Monthly Archives: May 2006



1 small mango, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 small jicama, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 small red onion, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
2 to 3 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and pitted
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, washed and roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Toss mango, jicama, onion, 1/2 of the chilies, and lime juice in a bowl with salt and pepper.

In another bowl mash avocado into a lumpy puree being careful not to over mash. Fold in the cilantro and mango mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt, pepper, chilies, and lime juice as necessary. Serve with tortilla chips or as a garnish for ceviche or grilled fish.


Refresco de Mango

Serves 4 to 6

4 cups cubed ripe mango
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Lime wedges for garnish

In a blender, combine the mango and water and puree at high speed until smooth. Thin with more water, if desired, and add sugar and lemon juice to taste. Blend again and serve in tall glasses, over ice, with a wedge of lime.


The Golden Age of Tequila:  A Crash Course

As a new generation of tequila enthusiasts praise the “buttery taste” and “subtlety” of fruit-infused and oak barrel-aged premium tequilas, it’s hard to believe how far tequila has come since its days as the cheap firewater pounded shot by shot at frat parties. We’ve put together a “101” for those who’d like to venture beyond the nasty shots of yesterday into the Golden Age of Tequila.

Tequila Defined
Tequila is produced from the heart of the blue agave plant, which contrary to popular belief is not a cactus. A true connoisseur looks for “100% Agave” on the label. Any given bottle can contain as little as 51% agave and still be classified as tequila. Premium tequilas, those made from 100% fermented blue agave sugars, are truly smooth, pure, and a pleasure to sip. In 1997, new connoisseurs suffered through a tequila shortage that sent prices soaring as a fungus plague destroyed many agave plants. In the years since, production has grown at an astounding rate to satisfy export demands. Newly sown fields of pale blue agave now stretch across the rolling hills of Mexico’s western states as far as the eye can see.

Tequila 101:  The Four Varieties

Blanco or Silver
Traditional, clear, fresh-from-the-still tequila is called Blanco (white) or Silver and must be bottled immediately after distillation. It has the true bouquet and flavor of the blue agave and is usually very strong.

Oro or Gold
Oro (Gold) Tequila is just traditional, clear tequila mellowed a bit by adding colorants and flavorings like caramel. It’s best used for frozen margaritas.

Reposado or Rested
Reposado is traditional, clear tequila that has “rested” in white oak casks for two months to one year. Reposado has a more natural mellowed taste than Oro tequila, with the oak barrels lending a pleasing bouquet and pale color. The blue agave flavor remains, but is gentler to the taste.

Añejo or Aged
Anejo tequila is traditional, clear tequila aged in white oak casks for more than a year. It’s amber color and distinctive woody bouquet and flavor come from it’s extended time in the porous oak barrels.

Although not a variety unto itself, Reserva is a special Añejo tequila kept in oak casks for up to eight years.

How to Drink Tequila

Shots are still an acceptable way to enjoy tequila, but if you want to savor the full flavor of quality tequila, skip the salt and lime (the training wheels) and try sipping. For the most authentic experience, sip room temperature tequila from a “caballito”, a 2-ounce glass made exclusively for this purpose. It’s best accompanied by sangrita, a potent chaser of freshly squeezed orange and lime juices seasoned with salt, cayenne pepper, and a touch of grenadine. With Mary Sue and Susan’s authentic Sangrita recipe, now’s the time to show off your newfound Tequila 101 prowess at your next fiesta!


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