Strawberry Hibiscus Margarita

Strawberry Hibiscus Margarita¡Hola! I just want to take some time to thank all of my new readers that are now following the blog thanks to the NPR feature. Welcome to the familia, I truly appreciate the support/comments/and e-mails!

A few weeks ago, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes reached out to me to see if I could create a signature cocktail for the opening of their new exhibition, ¡Mírame! Expressions of Queer Latinx Art and it was such a great experience–and so fitting! The exhibition featured 12 artists from the Latinx LGBTQ community, where they explore their Latinidad, gender and sexuality and the difficulties of trying to fit into two worlds which can be unaccepting. I definitely recommend the exhibition if you live in the LA area, the exhibition runs through December 9th!

For the exhibition, I pitched a bunch of fun cocktails and they chose the Tepache Mezcal Margarita. I wasn’t expecting for them to go that route because in my experience, Tepache can be hit or miss with people because it shares similarities with Kombucha. The crowd seemed to be split in half between people who had no idea what Tepache was and people who loved it. It was a really good opportunity for me to share some knowledge and introduce people to such an iconic drink with pre-columbian roots, and it was also a great experience connecting with those who loved it and were reminded of their visits to Mexico. They instantly lit up. I’m currently reworking the recipe for the Tepache Mezcal Margarita, so keep your eyes peeled for that next month.

I decided to make this strawberry hibiscus margarita inspired by Billy because I’ve lost track of how many times he’s mentioned strawberries and hibiscus in the same sentence this past month. It became an ear worm (one of those songs that gets stuck in your head that you can’t get out until you actually listen to the song/make the margarita) so here we are enjoying this delicious margarita on the first day of summer!

If you’re also currently experiencing a heat wave (it was 102 degrees en mi rancho yesterday), take some time to cool off, and enjoy a margarita!

Happy Summer Solstice!

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Elote Preparado

Elote Preparado

One of the things I miss the most about living with my parents, believe it or not, are the copious amounts of street food venders that used to roam the streets of SanTana. Not only were we fortunate enough to have paleteros walking by, but we also had hardworking brown men and women walking the streets selling fruta picada, elotes, empanadas, and tamales. The eloteros where my favorite of the bunch. They’d usually walk by ringing their bells when ever I’d be out in the yard miserably helping my dad mow the lawn, and it was always a quick break from having to deal with my dad’s last attempts at trying to butch/toughen me up through manual labor. But, I’ll stop right there and save the rest of the details for when I share my coming out story.

Protip: If you want to earn a little street cred with your Mexican friends, don’t refer to this as “Mexican Street Corn”, “Elote”, or “Mexican Corn”–call them what they are, elotes preparados. 😉

With summer coming up, and with tons of sweet corn starting to flood local supermarkets, elotes preparados are the perfect effortless side dish for your next carne asada gathering/novela binging. If you weren’t aware already..Maria la del Barrio, RBD, Rubi, La Usurpadora and tons of other good classics are up on Netflix now…you’re welcome! 😉

Elote Preparado

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Vegan Churros with a Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be a guest on one of my favorite podcasts; the Tamarindo Podcast! I had been a long time listener, so when Luis asked me to be on I gladly accepted! I was so excited and slightly nervous and I couldn’t believe I was in the studio recording with them. If you love a good podcast, check them out! Whenever I listen to them or to Latinos Who Lunch I feel like I’m sitting en la sala hanging out con mis primos. They instantly become like family, and I love how relatable they are.

You can listen to the episode here.

When I posted the Vegan tacos Al Pastor on Tuesday, I had no idea I was going to get the reaction that I did. They went over so well! I had so many people tag me in their Insta stories who were making the marinade and I was living for it–Thank you for showing me so much love!

Keeping with the Vegan theme, we’re going to be making vegan churros with a vegan salted caramel dipping sauce today. The churro recipe comes from Eddie Garzas’s ¡Salud! Vegan Mexican Cookbook, which is one of the cookbooks I picked up a few weeks ago. This is a great book for anyone who’s Vegan and is looking for an authentic Mexican experience, or for those who like having alternatives for days when they don’t feel like eating meat.

I wish I were actually Vegan so I could truly appreciate the authenticity in these dishes. Eddie not only showcases modern Mexican cuisine, but he also focuses on spotlighting pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican dishes, taking it back to its plant based roots.

Today we’re pairing these Churros with a Vegan Salted Caramel dipping sauce because when I was visualizing what I wanted to do with the churros, I could not stop smelling cajeta. I kept picturing myself walking around El Jardín de la Villa being enveloped by the aroma of tacos de adobada, hot cakes with cajeta sizzling over a hot skillet, and the smell of dough being deep fried and being tossed around in sweet sugar and cinnamon.

Are there any vegan recipes you’d like to see in the future? Let me know! Non-vegans, we’ll be back to our regular recipes next week! See you then.

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Vegan Tacos Al Pastor

Vegan Tacos Al Pastor

One of my collabs with Mitú went up on Friday! You can watch me make a refreshing watermelon cocktail inspired by the spicy watermelon paletas I grew up with here.

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The last time my parents came over to visit, my dad mentioned he wanted to take a family trip to Cancún, and to be completely honest I don’t know if I’d want to go. The last time we were there, we had an okay time..there was nothing about Cancún that left us wanting to come back. It’s been two years since we’ve visited, as it was my reward for losing the 40 lbs. I had put on during my last year in college.

I decided that February that I was going to finally make a change to my lifestyle, so I booked our flights and I told myself that I was going to take my shirt off at the beach regardless of what my body looked like. I was always the kid who never took his shirt off at the pool because I was super shy about my body, but I worked hard and trained my butt off and I actually managed to reach my goal weight a week before our trip.

Vegan Tacos Al PastorCancun has beautiful blue beaches and good food, but it is a very tourist heavy location and it lacked the feeling of being in Mexico. We decided to stay en el centro to get a more authentic experience while we were there but we never found quite what we were looking for. We did however, find amazing tacos al pastor. They were completely different than the ones I was used to. The pork was sweeter, and the taqueros really played up the pineapple, cinnamon, and the achiote notes which was different than the heavier guajillo flavor bomb I was used to.

We’re going to be recreating a vegan version of those tacos al estilo Cancún today because I finally started dipping my toes in the vegan pond. I have many friends who are vegan who’ve been asking me to write recipes for some of their favorite dishes and I was excited to finally incorporate TVP (meat substitute) into a recipe. As a non-vegan I didn’t really notice that the pork was missing, TVP has the texture of meat and stays moist and flavorful, unlike pork which can become tough and dry when it is slightly overcooked. If you’re vegan, I hope these tacos deliver an authentic experience, and if you’re not vegan, don’t be afraid to try something new. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

(Billy also has a recipe up today for tacos de pollo verde , you can check it out here)

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Flan de Limón (Key Lime Flan)

Flan de Limón (Key Lime Flan)

Lately, I had been having trouble trying to stay afloat. I had so many projects land on my lap that I had to take a quick (baby) mental break because I was starting to feel overworked, drained and really uninspired. I’m not the type of person who does their “best work” under pressure, I like to take my time and do things at my own pace. I’m a perfectionist, which can be extra crippling at times especially when my OCD compulsions decide say “¡Hola!”. So I turned to retail therapy to help alleviate my stress, and to find some inspiration.

Flan de Limón (Key Lime Flan)

I didn’t own any Mexican cookbooks, so I bought a few of the ones a few friends recommended. One of the books I got was “Claudia’s Cocina, A Taste of Mexico” authored by Claudia Sandoval, winner of Master Chef Season 6! I was really excited to get my hands on this book because she takes great pride in her Mexican heritage and I was instantly sucked in when I read her introduction.

She says,

“I hope this book does a couple of things. I hope it reminds you that you should never be ashamed of  where you come from, but rather celebrate every bit of who you are. I hope it encourages you to stop making excuses and push the boundaries of your fears and day-to-day life. And I hope that it inspires you to cook food that doesn’t always look pretty but that warms your soul.”

And I couldn’t stop relating to it.

Flan de Limón (Key Lime Flan)

For much of my childhood, I was made to feel ashamed of who I was and where I came from. For wearing the huaraches on my feet, for speaking a foreign language, and for being a little darker than everyone else. Now, I’m taking my culture back, and I’m owning it. I’m wearing my huaraches proudly, and I’m embracing mi piel de color cajeta–without making any apologies for it.

One of the first recipes I landed on when I first opened the book was a recipe that Claudia has for a Key Lime Flan and I don’t know that I could have landed on a better recipe because it is exactly what my soul needed! The flan itself is easy to make, and it was one of the dishes she made for her finale dinner. It’s sweet, a little tart from the key limes, and we’re topping it off with a tequila/triple sec whipped topping. I  truly enjoyed reading the bits and pieces Claudia shared about her life and how she’s been able to connect with her culture through food. She’s the true definition of a Chingona, a total badass.

In the book she includes recipes for Mariscos estilo Mazatlán, basics like tortillas and frijoles de la olla, and staples like enchiladas, chile verde pork and huevos divorciados. If you’re interested in learning a little more about her, you can find her cookbook here.

Don’t forget to take a minute to treat yourself. Make some flan, and unwind away!

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