How to make sugar skulls for Día de los Muertos

One of the most common decorations on altars for Day of the Dead is the sugar skull. You might not know how easy they are to make; they just require a little time (drying overnight) and patience (decorating with royal icing). I’ve put together a detailed tutorial with photos so you can see how easy it is!

You can even do this project with the kids—but be sure to use a drop cloth in case they make a mess with the sugar.

Ingredients to make sugar skulls for Day of the Dead

Tutorial how to make sugar skulls for Day of the Dead

You can see my full step-by-step photo tutorial of how to make sugar skulls for Day of the Dead on latinamom.me…. 

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Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas {Go4Gourmet Challenge}

I love cooking challenges, so I was completely floored to be asked to participate in the Go 4 Gourmet cooking challenge with McCormick Gourmet this month! The rules were simple: They’d ship me a box of ingredients and I would create a dish that included all the ingredients. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Chopped,” but I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and create something. As soon as I found out the ingredients in the box would be paprika, chorizo and chicken stock and the requirement that I needed to also add fresh Brussels sprouts, I knew exactly what to make: A paella!

The Go4Gourmet McCormick Gourmet Challenge Box

Spanish influences in Mexican cuisine mean it’s not out of the ordinary to see different kinds of paella served in Mexico. This is a sponsored post and I received some of the ingredients from McCormick and was compensated for my time and talent to develop this recipe. I’ve written about eating paella in Mexico and shared my own paella recipe here before, along with tips for making paella (from the pan to the correct rice to use, and how to steep saffron).

Although one might not think of Brussels sprouts in a paella, this recipe is a riff off of a classic paella Valenciana that has rabbit and artichokes and I replaced the rabbit with chicken thighs (just because chicken is easier to find) and substituted Brussels sprouts for the artichokes. The earthy flavor of Brussels sprouts and spicy, salty chorizo is a perfect flavor combination as well. I knew I wanted the Brussels sprouts to retain a little crispness, so I decided to roast them with a little olive oil, paprika and kosher salt before putting them into the paella. The result: Brussels sprouts that still had a bite despite being submersed in chicken broth and rice. The chorizo also provides enough salt that aside from the kosher salt you’ll use to roast the Brussels sprouts, you likely won’t feel the need to cook with more salt.

Brussels sprouts roasted with paprika, olive oil and salt for a paella

Paella with Brussels sprouts, Spanish chorizo and chicken for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet

You can participate in this and other Go 4 Gourmet challenges at Go4Gourmet.McCormick.com! New challenges are announced every two weeks through December and you can enter your own recipes to win weekly prizes!

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Earthy Brussels sprouts, spicy and salty chorizo, and chicken thighs are an excellent flavor melding for a spin on a classic paella Valenciana. This is a sponsored recipe for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces baby brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for tossing and roasting the brussel sprouts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 threads of saffron plus 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 7 oz chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for browning the chicken)
  • 4 oz sliced Palacios Spanish chorizo
  • 1 tsp garlic (crushed in a garlic press or diced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick’s paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste plus 6 tablespoons water (to make a tomato paste)
  • 1 1/4 cups Spanish rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Clean and halve 5 ounces of baby brussel sprouts.
  2. In a bowl, add brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss until coated.
  3. In a shallow casserole dish, spread brussel sprouts out and cook under your broiler for about 5 minutes or until the brussel sprouts start to brown and crisp. Remove from the broiler and set aside.
  4. While the brussel sprouts are under the broiler, steep your saffron in a small dish with 1 1/2 tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.
  5. In your paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sear the chicken until it browns a bit.
  6. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute.
  7. Sprinkle the paprika over the chicken. Pour the tomato puree around the edge of the pan all the way around. Let it cook for a minute or two.
  8. Add the rice and chicken stock; stir gently until the rice is completely moist. Add the saffron and the little bit of water that you steeped it in. Stir gently.
  9. Add roasted brussel sprouts to the pan, tucking them into the rice and chicken stock. The brussel sprouts should be mostly covered. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until you see the rice rise, then tuck the sprig of rosemary into the rice.
  10. Turn the heat to medium low. After about 10 minutes, tuck the pieces of sliced chorizo into the rice.
  11. Continue cooking until the rice is soft and you can hear the socarrat forming along the bottom of the pan. You’ll know the socarrat is forming when you hear a little crackling noise. (Socarrat is the yummy, crunchy sort of caramelized rice that sticks to the bottom and is the prize of the paella party.) Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to achieve socarrat perfection on your first try; it takes some practice to get it right.
  12. Remove from the heat at let the pan rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Be sure to use baby Brussels sprouts and hard, cured Spanish chorizo.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2013/10/paella-chorizo-brussels-sprouts-chicken-go4gourmet-mccormick-gourmet/

Tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

Quick and easy meals for weeknights are essential in most households, mine included. But if you’re like me, you still want to put something at least semi-homemade on the table to please your family at dinnertime. Longaniza en salsa verde is one of my go-to dishes that’s both easy and quick to make and can also use homemade or store-bought ingredients depending on how much time you’ve got to cook.

tacos de longaniza en salsa verde

If you have the time, you can make my salsa verde recipe from scratch (but I suggest that you leave out the salt until after it’s cooked; longaniza can be rather salty so you may find you don’t need to add any salt in the salsa). If you don’t have time to make the salsa, you can use your favorite brand of store-bought salsa verde. I often serve this dish with a side of black beans diced onion and chopped cilantro as garnish…. 

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Prickly pear frozen margarita

Grocery stores are typically overflowing with prickly pears—known as tunas rojas in Spanish—in August and September. You can eat them plain, use them to make agua fresca de tuna roja, watermelon and prickly pear paletas, prickly pear sorbet or even margaritas! There are so many possibilities.

prickly pear frozen margarita

Prickly pears are full of pectin, which makes them ideal for jelly and jam-making. The pectin produces a syrupy consistency that’s also perfect for blending with ice to make a frozen margarita. I’m serving this margarita for our Mexican Independence Day celebration. It’s a sophisticated representation of the Mexican flag: red from the prickly pears, white from the tequila blanco and green from the lime.

¡Viva México!… 

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Watermelon and red prickly pear paletas

Watermelon and red prickly pears are one of my favorite fruit flavor pairings. This summer I’ve been making a combination agua fresca with both flavors, and I started modifying my agua fresca recipe to turn them into paletas (er… Zokuletas). While mixing them together and pouring straight into my Zoku Quick Pop Maker for a quick and tasty treat, I found that I enjoy them much more when they look pretty too. I love making these layered pops for a refreshing snack on a hot day.

watermelon prickly pear paletas

If you don’t have the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, you can also use a popsicle mold with 2-ounce pops (affiliate links to El Mercadito, The Other Side of The Tortilla’s Amazon aStore); you’ll just have to wait longer for the layers to freeze before you can add another layer…. 

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AGUA FRESCA: Agua de mango

As you may have noticed this year, I’ve been posting a lot of mango recipes. Mangoes are seemingly easier and cheaper to get on the West Coast, and available for a longer period of time than in Chicago where we used to live. We’ve been drinking a lot of agua de mango this year because I can’t resist buying mangoes almost every week.

agua de mango

This recipe calls for Ataulfo mangoes, which are a yellow variety known for being sweet. Close substitutes or other names for this kind of mango can include Manila mangoes, honey mangoes or champagne mangoes. Ataulfo mangoes are in peak season between March and June, but can often be found in stores all the way through December depending on the part of the country where you live.

Leave the mangoes out on the counter at room temperature for a few days if they’re firm at the time you buy them. You’ll know they’re ripe and ready to use when the skin gives a little when you press it and/or the skin starts to wrinkle slightly. If the skin is already wrinkled when you buy them, they’re ready to use immediately. This variety of mango is less fibrous than the Tommy Atkins (green with red blush) variety, and therefore is more ideal for making aguas frescas.

If you like this recipe, you may also like my agua de fresa y mango recipe (strawberry and mango)…. 

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