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Spicy Pinterest Finds for Cinco de Mayo

There are some great recipes and ideas to be found on Pinterest. I really have to watch myself on that site otherwise it’ll be hours of time spent gawking at gorgeous recipes you’d love to make but may never have the time! That’s why I like sifting through loads of them to bring you simple and easy recipes that meet my spicy requirements and get us all back to cooking! Try these great looking recipes this weekend for Cinco de Mayo and celebrate Mexico with lots of spice!

You can also check out my Spicy Mexico board on Pinterest for other great finds!!

Cinco-de-Mayo-Roundup

1. Tequila Lime Halibut Tacos from Use Real Butter. 2. Tomatillo Salsa Verde from She Wears Many Hats. 3. Mexican Paletas from Pineapple and Coconut. 4. Michelada – Spicy Beer from HGTV. 5. Mexican Pizza from Fitness Magazine.

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Summer in May: Spicy Ice Pops to Cool You Off

We’ve had great weather here the past few weekends and feels like summer is trying to make an early entrance. This weather just makes me feel like bringing out my summer dresses and tank tops I stashed away for the winter. It also makes me crave more ice cream….actually, ice pops. Spicy, sweet, sour ice pops for my month long tribute to Mexico!

Honestly I can have ice cream throughout the year but ice pops or quimalitos, as we say in Dominican Republic, or snow cones (Frio Frio or Piraguas depending on where you’re from), are for me, treats I will only have in the Summer. They’re refreshing, sweet and supposed to go with tank tops and shorty shorts…ok, reality check, I’m no spring chicken so Bermuda shorts will have to do.

I’ve always made my own ice pops but wanted to try different flavors. I remember making these when I was about 7 or 8 years old. In our house we made mini pops in ice cube trays all the time. We used evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, and stuck toothpicks in them…simple and delicious. Today, because I think of myself to be a bit more sophisticated, ha ha, I use fresh fruits and look to create interesting flavors. I must confess though, that the evaporated milk quimalito will never go out of style for me! This time I made a special spicy treat using mangoes, coconut milk and tajin.

I got his idea from seeing countless Mexican ladies selling mangoes sprinkled with chile pepper when going to watch the Mets at the old Shea stadium. The sweet and spicy go very well together and it’s a combination used in a lot of cultures. In Mexico I’m sure you find this everywhere from street vendors selling spicy fruits, to lollipops dipped in chile pepper powder and to fruit ices served with chile. The flavors work well and the tajin, which is a special blend of chile pepper infused with lime, adds some acidity to this popsicle that works with the coconut milk. Just add ingredients to a blender and freeze!

Spicy Mango Mini Ice Pops

1 mango, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
agave, to taste
Tajin

Add all, except tajin, to blender and puree. Add more coconut milk if too thick. Sprinkle Tajin into ice cube trays.

If you don’t have tajin, you can replace it with a chile powder blend you like. Pour blended mixture into trays and freeze. About 1/2 or hour into freezing, stick toothpicks in!

I also mixed up blackberries, pineapples and added a little spice to that too. It’s fruity, healthy and all natural!!

These are so incredibly good and great for snacking when you want to cool off and head back outside to enjoy that sunshine!!

Spicy Blackberry & Pineapple Mini Ice Pops

1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 pineapple juice
Tajin

Add all, except tajin, to blender and puree. Add more juice if too thick. Sprinkle Tajin into ice cube trays. Mixture will be chunky and that’s fine. You could strain to get some of the seeds from the blackberries out but make sure you add back some of the fruit pulp. Pour blended mixture into trays and freeze. About 1/2 or hour into freezing, stick toothpicks in!

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Mexico on my mind: Bright Inspirations

I’ve been meaning to make it down to Mexico for a while now and been wanting to visit Oaxaca, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Frida Kahlo’s old stomping grounds. I day dream of the sights, the sounds, the food, the blazing sun on my back, the drinks…a girl can daydream no? I could just book a trip and be really irresponsible but I have so much work to do here before I can really getaway. So right now I’ll just settle for my little web-escapes….Pinterest, Trip Advisor, Food Gawker! ha!

So here are my fresh finds…things that remind me of my previous trips to Mexico and things that just make me want to go back…

I want to sip my morning cup of Joe here, with a little milk, cinnamon and nutmeg please! Love the bright colors and gorgeous view…ok, go book your trip! This one here is the Villa Mandarinas in Puerto Vallarta, photo from Around the World Villas

These gorgeous flags always transport me to Mexico and this lovely Etsy shop, Ay Mujer, has really taken it to the next level! They personalize them!

Are these awesome cookie designs or what? Love the details and colors inspired by Dia de Los Muertos! You can get these and many other Mexican inspired cookies at Sweet Sugarbelle

The colors and patterns remind me of Mexican textiles…just follow link for instructions on how to make your own friendship bracelet from Honestly WTF.

I gotta have this Opal Clutch from Mar y Sol! Love the thin gold thread and the wooden closure…the stripes remind me of a burst of sunshine…perfect for a vacation.

Last but not least, we have to have a little spice and thought I’d share this great recipe for hot sauce. This one is made with habanero peppers so it’s quite hot. Seed your peppers and remove the membranes if you want more flavor than heat. This one is from Lottie and Doof.

Hope you were able to escape with me, if only for a little while. This just makes me want to pack a bag but instead I’ll do the next best thing and make you something spicy and inspired by Mexico! As I mentioned in my last post, this month is all about Mexico!

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All the Way Mexican in May: Chicken Tortilla Soup

I might have been Mexican in a previous life…Frida Kahlo maybe? Ooh the suffering…never mind. I do love her work though and that of her husband, Diego Rivera, so much so that I named my long hair Chihuahua after him. I’ve always been drawn to Mexico’s rich culture, textiles, the beautiful, bright colors and the food, can’t forget the food. I always enjoyed Mexican food but it wasn’t until I first visited Cancun about 20 years ago that I got to experience real Mexican food. Yes, Cancun, the tourist and spring break hot spot…don’t laugh!

Cancun isn’t exactly a foodie destination but I’ve always been one of those to go off the beaten path and wander to where the locals would hang out. I avoided Senor Frogs the like plague (sorry senor) and any other similar establishment that lined the main roads in search of local eateries. What I loved about the food was the simplicity, the spicy heat and the use of fresh ingredients. Everything tasted homemade, like someone’s Grandma was in the kitchen. Today when I go out for Mexican food, I want that same type of experience, homemade, fresh and authentic…and strong margaritas of course!!

For the month of May I’m going to do a Mexico series and post pictures of my inspirations, my trips to Mexico and as many recipes as I can. It’ll be my tribute to one of my favorite places.

So without further ado, here’s a classic that’s so easy and quick to make. It only looks complicated but it takes about an hour to pull this together. Just prep your ingredients and follow easy instructions below. The flavors are bold and fresh and so rewarding! It’s a healthy bowl of soup too!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2-3 chicken breasts, seasoned cooked and shredded
4 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 chipotles in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 qt of water
1 cube chicken bouillon
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped & extra for topping
3 corn tortillas
sea salt to taste
1 haas avocado, cubed
handful of tortilla chips or fry up 3 corn tortillas strips
shredded white or yellow cheddar
handful of radishes, sliced

1. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic and chipotle to a blender and puree.

2. In large pot, heat up oil on medium heat, then add tomato mixture and let cook.

3. Add chicken bouillon and water and turn up heat to high. Add the cooked chicken and salt to taste. The chicken bouillon already has salt so you want to make sure you just added enough salt to your liking. Add the cilantro and let soup cook for 10 minutes until the flavors are well blended.

4. Take the corn tortillas, tear it to pieces and just drop it in the soup. This will help thicken the soup. Lower heat and let soup simmer for another 10 minutes.

5. Ladle soup into bowl and top with a bit of avocado, shredded cheese, radishes, fresh cilantro and crumbled pieces of tortilla chips, this last ingredient will give it a nice crunch.

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Spicy Pozole Soup to Heat Up the Month of May

Ah Pozole, you’ve been on my mind for such a long time, so nice to finally get to have you! Ok, in case you didn’t know, I enjoy food, really good tasting, spicy and flavorful foods. My mouth waters when I think of certain dishes I’ve had over the years and plot in my head when I’m going to have it again. I’ve only had Pozole at restaurants and always wanted to learn how to make it since my favorite taqueria only serves it on Sunday…pfft. This soup just makes me feel so happy and cozy. Have you ever had a meal that just makes you feel this way? It’s what keeps me going back to certain places and it’s what inspires me to cook. Food should do that, it should make you smile and feel inspired for what ever.

Pozole is a popular Mexican soup made with hominy (pozole) and pork. Pozole is used in the soup but the soup also goes by same name. It’s mostly a broth with seasoned chunks of tender pork shoulder and lots of fixings. The soup is usually brought out with several mini bowls filled with chopped onions, cilantro, cabbage, jalapenos, avocados and you get to add as much as you like. It’s also what makes it so interesting, you get this piping hot bowl of soup with cool, crunchy cabbage, raw onions, a bit of acidity from the limes and heat you can adjust to your liking. Love that! Another note is that it’s a great option for those looking for gluten free recipes.

I made the red version of Pozole which uses pureed chile peppers but it can also be made with a clear broth. I also had a head start because I used a leftover pork shoulder roast I had froze after Easter dinner. I probably cut the cook time down by at least an hour because of this so if you don’t have any leftover roast, don’t fret, the stove is doing all the cooking! This is pretty much what I had…I’d say about 2-3 lbs on bone and just dropped whole thing in seasoned water to make the broth. I did remove some of the meat to brown it up a little.

Since I started with leftovers, I removed as much meat as possible and browned that meat in a little vegetable oil, with onions and garlic. I then added it to the broth with all the other seasonings. If you start with raw meat, your pork should be cut into cubic chunks and you’ll definitely have more meat than I had, see below. I adapted this recipe from Simply Recipes so please check out their instructions on preparing the raw meat.

Make this stew on a chilly day, it’ll make you feel warm and relaxed or make it after a night of hanging out and help cure that hangover! Better yet, make it to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, is a day that’s become very popular here in the US for celebrating Mexican food and culture. This year is it’s 150th anniversary. The day marks a small battle won by Mexicans in the state of Puebla in an unlikely defeat against the French in the late 1800’s. A small battle, with respect to the rest of the revolution, but very important in boosting morale in the area and its people. Here in the states the day has turned into an overly hyped and commercialized “holiday”. This is fine by me since I tend to stay away from the loud, crazy parties and I already got my fill in college! I just enjoy the good times with friends and family. For me it’s another day I get to have great Mexican food as I try to do all year round!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

ps. This soup is spicy with the chipotle peppers!  The original recipe called for a guajillo chile sauce but that hardly has any heat at all so I opted for the chipotles in adodo. If you like it spicy, you’ll love this! You can try just adding half the chipotle peppers first, tasting soup after 5 minutes and then add the rest if spice is right for you. Soup is usually served with diced jalapenos but you don’t really need it for this dish, at least I didn’t think so.

Red Spicy Pozole
serves 6-8
adapted from Simply Recipes

2-3 lbs pork shoulder
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp oregano
1-2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
2 bay leaves
8 garlic cloves (4 whole, 4 minced)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 16 oz can of hominy, “pozole
1 4 oz can of chipotles in adobo sauce

Fixings
1 haas avocado, cut into small chunks
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of cilantro chopped
1 red cabbage, shredded
1 cup of radishes, sliced
1. Take off all the meat from bone and set aside.  Since I started with leftovers I already had seasoned meat so I just wanted to brown the meat a bit more. Take the bone and add it to a large pot and cover with water. Add the salt, cumin, turmeric, oregano, bay leaves and 4 whole garlic cloves and let boil. Make sure you taste and adjust the salt if you like. Let boil for at least 30 minutes so you get a well flavored broth from the bone.

2. Heat up 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the chunks of pork and toss around with the onions. Once the meat is browned a bit, add the 4 gloves of minced garlic and mix some more.

3. Add the meat to the broth mixture, then add the pozole and let cook for another 10-15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so. The pozole will plump up to twice it’s size.

4. Add the chipotle in adobo sauce to a blender and puree the chiles making sure the chiles are well chopped. Add the sauce to the Pozole soup and stir.

5. Lower the heat and let the Pozole simmer for another 10 minutes until the flavors are all blended well.

6. While the soup is cooking, prepare all the fixings and add each to small serving bowls.

7. Serve the Pozole in bowls and add as many fixings as you like.

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My love for hot peppers…

I have so much to share with you all and very excited about all the hot, peppery food news, happenings and products out in the market today. We’re seeing more chili peppers in products we never thought would go well with peppers. Liquor manufacturers, confectioners, bakers, and home cooks are experimenting more with peppers and using it in their products and foods to meet the demands of this quickly growing market. Could it be because of the prevalence of cooking shows and folks are learning more about pepper varieties and how to use them or that some naturalist and doctors are claiming health benefits? Who knows, probably a bit of both! Some say it improves circulation, others say it helps clear colds but I won’t get into the details, for that you can consult the professionals, but I do know that it clears the sinuses right up and produces sweat like you’ve just run a mile so that’s got to be good!

I’m happy that many have taken notice since just five years ago it was so difficult finding food or products that uniquely blended chili peppers in new and interesting ways. You’re probably saying “well people have been using chili peppers since the beginning of time.” Well yes, of course, but not easily accessible and not in store bought chocolates, infused in vodka for martinis, in candy and syrups, and even in cup cakes! I LOVE the creative ways peppers are being used nowadays and hope to see more and share some of those with you here as well as my own creations, some savory and some sweet. Stay tuned…

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