Vegan Coquito

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Coquito is a delicious Puerto Rican coconut drink served around Christmas and New Year’s Day.  The creamy, velvety beverage can be enjoyed either with the addition of rum or its own for those who want a non-alcoholic drink.

It is a great “something different” to drink during the holiday season when most festive drinks overdose on pumpkin or peppermint.  It is so easy to make and is just about as error-proof as it gets.  Sweet, creamy, coconutty, cinnamonny goodness.

So traditional coquito is absolutely not vegan as it usually involves condensed milk and eggs but all it takes is a couple of tweaks to make it a treat almost everyone can enjoy.  I used light coconut milk for this but if you long for a richer mouth feel feel free to use regular coconut milk (you want to use the one in the can not the coconut milk used as a milk substitute). Personally, I feel the rum is totally optional but if you feel it is a need I say bring it.  The rum could also be set to the side and mixed into each individual glass, as needed. Continue reading

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Vegan Mexican Cocadas

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Although cocadas vary greatly from country to country the Mexican version resembles a macaroon.  Flakes and flakes of coconut are mixed with condensed milk to form airy poufs of sugary sweetness that then get baked.  The end result is a concoction with a crunchy outside and a soft, chewy gooey center.  Yum.

So for this version I decided to nix the traditional condensed milk and use a vegan version making the dish dairy free.  If you want to go nut free as well, to skip the walnuts as they are totally optional.  Trust me the vegan version is just as sweet, just as gooey, just as coconutty and just as delicious as the traditional version. Continue reading

Vegan Toasted Almond Horchata

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Several Latin American countries consume horchata, a rice and milk beverage often infused with cinnamon.  It is rich, creamy and sweet.  What more can you ask for?  Served chilled, horchata offers a great way to refresh oneself on a warm sunny day (or when it is freezing cold outside and you want to convince your brain you are not witnessing rain outside but instead you’re on the beach in Cabo.  Eh, either/or). Continue reading

Vegan Condensed Milk

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A popular ingredient in many dessert recipes, condensed milk offers a luxuriously creamy, sweet addition to any dish.  I created a simple substitute for this dairy classic.  Simply by swapping almond or soy milk for cow’s milk you get a vegan alternative to condensed milk that works perfectly in any recipe that calls for condensed milk. Continue reading

Insanely Good Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) with Strawberries

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Almost every country and culture has a variation on rice pudding.  Personally I think it is because the stuff is sooooo delicious (Hey, you figure so many people can’t be wrong).  Something about creamy, starchy, sugary sweet yuminess just cannot be beat.  In Latin American countries arroz con leche is usually creamier and runnier, think more oatmeal less tapioca , than the American version.  It usually incorporates cinnamon and condensed milk making it spicier and more on the sweeter side.  This recipe counteracts the sticky sweetness of the condensed milk with the tartness of the strawberries.  It makes for a perfect coupling.  My preference is to eat this cold but some people cannot resist and must eat it the second it is finished.  Can I blame them?  Not really. Continue reading

Tia Cuca’s Incredibly Easy Postre de Mango

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You see, when one has a genuine passion for cooking it comes through in the food.  There is no amount of salt, or spices or finishing oils that can complete a dish the way passion can.  And Tia Cuca has a passion for cooking.  Her dishes are known and envied throughout inner circles.  Her talent is on par with any chef out there. Continue reading