Margarita of the Month: July 2014 – Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

With today (July 24, 2014) being National Tequila Day, here’s a hot and sweet recipe to celebrate with!

Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

Just recently the good folks at Torani sent me a sample bottle of their new Sweet Heat Syrup to try out.

Torani Sweet Heat Syrup

Torani Sweet Heat Syrup

This syrup takes pure cane sugar and laces it with the heat of the bhut jolokia, aka the Ghost Pepper! There is plenty of heat from the pepper, but it has none of the pepper’s flavor, so you can fire up your drinks and flavor them as you like. When I got this my mind immediately went to tequila (as it so often does…), so let’s get into making a spicy cocktail!

Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

2 ounces  Reposado Tequila

1 ounce  Torani Sweet Heat Syrup

1 1/4 ounces  Lime Juice (fresh-squeezed of course, about 1 lime)

4 sprigs  Fresh Cilantro

Salt for the glass

The goods...

The goods…

Rub the remnants of your squeezed lime around the rim of your glass and dip in salt to crust the rim and set aside.

Put the lime juice and two sprigs of the cilantro into your cocktail shaker and muddle the cilantro to release it’s flavor. Add the tequila, Sweet heat Syrup and a good handful (or two) of ice cubes. Put on the top and shake until you’re silly!

Pour it in!

Pour it in!

Drop the other two sprigs of cilantro into your glass and strain the drink into the awaiting vessel.

Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

Sweet Heat Cilantro Margarita

And drink up! This makes one very spicy and very tasty libation! If you like your ‘ritas on the hot side, give this a try!

If you want to temper the heat level a bit, cut back on the Sweet Heat and add simple syrup or agave syrup to make up the same volume.

Thanks again to Torani for the Sweet Heat sample, and I do have some other ideas for this product, so we may see more of this item in future posts… and yes, in Full Disclosure, we were sent the sample gratis, but I did quite like it and can see many potential uses for it for the heat-lover!

Happy National Tequila Day! We’re back to the bar, see you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

Seasoned tuna, crisp lettuce, and a sweet roll to hold it all…

Hawaiian Poke Roll King's Hawaiian Bread Tuna Poke

Hawaiian Poke Roll

As I mentioned in a recent recipe post (Let’s Cook! Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce), Miss Bonnie & I attended the BlogHer Food conference in Miami, and there we were given samples of several King’s Hawaiian products, and challenged to come up with some unique recipes using them.

Sweet Buns!

Sweet Buns!

One of the plethora of products we came away with was a bag of hot dog buns – I wanted to try to use these for something other than the obvious weenie-with-wierd-toppings route and my mind went to something else traditionally stuffed into a hot dog bun, a Lobster Roll…

Wanting to tie in the Hawaii theme with the rolls, I decided to do an island take on the lobster roll by using tuna and the ever-popular Hawaiian delicacy Poke in place of the lobster salad (and Dedicated Readers will know my affinity for diced-up-raw-tuna-with-good-stuff-added, and now that I’ve converted Miss Bonnie to the same craving, this seemed like a no-brainer…). So put on your flip-flops, button up your fanciest floral shirt, throw a lei around your neck and Let’s Cook!

Most of the saucy stuff...

Most of the saucy stuff…

 Hawaiian Poke Roll


1/2 Lb  Sushi-grade Tuna, cut into about 1/2″ cubes

1/2  Sweet Onion, diced

1/4  Green Bell Pepper, diced

For the sauce:

1/4 Cup  Mayonnaise

2 Tbl  Soy Sauce

1 Tbl  Sesame Oil

1 Tsp  Sriracha

2 Tsp  Roasted Sesame Seeds

2 Cloves  Garlic, grated or finely minced

2 Tsp  Fresh Ginger, grated or finely minced

For serving:

3-4  King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns

Several soft lettuce leaves, such as butter, red or green leaf, etc.

More Roasted Sesame Seeds

Sliced Green Onions if desired




Cut up your tuna, sweet onion (in keeping with the island theme, Maui onions from Hawaii would of course be perfect if you had them, but most of us will have access to  Vidalia or Walla-Walla  varieties) and bell pepper (the pepper is mostly for some crunch, so if you want to, sub celery). Put the tuna, onion and pepper together in a bowl.

The crunch factor...

The crunch factor…

Mix all the sauce ingredients (mayo through ginger) well. Add some to the tuna mixture and stir until the cubes are nicely coated – you’ll probably have more sauce than needed. Tada! Now you have poke!

All together now...

All together now…

If you have a bit of extra time, cover and refrigerate the poke for 30-60 minutes, if not, it’s still good to go as is.

Bun before...

Bun before…

Heat your broiler and spread the buns open a bit, but don’t brake apart. Toast your buns as desired…

Bun after...

Bun after…

and yes I allowed this one to get a bit “over-toasted” on the outside…  maybe we’ll call this the Cajun one…

Lay down some greens...

Lay down some greens…

Put some of the lettuce leaves on the bun and top with a generous amount of the poke. Sprinkle with some extra sesame seeds and/or green onions as desired…

Hawaiian Poke Roll King's Hawaiian Bread Tuna Poke

and pile on the poke!

And shove the tasty combo into your face! This will make three or four servings, depending on how high you pile your poke. I think this turned out really well, and putting the poke on the sweet King’s Hawaiian bun is a fun, and tasty, way to serve it.

You don’t have to be too finicky about proportions on the sauce: if you want more (or less) heat adjust the Sriracha. Really like ginger? Go for another teaspoons worth… you get the idea… just taste and if it’s good to you, go for it!

Thanks to the folks at King’s Hawaiian for the samples – it was fun coming up with this recipe! I hope you give it a try, and if you do, please give your thoughts in the comments section below.

As always, we’re back to the kitchen! See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!


This post is part of my entry in to the KING’S HAWAIIAN® Go PupuleTM Recipe Sweepstakes. For details on how you too can enter for a chance to win the sweepstakes prize by entering the KING’S HAWAIIAN® Go PupuleTM Recipe Sweepstakes, go here:

Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce

Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce

A few weeks ago Miss Bonnie and I attended the BlogHer Food conference in Miami, and in addition to going to the seminars, eating lots of great food (and having a beverage or three), seeing some old friends and meeting new ones…

Miss Bonnie meets The Pioneer Woman

Miss Bonnie meets The Pioneer Woman

we also got to talk to the reps from many companies who were in attendance giving us the low-down on their new products. One such company was King’s Hawaiian.

Now pretty much everyone knows about their Sweet Dinner Rolls and Sweet Round Breads (and really, who doesn’t like them?), but did you know they also make hot dog and hamburger buns, mini sub rolls and sliced sandwich bread? No? Us either! As a way to spread the word, they were encouraging us to come up with recipes using their products (and of course there are incentives for doing so…), so I gladly took up the challenge (and you can too if you hurry – see the link at the end of the post)!

So here’s an Island-Inspired breakfast dish that I think came out pretty well (and Bonnie concurred when I made it for her), and I hope you’ll think so as well! So without any further ado, Let’s Cook!

Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce

For two servings.


Let's get saucy...

Let’s get saucy…

For the Sauce:

1   20 oz can Crushed Pineapple

3/4 Cup  Raisins (more or less as you like)

2 Tbl  Butter

1/4 cup  Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp  Salt

1/4 cup  Water (or Dark Rum if you like…)

1 Tbl  Cornstarch

1 Tsp  Vanilla Extract (the real stuff please)

and toasty!

and toasty!

For the French Toast:

4 Slices  King’s Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread (if you think ahead, allow to sit out overnight for it to become a little dry)

2  Eggs

2/3 Cup  Light Coconut Milk (you can use regular coconut milk if you have, but may need to dilute/”loosen it up” with some water or regular cows milk)

1/4 Tsp  Salt

1/4 Tsp  Grated Nutmeg (freshly grated preferred, of course)

1/4 Tsp  Ground Ginger

1/2 Tsp  Ground Cinnamon

3 Tbl (or thereabouts)  Shredded Coconut (you can toast a little in a dry skillet if you like)

2 Tbl  Butter



For the pineapple sauce:

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.


Add the brown sugar and stir until it melts and is incorporated with the butter.

Add the pineapple (including the juice) and salt and stir well until the brown sugar/butter mixture is fully melted into the pineapple.


Stir the cornstarch into the water (or rum) until blended and then pour into the pineapple mixture.

Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the while, until the sauce thickens.


Add the raisins and stir through well to heat the former-grapes. Add the vanilla extract, stir again, and remove from the heat. Cover to keep warm while you make the French toast (you can make the sauce ahead and refrigerate – reheat in the microwave).

For the French toast:


In a bowl whisk the coconut milk, eggs, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger until well mixed. Pour into a shallow container that will hold a couple of slices of the bread.

Heat a skillet big enough to hold the two slices of bread over medium and add a tablespoon of butter to melt.


Add two slices of bread to the egg mixture and turn until both sides are well coated. Take about a teaspoon of coconut and sprinkle on each slice and pat in a bit so it adheres. Don’t let the bread sit any longer than needed to get it coated or else it may fall apart.


Put the bread, coconut side down, into the skillet. Add another teaspoon of the coconut to the top of each piece of bread.


When the first side is nice and brown, flip over the brown the other side. Cook until the surface is well colored and feels a bit dry and firm. Flip over a time or two if needed to get done to your liking.

Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce

Aloha French Toast with Pineapple Sauce

Repeat with the other two pieces of bread (if you need to make more than two servings, you can keep the cooked toast in a warm oven until all the pieces are done).

Put two slices on a lovely plate (preferably one with a Disney character emblazoned on it) and add a nice amount of the pineapple sauce and dig in!

I think this turned out well, and the double-hit of coconut really adds to the flavor. Along with the sweet Hawaiian bread and the pineapple sauce on top, you surely will get a taste of the islands at your breakfast table!

Hope you give this one a try! As always, we’re back to the kitchen!


This post is part of my entry in to the KING’S HAWAIIAN® Go PupuleTM Recipe Sweepstakes. For details on how you too can enter for a chance to win the sweepstakes prize by entering the KING’S HAWAIIAN® Go PupuleTM Recipe Sweepstakes, go here:


If you enjoyed this recipe, please be sure to “like” and “share”!


Margarita of the Month: June 2014 – Watermelon Margarita (Market-Fresh Mixology Version)

Nothing signals the onset of summer to me much more than watermelon – good watermelon that is…

Watermelon Margarita – Market-Fresh Mixology Version

you can get it pretty much year-round, but it’s late spring/early summer that it really starts getting good (normally when the price goes down and they start going on sale is a good indicator of them being in season)!

Market-Fresh Mixology

Market-Fresh Mixology

So when my-favorite-melons started to look better, I pulled out a copy of a cocktail book I’d been sent a little while back: Market-Fresh Mixology, Cocktails for Every Season by Bridget Albert. This book has drinks based around the seasons of the year, emphasizing what fruits, veggies and herbs are in best at each time of the year, and how to incorporate them into a lovely libation (more on the book later).

So let’s make a margarita…

Watermelon Margarita (Market-Fresh Mixology Version)

4 Cubes  Fresh Watermelon (each 1″ square or so, seeds removed)

1 1/2 Ounces  Fresh Sour Mix (2 parts fresh lemon juice to 1 part simple syrup)

1 1/2 Ounces  Silver Tequila

1/2 Ounce  Triple Sec

For Rim Ingredients (also see note below)

4 Tsp  Super Fine Sugar

1 Tsp Sea Salt

1 Tsp  Crushed Pink Peppercorns

Lime Wedge

To rim the glass, mix the sugar, salt and peppercorns on a small plate. Rub the rim of the glass with the lime wedge and roll the rim of the glass in the sugar mixture and set aside.

In a cocktail shaker muddle the watermelon with the lime juice until it’s pulverized. Add the fresh sour, tequila and triple sec. Throw in a couple of good handfuls of ice and shake well. Strain the drink into the prepared glass and garnish as desired (lime wheel, watermelon piece, etc.). Now drink up! This recipe makes one decent sized drink. And since it’s got watermelon in it, I’m deeming it a healthy cocktail!

Watermelon Margarita - Market-Fresh Mixology Version

Hibiscus Mini Flower Crystals and Watermelon Margarita

Note: Since I didn’t have any pink peppercorns on hand, I decided to try out another goodie I’d been sent to test out: Mini Herb Crystals from Fresh Origins Microgreens. There are seven flavors of these little crystals which are made from the fresh herb, flower or fruit mixed with cane sugar, in this case I used the Hibiscus flavor. You can also mix these with a bit of salt for that sweet-n-salty rim if you like. They also make larger crystals of the same materials that can be used on cookies, cupcakes and the like. These are some interesting products that are worth a look.

Watermelon Margarita – Market-Fresh Mixology Version

A few more notes on the book… the author (who has appeared on Iron Chef America on the Food Network) opens with a nice section with “Home Bar Essentials” then the main section of the book has recipes for each of the four seasons and wraps up with some recipes for infusions also keyed to the seasons (can you say Savory Onion Infusion for Fall?).

There is a good variety of unique recipes and the photos are nice, but not all recipes are illustrated. There are several recipes I really want to try (Blackberry Cinnamon Mojito anybody?), but be aware that many of the recipes do call for specific syrups (that you’ll have to make from provided recipes, like lemongrass syrup or lavender syrup) and a wide number of specific liquors that you may not have on hand (so unless you have an ultra-well stocked bar, you’ll have to make a trip or two to your local liquor emporium). If you’re the adventurous imbiber and want to expand your collection of adult beverage concoctions I’d recommend taking a look at Market-Fresh Mixology.


Thanks to Agate Publishing and for providing the book and Fresh Origins for the flower crystal samples. And in effort of Full Disclosure, I was given the book and samples free of charge, but all opinions/comments are strictly mine and objective.


We’re back to the kitchen, and of course, the bar! See you soon!


If you enjoyed this recipe, please be sure to “like” and “share”!



One of my little pleasures is wandering the aisles of ethnic groceries and finding things I’ve never seen before… and on a recent trip to the Asian market I spied this on the shelf:


“You’re Having My Baby” started running through my head…


but when I looked further I figured legendary singer and songwriter Paul probably had nothing to do with this glutinous rice and red yeast-based Anka sauce… but a look at the instructions was all that was needed for yet another smile…


maybe I’ll just have to give this sauce a try, listen to “Puppy Love”, and undulate a bit in the kitchen…

Margarita of the Month: November

Once again we waited until the tail end of the month, but this is one worth waiting for!

Here is my version of the Controlado Cocktail from the Patron Cocktail Lab (ain’t science a great thing?)… I made a couple of tweaks and I think it turned out pretty darn good…

Ginger/Jalapeno Margarita

2 Oz Silver Tequila

3/4 Oz Lemon Juice

3/4 Oz Agave Nectar

3/4 Oz Honey

1 to 4   1/8” or so thick slices fresh Jalapeno (if you’re not sure, make the first drink with 2 slices and adjust from there to your liking)

2 quarter-size slices fresh Ginger

Put the ginger and jalapeno in a cocktail shaker and muddle to release their tasty goodness – you can add a little of the tequila while doing so if you like to ease the process…

Add all the rest of the ingredients and some ice and shake like crazy…  strain into a glass (or on the rocks if you prefer). A salted rim is up to you.

If you like, garnish with a slice of fresh jalapeno… or what would really be great is a slice of sweet pickled jalapeno (Terra Verde Farms makes a great version called Spicy O’s). Even a bit of fresh basil would make a nice garnish as well…

Makes one drink… yes, I said one… didn’t say you had to stop there…

Do I really need to comment on this?

Insert your own joke here….

Okay – I will comment…

I have seen this packaging before in international markets – but where did I find this today?

In, of all places, Wal*Mart….

Again… let the jokes ensue…

%d bloggers like this: