Abuela’s Guac By Dancing Chef Alejandra

ALE DANCING CHEF

WELL, HELLO THERE!

I’ve always had a passion for cooking salsas and dancing the salsa. I learned a lot from my family I was so lucky to have. My mother and  my aunts are all singers, our house parties always had mariachi bands or my uncle playing the guitar. Together we loved to sing to the melody of romantic Mexican  music.

Tequila was always in hand, specially  Tres Generaciones, my family’s favorite!  

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And about the dancing, well, no party passed without some dancing as well.

 

My grandmother “Cuqui,” lived until the age of 98 in the beautiful port of Acapulco. Very sadly she just passed away about a year ago,  however her legacy stayed with us.  She was an amazing cook, our favorite meals where the meals she cooked! Oh!, did I mention she had one shot of tequila every day before lunch along with a margarita with lunch? She did not miss a single day, until the day she passed away. Best part is that she looked amazing until her very last day, was it the tequila? Who knows! Ha ha

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I learned many recipes with my grandmother Cuqui. Besides spicy salsas and full on prepared Mexican meals, my favorite recipe is the Guacamole she used to make.

Ready? It is delicious!

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4         Mexican Hass avocados (the regular ones)

4         Raw Tomatillos

1/8    White Onion

1         Coriander bunch (Cilantro)

½      Squeezed Lime

1  tsp  Knorr Suiza

¼ tsp  Black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor  (of course you can use a molcajete! But the tomatillo needs to be crushed in the food processor, and if your using it already you might just do everything there  to simplify your washing ☺).  Serve with the avocado pit inside so the Guacamole doesn’t oxidize so fast.  This dish needs to be made and served immediately. Make sure you have tortilla chips(totopos) to serve with the guacamole ☺

 

 

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Spring Cleaning, My story By: Dancing Chef Melissa

Spring cleaning is a way of life for me. I get to clear my home and my head. A great time that is scheduled every year to rid of anything unwanted, taking up space or time, manage clutter that you have built up in your physical home and also in our own minds. Spring cleaning is the best time to feel the fresh air all around and happily take in new beginnings.

At times we can feel so comfortable and secure about a path we are taking, yet nonetheless, an opportunity, a change, a misfortune, good luck, whatever it is, comes along and suddenly you are forced to make a decision. The path you once thought was, is not.

For the last 7 consecutive years, I have lived in the gorgeous country of Mexico. Mexico is full of diverse landscape, vibrant culture including style, food, along with modern and traditional lifestyles combined. I never thought I would leave, yet here I am just arriving back to the sunny state of Florida. I am feeling motivated and hyped for what is to come!

It was 2011, I clearly remember walking into my favorite coffee shop and reading the job post on the bulletin board that read, “Enthusiastic, energetic, motivated, English spoken? I need to find out more, sounds perfect for me!” Shortly afterwards I became part of an wonderful team and I had a new job title: Dancing Chef.

I was immediately sent to Salsa and Salsa Los Cabos to be trained by Dancing Chef Stephanie, now a great friend of mine, so that I could learn the show from beginning to end. I was instantly hooked! I was addicted to interacting with the guests, creating beautiful memories for couples, singles, families, children, grandparents, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, everyone and anyone. It didn’t matter who they were or where they were from, my goal each show was to make sure they left smiling! Who wouldn’t enjoy a job like this?

Having the opportunity to work in all three ports: Mazatlan, Los Cabos and Cozumel, as well as coordinating with our amazing team, I have gained a lot of knowledge, experience and the best part, friendships! I believe these are the factors in why I have learned to adapt quickly and see through the unpleasant or difficult times and remember to always move forward. As I do each annually, each beautiful Spring!

The most exciting chapter in my personal experience with Salsa and Salsa is happening now! I won’t give out too many details since I don’t enjoy spoiling surprises, all I can share with you, is that new adventures are to come for Salsa and Salsa by land as well as by sea!

Look out for the Dancing Chefs! Ole’!

Valentine’s Day is here! With Love, Dancing Chef Stephanie

Valentine’s day is a very special day for most of us, it is the perfect excuse to show our feelings to our loved one. Very little of us know the origin of Valentine’s day though. It’s origin is actually a religious celebration, the Roman Catholic church designated February 14th as the day of Saint Valentine which is the protector of lovers. This is how February 14th turned into the greatest day to celebrate love.

In Mexico this day is known as “El Dia del Amor y la Amistad,” translated to: “Love and Friendship Day!” This gives us the perfect excuse to not only spend the day showing our partner our love, but also gives us the opportunity to show our friends how appreciated they are. When kids are in school they are often sent with a big bag of heart shaped lollypops or chocolates to give to hand out to their friends and teachers as a sign of appreciation.

I personally like to make treats myself for my friends and family!

If you are thinking to have a get together with your friends, I have something you may impress them with!

Strawberries and Champagne Margaritas!

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Instructions:

Ingredients

1 cup Strawberries, hulled

3/4 cup Champagne

3/4 cup Tequila

1/4 cup Fresh lime juice

1/4 cup Cointreau (orange liqueur)

Pink crystallized sugar

Ice

Instructions

Blend strawberries until smooth.

Combine strawberries, champagne, tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau (orange liqueur) and stir or shake until well combined.

Rim edges of your margarita glasses with pink crystallized sugar.

Pour margaritas over glasses full of ice.

This recipe makes up to 4 margaritas so keep the bottles close so you can keep making them!

*If you want to make frozen margaritas make sure your strawberries are frozen and blend everything together including 1 ½ cups of ice.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget” –Unknown

Embrace your life and the season with your friends and family!

Ole’! Dancing Chef Stephanie

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Meet Dancing Chef Chris “Follow your dreams and make them a reality”-Chris’s favorite Mantra

Dancing Chef Chris is a Canadian who spent over 30 years in the retail business. Three years ago she decided to move to Mazatlán, sight unseen. She brought with her 4 suitcases, her golf clubs and her dog Cooter….all the important things in life!

Three years ago when my job in the Middle East abruptly ended, I decided to follow my dream and move to Mexico. Over the past 20 years, I had travelled extensively throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America and always said I wanted to retire in Mexico.

When I returned to Canada and announced to my family that I was just passing through on my way to Mexico to live they were aghast. Everyone asked “Why Mexico?” My initial motivation for moving was the weather. I was simply tired of cold Canadian winters. Years of skiing had left my knees in bad shape and I could no longer enjoy a day on the slopes. The lure of sunny days, a warm ocean and cold “cervesas” was too much to pass up!

Another thing that was enticing was the cost of living. The Canadian dollar has remained strong against the peso and the American dollar even more so. I  live quite comfortably on about 1/3 of what I would need to live in Canada. This includes rent, utilities, groceries, miscellaneous expenses and dining out a couple of days a week. I choose not to have a car but get around on my bike or on public transit. I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Centro Historico, the old historic area of Mazatlán. My neighbors have been warm and welcoming and are tolerant of my ‘baby Spanish’. Mazatlán is the only colonial city on the water in Mexico and the architecture reminds me of some old European cities. We are fortunate to have a beautifully restored theatre and get world class entertainment for a fraction of what tickets would cost in Canada or the US.

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I have developed a great respect for the Mexicans and their family values. It’s not unusual for 3 or 4 generations of a family to be living under one roof and old people are revered. Sunday is family day and you see large family outings at the beach, in the park or at  a restaurant.

In the three years I have been here I have begun to explore the rich culture and history of Mexico. There is so much  more to Mexico than beaches. Mayan civilization dates back to 11,000BC. Mexico City is fascinating, the ruins at Chichin Itza, truly magical. I have travelled inland and visited the colonial cities of San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo  and Guadalajara. There are so many more places I want to see!

I have found myself slowing down and adapting to the Mexican way of doing things. It is not unusual for people to be late for an appointment or dinner engagement. Manana doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, it just means not today!

Too many people come to Mexico, expect it to be just like home and are disappointed when it’s not. I say come and visit, be open to the differences and embrace the way of life.

Time to close, the dog needs a walk and I think I’ll stop for a cold Pacifico and watch the sunset…….

My journey from cold Minnesota to the island life of Cozumel! by: Dancing Chef Brianna

My name is Brianna and I am a native born Minnesotan living in Cozumel.  Many people wonder how I ended up living here. Looking from a different perspective I can see the confusion, not many people think of living in a vacation destination as an actual option! I ended up living here after meeting my husband who is a Mexican citizen. He and I love living in Paradise together.

Even though my husband and I come from two different backgrounds and cultures we found ourselves learning and combining what we knew, which turned into a great life together. My husband’s love for cooking has expanded my palate to all sorts of different things, for example: super-spicy meals. Since I have moved to Mexico I have been able to appreciate that the authentic way of doing things, can truly add its own flare and tastes. I must also add that I have picked up the habit of adding fresh salsa and lime on top of all my meals.

I have added the love of travel to my life and have been blessed to branch into new territories. If you think about it, if I didn’t love to travel I would still be frozen in Minnesota! Just like all of you, I love to see and experience new things, try new foods, and visit beautiful places.

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What I love about Cozumel is that it has all of those things combined into one island. I’m sure you can see why I fell in love with this island with the crystal blue water and lush jungle. Cozumel is full of great music, food, and people. Sampling a little bit of everything is a must! Here Salsa dancing is an every Saturday night thing for many people. I have lots of fun learning new dance moves and recipes. I am honoured and excited to join the Salsa and Salsa Team in Cozumel as it truly is the perfect job for me, as you can imagine!

Hope to meet you soon!

Dancing Chef Brianna

Olé!

WHO DOESN’T LOVE MARGARITAS?? right?

When you are invited to a gathering, you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying yourself but if you are hosting that’s a different story!
Don’t worry because I have the perfect drink to keep your guest more than happy, because WHO DOESN’T LOVE MARGARITAS??  right?

Let me introduce you to CRANBERRY-LIME MARGARITAS, super easy to make and there is 2 different ways to serve it to your guest, Frozen or on the rocks.
Frozen drinks are DELISH!! The only think is that you got to keep making them before serving.On the rocks you can leave the mix on a pitcher just ready to serve, or tell your guest they can help themselves. (Just have a bucket with ice ready).

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A little tip: you can use fresh cranberries and slices of limes to garnish your drink, just add them on top, definitely will add that extra flare and taste to your drink.

I really hope you enjoy this drink as much as I do!!
And well we all know you don’t have to be hosting a party to make this margaritas 😉

ENJOY!

By: Dancing Chef Karla!

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CRANBERRY-LIME MARGARITAS
Will serve 6 cups.

YOU WILL NEED:
– 3 cups of cranberry juice (try a brand that is 100% juice)
– the juice of 2 – 3 limes.
– 4 shots of tequila
– 4 shots of orange liqueur (Cointreau or triple sec)
– Ice cubes
– fresh cranberries and slices of lime (optional for garnish)

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DIRECTIONS:
FROZEN: Add all ingredients into a blender and serve.
ON THE ROCKS: stir all ingredients in a pitcher, at last add ice cubes & serve.
* Sugar or salt rimmed serving glasses recommended!

DANCING CHEF LINDA’S MEXICAN DIP! OLE’ !!

Looking for a quick easy delicious appetizer recipe everyone’s going to love?  Invited to a pot luck? Friends visiting? This Mexican Dip is great fun, even for the kids!!  Colorful & easy, perfect for inviting the kids to help make it, and as it’s best prepared the day before you serve, it’s a great time saver!   

  Simple, easy & fun !

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                                                       Mexican Tortilla Chip Dip

*Mix together 2 packages of softened cream cheese, 450g sour cream & 2 tablespoons of (Old El Paso) taco seasoning, in bowl until well blended.

*Spread on bottom of serving dish and refrigerate for an hour.

*Take out serving dish from refrigerator and spread your favorite ‘RED’ or ‘GREEN’ salsa over mixture.

*Cover with a full package of TexMex Shredded Cheese (Kraft) and 1/2 pkg of: 3 color shredded cheddar cheeses.

*Refrigerate overnight & your dish is ready for everyone to enjoy !

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Serve with your favorite Corn Tortilla Chip & your Mexican appetizer is ready!  You can always add some roasted chilies to serve along side for those who like it hot, hot, hot !! 

If you’re searching for more fun food ideas to serve with this one, try serving it along with your best guacamole recipe, some different heat level salsa’s, and of course we can never go wrong with quesadillas. For your veggie lovers, this dish is delicious served with celery, carrot, cucumber, zucchini &/or sweet bell-pepper sticks. Your friends & family will love all the colorful combo options.

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Have Fun & Olé !!

-Dancing Chef Linda of Salsa and Salsa Cozumel

‘Day of The Dead’ by Dancing Chef Daphne

To the indigenous people of Mexico, death was considered the passage to a new life. The deceased were buried with many of their personal belongings, which they would need in the afterlife. Many times even their pets were sacrificed so they would accompany their masters on their long journey.

From pre Columbian times the Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos), has been celebrated in Mexico, and other Latin countries. This is a very special ritual. Since it is the day in which the living remember their departed relatives. Sometimes, when people of other cultures hear for the first time about the celebration of the Day of the Dead, they mistakenly think it must be: gruesome, terrifying, scary, ugly and sad. That is nothing further from the truth. Day of the Dead is a beautiful ritual in which Mexicans happily and lovingly remember their loved relatives that have died. Much like when we go to a graveyard to leave some lovely flowers on a tomb of a relative.

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Honoring the Dead

On November 1st and 2nd Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. Towards the last days of October, the entire region prepares for the great fiesta of ‘El Días de Muertos.’ The square fills with stands that offer all types of colorful figures allusive to death, the most popular made of sugar.

Markets are filled with the cempasúchil flower. This orange marigold was the flower that the Aztecs used to remember their dead by. Its color represents the tones of earth and is used to guide the souls to their homes and altars.

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Candy Sugar Skulls

Very early in October, all over the country, bakeries offer the delicious ‘Pan de Muerto’, Day of the Dead bread, made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange peel, anise and yeast. The bread is adorned with strips of dough simulating bones and at the top, a small round piece of dough that symbolizes teardrops. These sweet breads are placed on the altars, and are also taken to the tombs in the graveyard.

Another traditional dish prepared for the celebration is the tasty ‘Calabaza en Tacha’,  or Sweet Pumpkin, a dessert prepared with pumpkin, cinnamon, and dark sugar cones.

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Angelitos

f November 1st, the ceremony called ‘Angelitos’(‘Little Angles’ in English) takes place in the cemetery. The little angels are the children that died and that could never experience the happiness and sorrows of adulthood.

The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence.

The Day of the Dead is a grand celebration of life itself!

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“Chop, Chop!” – The 5 tastiest Pico de Gallo variations

pico de gallo1Mexico’s most famous salsa in any Mexican restaurant world-wide has to be ‘Pico de Gallo’. This fresh chopped Salsa contains diced Roma tomato, onion, serrano chili, cilantro, salt and lime juice. It’s a wonderful snack to serve with tortilla chips or a side-dish to spice up your meal.

Not everybody knows that Pico de Gallo is also known as ‘Salsa Mexicana’ in Mexico. The name doesn’t mean that the Salsa was made in Mexico. It actually refers to the colors of the Mexican flag: red, white and green!

Cinco de Mayo is the perfect occasion to create a Pico de Gallo. Instead of the traditional recipe the Dancing Chefs at Salsa and Salsa give you the 5 tastiest variations, so you can amaze your guests at the Salsa party!

 


Jicama Pico de Gallo 

pico de gallo jaliscoThe Dancing Chefs love to be experimental and healthy! The main ingredient is Jicama, a vegetable that is known for its refreshing taste.  The recipe comes from the state of Jalisco: the land of Tequila and mariachis. Enjoy!

½ kilo or 1 pound peeled jicama, cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

2 peeled cucumbers, remove seeds, cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

1 small cantaloupe melon cut in strips of 1×5 centimeters

¼ cup lime juice

2 fresh Serrano or jalapeño peppers, remove seeds and membranes, cut in very thin strips

½ tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

 

Place all the ingredients, except the chili powder, in a bowl. Mix, taste and add salt if needed. To serve, place the Pico de Gallo in a flat dish and sprinkle the chili powder on top. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

Habanero Pico de Gallo – ‘Xnipec’

xnipecThis fierce Pico de Gallo comes from the southern state of Yucatan and contains Habanero chili. This variety is not for the faint-hearted, but addictively tasty!

  • 2 big Roma tomatoes
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 chile habanero
  • ½ onion
  • Orange juice and vinegar
  • Sal to taste

 

Dice the tomatoes, onion and habanero chile finely. You might want to use gloves when cutting the habanero. Chop the cilantro and mix with the other ingredients. Add salt, orange juice and vinegar to taste. This salsa is used for grilled meat and fish.

 

Mango Pico de Gallo

pico de gallo mangoIf you like a sweet touch in your Pico de Gallo, try out this fruity version. It has mango, but you can use pine-apple too.

  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 serrano chilis
  • 1 ripe Mango
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to tast

Dice all the ingredients in medium-sized pieces. Place together in a bowl and add the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

Nopal Pico de Gallo

nopal saladNopales are thick, oval, flat, modified stems of cactus plant, eaten as a vegetable. Its young tender pads known as ‘nopalitos’, are an important part of Mexican cuisine since ancient times. Their flavor is similar to French beans and nopales are a great addition to your meals.

 

  • 1 pound (500 gr) Nopal leaves, without spines
  • 2 big Roma tomatoes
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 1 chili Serrano
  • ½ onion
  • Lime juice
  • Sal to taste

 

Dice the nopal leaves in cubes. Place into a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes until the nopal leaves change color. Drain and place in a serving bowl to cool down. In the meanwhile dice the tomatoes, onion and chili finely. Chop the cilantro and mix with the other ingredients. Add salt and lime juice to taste. You can sprinkle ‘queso fresco’ or feta cheese on top. This salad is a great side dish and has only 50 calories per serving.

 

Melon – Bell pepper Pico de Gallo

cinco de mayoThis last variety of Pico de Gallo can be considered a ‘Salsa Fresca’, incorporating fruits and veggies. You can serve this salsa as a side-dish with roasted chicken.

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 serrano chili
  • 1 cup diced melon (or mango)
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Dice up the ingredients and place them together in a bowl.  If you want to make a milder salsa, make sure to remove the seeds of the serrano chili. Add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

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