Cinco De Mayo Drink Recipes

From what I had read, one of the main drink ingredients for any drinks related to Cinco de Mayo is tequila. There’s going to be plenty of drinks that have tequila as an ingredient. The drinks served for Cinco de Mayo is no different. Here’s one example which is a common drink called a Tequila Sunrise:

There are plenty of forms and different reciples on how to make a Tequila Sunrise from what I had found.

Tequila Sunrise – Simple Form

1 Sliced Lime
Crushed Ice
4 Oz of Tequila
2 Cups Fresh Orange Juice
1 Oz Grenadine
Ice Cubes
1 Sliced Orange
Fresh Mint Springs

The instructions are to rub the rims of two tall glasses or possibly one big glass. Place the salt on a plate and press the rim of each glass into the salt to coat the rim evenly. Fill the glasses with crushed ice. Combine the tequila, orange juice, and grenadine into a pitcher with ice cubs, stir, and strain into the glasses. Finally garnish with orange slices and mint.

It’s supposed to serve two. But since I like my alchohol, the two servings would probably be one big serving for me. I remember one time I ordered a very big daiquiri that served two. It was for myself and the waitress was pretty shocked and surprised that I wanted that one. One guy with his family cheered me on.

Yes, I do love my alcohol. The thought of it makes me want to go out and get a large Tequila Sunrise for myself. And no, I’m not going to share.

Another recipe I had stumbled across is called the “Cinco de Mayo.”

The reciple is as follows:

2 1/2 Oz White Tequila
1 Oz Grenadine Syrup
1 Oz Rose’s Lime Juice

Basically, shake well with lots of ice and strain into the glass. If you want to, garnish that stuff with fresh lime wedges. I like that recipe. I got plenty of limes at my house which I can subsitute for Rose’s Lime Juice. Now all I need is the Grenadine Syrup and the White Tequila.

There’s also the “Cinco de Mayo 2” recipe.

1 1/2 Oz Tequila
1 Oz Midori Melon Liquer
1 Oz Watermelon Schnapps
1 Gold Foil Covered Chocolate Coin
4-5 Oz 7-Up Soda
1 Lemon

Once you have all these ingredients, pour the watermelon schnapps into a collins glass. Fill it halfway with ice. Stand up a gold foil covered chocolate coin in ice against the contour of the glass. Fill the rest of the glass with ice. It says that afterwards, the schnapps should be chilled. Then you have to tilt the glass and pour the tequila, carefully bring the drink to about an Oz and 1/2 with either 7-Up or Sprite doesn’t matter. Afterwards you’re supposed to float the Midori on top. If you want, garnish it with lime and serve.

All these drinks sound very tempting… And I’m tempted to go to the bar for Cinco de Mayo and drink to my heart’s content. These are drinks I had found.

But it seems that one can possibly make their own Cinco de Mayo drink recipes. From what I read with the recipes, the main ingredient seems to be tequila, a citrus fruit either for the wedges or the juice, and salt.

Choosing the right Wine to go with your Meal

It used to be that red wine was served with red meat, and white wine with fish and chicken. It was an easy rule that most people could remember, and it took the guesswork out of choosing a wine for a particular menu. However, with today’s varied cuisine, and a huge assortment of wine varieties to choose from, choosing the right wine becomes a bit more complicated. But it really doesn’t have to be.

Basically, red wines tend to be more full-bodied than whites, and so are served with meals that are richer in flavor. White wines tend to be lighter, and are typically served with lighter fare, such as fish and chicken. However, what if you have a chicken dish that is smothered with a rich, spicy, red sauce? A light white wine would get lost in the flavor of the chicken. Go ahead, go for a robust red wine to complement the spiciness of the chicken. A spicy Shiraz would be great with a dish such as this.

How about a light beef stir-fry? A red wine might be a little too heavy for a delicate beef dish such as this. Try one of the more flavorful white wines, such as a Chardonnay, which will not overpower the flavors of your dish.

Of course, the most important thing to remember when choosing a wine is your own personal taste. If you like white wine better than red, try different varieties with different meals to see what works best. The same goes for red wines, blush wines, and all other types of wines. It all comes down to what tastes good to you. Go ahead and experiment: if you try a glass of wine with a certain meal, and it just doesn’t work, save the rest of the bottle and try it with a different meal.

Keep track of which wines you really like, and which meals your favorite wines go well with. Don’t be afraid to try new wines, and don’t be afraid of breaking any "rules". Wine is meant to be enjoyed, and it should taste good to you – that’s the most important rule to remember!

Choosing the best Bowl for a Tossed Salad Salad Presentation Serving Bowls for Salads

There is little more beautiful than a glorious salad of mixed greens, with the textures and colors contrasting the perfect bowl!  Everyone’s taste in salads and styles will be different, so this guide is intended to help you find what will be distinctively yours, yet an aesthetic triumph for your presentation at the table.

The salad will have its own color theme, whether it is a multi-ingredient dinner salad, or chef’s salad, or perhaps just a garnished mixed salad.  Other possibilities would be a heavier, more monochromatic salad of pasta with vegetables or potatoes and vegetables.  Contrasting the color is a key to showing off the salad – what is your style?  Just be sure the bowl is deep enough to hold the salad, allowing for some action while lifting the salad with tongs or salad forks, larger or smaller.  Salads are textural by nature, and so the bowl can be smooth and substantial – yet not too heavy to lift, unless on a buffet table.

Solid wooden bowls are always nice, and take on a lovely patina after many uses.  The natural look of wood goes well with the leafy textures of greens.  A vinaigrette type dressing, or anything with oil in it, will add to the seasoning of the wood.  The classic Caesar or Greek salads which call for rubbing a clove of garlic around the bowl are nice in a wooden bowl, too, with the slightly porous seasoned wood retaining the flavor of the garlic.  Matching wooden utensils are also easy to find, from very formal with porcelain or silver handles to hand-carved and artistic free-style ones.

Another approach is to utilize a tempered clear glass bowl that shows the layers or can be frozen.  You can  even make your own bowl of ice, for a refreshing and totally crisp salad as well as a dramatic presentation.  The frozen ice-bowl is simply made by freezing water in a bowl, with a slightly smaller bowl resting on top of the water.  Oil is rubbed or sprayed on the bowls to facilitate easy release as a mold for the ice.  Placing a few violets or nasturtiums or other edible flowers or herbs into the water makes a delightful decoration.  The bowl is then presented on a bed of ice in a tray, to contain any defrosting while the meal is served.

Simple pottery bowls are always correct.  A tossed salad is a fairly informal side dish, so pottery makes a fitting presentation.  Textures, colors and shapes are almost endless…the looser the salad, the more allowance you can take in choosing bowls.  The creamier salads or dressings would call for a smoother bowl, especially if you are the one doing the dishes afterwards.  Deep blues, bright colors, black or white can all make a strong statement for your table.  Keep the bowl in proportion to the amount of salad, and consider having two salads for a long table with many people.  A buffet could handle a huge bowl quite dramatically.

There are lovely silver or porcelain bowls, as well the opposite, in formality, such as serving your salad in a bucket or a tight basket, which will probably need a liner.  Your imagination can kick in, here, and your guests will be delighted.  Here’s to healthy and artful eating!

What to do if you Order a Meal in a Restaurant and don’t like it

One of the many pleasures of dining out is the opportunity to try new and different foods from the everyday fare you are used to eating at home.  Whether you’re trying an unusual item on the menu or experimenting with an entirely different type of cuisine, you know you’re taking a risk when you order something out of your comfort zone.  Or the reverse may be true.  You go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite meal, the one you’ve been dying to enjoy again ever since the last time you ordered it.  Either way, your expectations are high.

If, by chance, you order a meal in either one of these scenarios and find, when your food arrives at the table, that you are more than a little dissatisfied with what is placed in front of you, what options do you have?  Should you just grin and bear it and vow never to eat at the restaurant again or never to take a walk on the wild side and order something unusual?  Should you speak up and demand satisfaction?   

Remember that, in this situation, you are the customer.  And, while the customer may not always be right, as the cliche goes, the customer is always the customer.  Your status as a paying customer should give you some clout when it comes to getting what you want.  So, before you storm out of the restaurant, never to darken its doorway again, consider a few different approaches to the situation:

Call the waiter or waitress over to your table and explain your dissatisfaction with the food before you.  Oftentimes, they will immediately take your plate back to the kitchen to make the situation right.  Be explicit about what exactly is wrong with your food.  Is it cold?  Under or over cooked?  Dry, stale or unappetizing?  Are you plagued by foreign objects that don’t belong anywhere near your plate?  Did you simply make a mistake in your food choice and now have buyer’s remorse?  Being clear about your complaint will go a long way in helping to resolve it.

If your waiter appears to be indifferent to your plight, request to speak to the restaurant manager.  The person who runs the restaurant has a higher stake in keeping customers satisfied than a minimum wage waiter working for tips.  At this level, the solution to your dissatisfaction may end up being a free dessert or even a free meal. 

If you feel the mistake was your own by choosing something from the menu that just didn’t suit your taste buds, you may decide to simply eat your meal quietly and be done with it. 

Many restaurants have customer survey cards either in the restaurant or online for you to fill out and make suggestions and recommendations about the food or the service.  You may want to take advantage of this avenue of communication to express your feelings about the meal preparation or the choice of spices or whatever it was about the dish that you felt left it somewhat lacking in appeal.  While this is a more indirect approach, you may ultimately influence some menu changes that will keep your favorite restaurant high on the list of places where you want to eat.  

Fruit Pies Freeze well

Fruit pies will keep for about three months in the freezer and still be as fresh, or almost, as when first baked. A well stocked freezer with several fruit pies ready for thawing out and serving will come in handy during busy holidays. Too, freezing uses up the excess amount of apples from the backyard fruit that otherwise would go to waste. Well organized cooks use these to save money, save time and to save money. But the best reason for freezing fruit pies is to be prepared for  barren winter months ahead.

But the best way is to prepare the fruit pie and then freeze before baking. This makes for a fresher taking pie and more like actually baking the pie from from fruit fresh from the tree or vine. They can be prepared and frozen unbaked, or baked and then frozen.  Freezing may slightly lower the taste of the pie, and baked frozen pies may lose their bubbly look if not reheated, and if reheated, may be less juicy. That is a slight problem and one not detected by anyone other than the cook, but cooks like to present to their guests, their best efforts, at least where pies are concerned.  For compensation, a scoop of ice cream on a reheated apple, peach, or berry pie, will overcome whatever freezer flaws it has.

Pillsbury’s pastry cooks recommend the following: Pies are to be frozen only when absolutely cool, lukewarm even won’t do. For unbaked pies, “Brush the bottom crust with egg white before filling to prevent it from becoming soggy. Do not slit the top pastry. Cover pies with an inverted foil or paper plate and then wrap.” These, they say, will keep up to four months. Of course they will last longer, but after this, the flavor begins to deteriorate.

Baked pies are less hardy. Their time limit before they begin to deteriorate – taste wise – is three months. Instead of leaving them on the counter to defrost, reheat at 325 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until warm and ready to serve. For unbaked pies, cut slits in the center to allow steam to escape, and bake at 425 degrees F. for 30 to 45 minutes until the juices ooze and bubble up from the center.

Do not freeze cream pies or those with meringues, or chiffon pies, puddings and custard. Pies that are open-faced freeze well if they are well protected from damage.  Covering the whole pie with a paper plate  large enough to leave a space between the pie filling and the covering, and then wrapping or placing in freezer bags will work well. For reheating,  fifteen minutes at 325 will unthaw and leave them warm and ready to serve.

Another excellent way of utilizing fruits for pies is to prepare the filling in advance and freeze separately. Or, if one is not sure how the excess berries or fruits will be used, whether in pies, puddings, some other dessert combinations, then freeze the fruits separately. At pie baking time, unthaw and prepare the pie filling.

This will not take up too much time if crusts are likewise frozen – or store bought and kept in the freezer ready to be used. To freeze crusts, place them in a pie pan, cover as if it were a pie, and freeze. As Pillsbury’s cooks suggested, brushing on egg whites, before freezing, or before cooking, will lessen their chance of being soggy.

For the top crusts, freeze separately on large round of cardboard that have been covered with wax paper or cling and then wrapped. The cling will be useful, after the dough has thawed to lift the crust and place on the pie filling.

Candy Making 101

If you hate baking, try candy making. I started making candy a few years back. Before then I spent many hours in the kitchen making dozens of cookies for Christmas. I never enjoyed baking because many times you have to chill the dough, then you have to wait for the cookies to bake, and if you’re not careful the cookies might burn. Then I ran across a recipe for bon bons and decided to give it a try. Now I continue to collect candy recipes and try new ones every year. As for the cookies, I may make one batch for Christmas, and I usually put out about 30lbs of candy.

I found a recipe for basic fondant in an old cook book they were discarding from a library. This fondant has become the base of almost all my bon bons. After flavoring the fondant, I just dip the balls or squares in melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.

Anyway, here is the versatile recipe:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup melted butter or margarine
3 lbs powdered sugar
Assorted flavorings, nuts, coconut

Sift 2lbs. of powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add butter and sweetened condensed milk, mixing well. Knead in remaining 1lb powdered sugar. Divide the mixture into fourths. Flavor each fourth with desired flavoring, add food coloring if desired. Shape mixture into 1/2″ balls or press into square pan then cut into squares. Dip balls or squares in melted chocolate and let dry on waxed paper. You can also wrap the unflavored fondant around maraschino cherries and dip into the chocolate coating.

You can get creative with your flavorings. LorAnn carries many unusual flavorings such as cheesecake and creme de menthe which can make some awesome bon bons. Warning, if you choose to give these as gifts, chances are you’ll be required to make them for the rest of your life.

Step by Step Guide to Making Pie Crusts

Pie crust, while not difficult to make, takes some practice, and it requires finding the right recipe. It also takes some equipment.

Of course, you need a rolling pin. These can be made of wood, plastic, glass, marble, or various other composites. Anything that is smooth, and remains relatively cool is the best choice if you want to keep the dough from sticking, however, the wooden ones are the traditional variety that many of us are most familiar with. You also need a board or smooth surface to roll the dough out on. Once again, the smoother and cooler the better.

For a simple pie crust, made with vegetable shortening, you need all purpose flour, shortening, either from a can or in sticks, a little salt, and ice water. For a one crust pie, you will need about 1 1/3 cup of flour. A two crust pie will take 2 cups of flour. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ to ¾ cup of shortening to the flour. Cut in the shortening to incorporate it well with the flour by using a knife and fork, or pastry blender. You should have recognizable balls of shortening and flour in the dough.

Gradually add three or four tablespoons of ice water, and mix with a fork until it reaches a consistency that is neither too sticky or too dry. The dough should leave the sides of the bowl and form a ball. Ice water is important since you do not want the little balls of shortening in the dough to become completely smooth. The fact that you can see the shortening in the dough means that it will form air bubbles when baked and make a lighter, flakier, and less rubbery crust.

Turn the dough out on your board. If you are using a wooden board and rolling pin, you will need to flour both, to keep the dough from sticking. Separate the dough into two balls if you are making a two crust pie.

Unlike bread dough, which requires kneading, pie dough gets tougher the more you work with it. Take one of the balls of dough, roll it gently in a little flour, and begin rolling it out, starting at the center and rolling in all directions until you have a circle big enough to fit in your pie pan. Gently lift the dough, place it into the pan and form it gently around the inside, leaving enough dough over the rim of the pan to make your fluted edge.

If you are making a pie shell to bake, for use later, prick the bottom and the sides with a fork to allow the steam to escape and keep the dough from rising up from the pan. If it is a two crust pie, add your filling, roll out the other half of the dough and place over the top of the filling. Flute the edges once the top crust is on, and trim off the excess around the edges. Prick some holes in the top crust, or add some decorative slits to the crust.

Once you have made pie crust, making it is pretty much second nature, and while you can buy pie crust already made, many still prefer the homemade variety.

How to Make Apple Pie Filling

Apple pie is only as good as the apples you use, and the kind of apple you choose depends on whether you want a sweeter apple or one that is fairly tart. This pie favorite is one of the easiest to make from scratch.

Start with a good baking apple, such as Granny Smith or Macintosh, or even Yellow Delicious, if you prefer a much sweeter apple. Where you live has a lot to do with the kind of apple you prefer, and the season when they become available. For some, the early variety Gravenstein is the only apple they use, but these are not always available in some areas. Some people prefer not to use a more mellow apple like Macintosh because they want a more solid apple in their pie, so that it remains intact and a little crisp after baking. By and large, what you need is a juicy apple in order to make a proper filling.

The number of apples you will need depends on the size of your pie pan and whether it is regular or deep dish. Remember that once the apples are baked, they will shrink somewhat, so you will need enough apple slices to heap them up high in the pan so that after they have baked, you will still have an impressively high pie.

Peel, and core the apples, cut the apple in half, and with the apple round side up, slice each half into equal slices, about 1/8th to 1/4th inch wide. To keep these slices from becoming brown after slicing, put the slices in a bowl with about a tablespoon of lemon juice.

Prepare a mix of sugar, usually about 1/4th cup, or more, depending on how sweet you like it, and three or four tablespoons of flour. You can also add a little cinnamon and some nutmeg to the mix. The flour turns the apples into a filling that will actually hold together once the pie is baked and cut.

Drain the apple slices, and toss them in the sugar, flour and spice mix, coating them completely. Scoop them out into your unbaked pie crust, and cover with the top crust or a lattice top. For a Dutch apple pie, you can use a crumb crust made with flour, and butter mixed together with a little more cinnamon and sprinkled over the top of the apples.

Once you have made a homemade apple pie filling, you probably won’t want to go back to the canned variety. While it may take a little more work, it is worth the effort.

Apple Pie Filling Homemade Apple Pie Filling Moms Apple Pie Filling

There are probably as many homemade apple pie filling recipes, varying from family to family, as there are families cutting and eating those delicious, homespun apple pies.

Apple pie is an American icon, existing equally with Mom and love – and rightfully so. Offered here is a smattering of those treasured apple pie fillings and the quick-to-read method of preparing them.

Some pie bakers are strict purists, simply using cinnamon and nutmeg for the seasoning of the apples. Then there are others who meticulously add ginger and cloves to the mix. Still other good pie bakers use highly-scented candies to add that certain something to their apple pie filling.

However the filling is made, bakers stand firm in the belief that their exclusive recipe is the best – and it probably is – because homemade, traditional, generational recipes ARE the best.  They are the recipes that are passed down from grandmothers to daughters and from mothers to children.

-Good Apple Pie Filling

5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced very thin

¼ cup lemon juice

½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cloves

¼ cup all purpose flour

Place the apples in a large bowl; add the lemon juice and toss to cover all. Add remaining ingredients and stir to coat all the apples completely.  Scoop the apples into a prepared bottom crust and add the vented top crust. Finish off and bake.

-Dried Apple Pie Filling

2-1/2 cups dried apples, slices or chunks

2-3/4 cups water

2 tbsp. cornstarch

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Cook the dried apples over low heat until soft and tender, around 30 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook 10 minutes, or until thick. Allow the filling to cool for 15 minutes.  Pour into a prepared bottom crust, add the top crust and bake.

-Red-Hot Apple Pie Filling

6 cups raw, sliced pie apples

1/2 cup hard cinnamon candies (Red-Hots)

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cut into slices

Pour all ingredients into a large, deep mixing bowl and stir together. Scoop into a prepared bottom crust, dot with butter, add the top crust.  (Brush the top crust with a little milk and then sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar just before baking.)

-Most Favored Apple Pie filling

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and grated

3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and grated

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

3 tbsp. flour

1/4 cup butter, cut into slices

Toss all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, and allow the filling to macerate at room temperature for 15 minutes.  This develops the juices and makes a delicious filling. Pour into a raw, prepared bottom crust, dot with the butter, then apply the vented top crust.  Brush the crust with heavy cream and dust lightly with sugar and nutmeg. Bake 35-40 minutes in a 375oF oven.

Everyone loves Mom’s homemade apple pie, because – no matter how the filling is made, the main ingredient is always love!

Pie Pans Pie Plates Pie Cookware

Baking a delicious pie with a flaky crust and perfectly-done filling requires really good ingredients, a little know-how, and the best cookware or pie pans you can find. This all-important pie plate must meet a few requirements, such as appropriate weight, ease of use, and good reviews. Do a little investigating, ask around. This information is important for baking wonderful pies.

For our purposes here, it is understood that a piece of ceramic or glass pie bakeware is called a pie plate, and an aluminum or other metal piece of pie bakeware is called a pie pan.

Perfection in pie-baking requires attention to detail, and this applies to picking out the most perfect pie pans.  In a recent (unofficial) poll, it was found that the majority of bakers questioned use ceramic pie plates exclusively. 

The reasons listed for ceramic pie plates being the best are:

-Ceramic pie plates cook pies gently but competently due to their weight and thickness, which also helps to prevent dripping, smoky boil-over.

-They are the perfect size for most pies. Approximately 11” in diameter, including the rim, the big 9″ pan/dish can hold slightly over one quart (36 oz.) of any filling.

-They are microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe

-Ceramic pie plates are glazed, which helps make cleanup quick and easy since nothing seems to stick to the glaze. Depending on the style purchased, the ceramic pie plate can go from oven to table because of the bright, colorful glazes.

-Most of these pie plates have a fluted edge which allows a secure grip and helps when placing the pie into the oven or removing it.  You do not want to drop that pie!

-Glass pie plates (Pyrex, for instance) are considered to be the second BEST pie plate to use. Glass is the preferred pie plate for many professional bakers for much the same reasons as listed above for ceramic pie plates.

-Glass cooks gently and competently due to the weight and bottom thickness, aiding in preventing spilling and boil-over.

-Glass pie plates come in various sizes, from 8“to 10” and with or without a fluted edge.

-Usually made by Pyrex, they are guaranteed to be microwave- and dishwasher-safe, plus they can go from oven to freezer without breaking since they are made of tempered glass.

-The most popular glass pie plates are clear glass, so it is very easy to see if the crust is browning, and to know when the crust is done.

Heavy-duty aluminum pie pans

Some bakers use only heavy-duty aluminum pie pans. 

-They like the lighter weight of the aluminum and is well-known as a great heat conductor.

-Aluminum pie pans are usually coated with a clear, non-stick, non-toxic, quick-release coating, which also aids in quick clean-up.

-Professional-grade metal pans have a corrugated bottom, which aids in the browning process of the bottom crust, usually eliminating soggy crust. (These pans are also available for home bakers.)

-Aluminum pie pans come in assorted sizes: 6″, 8″, 9″, and a 10″ deep-dish style.

These are the primary types of pie pans/cookware available with the “BEST” listed first.  Let experience be the best teacher – try them all before deciding on your own best choice.