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Mango Mojitos With Ancho Chili Salt

15 Aug

It was another summer Friday in the neighborhood and that called for another festive cocktail. Riding high on the success of last session’s passionfruit mojitos, I decided to make mango mojitos. The drink itself followed much the same construction, but the mango was decidedly sweeter than the passionfruit, so I decided that it needed a spike of heat and salt for proper balance.

Assembly line for summer

Assembly line for summer

Ancho chile salt on the rim provided just the right touch.Your lips get hot, your tongue gets salty, then the potent sweetness of the mango and rum drenches your mouth in happiness!

Friday night in the hood

Friday night in the hood

I made enough to take to a Spuyten Duyvil concert at the farm two days later. Once again, big hit (except for the bit about the plastic cups…it is not good form to use one-time use cups in our world, but sometimes it happens; mea culpa)!

Spuyten Duyvil rocking the farm

Spuyten Duyvil rocking the farm

Mango Mojitos with Ancho Chile

3 parts rum

2-3 parts mango nectar or juice

1 part simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water heated until clear and liquid and cooled)

Ancho chile salt

1 Tbs ancho chile powder

1 Tbs table salt or salt crystals

Limes quartered

Mint leaves


Club soda or seltzer

Mix rum, juice and syrup together and place in a container until you are ready to use.

Mix salt and ancho chile powder thoroughly and pour onto a small plate. Rub the rim of your empty glass with lime then twirl the rim in the salt until coated.

Add two or three lime quarters, three leaves mint and muddle thoroughly so you have lime juice in the glass. Add ice, pour the mango mix in and top with a bit of club soda or seltzer.


Passionfruit Mojitos by the Pitcher or Glass

27 Jul

Summer evenings in the neighborhood can be wonderful. Occasionally on a Friday some of us neighbors bring out folding chairs and sit together in one front yard for a bit of happy hour while the kids go mental on someone else’s lawn. It’s pretty much BYO, but we do mix up a pitcher of experimental cocktails sometimes. Or at least I do.

2015-07-24 17.23.34 mojitoThese Passionfruit Mojitos (which I call “Monrojitos” after our street) were very pretty and tasty. I brought over a cooler with the rum mix, lime wedges, mint and ice, and we muddled each drink individually, which made it festive, somehow. Individuals can adjust lime if they want it a bit more tart.

2015-07-24 17.54.47 mojito passionPassionfruit Mojitos

(This recipe gives general proportions. For a pitcher, measure by the Cup; for individual servings use ounces)

3 parts white rum

2 parts passionfruit juice or nectar (nectar will be sweeter)

1 part sugar syrup (put equal parts water and white sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until slightly thickened; 1 Cup of sugar and one of water will yield about 1.5 Cups of syrup)


1 part agave syrup

Mint leaves (you’ll need at least three per glass)                                                                             

Limes, quartered (at least two quarters per glass)


Club soda or seltzer

 Mix rum, juice and syrup in a pitcher or bottle you can close tightly and keep chilled. When you are ready to serve, place mint and lime in each glass and muddle (squeeze and press so tha the juices come out). Add ice, pour desired amount of rum mixture and top with a bit of club soda.

We Won! I Won! Thank You for Your Support! #2015EDDYs

24 Mar

Thanks first to the judges for selecting the package of my writing, Cameron Prather’s recipe and Doug Young‘s photos of Watermelon Mojitos as a finalist in the EDDY Awards – Edible Communities’ way of recognizing and celebrating the best in food and beverage writing (as well as blogging, video and imagery).

Thanks second (but not less) to the readers who voted for us (many of you daily for two straight weeks!)… the final round to win the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Drink Recipe. We took the prize and we are so pleased!

Featured Image -- 6794Edible Long Island and our family of downstate New York magazines Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan and Edible East End did very well, winning a collective 11 awards for 2015!

So once again, thank you so much for your support. I have not been blogging as actively as I would like as other parts of life (like writing for Edible) pull me away, so it is very lovely to know that you continue to keep me in your orbit. I feel pretty honored an grateful all around.

xo Natalia


27 Feb

Edible Feast has chosen my piece on Cameron Prather’s Watermelon Mojito Recipe

as a finalist for the EDDY Awards in the DRINK category!

Please vote for us (and photographer Doug Young)  by clicking here. Thank you and ¡SALUD!

Doug’s gorgeous photo….


Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea Lemonade

7 Aug

I am so glad to be back!

There she is! Will find that contact info soon!

There she is! Will find that contact info soon!

We were just in Puerto Rico for a month, which was fantastic and wonderful (especially for my son’s Spanish; he spent his days at a summer camp fending for himself  and emerging victorious!). But for those of us sitting home with nothing but fans blowing hot air around while he frolicked in the pool, it was ridiculously hot.

Putting it together was easy!

Putting it together was easy!

We headed for Rincón’s Famer’s Market a couple of Sundays (Rincón is higher elevation where it is not beachfront, so it is cooler), and we found a young lady selling iced teas…with a twist (now I can’t find her card or I would tell you who she is…).

How pretty is that?

How pretty is that?

Leandro fell in love with the Hibiscus-Mint Iced Tea Lemonade which she said is very popular for kids’ parties. So, of course I had to recreate it at home and I too emerged victorious. This stuff is super-refreshing and delicious, has no caffeine and looks beautiful. I used agave nectar, so I didn’t even have to fuss with sugar syrup….You could try honey too!


So refreshing!

So refreshing!

Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea Lemonade

6 Cups hibiscus tea, cooled (I used Tazo’s Passion – 5 teabags to 6 Cups hot water, then steeped for ten minutes)

½ generous Cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (strained to remove seeds and pulp)

¾ Cup agave nectar (you could also make a simple sugar syrup and start with 1/2 Cup)

Several sprigs mint and 1 Tbs chopped mint

Mix all the ingredients in a large pitcher until blended. Remove mint sprigs, stir in chopped mint and serve over ice, with additional sprigs of mint for garnish, if desired.


Coquito: Puerto Rican Egg Nog (this one without eggs!)

22 Dec

2015-12-26 17.16.25In Puerto Rico, as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is scraped off the plates, our collective thoughts turn to what we are going to eat for Christmas. But we are not just talking about Christmas Eve or Christmas day, oh no.We’re talking about every day for the next two months.

Recipes written by by late, great-aunt Titi Amida for my mother.

Recipes written by by late, great-aunt Titi Amida for my mother.

Christmas lasts from the day after Thanksgiving well into January, with the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day on January 6th, followed by octavas (the eight days after Three Kings Day) which are then followed by octavitas, which last for another eight days. And since we’re practically into February by then, you might as well keep celebrating until Valentine’s Day on the 14th….We have to do it this way, to give everyone who wants to have a Christmas party the opportunity. Twelve days of Christmas are just not enough to give everyone a turn at hosting.

Tasting in progress

Tasting in progress

That’s a lot of menu planning. We are helped by our Christmas songs, which are sometimes paeans to the birth of Jesus, but more often they are odes to the pig…that is.. lechón or spit-roasted suckling pig.

In small servings this homey cocktail can look quite elegant

In small servings this homey cocktail can look quite elegant

Some folks serve it on the rocks. I do like it a bit diluted. You could also top off with a bit more rum.

Some folks serve it on the rocks. I do like it a bit diluted. You could also top off with a bit more rum.

When it comes to beverages, the Queen of Christmas Toddies is coquito, a sweet and sometimes lethal combination of rum, cream of coconut, and condensed and evaporated milk in its more basic form, but which can also include egg yolks, different types of alcohol, more or less cinnamon, vanilla, and much more.

These bottles from IKEA look great for hostess gifts

These bottles from IKEA look great for hostess gifts

Today’s recipe (thank you to my former San Juan Star colleague Todd Michael Jamison for sending me the original that this is based on several years ago) is quite basic and contains no egg (in the recipes from my great-aunt Titi Amida in the images, she used loads of egg yolks, but she used to get farm-fresh eggs. Now most of us don’t have that kind of access). I like to make a big batch and portion out some into decorative bottles for gifts. When I actually serve, I add a bit more cinnamon and froth individual servings up with some ice in a cocktail shaker – coquito should be served really cold and the ice thins it a bit too, which I like. Continue reading

Sparkling Cosmo: A Festive Cocktail

26 Nov

Adriana and I had not seen each other for months. You may remember her from delicious recipes like her perfect lamb chops  and roasted Brussels sprouts, or the Cioppino Latino we invented or the decadent recovery from a big night blinis topped with egg and salmon roe.

So it was high time we played again.

An inventive garnish...tasty too!

An inventive garnish…tasty too!

Our evenings, which combine kids’ playdate and Mommy time, tend to be full of amazing food and lots of wine, which is my drink of choice and from which I rarely veer. But this time, we started off the way Adriana prefers: with a proper cocktail. And I am very glad we did!

This variation on the ubiquitous Cosmo worked perfectly to ring in the holiday season…a pale jewel-like pink, topped with the liquid bling of prosecco for some festive sparkle, and cool and crisp on the tongue….and we got a bit playful with the garnish…a segment of clementine (which you can find everywhere at this time of year) pierced through with a knife and then threaded with a boomerang cut of lime peel became our accessory to crime. It looked a bit like a baby turtle crawling to the sea right after being born, or a fish peeking over the rim of the glass to have a look.

Well hello there little fella!

Well hello there little fella!

The kids kept each other very happy and busy doing whatever it is they do when they are not bothering us, except for the occasional appearance to show us a different costume or some dance moves…and we got to the business of catching up. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Now this is the right way to have a playdate!

Now this is the right way to have a playdate!

Sparkling Cosmo

6 oz. vodka

6 oz. cranberry pomegranate juice (or your preferred berry-red juice)

1.5 oz triple sec

A splash of prosecco

A curl of lime peel (or my very sweet Clementine creature garnish – one segment per drink)

Pour the vodka, juice, and triple sec into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour off into two generous-sized martini glasses. Top with a splash of prosecco or other sparkling white. Garnish and serve.

Revive Prosecco or Champagne Bubbles with Raisins

16 Jul

Since I am not a quitter, since I am a person who finishes what she starts, it’s been a long time since I have had to resort to this trick.

When I open a bottle of prosecco or champagne, it is always with a friend (or several) and there’s never anything left in the bottle by the end of the party. But yes, it sometimes happens that you just can’t finish by bedtime and you regretfully stick the bottle in the fridge, bidding adieu to those marvellous, fine, fizzy bubbles, and promising to have a quick mimosa in the morning with the now-fairly-flat wine.

Thanks to Kim for providing these fab flutes....from the Patchogue-Medford prom of 1991! (Apparently yes, they gave out champagne glasses at the h.s. prom back in the day!)

Thanks to Kim for providing these fab flutes….from the Patchogue-Medford prom of 1991! (Apparently yes, they gave out champagne glasses at the h.s. prom back in the day!)


But morning comes and goes and kids need tending and driving around and there’s just no time or place for that mimosa. And yet you can’t just toss the remaining wine!

Here’s how to salvage the bubbles in your bubbly.

Continue reading

Rum-Tinis: Two Unusual Takes on the Classic Cocktail

27 Jan

I am a wine drinker rather than a cocktail imbiber…whether it is that I am too lazy to be mucking about with mixers and garnishes (have I told you how fond I am of screwtops?) or too wise after years of silliness to mess with the high alcohol content of hard liquor is a matter you can decide for yourself.

Rum-Tini - the Caribbean martini alternative

Rum-Tini – the Caribbean martini alternative

But the cold weather somehow put me in the mood for a proper cocktail and I had brought some good white rum at the Duty-Free on my way home from Puerto Rico. I did come across some unusual cocktails and drinks (Click here for an article that includes an unbelievable cocktail called Toblerone – yeah, as in the chocolate. O.M.G. I will be experimenting with that on another occasion!), in my search but decided for this time to play with the flavors I already had at home and get some Kahlua in anticipation of another cocktail session. Continue reading

Pan-Roasted Tomatoes (a great spread for toast!)

23 Dec

The problem with warehouse shopping places like Costco is that when you are just one and a half people (little man being that half because he only eats half the variety that I do so far) the food comes in packages that are far more than you can consume before it goes off. We just can’t eat that many avocados or tomatoes or asparagus before they start looking nasty, no matter how good the price.

Nice char!

Nice char!

But, I was tempted into sins of excess by a quart of bright orange tomatoes in a plastic shell that reminded me irresistably of Sungolds. Why I was buying tomatoes out of season and out of state is a question you can reasonably ask. I hang my head in locavore-gone-wrong shame and go on with my story. I bought them. I did.

Sauteed leeks

Sauteed leeks

They were delicious, ridiculously sweet and kept me on the salad path for days. That is a path I need to be on. But a week, two weeks later, predictably, the cup that was left had passed its prime and I had a locavore-gone-wrong guilt hangover.

Prosecco mimosas - pink grapefruit and orange juice

Prosecco mimosas – pink grapefruit and orange juice

Solution? Pan-roasting. Our friend, Ashley had stayed over and it was a Saturday, which of course calls for bacon and eggs and Prosecco Mimosas (my new fave is pink grapefruit – 2 parts juice to 1 part prosecco…or 1 parts prosecco to two parts juice…or a glass of prosecco with a splash of juice….)! We added to that a leek saute (that Ashley will have to give me the recipe for; once she started fighting with the leek cleaning process, I backed away and didn’t look again until it was on my plate) and the following recipe that used up the tomatoes in a delicious and satisfying way! So, tomatoes used up, guilt assuaged, breakfast… delish!


On toast with basil (what's left in the little pot by the kitchen window)

On toast with basil (what’s left in the little pot by the kitchen window)

Pan-Roasted Tomato Spread

1 tsp olive oil (optional, especially if you have a nonstick pan)

1 Cup grape tomatoes

1 pinch sugar

1 pinch salt

1 tsp fresh basil (optional)

Place all ingredients (except optional basil) in a small skillet. Heat at medium, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to split and char. Remove from heat and spread on toast. Top with basil.

You may also like:

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic

Slow-Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Pasta with Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Black Olives





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