Photo: Matt Bites
These homemade refreshers are the perfect accompaniment for any party. Instead of opening a bottle of wine or putting beers on ice for your next get together, try filling glass punch bowls and pitchers with brilliant tart red hibiscus water, sweet and sour tamarind water, or chia limeade for an extra dash of color and charm to the table.
Chia Lime Agua Fresca
Makes 9 cups
2 quarts water
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup chia seeds
Several sprigs of fresh sage for garnish (optional)
Stir together the water, lime juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the chia seeds and garnish with the optional sage sprigs. Serve in tall glasses over ice.
Hibiscus Agua Fresca
Makes 1 1/2 quarts
2 quarts water
3/4 cup dried Jamaica or hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup sugar or honey
Orange slices for garnish
Bring the water to a boil. Add the flowers and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar or honey, strain into a pitcher and refrigerate. Serve cold over ice with slices of orange as garnish.
Tamarind Agua Fresca
Makes 2 1/2 quarts
1 1/2 pounds dried tamarind pods or 1 pound pulp with seeds
1 gallon water
1 cup sugar
Remove and discard the hard outer pods of the dried tamarind. Combine the remaining dried tamarind or the prepared pulp with the water and bring to a boil.
Cook over medium heat about 30 minutes, or until the flesh is very soft, occasionally stirring and mashing with a whisk to break up the flesh and separate the seeds. Strain and discard the solids. Cool to room temperature and chill. Serve in tall glasses with plenty of ice.
Fresh Fruit Liquados
Liquados are lighter than milk shakes and can utilize virtually any fruit that is well ripened.
Makes 1 quart
2 1/2 cups chopped ripe fruit, such as 1 banana plus 10 strawberries, 1 small cantaloupe, 1/4 pineapple, 2 peaches or 2 kiwis plus 1 banana
1 1/2 cups cold milk
2 cups chopped ice
3 tablespoons honey
Combine the fruit with the milk, ice and honey in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into tall glasses and serve immediately.
This citrusy margarita with a hint of refreshing mint sets the mood for your winter escape to the tropics and sends the blues packing. Tangerines are packed full of Vitamin C and fiber, and some studies show their peels may lower cholesterol.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1 pinch tangerine zest
1 squeeze lime
5 fresh mint leaves
1 splash simple syrup, to taste
Ice, for cocktail shaker
1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila
1 ounce sparkling water
1 mint sprig, for garnish
1 tangerine peel twist, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, combine tangerine juice, zest, lime juice, mint, and simple syrup. Using a muddler or the back of a spoon, mash the mint to release flavor. Add ice and tequila. Shake thoroughly, pour into a chilled glass, and top with sparkling water. Stir lightly. Garnish with mint sprig and tangerine peel twist and serve immediately.
You’ll love this combination of roasted green chiles and luscious rich cheese. It’s amazing that all it takes is a great cheese and a great salsa to make a terrific tamale. This recipe can be split up by preparing the stuffing a day in advance.
Makes 12 to 16 tamales
1 pound ground masa for tamales
1/2 pound lard, clarified butter or vegetable shortening
4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded*
1/3 cup Tomatillo Salsa, see recipe
1 cup chicken stock, cold or at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons salt
Place the masa and lard or other shortening in separate containers in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes, until cold but not frozen.
Combine the roasted poblanos and tomatillo salsa in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and set aside. Mix together the chicken stock, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
When the masa is cold enough, empty into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with a paddle. Beat on medium speed until the masa is light in texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the speed up to medium-high and drizzle in the chicken stock mixture.
Remove the lard or other fat from the freezer. Turn the mixer speed up to high, add 1 tablespoon of the fat at a time, making sure each spoonful is incorporated before making the next addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes total. Test for lightness by dropping 1 tablespoon of masa into cold water: If it floats, the mixture is light enough. If not, continue beating at high speed a few minutes longer. Add the pureed chile mixture to the masa, and mix well to combine. Reserve at room temperature.
8 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced*
1/2 cup Tomatillo Salsa, plus extra for serving
1 teaspoon salt
3 packages dried corn husks, separated and soaked in hot water at least 2 hours or overnight
1 1/2 pounds panela cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
To make the stuffing, mix together the poblanos, 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa, and salt.
To make the tamales, spread 1 large or 2 small softened corn husks on a counter, with the narrow end pointing away from you. Leaving about 2 inches bare at the top, spread a 1/2-inch layer of masa over the center and one side of the husk. Divide the poblano mixture evenly and sprinkle over the portion of masa in the center of the husk. Top the chiles with some of the cubed cheese.
Fold the side covered with masa over the chiles and cheese, and then fold over the other side to enclose. Fold down the top flap. Place the folded tamale on a large square of aluminum foil and wrap to enclose. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Line a steamer or a pot fitted with a rack with corn husks. Cook over simmering water 45 minutes, or until the corn husks can be pulled away from the masa without sticking. Serve hot with Tomatillo Salsa.
Pozoles, more like stews than soups, are even heartier than caldos, thanks to the key starch ingredient of hominy, a form of corn. These heavy hitters are a whole meal – like a crunchy salad served over a thick meaty broth.
Serves 8 to 10
2 tablespoons lard, vegetable oil or chicken fat
2 medium onions, diced
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups canned hominy, drained
4 cups Carnitas, see recipe
4 cups Tomatillo Salsa, see recipe
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/4 head cabbage, shredded
2 limes, cut into wedges
Melt the fat in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until golden brown and limp, about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook briefly, just until the aroma is released.
Add the chicken stock, hominy and carnitas, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatillo salsa and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with the garnishes for sprinkling at the table.