Lychee Martini

lychee-martini-top

The sweet, juicy, Chinese lychee fruit is one of our favorites and for that reason we planted a lychee tree in our front yard several years ago. Even though we had to fend off hungry birds and dog walkers, we enjoyed these fruits for many years. It just so happens that this week I received a cocktail shaker set from a good friend (Thanks Sam!), which perfectly coincided with our intention to make a cocktail for this week’s recipe. The lychee martini is a favorite amongst our aunts and cousins (particularly Maria Helena Acevedo-Bast) and has recently become very popular in Miami. Go out and impress your friends at the next cocktail party with this simple but delicious drink.

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Tiramisu

italian tiramisu

This week we decided to stick to our Italian roots and give you one of our favorite dessert recipes. Family vacations to Italy always leave us craving more, so after countless unrewarding searches for Tiramisu in Miami we decided to make our very own. Literally translated to pick-me-up, this dessert is very quick and easy to make. It can be stored in either the fridge or the freezer, in case you’re in the mood for an even more refreshing, ice cream cake dessert.

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Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

cannellonis

This week’s recipe comes from our Italian side of the family. As a real estate agent, our mom’s spinach and ricotta cannelloni have become infamous for open houses and office parties. In fact she constantly receives messages asking for this delicious recipe. Although we call these cannelloni we usually use manicotti instead just because they tend to be easier to find at the grocery store.

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Red Pepper Jelly Cream Cheese Spread (Chismosa)

chismosa

This recipe is a perfect substitute for the chips and salsa we all inevitably end up buying to entertain guests. Our family friend, Maria Celsa, showed us how easy it is to create this Red Pepper Jelly that is served with cream cheese and crackers. In Venezuela the dish is named “Chismosa” meaning gossip, as it would be the food of choice while the housewives sat around the kitchen table trading stories.

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Lechosada (Papaya Shake)

Papaya shake

Fruit shakes are very common in Latin America. We often make one of our favorites with papaya. There are various names for papaya throughout Latin America. Fruta bomba in Cuba, mamón in Argentina and Paraguay, and lechosa in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. In our garden we have about 3 or 4 fully grown papaya trees with more than 60 papayas. About five years ago our grandfather brought us a little papaya plant he had grown from a seed. We planted it in the front yard and now it’s taller than our house and we have trouble reaching the fruits even from the roof.

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Hallacas (Venezuelan Tamales)

hallaca inside

This week’s recipe really had all of us going bananas! It would not be Christmas without this traditional holiday meal, particularly in our Venezuelan household. For two days, our extended family joins us in the kitchen and turns our house upside down while preparing the hallacas.

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Pan de Jamon (Ham Bread)

Pan de Jamon recipe

This week we bring you a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread. This simple recipe was created so that Pan de Jamon could be made in less than hour. While living in Ohio our aunt, Maria Helena, baked some crescent rolls with ham inside which spawned the idea of using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls as the dough for the Pan de Jamon. With a prep time of 15 minutes and a cook time of 20, it is well worth the effort. Try this holiday bread and let us know what you think.

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