Atole de fresa

Long, cold winter nights mean one thing in my house: we’re making hot drinks to warm us up! One of my favorite cold-weather drinks is atole, especially because it’s customary to drink with breakfast or after dinner. The two most common flavors are vanilla and strawberry—atole de vainilla y atole de fresa. If you make it with chocolate, it’s called champurrado.

It’s a masa-based drink where the dissolved masa acts as a thickening agent to make this hot drink the kind of hearty treat that will really stick to your ribs. I’ve talked before about the availability of atole that comes in powdered packets, but next to my champurrado recipe (which uses prepared store-bought masa from my local tortillería), this version using Maseca instant corn masa flour is even easier to make and a sure step above the flavor from a packet. It’s a homemade taste without all the work of grinding your own nixtamal or having to dissolve masa using cheesecloth. It’s what you might call a semi-homemade version, if you will.

This drink dates back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and is well documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us it was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles.

Sometimes atole is also made with different colors of corn (I’ve personally tasted atole made with white, yellow and blue corn bases) and milk or water as the liquid. I don’t like my atole to be too thin so I have a habit of making it very thick at the beginning and then thinning it out with milk or water as needed. If you prefer yours to be thinner, you can use all water instead of milk, and reduce the portion of Maseca instant corn flour to your liking.

If you want more berry flavor, you can add another whole cup of strawberries and use more water than milk so it doesn’t thicken too much or dilute the berry flavor.

This recipe produces the best strawberry flavor when you use berries that are very ripe. A trick to my recipe is that I macerate the strawberries before I put them in the blender (which just means I slice them up and, place them in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over them to allow the natural juices to come out).

If you won’t consume the atole immediately after cooking, store in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed to the top of the liquid so a skin doesn’t form over the top. If a skin does form, you can gently remove it with a spoon, but then you’re not getting to enjoy your whole batch. A final note: make sure the Maseca you’re using is specifically for tortillas and not tamales or you’ll get a different consistency.

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AGUA FRESCA: Agua de melón

Today on the Kenmore Genius Blog, I’m sharing a quick and simple recipe to make agua de melón in your blender. I especially love to drink this with breakfast.

The basic ingredients: Cantaloupe, a little sugar, water and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If your melon is super ripe, you can also reduce the sugar by half or leave it out completely for a healthier, no-sugar-added version—it’s up to you. Hop on over to the Genius Blog for more on this recipe. This recipe calls for cantaloupe, but you can also use honeydew melon (melón verde).

Agua de melón

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 to 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a ripe cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in a half cup of warm water
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Optional: juice of half a lime

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the sugar in a half cup of warm water to create a simple syrup. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. Cut the cantaloupe into cubes and put it into the blender with 1 cup of water until it’s completely liquified and smooth.
  3. Place a fine sieve over a pitcher and pour the contents of the blender through it to strain. Use a spoon to press any remaining juice through the sieve.
  4. Add the simple syrup to the pitcher and stir well. If you opt to use the lime juice, add that after the simple syrup.
  5. Serve chilled or over ice. Yields 3 to 3-1/2 cups of juice, depending on the ripeness of your cantaloupe. Refrigerate any juice you’re not going to drink immediately and consume within two days.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2011/09/agua-fresca-agua-de-melon/

If you want to read more about aguas frescas, check out some of my previous recipes here on The Other Side of The Tortilla:

Did you like this recipe? Please share it with your familia and amigos! ¡Gracias!

Wordless Wednesday: Pulque in a can?

A few weeks ago at the Mexican grocery store where I usually shop, something caught my eye in the refrigerator aisle… yes, a six-pack of canned pulque! Not only that, but multiple flavors! If you’re not familiar with it, pulque is a traditional Mexican beverage made of fermented (but not distilled) juice or sap of the maguey plant. It’s sort of a cloudy beverage with less alcohol content than beer or wine. More on this traditional drink another time, but I want to know…

  • Would you try pulque in a can?

Limonada

I love fizzy drinks. And my all time favorite fizzy drink is a Mexican limonada, of course!

Every time we go to Mexico, and particularly when we’re visiting the beach, a limonada is always the drink I choose to quench my thirst after getting my fair share of sunshine.

I’ve also been known to order it everywhere from poolside to fancy restaurants – I just can’t get enough.

This drink is so simple to make, yet I get so many emails and phone calls from friends asking how to make it. And with the Wordless Wednesday post last week about limonada y sol, I figured it would be cruel to not tell you how to make it. I’m finally sharing a recipe so you can have this sweet fizzy drink at home!

You can also make this drink with still water but the carbonated water gives it a little something extra to make it different. I typically use lightly carbonated water, but you can use whatever you like.

I like to drink limonada when it’s hot and sunny, but also when I’m really missing México lindo y querido…. 

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AGUA FRESCA: Easy Horchata

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked for an horchata recipe since I began blogging. But each time I start explaining how to make it from scratch, I can see people start to lose interest around the time I mention that making horchata from scratch involves soaking rice and cinnamon sticks overnight and then grinding it and straining it. When I make it from scratch I sometimes also blanche almonds and soak them with the rice for an added depth of flavor. But the average person asking for a recipe always seems to get a frown on their face when they realize making it from scratch takes a little extra time and effort.

It was because of this dilemma of nobody wanting to take the time to soak and grind the rice that I began experimenting in the test kitchen to try to make an acceptable quick recipe substitute for those times when we just need a quick fix of a tall, cool glass of horchata. This is the simplest recipe I came up with that passed the taste test with family and friends. It beats any powdered or pre-made liquid mix I’ve tried from a variety of grocery stores. The store-bought mixes always taste either too sweet or too fake to me. I hope you enjoy this version if you’re looking for a quick but yummy horchata recipe!… 

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