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Monday, September 26, 2011

FRESH MARGARITAS and WARM LEMON ROSEMARY OLIVES and LEAFY GREEN SALAD WITH PEARS and LATINA LASAGNA and MEXICAN CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE WITH MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Having just returned from Mexico, I wanted to cook dinner for friends, inspired by that part of the world.
A friend had made fresh Margaritas for me a while ago, which were absolutely delicious - I was excited to try making them myself, and found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse. The other recipes were from a story from Southern Living, where a group of ladies come together every year for a special holiday luncheon - how fun!!

FRESH MARGARITAS




3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup tequila
3/4 cup triple sec
8 lime wedges
1/2 cup coarse salt
1 cup ice

In a medium saucepan, combine the lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, water, sugar, lime zest and lemon zest.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature and strain out the zests.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the cooled citrus syrup with the tequila, triple sec and ice. Shake until frothy and well chilled, at least 1 minute.
Place the coarse salt in a shallow dish or saucer. Wet the rim of each with a lime wedge, and dip the glass into the salt to coat.
Strain into the prepared glasses and garnish.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from  the Emeril Live Show, 2004

WARM LEMON ROSEMARY OLIVES



3 cups mixed olives
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the olives, rosemary sprigs, crushed red pepper and lemon zest on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with the olive oil.
Fold foil over olive mixture, and pinch edges to seal.
Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

LEAFY GREEN SALAD WITH PEARS



Stir 1 tablespoon of honey into 1/2 cup bottled olive-oil-and-vinegar dressing.
Place 8 cups torn butter lettuce and 2 pears, sliced, onto a platter. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts.
Enjoy!

LATINA LASAGNE



1 1/2 pounds of fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed
1 (24 ounce) jar of tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 (4.5 ounce) cans of chopped green chiles
12 ounces of Mexican crumbling cheese
12 ounces of Mexican dipping cheese (seriously, this was how it was labeled in the supermarket)
1 cup crema Mexicana, table cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 no-boil lasagne noodles
1 (16 ounce) package shredded Mexican four-cheese blend

Preheat oven to 375F.
Cook sausage in a frying pan, over medium heat, 8 to 10 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink, breaking sausage into pieces while cooking. Drain, return to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in pasta sauce, cilantro and chiles, cook stirring often, 5 minutes.
Stir together cheeses, crema and eggs until smooth.
Spoon 1 cup of sauce mixture into a lightly greased 13-by-9 pan. Top with 4 lasagne noodles. Top with half of cheese mixture, one third of shredded Mexican cheese blend, and one-third of remaining sauce mixture.
Repeat layers once, beginning with noodles. Top with remaining 4 noodles, sauce mixture and shredded cheese blend.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE WITH MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SAUCE



8 ounce chocolate chips
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
whipped cream and Mexican chocolate sauce for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F.
Microwave chocolate in a bowl, at HIGH for 1 minute, or until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Beat butter at medium speed with a mixer, 2 minutes, or until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition.
Stir in melted chocolate, chocolate syrup and vanilla until smooth.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients, add to butter mixture altenately with butter milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes, remove from pan to wire rack, and let cool completely.
Garnish if desired, with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
Enjoy!

MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SAUCE

8 ounces of chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon butter

Cook first 6 ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted.
Remove from heat, whisk in butter until melted.
Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Recipes adapted from Southern Living, November 2010
www.southernliving.com/

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