Banana Cream Pie


Makes 1 pie

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3 cups graham cracker crumbs

Pastry Cream
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
4 cups milk
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

5 to 6 firm, but ripe bananas, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices
Whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine melted butter and crumbs. Press into glass pie pan so crust is approximately 1/4-inch thick and forms a lip at the rim.

Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, until golden and set. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add 1 cup milk and egg yolks, and whisk to combine well.

Combine remaining 3 cups milk with remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a pan and bring just to a boil. In a slow stream, pour hot milk mixture into egg mixture in bowl, whisking constantly. Return mixture to stovetop and cook, whisking constantly, until very thick and bubbly.

Whisk in butter and vanilla extract, strain mixture, and set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble, spread a 1/4-inch layer of lukewarm pastry cream on bottom of cooked and cooled crust. Top with a layer of banana slices in concentric circles (as close together as possible) to completely cover. Top with another layer of pastry cream, then bananas, until you have three layers of bananas. The top layer should be pastry cream. Chill then serve garnished with whipped cream.


Blood Orange Jalapeño Margarita


Spice up those winter blues with a ruby red margarita made with the  abundant blood oranges of the season and a little muddled jalapeño. Shake up a few at home with this recipe from Chefs Mary Sue and Susan or visit Border Grill Mandalay Bay and Border Grill Forum Shops for a delicious variation on this spicy and tart cocktail served with a mole rim.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 slice jalapeño or serrano chile, with seeds
2 ounces tequila blanco
1 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice*, preferably Moro
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce agave simple syrup**
Ice, for cocktail shaker and glass
1 strip blood orange peel, for garnish (optional)
1 slice jalapeño, for garnish (optional)


Place chile slice in a cocktail shaker and using a muddler or the back of a spoon, pound and crush to release flavor and heat.  Add tequila, blood orange juice, lime juice, and agave simple syrup.  Fill cocktail shaker with ice, cover, and shake thoroughly to combine.

To remove jalapeño seeds, double strain mixture by pouring through the cocktail shaker strainer and a small wire mesh strainer into a rocks glass filled with ice.  Garnish if desired and serve immediately.

* Straining the blood orange juice to remove the pulp creates a more concentrated flavor and a smoother juice.

** To make agave simple syrup, combine equal parts agave nectar and boiling water.  Cool and store in refrigerator until ready to use.


Anticuchos (Skewered Beef Hearts)

Anticucho Skewers

Mary Sue loves grilled beef heart for its chewy texture and lean, clean, meaty flavor. When well trimmed, it needs only a brief visit to a hot grill and a drizzle of aioli. If you can’t find arbol chiles for the marinade, feel free to change up the peppers depending on whatever your heart desires!

2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
1 to 2 dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound beef hearts, trimmed of all sinew and silver skin
Aji Amarillo Aioli, see recipe below, for serving

To make the marinade, puree garlic, jalapeno and arbol chiles, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in the blender. With motor still running, slowly add olive oil until thoroughly incorporated.

Cut the beef hearts into 4- x 1/2-inch strips about 1/2-inch thick. Place in a bowl, pour on the marinade, and toss to coat evenly. Cover, refrigerate, and marinate for 2 hours.

To cook, preheat the grill or broiler. Thread 4 or 5 pieces of beef heart on each skewer. Grill the skewers until seared on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes total. Serve hot, over Arugula, Fennel, and Blood Orange Salad if desired, with a drizzle of Aji Amarillo Aioli.


Aji Amarillo Aioli

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons aji amarillo paste, to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley


In a blender, combine egg yolks, vinegar, lime juice and zest, garlic, salt, and aji amarillo paste.  Blend until smooth. With the motor still running, drizzle in olive oil very slowly until mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise (adding too much oil will cause the aioli to break).  Stir in parsley, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.


Venezuelan Spiced Hot Chocolate


There’s nothing like a rich mug of hot chocolate to warm the soul on a cold winter night. We add our signature twist to this cup of chocolate with a fragrant mix of spices and a touch of orange zest. For the chocolate, try a nice Venezuelan cacao like El Rey’s Gran Saman Dark Chocolate 70% for a bold, earthy flavor.

Makes 8 cups

1/2 gallon whole milk
5 whole allspice berries
3 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons brown sugar, or to taste
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup rum

Combine milk with spices, orange zest, and sugar in large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, until milk just starts to bubble around the edges (scalding). Lower heat and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep 10 minutes.

Strain spice-infused milk into another large heavy pot, discarding spices. Add chocolate and rum to milk. Cook over low heat, whisking briskly until chocolate is completely melted. Serve immediately.

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