Chiaritas (Chia Limeade Margaritas)
Chef Marcela Valladolid is my new best friend. Okay, technically, I have not actually met her. But she’s got that whole Fabulous thing down. And she makes food I want to eat. Well, she makes Mexican food which, I guess, pretty much everybody wants to eat. But the way she does it, I want to cook it too. Then, I want to invite all my Mexican in-laws over to my beautiful house to share my authentic food prepared on my gorgeous grill with a stunning view of the San Diego coastline behind me…oh wait, that’s her. Well, no matter. Once we meet and become BFFs, I’m sure she’ll let me come over and cook at her house.
Cute Banker’s family is of Mexican descent, and I thirty minutes from the border, which is the same thing. At least, when it comes to my affection for Mexican food. I was cooking tortillas over the open flame on our stove before I could even say Valladolid. (I can really roll right through that name now, because – as Cute Banker will incorrectly dispute – I clearly have the best Spanish accent in the house.) Quesadillas were my go-to after school snack, rolled tacos with guacamole and cheese (guac tacs) were a staple Friday night treat, and more carne asada burritos were purchased with my allowance than candy. I learned to eat the hot carrots, pour salsa on every bite, and I think tamales run through my blood, I had so many as a child. (Have you ever had the sweet ones? MMMMMM).
I couldn’t resist buying Marcela’s book, Mexican Made Easy, after coming across her recipe for Enchilada Sauce, from scratch. I mean, you buy the dried chiles in those crackly cellophane bags and whiz them up in the blender with some water, add some spices, and there you go. No prefabricated stuff out of a BPA-laden can. Fresh food, the way my husband’s Nana makes it.
I asked his Nana to show me how to make tamales once and her most illuminating instruction was “Put in as much salt as it needs.” I also particularly loved “Cook it till it’s done.” I decided to leave the cooking to her and the eating to me.
But now, with Marcela on the scene (we’re on a first nombre basis), I think I have a shot at some of these classic recipes. And you can’t help but adore someone who forgets the tortilla altogether in her quesadillas: she just fries the CHEESE. Hello. My soul mate.
I hear she films her Food Network show in San Diego. Do you think she’d mind if I called her? Or maybe just stopped by? Don’t worry, I’d bring something so she doesn’t think I’m weird. How about a pitcher of my Chia-Ritas inspired by her fantastic Chia Lemonade?
It may seem odd to have chewy dots in your beverage, but it’s unusually good. If you like Thai iced tea with boba, you’ll love this even more.
I made a big bunch of Chia Limeade (I was out of lemons and it was a very good thing I was, the limes turned out so good), put some tequila in some for the big folk, and poured the rest into ice pop molds for the kids. Big hit. And you’re getting nutritional powerhouse chia seeds into your kids as they enjoy their icy treat. Not to mention getting a spot of tequila into you, which is not a bad thing on a hot summer afternoon.
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 6 cups filtered water
- ½ cup honey
- 2 cups fresh lime juice (takes at least ten limes)
- Put chia seeds into a 4-cup measuring cup or medium bowl with pour spout.
- Pour 2 cups filtered water over the seeds. Let sit at least 15 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the seeds.
- Juice limes into a pitcher or a large bowl with a pour spout until you've got 2 cups. Add 4 cups filtered water. Add ½ cup honey, or more to taste (I like it tart). Stir.
- Pour in chia seeds.
- Add 9 ounces of silver tequila.
- Stir again and serve over ice.
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