Just for fun, our friend Kathleen hooked us up with a cooking class at Cocina Cosmopolita. She's taken classes there before with the proprietor, Coty Villareal, as well as other instructors. Last night we had a class on cocktails and appetizers with Chef Fernando Goñi Zapìan, owner of Camaron Caramelo (Av. 35 Esq. Calle 34). Who looks like this.
So, we were off to a good start.
The class comprised three pairings of cocktails and appies:
- 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 12-14 fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 lime cut into quarters
- 1 oz. tequila reposado (or mescal)
- 1/2 oz. creme de cassis
- Ginger ale
- Muddle the lime, mint leaves and sugar in the base of a Boston shaker.
- Add the tequila, cassis and ice. Place the glass over and shake until well chilled.
- Pour into a highball. Top with ginger ale.
Apricot jam with chipotle and goat cream cheese
- 80 g. Philadelphia cream cheese (yes, they have this in Mexico)
- 40 g. goat cheese
- 1/3 c. apricot jam
- 1-2 chipotles, finely chopped, or ~1 Tbsp adobo from the can
- 2 dried apricots, finely diced
- Mix the jam and chipotle puree/adobo. Add more chipotle to taste. Mix in the apricot pieces.
- In a separate container, mix the goat cheese and cream cheese.
- On an oiled piece of aluminum foil, spread the cheese mixture into a 1/4" thick rectangle. Pour the jam mixture in a strip in the middle. Roll the foil over, as if you we're making sushi, to enclose the jam in the center of the roll.
- Turn out onto a plate and garnish with mint leaves and chopped dried apricot. Serve with warm pita bread.
Here's the thing: It's hot in Mexico. So, our cream cheese was pretty loose and sticky, and didn't make neat, pretty rolls. For future iterations we would chill the cheese well before attempting to spread and roll it out. Or, better yet, line a narrow terrine with cling wrap, line on three sides with the cheese, fill with jam, and top with cheese. Chill the whole thing again before serving -- I think the combination of cool cheese and jam on the warm pita would be lovely.
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 oz. white rum
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 1 Tbsp cilantro
- 1 tsp Miguelito (a sweet, red syrup kids use to dunk treats like Funyuns in)
- 1 tsp Tajìn (a mild spice mix used widely; Old Bay would be a reasonable substitute)
- Cut the cucumber in half, and trim off 1/2" from the ends. Use a spoon or vegetable peeler to hollow out the cucumber to make a cut. Reserve the seeds.
- Use a channel knife if desired to decorate the exterior of the cucumber cups. Dunk the rim of the cups in Miguelito, them rim with Tajìn.
- Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, reserved cucumber seeds, cilantro and ice to a blender. Blend well.
- Serve in the cucumber cups, garnished with a cilantro sprig.
Shrimp cocktail in a tamarind-orange sauce
- 150 g. shrimp, cooked
- 1/3 c. ketchup
- 3 Tbsp tamarind pulp, unsweetened
- 1/2 c. orange juice
- 1 tsp Tabasco
- 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 mango, finely chopped
- 1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp garlic oil (see below)
- 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Avocado slices
- Tostadas or crackers
- Make the garlic oil: Fry 3-4 cloves finely chopped garlic in olive oil until just golden. Strain and cool. Discard the fried garlic.
- In a bowl, mix the ketchup, tamarind pulp, orange juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, garlic oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Add the mango, cucumber, shrimp and cilantro.
- Serve in a martini glass with avocado slices and tostadas.
We loved this combination. The Frozen Summer was cool and refreshing, and a nice foil to the sweet-tart sauce of the shrimp cocktail. Definitely a great summer pairing. Personally, I would amp up the spice in the sauce a bit.
Pear & rosemary martini
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 stalks fresh rosemary
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 pear, skin and core intact
- Chill the martini glass.
- In the base of a Boston shaker, muddle the pear, simple syrup, lime juice and vodka into a puree.
- Add the rosemary and muddle again, just enough until you can smell the rosemary.
- Add the top of the shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into the martini glass and serve, garnished with a sprig of rosemary.
Lamb rosemary skewers with salsa borracha
For the lamb skewers:
- 150 g. lamb, cut into 3/4" cubes
- 1/2 zucchini, cut into 3/4" cubes
- 1/2 onion, cut into 3/4" squares
- 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Honey or agave syrup
- Several long sprigs rosemary
- Strip most of the leaves off the sprigs of rosemary, leaving some at the end. Chop the stripped leaves.
- In a bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Add the lamb, zucchini and garlic. Mix well, and let marinade for an hour.
- Skewer the meat, zucchini, and onions on the rosemary sprigs, alternating as desired.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Drizzle the marinating oil onto the pan, and lay on the skewers. Drizzle or brush honey or agave over the skewers. Cook several minutes on each side, glazing each side, until the lamb is medium rare. Optional: look hot while doing this.
For the salsa borracha:
- 2 tomatillos
- 1 dried pasilla pepper
- 25 g. onion
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 c. beer
- 1 Tbsp cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Boil the tomatillos, onion, garlic and pepper until the tomatillos turn olive green and the pepper softens, about 10 minutes.
- Move the tomatillos, garlic, onion and pepper to a blender. Add the beer and cilantro. Blend well.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan. Place over medium low heat and simmer until thickened, about five minutes.
- Spread a couple tablespoons of the salsa on a plate, and lay the skewers over. Serve immediately.
Okay, this was the winning pair of the evening. We loved the rosemary and pear cocktail (and not just because it was the third one of the evening). And we learned that all our lives we had been using too-large cubes of meat and veg on our skewers. The salsa borracha is a keeper as well, though again I might have used a spicier pepper. This one is definitely going into our repertoire.