Watermelon Cooler

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Fresh watermelon.  Want an easy way to enjoy that summer staple?  For those of you who grew up eating watermelon (sandia) with lime, chile and salt -this drink is for you.  You get hit with a slew of flavors.  Sweet, salty, tart, spicy.  Not to mention it smells wonderful.  That fruity melon aroma just screams summer.  It makes you want to sit back, enjoy the breeze and feel the grass underneath your toes. Continue reading

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

Soda de Agua de Melon

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Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean fizzy cold drinks have to be turned down. No no no. I say take advantage of the fresh fruit that is still around and make a quick, refreshing drink.
Honeydew, with its sweet notes really quenches a thirst. And lemon really brightens up anything it comes in contact with. The addition of lemon-lime soda adds some fizz as well as sweetness. The best part: it takes less than five minutes to make. Score! Continue reading

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

Tembleque

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You cannot go wrong with coconut custard.  Puerto Rican coconut custard is rich and delicious.  A hint of cinnamon and sugar add great flavor to this decadent coconut dessert. This tasty treat has a creamy, smooth texture, but is still firm to the touch.  It stands somewhere between a custard and gelatin.  As a bonus, this Puerto Rican favorite is easy to make.  It takes just a few minutes in front of a stove and a few hours in the refrigerator- and dessert is done.  A sweet tropical treat to finish any meal. Perfect for any fans of coconut desserts. Continue reading

Mexican Macaroni Salad

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Summertime and macaroni salad go hand in hand.  Something about a nice cold salad during a warm day, don’t you think?  So how about a Mexican macaroni salad.  It is a perfect accompaniment to a great asada (good old fashion bbq).  Although most Mexican macaroni salads are composed of pasta and mayo this one adds fresh veggies and black beans to really bring out more flavor.  Add a hit of spices and wowy you got yourself a great side dish, main course or appetizer. Continue reading

Strawberry and Peach Chia Pudding

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Chia seeds have been around in Mexico and Central America for centuries.  The Mayans even included them in their diet.  And why not?  These crunchy little seeds add a lot to any diet.  They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are a great source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.  Plus they do not have a distinctive flavor which means they can easily blend into any flavor you wish.

Seeing how these seeds expand in liquid to form a gel-like consistency I decided to make a vegan-friendly “rice pudding/tapioca” like dessert using chia seeds.  Once the chia seeds expand in the milk it creates this creamy consistency similar to that of rice pudding or tapioca.  I started with a vanilla based dessert then folded in some yummy summer fruit and voila!  A light dessert that is also healthy.  Score and score. Continue reading

Mexican Brownies

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Time for dessert.  Then again it is always time for dessert?  It is hard to resist ending a meal without having something sweet so why not end it with brownies.  Not just any brownies, Mexican brownies.  They are a bit of a cheat but the end result is still delicious.  I use store bought brownie mix (I know, I know) to make these extra special brownies.  A simple addition of cinnamon and cayenne pepper turn them into an incredible dessert.  Top them with cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel, or dulce de leche and you get these wonderful slightly hot, spicy, sweet, chocolaty brownies that are heavenly.  Nirvana is a good way to explain the result. Continue reading

Agua de Fresa

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It. Is. Hot.  I love sunny, warm days.  It just feels good.  And when the day starts to feel unbearable I know it is time to chug down a coooold drink.  In Mexico that translates to Agua de Fresa (strawberry).  The great thing about strawberries are-well everything.  They have that balance of sweet and tart; they scream “Warm weather!” and they go with practically everything.  Agua Frescas are generally served with meals or as a refreshing way to cool down on a hot day.  So grab a good book, sit outside and drink away.  You don’t have to tell me twice! Continue reading

I Want to be a Jarritos de Tamarindo (Tamarind Soda)

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Agua de Tamarindo is a favorite drink in Mexico. Tamarind offers this amazing blend of sweet and sour so how can it not be a fav? Tamarind pods may look a little funky but if there is ever a time to not judge a book by its cover, tamarind eating is the time. A little sweet, a little tart. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
So there are these brightly colored (neon) Mexican sodas named “Jarritos”. They usually come in tropical flavors like pineapple, mandarin and lime but my favorite happens to be tamarindo. I prefer it to just your regular agua de tamarindo because the carbonations cuts through the sweetness just right (and fizzy water always makes any drink better) creating a more refreshing drink. So why not make a faux Jarritos tamarind soda? Well, can’t think of a reason not to. So here we go: Continue reading