Día de los Muertos is the perfect time of year for Mexican hot chocolate. This recipe is a twist on the classic plain chocolate caliente; it’s spiced with chile guajillo, which lends a mildly spicy flavor and an earthy and fruity bouquet to this traditional beverage.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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….
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 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.
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.
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….