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Mango Chile Paletas

After packing all our belongings in less than two weeks we drove across the country and finally reached South Carolina. Well, I didn’t, my husband did! I’m spending some time at my parents’ house in Mexico, where the munchkin and I are being spoiled silly, while the hubby is finding a place to live. (Thanks babe!) I have written several posts about my hometown of Acuña, taken lots of pictures, and shared recipes, so this time I don’t have much to show you. It really is a small town.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

There is one thing in particular that I greatly enjoy when I come here in the summer, the abundance of mango. The variety most commonly available here is the ataulfo. It is an oblong shaped, yellow-skinned, mango that is known for its sweet and buttery flesh. Its skin is slightly thicker than other varieties, but its seed is thinner than most.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

You can find them at your local Mexican grocery store, Costco, or Sam’s Club. They are in season from March to July. Ataulfo mangoes turn from green to yellow as they mature. When you buy a mango make sure it is not bruised or over-ripe. If you can only find green mangoes, just let them mature at room temperature. An ataulfo mango is ready to eat when the skin is golden-yellow and the flesh is soft to the touch. Once they are ripe, store in the refrigerator for up to five days.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

In Mexico, ataulfo mangoes are served on street carts with lime and powdered chile, in salads, salsas, and savory seafood dishes. There are also mango popsicles, mango candy, dried mango slices covered in chile, mango cakes, and pastries.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

The Recipe: Mango Chile Paletas

I have created two popsicle recipes for you. The first one is sugar-free, super easy, and kid approved. The trick is to use really ripe mangoes. The second popsicle uses simple syrup as a sweetener, and has key lime juice and chile powder to make it fit for grownups. Enjoy!

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Mango Chile Paletas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 popsicles
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Mango peeled, diced
  • 1/4 cup Simple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. Tajin chile powder

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 5 hours before unmolding.

Recipe Notes

To make simple syrup bring ¼ cup of sugar, and a ¼ of a cup of water to a simmer, until all the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely.
Tajin chile powder can be found at most Mexican grocery stores and some Wal-Mart´s.

 

Sugar-Free Mango Popsicles

 Yield: 4 popsicles

Time: 15min + 5 hrs.

 Ingredients:

Mango, peeled, diced 1 ¼ cups
Water 1/3 cup

Preparation:

  1. Combine ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 5 hours before unmolding.

Chef´s  Notes:

Use really ripe mangoes for extra sweetness.

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

 

This recipe for mango chile paletas or paletas de mango con chile, combines mango, lime juice and chile powder for a sweet and spicy treat.

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Creamy Vegan Chipotle Sauce

I’ve been trying to find a way to make a delicious plant-based baked potato, one that has the creaminess of one slathered in butter and sour cream, or stuffed with broccoli and that fake yellow nacho cheese. Remember when Wendy’s used to sell broccoli and cheese baked potatoes? I used to love those! I was also a little chubby in those days. This creamy vegan chipotle sauce is so perfect to pour on top of your baked potato.
This recipe for creamy vegan chipotle sauce is the perfect combination of spicy chipotle, almonds, and a hint of lemon.

 

This recipe for creamy vegan chipotle sauce is the perfect combination of spicy chipotle, almonds, and a hint of lemon.

I tried stuffing the potato with veggies and then topping it with salsa, but I wasn’t satisfied. I found a recipe for a creamy vegan chipotle sauce that would work, but it was made with soy mayonnaise which just didn’t sound appetizing. I refuse to try vegan cheese, because frankly I think it’s disgusting and highly processed. It’s not the flavor so much as the texture, it’s like eating slightly melted plastic wrap tinted with food coloring. So no vegan cheese for me! I gave up on the whole baked potato thing for a while until I remembered bitchin’ sauce.

This recipe for creamy vegan chipotle sauce is the perfect combination of spicy chipotle, almonds, and a hint of lemon.

I didn’t set out to recreate Bitchn’ Sauce I just took the basic principle of the sauce. Who new water, almonds, oil, chipotle, and lemon juice blended together could make such a wonderfully creamy dairy-free sauce?

Yay! Success!!

I stuffed my baked potato with tri-colored quinoa and a sauté of kale, swiss chard, and mushrooms. Now that spring is here, and summer is fast approaching you can fill your potato with roasted summer squash, corn and tomato and top it off with the pinche sauce. You can also try it as a sauce for pasta, to dip your chips in, or drizzled on those quinoa bowls that are so popular with vegans.

This recipe for creamy vegan chipotle sauce is the perfect combination of spicy chipotle, almonds, and a hint of lemon.

The Recipe: Creamy Vegan Chipotle Sauce

This sauce is truly unbelievable. Who would of thought that a couple of ingredients could make a delicious vegan cream sauceChipotles en adobo are a canned product that can be found in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. Enjoy!

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Creamy Vegan Chipotle Sauce

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Almonds, whole, raw
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil (optional) see note
  • 1 Chipotle pepper in adobo (only 1 pepper)
  • 1 Garlic, clove
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend on high until smooth.

Recipe Notes

* If you would like to make this without oil, substitute it with unsweetened almond milk.

 

 

 

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Prickly Pear Margarita

Have I mentioned I love tequila? I know some of you must be fighting back your gag reflex just thinking about tequila, but not me. Tequila and I go way back, but that’s another story, preferably one told while drinking tequila. After you try this prickly pear margarital you might reconsider your aversion to tequila, at least I hope you do.

This recipe for prickly pear margarita is so good it will change your whole perspective on tequila. The prickly pears won't disappoint.

Prickly pear fruit is native to Mexico and South America, but it can be found in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, and parts of the Middle East. It is known for its thick spiny skin and soft, sweet, & watery interior. There are many varieties, but the most well known are green, red, yellow, brown and pink.  It’s the perfect summer fruit, it tastes like a weird combination of pear, cucumber, watermelon and pineapple. It has only one monstrous defect, besides the tiny spines that line its exterior, the flesh of the fruit is riddled with seeds. It is commonly used to make drinks, candy, or jelly.

This recipe for prickly pear margarita is so good it will change your whole perspective on tequila. The prickly pears won't disappoint.

You can find them at your local Mexican or Hispanic market. I found them at my favorite grocery store, Crown Valley Market Place in Mission Viejo or you can find them at El Nopal Market in San Juan Capistrano. They are in season from early spring to late fall. To prepare them, use a paring knife to cut off both ends of the fruit and make a 1/4 of an inch deep cut lengthwise. Please, please, please wear gloves when working with this fruit. Even though you can find them without the large spines at the store, the tiny and almost hair like spines remain and can get lodged in your flesh. They truly are tiny! Place your finger in between the flesh and the outer skin and simply pull back, the outer layer should come off easily. You can store them in your refrigerator for up to a week or at room temperature if you are going to eat them in one or two days.

This recipe for prickly pear margarita is so good it will change your whole perspective on tequila. The prickly pears won't disappoint.

One of the wonderful benefits of living in SoCal is that a wide variety of tequila is available at the grocery store, liquor store, and neighborhood bar. We usually drink Corralejo, Don Juilo, or Clase Azul, but this time we used Cazadores which is a great option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money. As for margaritas, I’m happy to see more bars have stopped using sour mix and creating their own flavored syrups and liquors. Did you know, margaritas in Mexico are made with lime juice, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau? That’s it! I wish I had better pictures to show you; the color of this fruit is amazing, almost neon. This is officially the most tested recipe on this blog:)

This recipe for prickly pear margarita is so good it will change your whole perspective on tequila. The prickly pears won't disappoint.

 

 

The Recipe: Prickly Pear Margarita

I usually like my margaritas on the rocks in a salt rimmed glass, but the sweetness of the prickly pear called for this to be a frozen version. The prickly pear is full of seeds, make sure strain the pureed mixture. Enjoy!

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Prickly Pear Margarita

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 4 Red prickly pears, peeled
  • ¾ cup Tequila, reposado
  • ½ cup Cointreau,
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp. Lime juice, fresh
  • Ice As Needed

Instructions

  1. Blend prickly pears on low for 60 seconds. Then blend on high for 30 seconds. Strain. Set liquid aside.
  2. Pour tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and prickly pear juice in blender. Add ice and blend on high.
  3. Serve in two salt rimmed glasses.

 

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Salsa Molcajeteada

It seems every time I go home I see Mexico in a different light. Last time it was Christmas and everything seemed so beautiful under the twinkling lights, our traditions so rich, and our heritage great. This time, under the sweltering heat of summer things seemed a bit more bleak. Nevertheless, the company and the food were as good as always.

I’m from a small border town in Mexico called Acuña. [I have written about it in previous posts.] I try to visit as often as I can, but this year for some deranged reason I decided to go in August. Due to the 106F weather, going around town delighting in street food was not at the top of my list of priorities. Instead I ate at the family restaurant as often as I could, where there was air conditioning and delicious free food. What else could a girl ask for?  However i did manage to visit a couple of street vendors before the trip was over.

My first stop was at Chilakas Burger. (Yes, Mexicans eat burgers too!) Their signature sauce is made from chile chilaca, which is a mildly spicy green pepper. The chile sauce and the mashed avocado smeared on the bun, gave the burger a unique Mexican touch.

Next I stopped at Helados Aguirre for a mango popsicle. This was not an ordinary mango popsicle, it had mango, chamoy, lime juice, and a touch of cucumber. It was cold, sweet, tart, and a bit salty. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. What amazes me the most about this place is the variety of flavors that they offer and the way they use fresh fruit in their preparation. Some of their flavors include coconut, tamarind, rice pudding, banana, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, and strawberry.

I made a quick stop at Loncheria el Lechon which serves roast pork sandwiches with avocado, onion, mayo, mustard, pickled jalapeños, and tomato.

Finally after a long hot day what could be better than a yuki? Yuki is just another word for snow cone or shaved ice. I really enjoy this particular stand, because they use fresh fruit to make their syrups. My favorite is the tamarind yuki topped with lime juice and chile powder.

So there you have it, another trip to my hometown described mostly in food. This time around I tried to savor the small details of the trip, like the smell of chiles roasting on the comal (cast iron griddle), the joy felt when Mexico won the gold medal in soccer at the Olympics, kids having fun in the sun, and honestly just relaxing. It was nice to be able to take a break from the routine, spend time with loved ones, and eat.

making salsa

The Recipe: Salsa Molcajeteada

This salsa molcajeteada combines pan roasted tomatoes, garlic, and peppers to make a spicy and hearty salsa. They are pureed in a molcajete.

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Salsa Molcajeteada

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 5 Plum tomatoes, small
  • 1 Beefsteak, tomato
  • 1/2 Banana pepper chile güero
  • 1/2 Chilaca pepper
  • 3 Serrano Peppers
  • 1/2 Poblano Pepper
  • 3 Jalapeños
  • 1 Garlic cloves

Instructions

  1. Heat a griddle or cast iron pan to high heat. Place all of the peppers, tomatoes, and garlic on griddle until they become soft and slightly blackened, about 7-10 min.

  2. Flip peppers, tomatoes, and garlic and continue to char for another 5- 7 minutes.
  3. Remove ingredients from griddle and set aside. Peel most of the dark burnt skin off of the tomatoes and chiles. You can leave a little bit for the smoky flavor.

  4. Start grinding ingredients in molcajete one at a time. Once the desired consistency is reached, add the next ingredient and keep grinding. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
  5. If you do not have a molcajete you can use a blender or food processor. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the machine and pulse until the desired consistency is reached. I prefer it on the chunky side.

Recipe Notes

Polita has been working for my parents for years. In fact, she was my nanny for some time. This is her recipe, and she likes her salsas hot so be careful!

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The Best Sangrita Recipe

I love tequila!! I really do, and I hate the negative reputation is has in this country. I’ve been drinking tequila since I was 15 yrs old, with adult supervision of course. My parents decided it was best to teach me how to drink tequila properly, before I turned 18 and went out into the world. I never got drunk off of it, at least not until college, which I totally blame on you eager American college kids. I’ll spare you the drunk college stories for fear of embarrassing myself and others involved. Needless to say, I almost gave up tequila. Thankfully my mom started sending me bottles of sangrita to chase my tequila with, which reminded me that tequila, good tequila, is meant to be sipped and enjoyed. Sangrita is the best tequila chaser you’ll find. It is a combination of hot chiles, orange juice, onion, tomato juice, and just a touch of sugar. You can buy it pre-made, I recommend Viuda de Sanchez, or you can make it yourself.

The best sangrita recipe is spicy, sweet, and savory. It is the best chaser to any tequila. A vegan recipe.

Now, let me introduce you to the many wonderful ways in which Mexicans drink their tequila. First there’s the “bandera” or flag, it consists of 3 shots, one of lime juice, one of tequila, and one of sangrita. It is meant to be sipped but can also be shot. It’s called a flag because of the colors reflect those of the Mexican flag: green, white, and red. The shot glasses are not your regular shot glasses either. They are known as “caballitos” or little horses. If you would like to know why, you can visit the Mexican Academy of Tequila for some interesting facts. All you really need to know is that while a regular shot glass fits one fluid ounce of liquor, the “caballito” fits one and a half. Another way to drink tequila is with lime and salt, lick the space between your thumb and your forefinger, add some salt, lick salt, take shot, and suck on a lime. Please don’t call it training wheels, it drives me crazy, yes it’s supposed to lessen the harshness of the alcohol, but tequila shouldn’t be harsh. Surprised? This leads me to the final way of drinking tequila, which is, served in a snifter and sipped.

The best sangrita recipe is spicy, sweet, and savory. It is the best chaser to any tequila. A vegan recipe.

All of these ways of drinking tequila would be greatly improved if you invest in a good tequila. Try Corralejo or Don Julio Blanco for margaritas, the “bandera”, and the salt-shot-lime version, or for any other mixed drink. Don Julio (my lover), also comes in Reposado, Anejo, and 1942. Don Julio 1942 is for sipping, and while quite expensive you should definitely try it t least once. If you’re looking for a surprisingly smooth tequila try Clase Azul, plus it comes in a really unique bottle. I hope this helps and maybe persuades you to try tequila one more time before vowing never to touch it again.

The Recipe: The Best Sangrita Recipe

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Sangrita

Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 quart
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Orange juice, fresh
  • 1/2 cup Lime juice, fresh
  • 2 tsp, Onion white, large, minced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce, vegan
  • 4 tsp. Valentina, Mexican hot sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, whisk them together, and season.
  2. Refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

Serve cold. The quality of the sangrita depends on the quality of the tomato juice, so get a good one.

 

 

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Chile de Arbol Salsa

conos de cajeta

         I’m beginning to think maybe I should call this a Mexican food blog. It’s my last couple of days in Mexico and I’m sad to leave, but sooo looking forward to Cali. Everytime I come home I try to eat a little bit of everything, like the tacos al pastor they sell on the corner in front of Merco (a grocery store), the yukis (shaved ice) in front of the car wash on Hidalgo street, the mangonadas (mango and chile popsicles) at the Paleteria Aguirre (ice cream shop), and the elote en vaso (steamed mexican corn served with a chile mix, crema, butter, lime juice, and cheese), they sell outside of the Narvaez Hospital. Well, you get my point, I could go on and on. It’s not a coincidence that all the foods I just named are street foods, street food is king in Mexico. In fact, some of the best food in Mexico is street food. Of course there are nice restaurants, cafe’s, and taquerias (taco shops), but there’s just something about simple, hot, just made, delicious food, that’s hard to resist. It’s the ultimate non-processed fast food.

Mexican corn

Food truck assembling my corn deliciousness

 

Chicharrones

Once I leave Mexico, it seems that I spend the rest of the year, in my kitchen, trying to recreate every Mexican dish possible. This week’s recipe is a simple salsa and a couple of cocktails. Chips and salsa in Mexico are not quite like chips and salsa in the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like both versions, but they’re just different. You can make your own authentic chips and salsa in less than 20 min. or as they’re called in Mexico: totopos con salsa.

Fruit cups sold on the street.

Sweet potato candy

 

Man in crutches pushing and ice cream cart

 

Carnitas sold by the kilo

For the chips, buy a pack of corn tortillas, not the frozen ones please, and cut into quarters. Fry them in 350F oil until golden brown. Remove the chips from the oil and sprinkle them with salt.

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The Recipe: Chile de Arbol Salsa

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Chile de Arbol Salsa

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 8 Tomatillo, husks removed
  • 3 Garlic, cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 oz (3/4 cup) Chile de Arbol
  • 1/2 Onion. white chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat cast iron pan or griddle to high heat. Place tomatillos and garlic cloves in pan. Let the tomatillo’s skin burn and blacken on all sides. The garlic needs to be only lightly toasted on each side, about 1 -2 min.
  2. Remove garlic from pan, peel, and set aside.
  3. Once the tomatillos are soft and mostly black, remove them from pan and place in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 min.
  4. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  5. Remove the stem and seeds from the chiles. Place them in the pot of boiling water and simmer from 5 to 7 minutes or until chiles are soft.
  6. Drain the chiles from the water.
  7. Place the tomatillos in the blender with the garlic, onion, cilantro, and chile de arbol. Blend, season, and add water is necessary to thin out sauce.

Recipe Notes

As an alternative you can place the tomatillos under the broiler in your oven for 15 to 20 min. until blackened and soft all over.