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This popular Indian non-alcoholic beverage — wait, hold up. Something is wrong here because the mango lassi is perfect as a cocktail. Rich yogurt can soften the sharpness of liquor while mango provides natural sweetness. A clean-flavored liquor like vodka is ideal.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped (leaving some for garnish)
  • 1 cup mango nectar
  • 2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1½-2 shots vodka

Directions
Pureé in a blender until smooth and slightly frothy. Serve with a mango garnish.

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While I have a healthy obsession with spinach and cheese, palak paneer tends to be a dish that often looks better on the menu than it tastes on most restaurants’ plates. I found myself sloshing through the murky and over-pureed sauce to pick out the few cubes of paneer cheese oh so generously bestowed by the chef. I fixed these problems at home and found a way to make a palak paneer with a vibrant green sauce that still says “spinach.” The amped up flavor will excite your palate. And most of all, you won’t be searching for the cheese… well, at least not until you’ve finished it all.

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced Salt
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (Indian spice mix)
  • 1-2 dashes of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 11 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese spread/ plain yogurt (optional)
  • 3 ounces of heavy cream
  • 5 ounces low-sodium paneer, cubed

Directions

In a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in enough butter to coat the bottom of the pot and a drizzle of olive oil. Add a sizeable pinch of salt and cook until the onions are translucent.

Add the garlic, the garam masala, a shake or two of cinnamon and the ginger paste. Continue to cook while you make the spinach.

Heat a large sauté pan on high and coat with some water. Add the spinach and salt to taste. Cook down until the spinach is soft yet still bright green. In a blender or food processor, purée half the spinach from your pot. Add the purée to the onions.

Incorporate the goat cheese spread/yogurt (optional) and the cream until you are happy with the consistency and richness. It should be thick but not too chunky. Cook with paneer and salt to taste.

Photo Credit: Scott Figatner 

Originally published in The GW Hatchet

A fall-themed potluck is always fulfilling. Perhaps, it’s the anticipation of brisk air, amber leaves, cups of tea and pajama pants. Most of all, it’s the beauty of preparing a meal with your friends, eating and drinking until you wonder why your jeans always shrink so erratically. I made pappardelle, thick pasta ribbons, with a rich sauce of butternut squash and sage, topped with dollops of ricotta cheese and candied pecans. Warm and hearty, it’s the perfect dish to fuel yourself during the fall… or at the very least until dessert.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium-size butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • Sage leaves, chopped
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • Apple juice or water
  • Honey
  • Pappardelle pasta
  • Pecans
  • Sugar
  • Ricotta cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°

2. Peel the squash, cut it in half and remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Wash and dry the seeds and reserve. Chop the squash into 1-inch pieces. Coat lightly in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning once, or until fork tender.

3. In a blender or food processor, purée the squash with a drizzle of olive oil until smooth. In a pan, sauté the garlic and shallots in butter and add the purée. Add the sage, the parmesan cheese and salt, thinning it out to the desired consistency with either apple juice or water. Add a drizzle of honey until it’s just a tad sweet.

4. Put a liberally-salted pot of water up to boil. Lightly coat the seeds with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Roast until browned and audibly crunchy (cooks excuse to taste one).

5. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Strain and add to the sauce, readjusting sauce consistency.

6. For the candied pecans, simply pan cook them with butter, salt and loads of sugar. They do burn easily. Cool and reserve outside the pan.

7. Top the pasta with the candied pecans, toasted squash seeds, clumps of ricotta cheese and more sage.

 

Summer-Style Sangria

Photo credit: Jordan Emont

Taken from The GW Hatchet by Scott Figatner

It’s hardly summer in Spain until people are drinking tinto de verano outside. Tinto de verano is a popular drink where wine is mixed with lemon-lime soda. I wanted to combine the fruity flavor of Sangria, but also the light effervescence of tinto de verano. I made mine with strawberries— inspired by sangria I had in Seville—and also added kiwi, a popular fruit in my home stay. Blood orange soda, instead of lemon-lime, is a great and refreshing way to expand a bottle of wine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of a red wine you like (I used Evodia Calatayud red wine ’10)
  • 1 package of strawberries
  • 3 kiwis
  • 1 bottle of Lorina sparkling Italian blood orange juice

Directions:

  1. Quarter the strawberries and peel and slice the kiwis.
  2. Marinate the fruit in the red wine, refrigerating for 24-48 hours.
  3. Pour in the blood orange soda and serve with a strawberry or kiwi garnish.

Mo’Pagne Bomb

One of the most delectable bomb drinks every created, the Mo’Pagne Bomb takes the flavors of a classic mojito and incorporates them into a glass of champagne. It’s a classy twist on a type of drink that is fun and…well, highly alcoholic. The champagne gives the drink a welcomed sweetness and hints of lime and mint make your eyes widen while you chug.  Or maybe it’s the extra shot of light rum. For your next party, mix up a drink that will make a splash.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Asti Champagne (about 5 shots)
  • 1 Lime wedge
  • 3 Mint leaves
  • 1 shot of Bacardi light rum

Directions:

Muddle the mint in the bottom of a short glass with a small amount of champagne. Add the juice of a lime wedge. Drop in a shot of light rum and chug like crazy. What are you waiting for? Make another.

 

Ceviche is a popular dish in Central and South America and is gaining popularity in The United States. It is certainly one of my favorite dishes. In a ceviche, cubes of fresh, raw fish are marinated in citrus juice, which denatures the surface proteins as cooking would. I designed my recipe based on my dad’s nostalgic description of the dish he had in Costa Rica. My ceviche has a subtle sweetness from a bit of sugar and a splash of gingerale, which balances the tart lime. Avacados and corn are classic pairings, but I also added juicy  costa rican pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and edamame.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Marlin and Tilapia, cubed
  • Ripe Avocado, chopped
  • Pineapple, diced
  • Frozen Peas, thawed
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Corn (frozen or fresh)
  • Red Onion, diced
  • Canned Chickpeas

Marinade:

  • Lime Juice, be generous
  • Ginger Ale, a splash
  • Fresh Garlic, minced
  • Jalopeño, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, don’t skimp
  • GOYA Cilantro Cooking Base
  • Sugar, a hint

Directions:

  1. Prepare marinade and pour over ingredients in a shallow dish. There needs to be enough liquid to almost cover the fish. Refrigerate covered for about 1 hour, carefully folding every 15 minutes. Serve alone or with tortilla chips.

Tips:

  1. The fresher the fish, the safer and tastier the ceviche.
  2. Be sure to use enough lime juice than you think or you’ll be eating sashimi, not ceviche
  3. Cut your ceviche pieces all the same size.
  4. Ripe avocados should be tender to the touch. Next, break off the stubby stem. If it’s green, it’s fresh.
  5. Slice lengthwise all around the avocado and twist to open. Take a careful wack with the chef’s knife and twist to dislodge the pit.

 

We never cook salmon any other way in our house. Gently baked in the oven and slathered with mayo, fresh dill and lemon juice, the salmon is perfectly cooked with tender, bright-pink flakes that dissolve in your mouth. The mayo melts down, flavoring the salmon and keeping it mouthwatering. A tofu stir-fry makes the perfect side; it’s healthy, crisp, full of flavor and slightly sweet.

 

To make the sauce, mix about 1 cup of mayonnaise with about 3/4 the juice of a lemon and lots of fresh, chopped dill. Slather onto the salmon, place in a baking dish in the oven and bake on 350° for about 30 minutes. I used about 1½ pounds of farm-raised salmon, which has more fat and less mercury. It is done when the mayo has begun to turn golden in places, and the salmon flesh is bright pink and flaky inside.

For the stir fry, salt a pot of boiling water. Blanch green beans, cut into bite-size pieces, and broccoli until cooked, yet crunchy. Shock in a water bath with lots of ice. Take a block of firm tofu and wrap in paper towels to take out excess moisture.

Heat a wok on high and add some vegetable or canola oil. Add quartered mushrooms, thinly-sliced onion, the broccoli, the beans, the tofu and three cloves of minced garlic. Add salt, pepper and any seasoning you like. I added some rice seasoning with seaweed and some thai seasoning mix.

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, honey, mustard, sesame oil, rice wine, rice wine vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. Toss with the stir-fry and serve.