Avocado paletas

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Avocados from Mexico but my love for avocados from Mexico is 100 percent authentic and the opinions and recipe in this post are my own. This post includes affiliate links to my Amazon aStore, El Mercadito, recommending products that I used to make this recipe.

paletas de aguacate | avocado popsicles

Summer means paleta time in my house. And though we like the traditional flavors, I also like to branch out and make flavors that are considered “normal” in Mexico, but that are not as common to see in the U.S., such as avocado. A few friends have looked at me sideways when I said I was working on a popsicle recipe with avocados, but I assure you that you’ll be won over by the creamy texture and pleasantly earthy, sweet taste.

I prefer to buy avocados from Mexico because of that distinctive, earthy taste due to the fertile volcanic soil in which they’re grown. They’re packed with nutrients and are a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes—but most people don’t think of using avocados in a sweet dish. The thing I especially love about this recipe is that the light coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk (also known as lechera) don’t overpower the natural flavor so you can still taste the earthiness of the avocado…. 

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Calabacitas con elote

Calabacitas con elote is a traditional Mexican side dish, typically baked in the oven in a casserole dish or olla de barro. But I’m giving it a summer makeover by cooking it in easy-to-make foil packets for the grill. We’re spending tons of time outside with family and friends now that summer grilling season is here and this is a great dish to take to any parillada!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and the California Milk Advisory Board.  The recipe and opinions are my own.

calabacitas_con_elote_TOSOTT

This vegetarian dish is one of my favorites for serving as a quick dinner side dish as well as for taking to parrilladas (barbeques) that are typically full of meats but lacking enough veggies. If I’m making it for just the two of us, I refrigerate half the recipe and grill it later in the week so that it’s fresh off the grill at dinnertime.

Now that we live in California and have such a variety of fresh, local dairy, produce and meats available to us year-round thanks to the climate, I’ve been consciously trying to eat more locally (and by that, I mean seeking out locally grown produce at the farmers markets and other foods made in my new home state). California is the country’s leading producer of Hispanic dairy products, which are sold nationally, and is the nation’s second largest producer of cheese. In fact, California produces more than 25 kinds of Hispanic cheeses and many other dairy products. A Real California Milk seal means your dairy products are made from 100 percent California milk.

This is what the calabacitas should look like inside the foil packet when it’s done or almost done cooking:

calabacitas_con_elote_grill_packet_TOSOTT… 

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Chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream

Posadas navideñas are one of my favorite times of year, but they can also be a stressful time with relatives and friends dropping by with short notice. These chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream are sure to please your crowd, even if you don’t have much time to prepare.

Since we typically head to Mexico for the holidays, it’s not as stressful for me because I usually don’t have to play hostess. But my family threw me a bit of a curve ball this year when they requested I bring a dish of some kind to the posada at my tía’s house the same day that I arrive. I immediately began to think about what I could make that would be simple but authentic and satisfying, and that I could whip up with only a few hours in between the airport and heading to the posada. I decided on this easy appetizer because it has only six ingredients and one of them can be bought already prepared.

Many families celebrate posadas like potluck dinners where everybody is responsible for bringing a dish. But in this case, everyone in our family is assigned with tasks ranging from bringing food to a piñata, being in charge of taking photos and so on. Everybody does their part so that the party runs smoothly, even down to the end when someone is responsible for helping clean up the dishes.

While this recipe isn’t a traditional one, like, say, an ensalada nochebuena, it’s an excellent savory appetizer that you can incorporate into your holiday traditions. I usually have most of the ingredients on hand, and I bet you do too. You can easily make this appetizer a bit healthier and vegetarian-friendly by swapping the chorizo for soy chorizo.

Chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 30 mini cups

3 cups per person

An easy appetizer for posadas and other holiday parties using Avocados from Mexico.

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes of mini phyllo shells (or a total of 30 mini phyllo shells)
  • 2 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 ounces of cooked chorizo
  • 1/2 cup crema Mexicana
  • 1 chipotle en adobo plus 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook the chorizo, drain grease on paper towels and set aside.
  2. Prepare the crema in a mini food processor or blender by adding the crema, chipotle chile and adobo sauce and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º F, then bake the shells on a cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove them from the oven, add 1/2 teaspoon or so of chorizo into each cup and put back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes.
  5. Score the avocados two ways while still in the skin and scoop out into a bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the avocado and gently toss with a spoon to coat the avocados with the juice.
  6. Once the chorizo cups are out of the oven, spoon a little avocado over each cup, followed by a little crema.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2012/12/chorizo-avocado-cups-chipotle-cream/

For more avocado recipes for posadas or avocado recipes for any time, visit Avocados from Mexico’s website. And check out the blog hop below for holiday recipes using Avocados from Mexico from other bloggers.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through Latina Bloggers Connect to promote Avocados from Mexico. We received compensation for writing this post, but all opinions and recipes are our own.

Charred Orange Colada

If there’s one drink I’m guaranteed to order by the pool when I’m on vacation, it’s a classic piña colada. When I talked about this charred orange colada recipe with McCormick Spices Chef Kevan Vetter, it had me salivating for vacation and this interesting twist on the classic frozen cocktail.

It’s a simple recipe to follow, and the charred orange and black rum give this colada a decadent depth that makes it a sophisticated version of the classic.

You can also substitute 2-3 ounces of piloncillo for the brown sugar if you want to give it even more of a Mexican flavor.

In Spanish, allspice is called pimienta dulce, and you should be able to find it in both mainstream and Latino markets.

Charred Orange Colada (Recipe from McCormick Spices)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Charred Orange Colada (Recipe from McCormick Spices)

This interesting twist on the classic piña colada cocktail has smoky charred oranges, rich black rum and warm allspice in every sip.

Ingredients

  • 4 oranges
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Whole Allspice
  • 1 can (13.66 oz) Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk
  • 12 cup black rum
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 cups crushed ice
  • 4 maraschino cherries (optional for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Cut three of the oranges in half, crosswise. Cut ends off the remaining orange and then cut into 4 crosswise slices. Dip the cut sides of the orange halves in the brown sugar. Reserve the remaining brown sugar.
  2. Grill oranges over medium heat for about 12 minutes or until charred. Turn slices occasionally. Reserve the slices for garnish.
  3. Place orange halves, orange juice, allspice and reserved brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and cool completely. Remove orange halves from the pan and squeeze the juice from them back into the saucepan. Mix well and strain juice. Refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Place juice mixture, coconut milk, rum, vanilla and 1 cup of ice in the blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more ice if desired.
  6. Serve garnished with charred orange slices and maraschino cherries.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2012/12/charred-orange-colada/

Want to know more? You can read the full 2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast report on the future of global flavor trends and how they develop the forecast at flavorforecast.com.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to promote McCormick Spices 2013 Flavor Forecast global flavor trend report. We received promotional materials and an exclusive interview with McCormick’s executive chef to assist in writing this post, but all opinions in this series are our own.

2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast gives Mexican food a global twist

We’re always looking to share Mexican food and culture in new ways here at The Other Side of The Tortilla. I recently had the opportunity to talk to McCormick Spices executive chef, Kevan Vetter, about global trends and the McCormick Flavor Forecast for 2013. You can watch the video with some clips from our interview below. Some of the flavor pairings this year include combinations such as black rum, charred orange and allspice for an awesome twist on the classic piña colada cocktail, smoked tomato, rosemary, chiles and sweet onion for handcrafted sauces and salsas, hearty meat cuts with plantains and cinnamon sticks, and anise and something muy Mexicanacajeta, a goat’s milk caramel.

Today I’m sharing the five trends from this year’s Flavor Forecast report and what I love about each of them.

Be sure to check back soon for another video with more from my chat with Kevan and for recipes and a holiday giveaway from McCormick just for you!

5 TRENDS OF GLOBAL FLAVOR FOR 2013

No apologies necessary.
This trend is all about diving headfirst into flavors to enjoy the gratification of a momentary escape.
What I love about it: Family dinner is especially a time I like to momentarily escape from the pressures of work and life and just enjoy a meal together, talk and relax. It’s an important part of our culture to share meals as a family without having to be apologetic to others about flying under the radar for a bit. Savoring your food and your time with your family is a great habit to develop early with your kids so they come to expect it as they grow older.

Personally handcrafted.
This trend signifies the hands-on approach to showcasing the very best of ourselves.
What I love about it: There’s no more personal gift than making something yourself to give to the people you love. And when I say gift, I don’t mean only gifts that you give for holidays and special occasions. Making home-cooked meals for your family is also a gift to them, even if they don’t always realize or appreciate it. The other day I made the extra effort to make José a special salsa to go with milanesas for dinner, and he said it was the best part of the meal. It makes me feel good to know that going the extra mile with personally handcrafted dishes makes such an impact on the happiness of those around me.

Empowered eating.
This trend includes creating harmony of health and wellness through a highly personalized, flexible approach to the way you eat.
What I love about it: When it comes to empowered eating, it bothers me that a lot of people think Mexican food can’t be healthy and that everything we eat is swimming in cheese, which isn’t true. Como mamá siempre nos dijo: ¡Todo en moderación! For the English speakers, that’s “everything in moderation.” There are so many Mexican ingredients that pack a lot of flavor without the addition of calories or fat. Chiles are a prime example in Mexican cooking because they can be used in so many ways—fresh, dried, powdered, and the list goes on. Finding the right balance is up to the individual.

Hidden potential.
This trend is all about the “waste-not” mentality and uncovering the fullest flavors from every last part of the ingredient.
What I love about it: This trend is actually also a way of life when it comes to Mexican cooking. If you think about Mexican dishes such as carnitas, you use just about every last bit of the pig so nothing is wasted. I may not like to eat riñones (kidneys), but my suegro does! Check it out, amigos Mexicanos… we were doing this way before it was trendy! Even with tortillas that are a little too old to eat, I hate to throw them away. So I bake them to make tostadas, or cut them up and fry them to make totopos (hearty tortilla chips).

Global my way.
This trend includes discovering the unlimited flavor possibilities of global ingredients and using them outside of their traditional roles in ethnic cuisines.
What I love about it: I’m always trying to incorporate my favorite Mexican ingredients into non-Mexican dishes, or to put a Mexican spin on a non-Mexican dish by infusing a traditionally Mexican flavor. Chef Vetter shared with me a tamal recipe that pairs with a Japanese katsu sauce, which I thought was pretty cool and that I’m looking forward to trying out soon.

  • Watch some of my conversation with McCormick Spices executive chef Kevan Vetter and then let me know which trend you like best in the comments below.
YouTube Preview Image

Want to know more? You can read the full 2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast report on the future of global flavor trends and how they develop the forecast at flavorforecast.com.

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to promote McCormick Spices 2013 Flavor Forecast global flavor trend report. We received promotional materials and an exclusive interview with McCormick’s executive chef to assist in writing this post, but all opinions in this series are our own.

Tacos de rib eye

I’ve been buying thinly sliced rib eye and grilling it to serve as tacos for years, but the truth is that it can get kind of boring. I recently came up with a flavorful and easy fix that is literally only one ingredient but makes a world of difference: ponzu sauce. Yes, you read that correctly, I said ponzu sauce! I knew I had to share this recipe when my husband and chief taste-tester raved about this dish, even days after I served it.

No, ponzu sauce isn’t a Mexican ingredient, but it bears some striking similarities to the popular seasoning sauce known as Maggi that is widely consumed in Mexico. You may remember reading about Maggi here before in my cebollitas recipe, which is basically just grilled spring onions, lime juice and Maggi—a succulent side dish that also pairs well with these tacos.

What’s great about ponzu sauce is that it’s similar to Maggi in taste, already has a hint of citrus so adding lime juice isn’t necessary (but you still can, if you want), and ponzu is much lower in sodium per tablespoon than Maggi.

If it’s any indication how good it is, I’ve whipped this recipe up for dinner three times in the last two weeks and gotten no complaints about repeating the same dish. I’ve served it each time with a different salsa to make it just a little different. With grilling season right around the corner, this dish is definitely going to be my secret weapon for summer barbecues. Let me know how you like it!

RECETA | RECIPE

TACOS DE RIB EYE

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced rib eye (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/2 cup Mitsukan ponzu sauce for the meat plus 1/8 cup for cebollitas
  • 1 bunch of cebollitas (in English they’re called spring onions; they look like scallions but with a bulbous end instead of straight and skinny)

Directions:
FOR THE MEAT
Marinade the meat with 1/2 cup ponzu sauce for 30 minutes in a zippered plastic bag. Discard the liquid and bag, and grill meat over medium-high heat just long enough for each side to get grill marks and cook through.

FOR THE CEBOLLITAS
Use as much or as little ponzu as you’d like. You can choose whether to use the ponzu to soak the onions in advance, or pour over them or use as a dipping sauce after grilling. If you choose to soak them, you can put them in a shallow bowl and use about 1/8 cup-1/4 cup of ponzu sauce. Reserve the sauce if you’d like to use it again as a garnish or dip after grilling.

Serve meat with cebollitas and corn tortillas. These tacos also go great with guacamole or a fresh green salsa.

Yields 2 servings or about 6-8 tacos.

  • How do you dress up your basic rib eye tacos?
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored series to promote Mizkan cooking wines, vinegars, sauces and marinades. We also received product samples and promotional material from Mizkan to assist in preparing this post. All opinions and recipes in this series are our own.
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