FIRESTONE, Colo., April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Vibrant music, exciting chatter, incredible food – all characteristics of a great party. And who doesn't love a good fiesta? The month of May is especially important to Latinos for its festivities, such as Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and International Day of the Family. All of these celebrations create opportunities to get together with family and loved ones, but above all, Mother's Day is the true gem of the month. After years of always being there for us, it's wonderful to be able to honor her by spending the day together and enjoying some of her favorite eats. After all, a fiesta just isn't a fiesta without Latin food! The National Honey Board and event planner and CEO of Zikei Event Design, Coral Bosch, have developed Latin-inspired mini indulgences with honey that will please mom, and even the most demanding guest!
No one knows better than an event planner the importance of making the most of these special occasions, or the attention to detail involved in making sure everything, including the menu, is just right. Latin cuisine is known for its rich and satisfying flavors, and let's be honest – we all enjoy tasting the whole spread! These delightful honey-based offerings were created with the craving-prone in mind, and all of them can be enjoyed guilt-free since they come in fun, mini portions. The colorful variety is even paired with a refreshing Golden Celebration cocktail, which can also be prepared alcohol-free.
Honey highlights the overall flavor of all these delectable combinations, going beyond its role as a natural sweetener. It plays a key role in enhancing simple snacks like the Caramelized Nuts with Chile Piquin and even seafood like the Mini Tostadas with Honey-Soy Marinated Tuna. "It's fascinating how well honey can complement such a wide variety of ingredients; each recipe is so different, but they all share the distinct flavor and special touch of honey," says Coral. "As a Latina, I love Latin food, but my goal with these recipes was to satisfy appetites with lighter options while staying true to the savory nature of Latin cuisine," she adds.
Kick off your May celebrations this year by treating your loved ones and guests to these scrumptious, Latin-inspired botanitas that will take your party to the next level. You can even make a family activity out of putting each recipe together... but you may want to make a few batches of each since they're sure to go fast!
Shrimp-Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers with Honey Vinaigrette
Makes 12 peppers
2 tbsps honey
13 jalapeno peppers
1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and without tail
4 tbsps cream cheese
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of cilantro
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 cup apple vinegar
7 cups water
Salt and pepper
Using a small, sharp knife, cut each pepper horizontally near the stem and then vertically lengthwise to form a T. Open the pepper with care so that it won't come apart and remove all the seeds and veins using the point of a knife or a very small spoon (even a baby spoon). Rinse each de-veined pepper to get rid of the remaining seeds.
In a large saucepan, boil enough water to cover all the peppers, adding 1 teaspoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. Try a pepper; if you find it tastes too hot, add a teaspoon of honey and ¼ cup of vinegar to the water. Place all the peppers in the saucepan, leaving them to boil for one or two minutes. Make sure they are cooked, yet firm and crunchy. You don't want them to lose their texture. Place them in an ice water bath (approximately 2 cups) to stop the cooking process and drain.
For the shrimp stuffing:
Cut the shrimps into small cubes. Place them in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Chop the garlic cloves, red onion, cilantro and tomato. Add one tablespoon of olive oil into a medium-sized saucepan. Place half the red onion and all the garlic into the pan and cook over a medium-low flame. Once the onion becomes translucent, add the tomato and the shrimps.
As soon as the shrimps become orange in color, add in the cilantro and allow to boil. Add pepper and salt to taste. Cook the shrimps for another five minutes. Remove from fire and allow them to cool. Stir in the cream cheese. Preheat oven to 350°F and stuff the peppers evenly with the shrimp mixture. Bake the peppers for 8 - 10 minutes in order to heat and brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle the honey vinaigrette over the peppers and serve.
For the honey vinaigrette:
Put the remaining red onion into a saucepan and fry lightly with one tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add the remaining vinegar and the remaining honey, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Add the 1/4 cup of water and let the mixture simmer a few minutes to thicken the vinaigrette.
Golden Celebration Cocktail
Makes 8 servings
8 tsps honey
1 cup lemon juice
4 tsps lemon zest
1 tbsp rose water
8 basil leaves
16 oz of soda water
16 oz of vodka
In a tall glass, mix 1 teaspoon of honey, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of rose water and half a teaspoon of lemon zest. Stir and add ice. Add 2 oz of vodka and stir along with the ice until all the ingredients are blended. Tap the basil leaf on the palm of your hand to accentuate its flavor and put it inside the glass. Finally, top up the glass with soda water, stir and serve.
*It is advisable to prepare each cocktail separately to achieve the freshest flavor possible. This drink is also delicious and very refreshing when prepared alcohol-free.
About the National Honey Board
The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.
SOURCE National Honey Board