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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Mangonada paletas with a Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Paletas are a serious weakness of mine. All summer, I’ve been testing dozens of flavors and the hardest part is always waiting for them to freeze. That’s why when several friends were telling me about the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, I knew I had to get one. Make single-serve popsicles with three different flavors at once? A dream. Do it in 7-10 minutes? Even better! I’ve been playing with it all summer and I’m finally ready to start sharing some of my tasty creations using this fun kitchen tool.

This post includes affiliate links to all the products used to make this recipe, which are available in El Mercadito, my Amazon aStore.

mangonada (mango and chamoy) paletas

I’ve been experimenting with so many flavors, that I wanted to try something very classic and simple, similar to my mango con chile paletas recipe that I shared here a few summers ago. I can’t seem to eat enough mango this year, and I brought back a bottle of chamoy from Mexico when we visited earlier this summer. This recipe is similar to a mangonada or chamoyada, just blended together and frozen in paleta-form—but you’ll definitely recognize this classic Mexican flavor combination. I’ve started calling my Mexi popsicles made in my Zoku machine “Zokuletas” (insert cheesy grin here). Let’s see if we can make it catch on!… 

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Mango and peach paletas

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with testing paleta flavors all summer, partially because of my access to such a wide variety of fresh fruits in Southern California for months on end, and partially just because I have an inner-kid who still remembers the excitement I felt from hearing the jingle of the bell on the paletero’s cart. This mango-peach paleta recipe has been a mega-hit both in my household and with my office mates who got to taste them when I brought them to work for an afternoon snack to share last week.

mango peach paletas… 

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Churro French Toast

If you’ve ever wanted to eat churros for breakfast, prepare yourself because all your dreams are about to come true. This recipe for churro french toast is one near and dear to my heart and also one of my favorite dishes from my childhood.

churro_french_toast_TOSOTT

In the town where I grew up just outside of Chicago, there was a restaurant we often went for breakfast or brunch, and churro french toast was my favorite thing on the menu. To this day, when I go home for a visit, I still order this dish. Now that I live too far away to go home very often, I’ve recreated a version of their recipe that tastes almost identical. They serve it drizzled with a caramel sauce, making it even more decadent. Make no mistake—it’s not a healthy dish by any means. It’s absolutely indulgent. But I guarantee if you love churros, you will love this recipe. And this dish is sure to be popular with your kids since it’s got a pastry-like quality to it that’s so delicious and sinful, they won’t believe you’re serving it to them for breakfast.

I like to serve this dish with sliced fruit and when I make it at home, I usually prefer to forgo the caramel sauce or syrup because it’s sweet and decadent enough without any syrup for me. A child-size serving is two sticks; three for adults. I can’t be held responsible if your family never wants to eat anything else for Sunday breakfast again!

A couple of notes on ingredients (includes some affiliate links):

  • To make your own cinnamon sugar easily, just measure out the amount of sugar called for in the recipe (I like Zulka brand Mexican cane sugar) and add ground cinnamon a half-teaspoon at a time, to taste, until you reach your desired ratio.
  • I always use challah (egg bread) for this dish, as it’s what was used in the original restaurant recipe and has the closest taste and texture to the inside of a churro, in my opinion.
  • I use safflower oil for frying because it’s a bit healthier choice, and is stable at high heat levels (read: it doesn’t splatter the way other hot oils do when frying, and it doesn’t stink up your kitchen like vegetable oil).
  • I prefer to use real vanilla beans for the concentrated, natural taste. If you don’t have those, in order of preference for substituting, you can use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 3/4 to one teaspoon of pure vanilla extract…. 

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