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Wednesday
May252011

recipe: blood orange martini

4C blood orange juice
12 oz vodka or gin
ice
splash of lemon juice
pineapple garnish

A 3-day weekend—and the unofficial start of summer—is just days away. What better way to enjoy it than with a blood orange cocktail?

Fill a beaker glass pitcher with ice and add the blood orange juice and vodka. Stir well, pour into martini glasses, add a splash of lemon juice, and garnish as desired and enjoy!

hint: for a single serving, fill a cocktail shaker with ice, 3/4 cup of juice and 2 jiggers of vodka or gin, shake and serve.

Wednesday
May182011

recipe: strawberry thyme agua fresca

Directions for the simple syrup:
1/2 C thyme, loosely packed sprigs

3/4 C sugar

3/4 C water

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and then add the thyme. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain and remove the thyme.

Directions for the drink:

 4 C strawberries, fresh or frozen
10-14 C water

Puree the strawberries with 2 to 4 cups of water and strain to remove any pulp.
hint: puree in batches and use a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain solids out of the liquid.

Add the simple syrup to the strained liquid and dilute with the remaining water—adjusting sugar and water to taste—then serve cold over lots of ice.

Adam’s hints:
—these recipes are very easy to alter to your taste so if you have a sweet tooth, use a little more syrup. Or, if you like a thicker drink, use less water—it’s a very forgiving drink.
—remember that when blending the fruit, work in batches so the blender isn’t overloaded—and the fruit stays in it instead of all over the kitchen walls!
—make a little extra herb infused simple syrup to use in other drinks like margaritas or punches—it’ll kick them up a notch!

Wednesday
May042011

recipe: basic tamales

1-1/3 C manteca (or shortening)
3 C masa harina
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 C beef broth, warmed
8 oz dried corn husks (1 package)
Makes about 20

Directions:
Soak the dried husks in warm water for at least 3 hours—or overnight—to make them pliable and easy to handle.

Place the manteca in a standing mixer and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy—about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl sift together to the masa, baking powder and salt. Add the masa mixture to the whipped manteca, on low speed, until just combined.

Slowly add the warm broth to the masa/manteca mixture until a light spongy dough forms.

To assemble the tamales, place two soaked husks on a clean surface, overlapping by about 1-1/2”. Place 1/4 cup of the tamale mixture over the center of the husks and gently spread the mixture. If using filling, place filling mixture over the tamale mixture at this time.
hint: leave a 1” boarder on both side of the husks since they will be tied with strings as shown.

Fold the sides of the husks into the center and place in a steamer—seam side down—for about 1-1/2 hours, or until the tamales separate easily from the husk when unwrapped.

Adam’s hints:
—this is all about presentation so jazz them up with colored corn husk ties
.
—for the colored ties:
add a few tablespoons of food coloring to the boiling water when soaking a few of the dry corn husks—we used thick gel food coloring which can be found any cake decorating or craft store. Once the hunks were fully dyed—which took about 1 hour—they were removed from the dye bath and cut into 1/2” strips. This can be done a day in advance—just store them in an air-tight container to keep them moist and pliable.
—to tie the colored ties:
after filling the tamale with the masa, roll the husk around the filling to make a tube and use the 1/2” strips of husk to the the ends. Some husks are just thicker than others—look for one that’s not too thick that it’s hard to work with, and not too thin that it might break.
—for a refined presentation, simply fold under the ends of the tamales and skip the colored ties entirely.

Wednesday
Apr272011

recipe: cucumber lemongrass agua fresca

Directions for the simple syrup:
3/4 C sugar

3/4 C water

4 pieces of lemongrass, smashed and chopped

Use a wooden rolling pin to beat and smash the lemongrass. Bring the water and sugar to a boil and then add the pieces of lemongrass. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain and discard the lemongrass.

Directions for the drink:

4 C English cucumbers, skin on and chopped
10-14 C water 

1/2 C fresh lime juice
salt

Puree the cucumbers with 2 to 4 cups of water and strain to remove any pulp. Hint: puree in batches and use a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain solids and seeds out of the liquid.

Add the simple syrup to the strained liquid and dilute with the remaining water—adjusting water and salt to taste—then serve cold over lots of ice.

Adam’s hints:
—these recipes are very easy to alter to your taste so if you have a sweet tooth, use a little more syrup. Or, if you like a thicker drink, use less water—it’s a very forgiving drink.
—remember that when blending the fruit, work in batches so the blender isn’t overloaded—and the fruit stays in it instead of all over the kitchen walls!
—make a little extra herb infused simple syrup to use in other drinks like margaritas or punches—it’ll kick them up a notch!

Wednesday
Apr062011

recipe: churros

1 C water
3 tblsp unsalted butter
4 C vegetable oil
3 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C all purpose flour
1 egg

1/2 C sugar
1 tblsp ground cinnamon
Makes about 20

Directions:
In a deep skillet, preheat the oil to 350°F.

In a shallow baking dish, stir together 1/2 cup of sugar with the ground cinnamon and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir the water, butter, salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar together and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture has been brought to a boil, stir the flour in with a wooden spoon until it becomes dough-like, about 3-5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and beat the egg into the dough until fully incorporated.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag with a large star tip and begin piping the mixture into the oil—cut and re-pipe every three inches. Consider using a professional pastry bag or doubling up a disposable bag since the dough is thick and could bust a seam.

Fry each churro for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. When done, allow the oil to drain on paper towels. Last, while the churros are still hot toss them in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve.

Adam’s hints:
—as flour is added to the boiling water mixture, it will become thick very quickly so keep stirring and don’t give up! Even when the egg is added in the following step and the heat’s turned down—keep stirring and build muscle.
—since this mixture is a very thick dough, consider using a professional pastry bag or a doubled piping bag to avoid splitting the seams.
—this recipe works like a cream puff or pate a choux—which are great ways to impress guests—so give one of those a try next!