a lower beef:bean ratio, use just 1 pound of ground beef and 32 ounces of refried beans.
  • Provide self-serve garnishes: fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, green and/or black olives, hot sauce, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and/or tortilla chips.
  • Serve with a side of guacamole.
  •  
    WINE PAIRING

    Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Malbec, Sangiovese or Zinfandel.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Sauce Ice Cream Cocktail Shake

    Photo courtesy Jimador Tequila.

     

    Today’s tip concerns thinking outside the box.

    Have you ever had ice cream and hot sauce? If it sounds strange, try this cocktail from El Jimador Tequila.

    Ratchet up the heat on Cinco de Mayo with a “hot” ice cream cocktail.

    The recipe includes ice cream, coffee liqueur, tequila, mango nectar and a few dashes of hot sauce. It’s an unlikely combination of ingredients that will delight your guests.

    It uses reposado tequila, which is aged for at least six months until it mellows and achieves a light yellow hue. Aging takes the edge off and makes the tequila more compatible with ice cream.

    This “hot ice cream shake” recipe will fill a large Martini glass. Have it for dessert with your choice of garnishes: chocolate shavings or a chocolate rim.

     
    HOT ICE CREAM COCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 ounces El Jimador Reposado or other reposado tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 ounce mango nectar
  • 3 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • Garnish: chocolate shavings -or-
  • Garnish: ground chocolate wafers, ground chocolate or cocoa mix for rim
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE optional chocolate rim: Shave chocolate OR grind chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate shavings into a coarse powder OR use cocoa mix (with sugar). Place ground chocolate in a shallow bowl. If you’ve opted for chocolate shavings, reserve to sprinkle on the finished cocktail.

    2. DIP the rim of a Martini glass in a bowl of water 1/4 inch deep. Place the rim in the chocolate powder and twist to coat.

    3. PLACE all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy.

    4. POUR into glass and garnish with chocolate shavings.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL RECIPES & ICE CREAM RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sweet Cheesecake, Savory Cheesecake, Unique Cheesecake

    There are sweet cheescakes for dessert and savory chesecakes for appetizers and first courses. Here are one of each for Cinco de Mayo, each with south-of-the-border flair. Both recipes come from TasteOfHome.com.

    NACHO CHEESECAKE: AN APPETIZER OR FIRST COURSE

    This recipe can be served in individual slices and eaten with a fork, or can be a cocktail hour centerpiece served with crackers and/or tortilla chips.

    Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups crushed nacho tortilla chips
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breasts
  •  

    Nacho cheesecake, a Mexican spin on the appetizer cheesecake. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • Garnish: whole kernel corn, cubed avocado, chopped tomato and sliced ripe olives
  • Optional garnish: salsa
  • Assorted crackers or additional nacho tortilla chips
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE crushed tortilla chips and butter; press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan.

    2. BEAT the cream cheese, mayonnaise, taco seasoning and flour in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in the chicken, cheese blend and onions. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

    3. BAKE at 325°F for 60-70 minutes or until center is almost set. Gently spread sour cream over the top; bake 10 minutes longer or until set.

    4. COOL on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

    5. REMOVE sides of pan just before serving. Garnish with corn, avocado, tomato and olives. Serve with salsa and crackers if desired. Yield: 24 servings.

     
    CHECK OUT 5 MORE APPETIZER CHEESECAKE RECIPES, FROM BLUE CHEESE TO SALMON.

    Now onto dessert! In addition to dulce de leche caramel, this Mexican=accented cheesecake has chili powder mixed into the chocolate swirl.

    DULCE DE LECHE CHEESECAKE RECIPE

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 1-3/4 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 35 cookies)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  

    Dulce de leche cheesecake, a Mexican spin
    on the creamy dessert. Photo courtesy Taste
    Of Home.

     

     
    Ingredients For The Filling

  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (13.4 ounces) dulce de leche (Taste Of Home uses Nestlé’s; look for it in the international foods section)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips or other semisweet chocolate
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 inches square). Securely wrap foil around pan. (If you have a leakproof springform pan, you can omit this step.)

    2. COMBINE the cookie crumbs, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a large bowl. Press onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan.

    3. BEAT cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the milk, flour and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust.

    4. POUR dulce de leche into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at 50% power until softened. Drop dulce de leche by tablespoonfuls over batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

    5. PLACE the springform pan in a large baking pan; create a water bath (bain-marie) by adding 1 inch of hot water into the larger pan. Bake at 350°F for 60-70 minutes or until the center is just set and top appears dull.

    6. REMOVR springform pan from the water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of the pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.

    7. MELT chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl; stir until smooth. Stir in chili powder. Spread over cheesecake.

    8. REFRIGERATE overnight. Remove sides of pan. Yield: 16 servings.
     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE CHEESECAKE RECIPES.
      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO: Chipotle Beer

    Some people don’t want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tequila: They want a beer. So here’s a hot number designed by Frontera Grill’s Rick Bayless for Bohemia Beer:

    BOHEMIA CHIPOTLE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • Chipotle rimming salt (recipe below)
  • 2 fresh lime wedges, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce or 1 teaspoon canned chipotles en adobo, puréed
  • Ice
  • 6 ounces chilled Bohemia beer
  • Garnish: cucumber slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE chipotle rimming salt: Thoroughly mix 2 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt and 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile powder in a small bowl. Pour out onto a small plate to use for rimming beer glasses.

     

    Beer and hot sauce with a salt rim. Photo courtesy Bohemia Beer.

     

    2. WET the rim of a tall glass with lime wedge. Then dip the rim of the glass into the chipotle rimming salt.

    3. SQUEEZE the juice from the remaining lime pieces into the glass. Stir in the chipotle hot sauce or chipotles in adobo.

    4. FILL the glass with ice. Pour in the Bohemia beer. Mix gently. Garnish glass rim with a cucumber slice. Serve.

     

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE BEERS IN OUR BEER SECTION.

      

    Comments

    CINCO DE MAYO: Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup Recipe

    Soup for Cinco de Mayo. Photo courtesy
    Dole.

     

    You could whip up some tortilla soup for Cinco de Mayo. Or, try this Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup.

    There are dozens of “Mexican-style” Chicken Soup recipes out there. This one is tasty and easy to make. Don’t omit the lime or the cilantro; both provide authentic (and delicious) Mexican flavors.

    MEXICAN CHICKEN & RICE SOUP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs (6 ounces)
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice for garnish
  • 1/2 lime, cut into wedges, for garnish
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE chicken thighs, carrots, onion, bay leaf and salt in a large stockpot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Cook over medium-high heat just until the mixture begins to boil. (NOTE: We remove the skin from the thighs to reduce the fat and cholesterol in the soup.)

    2. REDUCE heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is tender. Remove all the ingredients from the stock. Discard the onion and bay leaf. When cool enough to handle, remove the chicken from the bone and chop the chicken and carrots into bite-sized pieces.

    3. PLACE 1/4 cup rice in the bottom of each of 4 bowls. Distribute the chicken, carrots, chopped red onion and cilantro evenly among them and top with 1 cup of stock. Squeeze some lime juice on top and serve, garnished with a lime wedge.

    Makes: 4 Servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Biscochitos, Cinco De Mayo Cookies

    Cookie maven Ann Clark of Make More Cookies wants more people to bake biscochitos. Crisp and crunchy, biscochitos are a cinnamon cookies, “a cross between shortbread and cinnamon toast,” says Ann. You don’t have to shape them like cactus or chiles; biscochitos are traditionally cut in a diamond shape for weddings or in a fleur de lis shape. Any cookie cutter will do. (The cactus and chili pepper cookie cutters are available on Amazon or at AnnClark.com.)

    These classic Mexican cookies are “the perfect cookies to nibble on during Cinco de Mayo,” says Ann. Often served at Christmas and at weddings, biscochitos came to Mexico by way of Spain; the inclusion of anise seed and brandy or wine or wine attests to their European heritage. They are beloved in the southwestern U.S., and are the official state cookie of New Mexico.

     

    Cactus- and chile-shaped cookies are a fun option for Cinco de Mayo. Photo courtesy Ann Clark.

     

    Recipes for biscochitos often state that you must use lard to make them authentic. Ann says that lard does, indeed, make cookies with a uniquely light, crisp texture. But it also makes them taste like lard. Her recipe uses a combination of shortening and butter.

    Two other departures from tradition: To help the cookies keep their shape, Ann’s recipe uses less baking powder than is usually called for. And, to reduce the risk of breakage, instead of dipping the baked cookies in cinnamon sugar they get a coating before going into the oven.

    This recipe makes about 20 cookies.

     

    Make biscochitos in your favorite shapes.
    Photo courtesy Cowgirl Way | Pinterest.

     

    BISCOCHITOS RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed or 1/2 teaspoon anise
    extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. STIR sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

    2. BEAT butter and shortening together in a bowl; add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until fluffy.

    3. ADD egg, brandy, vanilla and anise; mix until completely incorporated.

    4. WHISK together and add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix just until all ingredients are well blended; do not overmix. Chill dough for 3-4 hours before rolling.

    5. PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners.

    6. BRUSH each cookie lightly with water, using a pastry brush; sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly colored. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COOKIE RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Agua Fresca For Cinco De Mayo

    Make agua fresca for Cinco de Mayo. Photo
    © Raptor Captor | Fotolia.

     

    In Spanish, agua fresca means fresh water. In culinary terms, it refers to a variety of refreshing cold drinks that are sold by street vendors and at cafés throughout Latin America; they’re also sold bottled and are whipped up at home.

    A traditional agua fresca is an infused, sweetened water, flavored with fruits and/or vegetables—often a more complex layering of flavors than lemonade and limeade. It is nonalcoholic and noncarbonated.

    The recipes can include a combination of fruits or veggies, flowers (like hibiscus), herbs and/or spices, cereals (barley, oats, rice), seeds (chia), even almond flour. Agua de horchata, a very popular recipe, is made of rice spiced with cinnamon.

    While some look forward to Margaritas and other alcoholic libations to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, kids and adults who refrain from drinking should indulge in an agua fresca or two. Of course, you can add a shot of rum, tequila or other spirit for those who want to celebrate with it.

    Three of our favorite combinations:

  • Watermelon (or any melon) and basil
  • Cucumber with basil and mint
  • Hibiscus (made with hibiscus herbal tea) and honeydew
  •  

    They’re as easy to make as lemonade. Try different recipes and develop your own signature. You’ll be certain to have people dropping by through the warm spring and summer months.

    TIP: To ensure that the sugar dissolves, use simple syrup or ultrafine sugar (which you can make by pulsing regular sugar in the food processor or spice mill). You can infuse the simple sugar with herbs (we like basil or rosemary). Here’s the simple syrup recipe.

    And here’s the agua fresca recipe we had recently at Tres Carnes, a wonderful new Texican smoked meat spot in New York City (more about it below). The house agua fresca, a combination of apple, cucumber and lime, was so refreshing that we had a second. Thanks to executive chef Sasha Shor for sharing her recipe.

     

    TRES CARNES AGUA FRESCA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 cucumbers (English or other thin-skinned cucumbers), unpeeled
  • 6 granny smith apples, unpeeled
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup, made from 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water (or use agave)
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Sliced limes and/or cucumber for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE a basic simple syrup by boiling water and dissolving sugar in it. Reduce by 1/3 until a syrup forms. Cool completely.

    2. TRIM ends from cucumbers and chop into large chunks.

    3. CORE apples and remove stems, discard cores and seeds.

     

    Smoked pork shoulder, our favorite among three delicious smoked meats at Tres Carnes restaurant. Photo © Chris Gardiner | Fotolia.

    4. PURÉE cucumbers and apples with lime juice in a blender or food processor until all is incorporated and you have a thick purée. The consistency should be similar to thinned applesauce.

    5. STRAIN the purée mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing all fruit and vegetable pulp. You may have to strain twice depending on your strainer.

    6. ADD simple syrup and water and stir well. You may have some sediment but that’s ok!

    7. CHILL the agua fresca and serve over ice. Garnish and serve.
     

    TRES CARNES RESTAURANT: TEXICAN SMOKED MEATS IN A FAST FOOD VENUE

    Tres Carnes is the newest best thing to happen to fast food. The first outpost launched recently in New York City (at Sixth Avenue and 22nd Street). If the great food and lines snaked out the door are any indication, it’s a smash hit.

    You move through a line past the hot table, where personable counter staff put whatever you want in a bowl, in a burrito wrap or onto a plate with two soft tortillas. You choose from three kinds of smoked meat (the “tres carnes”) prepared by Mike Rodriguez, an award-winning pitmaster—smoked brisket, chicken adobo and BBQ pork shoulder—and revel in the delicious sides of beans, corn, greens, guacamole and squash. Chili is Texas-style: all meat, no beans.

    There are so many delicious sides that vegetarians can have as wonderful a meal as carnivores. Everything is seasoned with great finesse, and the food is of a quality that doesn’t get any better at far fancier, white tablecloth restaurants. In fact, we can’t think of any other Tex-Mex restaurant we’d rather return to.

    The eatery is so new that there are no photos of the fab food on the website, no place to sign up for information, not even a Facebook page or Twitter. But keep checking at TresCarnes.com, and hope that a Tres Carnes comes to you, soon.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Stoli Hot & Infused Jalapeño Vodka

    Thinking ahead to Cinco de Mayo? Bring something hot to the party—a bottle of Stoli Hot vodka, with jalapeño flavor and a hint of chipotle smoke. You can also make your own (recipe below).

    Introduced last year as a new flavor, Stoli Hot is a reformulated version of the 1962 flavor, Pepper (Pertsovka). Another 1962 flavor, Honey and Herb (Okhotnichya), is now called Stoli Sticki. They were the brand’s first flavored vodkas, and the freshening up of the concepts was a 50th anniversary celebration.

    Stoli Hot mixes well with lime juice, mango nectar, orange juice and pineapple juice. We loved it in a frozen mango Margarita, the flavors echoing our favorite flavor of paleta (Mexican ice pop), mango chili lime.

    The distiller has developed Stoli Hot cocktail recipes, including, among others:

  • Stoli Hot & Sour: 1 part Stoli Hot, 1 part Rose’s Lime Juice
  • Stoli Bubbly Hot: 2 parts each Stoli Hot and tonic water
  • Stoli Hot Bloody Shot: 2 parts Stoli Hot, 2 parts tomato juice, 1/2 parts fresh lemon juice, pinch prepared horseradish, dash Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Some like it hot. They should enjoy drinking shots of Stoli Hot. Photo courtesy Stolichnaya Vodka.

  • Stoli Hot Shot: 1 shot Stoli Hot with a jalapeño garnish (we used a pickled jalapeño slice)
  • Stoli Hot Screw: 2 parts Stoli Hot, 1 part orange juice
  • Stoli Red Hot: 2 parts Stoli Hot, 1 part cranberry juice
  •  
    There are plenty of ways to have a hot time on Cinco de Mayo!

    MAKE YOUR OWN INFUSED JALAPEÑO VODKA

    You can infuse your own vodka with jalapeños, and can also play around with a touch of chipotle or liquid smoke flavor. Home-infused vodka will have a different flavor from Stolichnaya’s, since commercial vodkas are flavored with extracts instead of infused with fresh fruit.

    Just because you’ll be infusing jalapeños doesn’t mean you can buy the cheapest vodka on the shelf: The impurities will still be apparent. Of course, you don’t have to infuse the most expensive vodka, either, unless you want to.

    Ingredients

  • 1 750ml bottle quality vodka
  • 4 large jalapeno chiles, washed and patted dry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE stems from jalapeños and cut into quarters lengthwise. Add to vodka bottle.

    2. STEEP in a cool, dark place for one week; then taste. If you’d like a hotter flavor, continue steeping and check weekly.

    3. REMOVE the jalapeños. You can keep them in the bottle for a picturesque touch, and they will continue to add flavor for a few months until their flavors are thoroughly incorporated.

    TIP: It’s not easy to remove the fruit from the bottle. Instead, keep an empty vodka bottle around for making infused vodka. Transfer the vodka you’re infusing into that bottle and add the fruit. Then, when your infusion is complete, decant the flavored vodka into the original bottle.
     
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