Tag Archives: Drinks

Méx-O-Logy – Hardcore Horchata Recipe

Photo courtesy of Red Stag

Photo courtesy of Red Stag

Horchata, a delicious Mexican rice drink is one of my favorite beverages.  Chef, Jonathan Zaragoza, surprised us with a cocktail inspired in this drink. This is definitely horchata for adults.

Hardcore Horchata

  • 8 cups of water, divided
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 stick of Mexican cinnamon
  • ½ cup of sugar, or to taste
  • ½ cup Jim Beam Hardcore Cider

Working in batches, combine the rice, cinnamon and 4 cups of water in a blender, pulsing to grind the rice and cinnamon. Transfer the rice/cinnamon mixture to a bowl and add remaining 4 cups of water. Soak overnight. Puree the rice mixture, again and strain through a fine meshed strainer or cheesecloth. Mix in sugar and Jim Beam Hardcore Cider and chill. Serve over ice with a cinnamon stick as garnish.

 

A Chicago native, Zaragoza taps into his Jalisco roots to bring to life Mexican-inspired dishes with a creative twist. This recipe is the second of a series.  

Originally published on 6/16/2014

La Vitamina T was invited to an event sponsored by Red Stag by Jim Beam® Hardcore Cider and received free samples of food, pairings and product. The decision to write this review, as well as all opinions, are our own. 

Priest, Peasant, Pop Icon: Pulque

Photo credit: Emma Victoria del Ángel

Pulque Coconut Curado. Photo: Victoria del Ángel

 

When trying to talk about pulque, it is only possible to scratch the surface. An ancient fermented drink made with nectar from 12-year old agave plants, this milky alcoholic substance has a soap opera-worthy history. Once a prominent sacred potion, and esteemed secular remedy to which aphrodisiac and extraordinary nutritious properties were attributed, pulque has also gone from being anything from the stigma of the demons of a caste, to the protagonist of the movement of Mexican independence.

500 years later, and after enduring both the rejection and nationalistic embrace of its own people, this drink continues to be a relevant part of Mexican life and popular folklore. In the early 1900s, more than one thousand pulquerías peppered the streets of Mexico City, with catchy, tongue-in-cheek names reflecting the innate humor of Defeño* social dynamics- “The Other Church”, “A Lady’s Belch”, “Better Here than There” (for an establishment across from a cemetery). Also, many of them are hosts to quite a collection of Mexican art.

Although today pulque is consumed primarily in rural areas where its  complex drinking and serving etiquette lives on, there seems to be a movement of resurgence in Mexico City. Tasting tours are now also available.

Because the drink is fermented, selling it in cans is impractical, but may still be found. The best pulque is freshly fermented, and it is usually enjoyed by itself or mixed with fruits, in which case it is called curado. I have not stumbled upon pulque breweries in Chicago, but then again, I have not purposefully looked for them either yet, although I have read about people who brew their own for personal consumption. If you are outside of Mexico and know where to find pulque, here is chef Victoria del Ángel’s recipe to make your own coconut curado:

Curado de Coco

4 cups of fresh pulque
 1 cup of shredded coconut
1 can of creme of coconut
 Sugar to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a blender slowly incorporating the pulque.
  2. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Serve.

*Defeños are citizens of Mexico City

Chef Victoria del Ángel discovered her passion for cooking at the age of three. Fascinated by Mexican cuisine, she obtained a degree in gastronomy by the Escuela Superior de Gastronomía in Mexico and a graduate degree by the Culinary Institute of Switzerland. Currently, Victoria is the owner of a chocolate boutique,  Xocolat del Ángel,  in Jilotepec, México.

 

 

 

Brownies Fáciles de Hacer – La Receta de “Caídos del Cielo” Bakery

Foto: Karla Jiménez - Caídos del Cielo Bakery

Foto cortesía de Karla Jiménez – Caídos del Cielo Bakery

Karla Jiménez hizo de la nostalgia pan. Tras dejar su natal México, esta joven empresaria decidió darle vida al pan dulce que no podía encontrar en su nuevo hogar en Nueva Jersey y que tanto extrañaba. Al introducir con éxito los sabores y tradiciones mexicanas entre amigos, colegas y vecinos, Karla decidió lanzar su propio concepto en panadería,  “Caídos del Cielo”.

El nombre definitivamente le hace justicia a las delicias celestiales con las que Karla deleita a paladares y corazones por igual: desde mantecadas y tamales, hasta pan de muerto y rosca de reyes, todo esta hecho de manera artesanal.  En cada una de sus creaciones, Karla captura un pedacito de México, para después entregarlo envuelto en el incomparable sabor de pan recién hecho.

Pero para los que no estamos en Nueva Jersey cerca de estas delicias, Karla nos compartió una receta muy fácil.  Curiosamente no es una receta para hacer pan típico mexicano, pero  el resultado es delicioso y además no importa nuestro grado de destreza, porque puede hacerse en el microoondas.

Karla nos dice: “Esta receta para brownies, es una de mis favoritas y es muy fácil de hacer,  así que deben tener cuidado, pues se vuelve uno adicto. No me puedo hacer responsable del exceso de uso de la misma.”

Bueno, quedan bajo aviso. ¡Que la disfruten!

Ingredientes:

½ taza de mantequilla derretida

1 taza de azúcar

½ cucharadita de sal de mar

1 cucharadita de extracto de vainilla

2 huevos a temperatura ambiente

¾ taza de harina de trigo

½ taza de cocoa o cacao en polvo

1 taza de nueces picadas

 

Preparación:

1 . En un recipiente, bate la mantequilla derretida con el azúcar, agrega la sal de mar, la vainilla y los huevos y sigue batiendo. Posteriormente, añade la cocoa o el cacao y continúa batiendo hasta que quede todo incorporado. Agrega las nueces.

2. Unta mantequilla en un molde para microondas y vierte la mezcla.

3. Hornea en el microondas durante 5 a 7 minutos.

4. Deja reposar los brownies dentro del microondas durante 5 minutos.

5. Saca del microondas y corta en cuadritos.

6. Cubre con “Kleenpack” para que no se hagan duros.

Rinde aprox. 12 brownies.

Karla Jiménez, dueña de  "Caídos del Cielo Bakery".  Foto: Karla Jiménez

Karla Jiménez, dueña de “Caídos del Cielo Bakery”. Foto cortesía de  Karla Jiménez

La Vitamina T to Bring Baja Flavors to the World of Latino Cuisine!

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La Vitamina T has joined forces with celebrity Chef José Bossuet Martínez  to bring the flavors of Baja California to the east coast! Our team will be participating with a world-class culinary demo at the World of the Latino Cuisine Trade Show at the Latino Food Show.  Chef Bossuet is the owner and chef de cuisine of  famous Lozhka Bistrot de Cocina Local in Ensenada and Café Contento in Guanajuato, México. La Vitamina T will be showcasing its beloved San Felipe Salt,  along with new exciting products, olive oil by Baja Olive  and a few labels of Mexican wine from award-winning Monte Xanic winery! See you in New Jersey August 26-27!

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Celebrity chef José Bossuet Martínez. Photo: Chef Bossuet

Soraya Rendón’s Shaman: The Superpower of Will

Shaman and Chilam Balam´s owner, Soraya Rendón. Photo courtesy of Soraya Rendón

Shaman and Chilam Balam´s owner, Soraya Rendón. Photo courtesy of Soraya Rendón

Underneath the supernatural halo that surrounds the concept “Shaman”, you will find  the fascinating meaning of a cross-culturally relevant word that some say can be traced back to Sanskrit: survivor.

Fittingly, Soraya Rendón, the owner of Chicago’s “Shaman” and “Chilam Balam” is that and more.  Just like the concept, she has crossed countries and cultures. Beyond surviving, she has thrived. She has conquered.

Leaving her native Mexico in her teens, Soraya remembers how she was passed up for a job as a receptionist because she did not speak English. Unfazed, she told the hiring manager she would learn the language and then come back. A few months later,  and faithful to her promise, she returned to land the job. Actually, Soraya negotiated a higher-paying position with a better title because, as she explained,  she “was now bilingual.”

Consistently fearless, Soraya soon opened Chilam Balam, a Mexican restaurant focused on sustainable cuisine. “It survived, so we decided to open Shaman,” Soraya said about her second “child” as she calls each one of her establishments. “The name made perfect sense to me.”

True to form, Soraya would continue to challenge convention and predictability. Her BYOB eatery treats patrons to a dynamic menu featuring Mexican-inspired small plates. The dishes are a creative take on traditional recipes, and are thoughtfully brought to life by none other than chef Natalie Oswald, an Ohio-born chef who brace yourself, happens to cook fluently “in Spanish”.

But what is absolutely certain is that when you visit Shaman, you will be charmed by a fascinating out-of-country atmosphere that you could very well find in a restaurant in Coyoacán.  The food is a reflection of the story behind it: bold, creative, passionate… Delightful.


Glorious porkbelly tacos at Chicago´s "Shaman"

Glorious porkbelly tacos at Chicago´s “Shaman”

What we loved: If you visit,  try the porkbelly tacos. I was impressed by the balance of textures and flavors packed in a small bite. The tortillas, by the way, were perfect.

Shaman by Chilam Balam

1438 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

(312) 226-4175

BYOB

Hours: Tue-Thu: 5pm-10pm Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm. 

 

 

Laura Martínez, First Blind Chef to Open a Restaurant in the US

La Diosa's chef and owner, Luisa Martínez. Photo: Brenda Storch

La Diosa’s chef and owner, Luisa Martínez. Photo: Brenda Storch

I  accidentally stumbled upon La Diosa (Spanish for “goddess”), a little café in Lincoln Park that I did not remember having seen before. I was first curious about the name, and since we had already had lunch, we decided to go in for dessert.

I had no idea that I was really in for a treat.

We were greeted by La Diosa‘s owner Laura Martínez, a young Mexican chef trained  at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. We exchanged pleasantries in Spanish (the restaurant had just opened in January). The pictures on the wall prompted more questions. I learned that Martínez honed her cooking skills while interning, and later working for Charlie Trotter. 

As if these accomplishments were not already impressive, Laura Martínez happens to be the first blind chef to open a restaurant in the US.

The entire concept behind La Diosa, from the menu to the name, are both her idea and her dream.  Losing her eyesight as a baby, Martínez is convinced that her condition pushed her to succeed. “Being a chef was not the easiest path for anyone in my situation, and I did not want anybody to tell me that I was not able to do something. I am the only one in my family with a degree,” she said.

Her kitchen is completely open and pristine, and watching her prepare empanadas with great precision, is nothing short of amazing. Her husband,  Maurilio, doubles as both Martínez’s eyes and her sous chef. “Sometimes it can get frustrating, you wish you could see when it gets busy so that you can move faster,” she added.

Why La Diosa? Martínez said the name is a nod to her faith. As she spoke, I could not help but be reminded of her strength and resolve. Plus, if I could ever imagine of anyone embodying supernatural powers, it is her: Martínez  masterfully wields a knife without sight.

Tequila pie is to die for a La Diosa in Lincoln Park

Tequila pie is to die for a La Diosa in Lincoln Park

If you visit La Diosa, please say hi to chef Martínez from us. We recommend that you try her tequila-cheese pie or the flan. The hot chocolate is heavenly indeed.

La Diosa

2308 N. Clark St.

773-372-5559

Open hours:

8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday

9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday  

 

 

Méx-O-Logy – Receta para Hacer Mezcalina de Pepino

 

Ya se acercan las fiestas decembrinas, y si estás pensando agasajar a tus invitados con una bebida original y deliciosa, hoy te tenemos una con mucho sabor a México.

Sirve: 12

  • 6 caballitos de mezcal
  • 1 pepino pelado
  • 1 manzana verde pelada
  • 3 limones verdes (el jugo)
  • 6 caballitos de miel de manzana o de licor de manzana
  • 1 refresco de toronja
  • 1 botella agua mineral
  • Sal de gusano de maguey
  • Hielo

PROCEDIMIENTO

  1. Licúa el mezcal, el pepino, la miel o el licor de manzana, y el jugo de limón.
  2. Sirve en un vaso en las rocas con refresco y agua mineral.
  3. Escarcha el vaso con limón, y sal de gusano de maguey.

¡Salud!

Según la receta de la chef Atzimba Pérez, reproducida con el permiso de la autora.  Para más información sobre Atzimba, visíta  su página de Facebook haciendo click aquí. 

Méx-O-Logy – Mojito: A Prescription for Summer

Make your own raspberry mojito. Photo credit: Myrna Rodríguez

Photo credit: Myrna Rodríguez

By: Myrna Rodríguez

Did you know Mojito was created as a medicinal recipe? The original pirates of the Caribbean used to drink it to fight scurvy. While mixing lime, water and spices to hide the strong taste of unrefined rum, they stumbled upon this refreshing recipe.

Luckily for us, the production process of rum has been greatly improved. Mojitos, later popularized by Ernest Hemingway, are so sweet and refreshing, that they remain a preferred summer “elixir” around the world.

My favorite mojito recipe  combines the sweetness of rum and sugar with the acidity of raspberry and lime. The mint oils give this antidote for stress its distinctive flavor and refreshing qualities.

Are you wondering what kind of rum to use?  Available rums today hail from tropical and not so tropical destinations and feature different levels of alcohol and local flavors. At the end of the day, the best rum is really the one you like.

¡Salud!

Raspberry Mojito

Ingredients:

  • 12 peppermint leaves
  • ½ lime (cut into 4 wedges)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 8 raspberries
  • 1 ½ oz white rum
  • 3 oz carbonated water

Process:

  1. Combine the peppermint leaves, lime, sugar and raspberries in a glass. Muddle with 10 to 15 strokes, just enough to squeeze as much juice out of the lime as possible and to puree the raspberries.
  2. Take this same glass with the mint mix at the bottom and fill it up with ice cubes.
  3. Add the rum, top the glass with the carbonated water and mix.

Tip: you can create a mix of berries to make it fun and add different flavors.

Mexican transplant Myrna Rodríguez, conjures up Latin-influenced libations.

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A business woman by profession, and a mixologist by passion, Myrna Rodríguez holds a masters degree in business and is a certified mixologist. Inquisitive and creative, she keeps up with new techniques, while drawing inspiration from her two grandmothers (one Mexican and one Honduran). Raised and educated in Monterrey, Mexico, Myrna infuses her recipes with Latin American flavors and ingredients, and brings an exciting twist to traditional drinks.

Find Myrna sampling food around Chicago, or delighting her lucky friends and acquaintances with Mexican-influenced beverages.

Méx-O-Logy – Margarita, Señorita

We are very excited to launch our new column, Mex-O-Logy, a space dedicated to sharing recipes and tips so that you can mix your own Mexican-inspired libations.

¡Salud!

Margarita, Señorita

Mexican transplant Myrna Rodríguez, conjures up Mexican-influenced libations.

Mexican transplant Myrna Rodríguez, brings and exciting twist to traditional drinks.

By Myrna Rodríguez

Definitely a drink that makes us think of summer, and actually, one of my favorite cocktails, this Mexican classic is a crowd pleaser. Way before I knew tequila was made of agave, I already thought this cactus was fun: I remember traveling with my family to Guadalajara as a child, and being marveled at the endless fields of agave I could see in the distance.

Margaritas are perfect for your summer cookouts, and very easy to put together. Here is my favorite recipe:

Ingredients:

1 ½ oz tequila

1 oz orange liquor

1 lime juice (freshly squeezed)

¾ oz agave syrup*

* Equal parts agave syrup/boiling water. Let it rest until cold, then use.

I usually shake the margaritas with big ice cubes so that they cool faster. Strain the mix into a rock glass then fill up the glass with fresh ice. Add a wedge of lime to garnish and enjoy!

Photo credit: Myrna Rodríguez

Photo credit: Myrna Rodríguez

A business woman by profession, and a mixologist by passion, Myrna Rodríguez holds a masters degree in business and is a certified mixologist. Inquisitive and creative, she keeps up with new techniques, while drawing inspiration from her two grandmothers (one Mexican and one Honduran). Raised and educated in Monterrey, Mexico, Myrna infuses her recipes with Latin American flavors and ingredients, and brings an exciting twist to traditional drinks.

Find Myrna sampling food around Chicago, or delighting her lucky friends and acquaintances with Mexican-influenced beverages.