Tag Archives: latin flavors

Latin Night, Part II: Mojito Cupcakes

Today I’m finishing things up with the sweeter side of my recent Latin night for the ladies.  I’m a sucker for mojitos but when I’m entertaining a bigger group I’d rather spend my time with guests than in the kitchen so I find that making individual mojitos is too much work.

Enter mojito cupcakes! I’ve told you guys before that I like baking with booze and these treats are no exception. Tangy, sweet and boozily rich all at once.
Mojito Cupcake

Mojito Cupcakes
Makes 15 Texas size cupcakes or about 30 standard cupcakes
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C self rising flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C butter, room temp
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C half & half
1/3 C milk
1/3 C fresh lime juice
zest of 2 limes
1 jar of lime curd

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine flours. In a separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Combine half and half and milk. Working in thirds, alternate in flour and milk mixtures, beating well. Add in lime juice and lime zest and beat well. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes. When cupcakes are cool, use a knife to carve a cone out of the cupcake center. Spoon lime curd into the center. Trim cone and replace it. Frost with mint frosting and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Mint Frosting
2 pkgs reduced fat cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter, room temp
3 C powdered sugar
4-5 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp rum
mint leaves
1/8 tsp mint extract

In a small bowl, muddle mint leaves and rum and let soak for 15 minutes. Wring out liquid and discard leaves. Beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time, adding in rum between cups. Beat in mint extract (careful: it’s really strong so you truly only need a tiny bit!). You should aim for a hint of mint flavor with the frosting – nothing overpowering. Add flour as needed to thicken.

Red Sangria

But if liquid desserts are more your speed, a classic red sangria is a great pick when you’re entertaining a crowd.

Red Sangria
2 bottles red wine
1/2 C brandy
3/4 C orange juice
3/4 C seltzer water
2 Tbsp fine sugar
1 nectarine, chopped
2 oranges, sliced
1 apple, chopped

Chop fruit into bite-size chunks. In a large pitcher combine wine, brandy, sugar and orange juice. Stir well to ensure sugar is dissolved. Add seltzer and stir. Add fruit. Let chill for 1-2 hours to combine flavors.  Note: You can also use berries or grapes if you wish.

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Latin Night: Slow Cooked Pork Tacos

If you’re looking for an easy but tasty menu to entertain with, this one’s a winner.

It was recently my turn to host our “Ladies Night In” and with the summer quickly slipping away I planned a menu full of zesty Latin flavors and outdoor dining to make the most of the summer heat.  Knowing that I’d only have about an hour to prep after work before the girls arrived I made sure that all of the dishes that could be prepped ahead of time or required only minutes to make.

The star of the show was the slow cooked pork tacos which taste like you spent hours slaving over them but are super simple to make thanks to a flavorful dry rub and a little work-day crock pot magic.  The juicy, smoky pork pairs perfectly with a crunchy-cool Apple-Jicama slaw and chipotle cream.  If you’ve never had it before, jicama is a crunchy root vegetable with a slightly sweet taste – like a sweeter, less starchy potato – and it’s delicious with Latin foods. The recipes below serve about 10 people.
Slow Cooke Pork Taco

Dry Rubbed Shredded Pork Tacos
pork shoulder (4-5 lbs)
Latin spice rub (below)
2 C orange juice
1/2 C water
Apple Jicama Slaw (below)
small soft taco shells
chipotle cream

Latin Spice Rub
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 Tbsp chile powder

Combine spices in a small bowl and mix well. Place pork shoulder in a slow cooker.  Pat spice rub into the pork and coat the entire shoulder well. Pour orange juice and water into the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4-5 hours, then let turn down the heat and cook on low for another 3-4 hours until meat is falling off the bone.  Drain excess liquid and transfer meat into serving dish.  Use 2 forks to shred pork.  Serve with small soft tortillas, slaw, chipotle cream and salsa.

Mexican Pork Taco

Apple Jicama Slaw
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
1/2 jicama, peeled & julienned
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small Napa cabbage, julienned
handful cilantro, roughly chopped
1/3 C olive oil
juice from 2 limes
1 tsp cumin

Chop cabbage, apple and jicama and mix in a large bowl. Add diced red onion and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice and cumin.  Pour over slaw and toss well.

NOTE: The slaw can be prepared up to a day in advance.  Store the vegetables in a tightly sealed container and add the dressing just before serving to ensure maximum freshness.

Apple Jicama Slaw

I also whipped together some homemade salsa as a snack and topping for the tacos, since it’s so much fresher and tastier than store bought.  I use the word “whipped” literally here because all you have to do is toss the ingredients in a food processor or blender, taste test and the salsa is done.

Homemade Salsa
3-4 tomatoes, seeded
1/2 yellow onion
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded (unless you love it hot!)
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch cinnamon
small handful cilantro
salt

Toss tomato, onion and pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend until chunky. Add lime, cilantro, sugar and cinnamon and blend until desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

NOTE: Too hot for your taste? Sometimes it’s hard to tell with hot peppers but your salsa can be saved! Add more lime juice and dust in more sugar to mellow out the heat to taste.
homemade salsa & tortilla chips

Don’t forget: Come back tomorrow for dessert – Mojito Cupcakes & Sangria!

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Filed under Cook, Entertain