Sometimes, it just takes one simple ingredient to take your recipes from drab to fab. These key lime mojitos are filled with fresh key lime juice for a nice, sour kick.
Know this about key limes: they are very tiny. A standard lime is a normal size, much like a lemon. But a key lime? Well, it’s an adorable baby lime! And while you may think it has the same flavor as a regular lime, it doesn’t. It’s a little more tart, a little more powerful. A lot of flavor packed into that tiny baby lime! Mostly, they are seen in key lime pies or any sort of dessert variation. That is all well and good, I’ve been known to love a good key lime pie in my day.
But let’s have a little fun with those babies, shall we? My mint plant is still growing too quickly for me to handle. I’m actually a little concerned it will take over the house soon, an invasive and dangerous vine with a mind of its own. My most favorite way to use mint is in mojitos, it gives a clean brightness to cocktails. Paired up with a tart key lime, it was a combination made in heaven!
I “borrowed” an old-fashioned wooden juicer from my mom to get every drop of goodness from these limes. But if you don’t have one and your mom isn’t nice enough to give you hers, you can just use the tines of a fork. Squeeze every drop of lime juice into a jar or cup, then run it through a fine mesh strainer. For me, that eliminates any of the pulp that seeps out. If you don’t mind pulp, by all means skip this step. Add in some sugar, a ton of fresh mint and some rum. Mix it all up the add some seltzer water or 7-Up and bingo! You’ve got yourself a fresh, bright, tasty cocktail to take you through the summer.
- 4 key limes, sliced in half
- 1 large bunch of mint
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 ounces white rum
- 4 to 6 ounces soda water or 7up
- In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, juice the key limes.
- Add in the mint, sugar and rum and muddle the mixture together.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.
- Strain the contents and divide evenly into the glasses.
- Top with soda water.
Cuba Libres are essentially rum and cokes but with a healthy, sassy lime twist that takes them way up to the next level.
It’s amazing how one ingredient can change a dish or cocktail completely. A rum and coke is just a rum and coke, standard, simple and plain. But with a healthy squeeze of lime, it transforms into something entirely different, even taking on a new and exotic sounding name. The Cuba Libre is an incredibly fancy, sophisticated way to say rum and coke with a splash of lime. Nothing new and revolutionary but oh so much better than just a standard rum and coke. The lime cuts through the sticky sweetness of the cola, giving it a nice, acidic edge that is so very much needs.
Besides, doesn’t it sound so much more fancy to say Cuba Libre? “Yes, I’ll have a Cuba Libre, please.” People will think you are worldly, traveled, experienced, sophisticated. Your friends will be impressed by your cocktail knowledge and will bow down to you as the supreme. And if you serve these at home for a party or get-together, you can wax poetic about how exotic a cocktail it is, so much better than the plain old rum and coke. Who wants to drink one of those boring things, right? The simplicity of it will just be our little secret.
When your regular margarita just won’t cut it, try these sassy and spicy habanero mango faux-garitas on for size.
When we used to live in Bowie, I’d go to the Farmer’s Market every Sunday from opening day until well into November when it was too cold to feel your own toes. It was my favorite weekly activity. Start with a scone or magic bar and eat that while you surf your way down each stand, squeezing different fruits and eyeing up different vegetables. There was one stand that had at least a zillion different kinds of peppers, from sweet to hot. I needed all of them. The purple, the yellow, the striped ones, the ones hot enough to singe your eyebrows off.
Thinking of those peppers gave me the inspiration for today’s Recipe Redux post. Our theme this month was “From the Garden”, which I take as a fast and loose way of saying vegetables that are seasonal. I have a black thumb, nothing is coming from my garden except mint and maybe the occasional sprig of basil. But habanero peppers are coming from someone’s garden and I feel I’ve done by duty by buying them locally, from farmer’s I know and love (they are adorable, each and every one of them).
I love mixing something spicy with something sweet, so these habanero mango faux-garitas were born from that desire to kick things up a notch. The method is simple. Toss a sliced habanero in with your simple syrup and let it sit, but only briefly. These babies are potent and anything longer than 5 minutes will get you to eye brown-singeing stage. Mix the simple syrup with some mango nectar, a squeeze of fresh lime and a little soda water and bingo. A kicky, sassy faux-garita that truly takes things to the next level.
Habanero Mango Faux-Garitas
- 1 habanero pepper, sliced and seeds removed
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup mango nectar
- juice of 1 lime
- soda water for topping
- Toss the habanero pepper in a sauce pan with sugar and water and heat over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the habanero and stir the mixture. Allow it to cool.
- Once cool, place 2 to 3 tablespoons of simple syrup in a glass. Fill glasses with ice. Top with mango nectar, squeeze of lime and soda water. Stir well.
Beat the intense summer heat with these beautiful and flavorful tropical layered ice cubes!
f The Walking Dead – or hell, even Fear the Walking Dead – is basically the most annoying thing happening in my life right now. And for the love of pete, why isn’t it Christmas already?
To say I’m an impatient person would be fair. It’d be incredibly accurate, I have little to zero patience for most things. And yet somehow when it comes to food, I have more patience than I’d ever realized. I first had an inkling
Word count: 400 of this when I mentioned by Rainbow Road cupcakes to my mom. They were St. Patrick’s Day inspired cupcakes but now, I’d like to change that and say they were an ode to MarioKart. Regardless, my mom scoffed at me when I told her about them. They’d take too long, they’d be annoying and she doesn’t have the time. I made them anyway.
Then I made those eggplant bites and she said the same thing, she’d never sit and fry those little bites like I did. They’d take too long, they’d be annoying and she doesn’t have the time. Again, I made them anyway and she loved them. I guess I have more patience when it comes to waiting for the watched pot to boil.
But these ice cubes were definitely a test. To keep that pretty layered look, you have to freeze them in stages. The first thing you need is an ice cube tray – I took mine to use as a jewelry holder and scoured the house for 3 hours before remembering. Once you find yours, pour the juice in stages. Layer a bit on the bottom, freeze it and then layer the next flavor. The freezing in stages will keep the juices from melding together and will give you that gorgeous, summery look you want. Set these babies out at a party – perhaps a luau – and they’ll disappear like mad. Toss them into cocktails to give them a bit of zing or add them to sparkling water like I did for an extra fun treat. They are well worth the excessive amount of patience you need to exercise.
Tropical Layered Ice Cubes
- Mango Nectar
- Coconut Water
- Guava Nectar
- Layer 1/4 inch guava nectar at the bottom of your ice cube tray and freeze for at least 2 hours until solid.
- Repeat with coconut water, freezing until solid, then mango nectar until the cubes are frozen through.
When it comes to cold and refreshing drinks, there are few more appealing than mango raspberry breakfast smoothies.
When I was a teenager and worked in the mall, I used to get a smoothie nearly every day. This was before they were even super trendy so let’s consider me ahead of the game here. I doubt these smoothies had many health properties, I don’t even know if they really had actual fruit in them. But they were sweet and creamy and cold. I was loyal to a fault when it came to this little stand peddling fruit concoctions.
I forgot about smoothies for a long time and even now only occasionally make one. As healthy and fruit-filled as a real smoothie can be, it’s still a lot of calories spent on a drink that doesn’t necessarily fill me up. I cannot and will not replace any meal with a smoothie, even breakfast. It’s not substantial enough. However, on a hot day, a cold and refreshing smoothie still hits the spot. I love the tropical fruit smoothie from a few years ago and will always say yes to an orange creamsicle style one.
The mango raspberry breakfast smoothie is my new favorite. I say breakfast because it can definitely provide a good pick-me-up on those rough, too-early-for-anything mornings. It shouldn’t replace your meal – or your coffee – but should compliment it. It’s got the sweetness of the mango and the slightly tart flavor from the raspberries. Layer it in a glass to make it look extra pretty and you’ve got a great breakfast side!
Mango Raspberry Breakfast Smoothies
- For the mango section:
- 2/3 cups frozen mangos
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 banana
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- For raspberry section:
- 2/3 cup frozen raspberries
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 banana
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- In a blender, combine all ingredients for the mango section until very smooth. Place in glasses, half way to the top. Rinse the blender well.
- Combine all the ingredients for the raspberry section in the blender until smooth. Place on top of mango sections.