Rick Bayless’ Garlic-Lime Mojo Popcorn with Cilantro & Queso Anejo

Rick Bayless_Mojo Popcorn by a Little Yumminess

I’m always on the lookout for interesting savory snacks and this is one of the best ones I’ve come across in a long, long while. You’ve got the tangy-savory flavors of lime and garlic infused olive oil that you use for both popping and seasoning the popcorn, then you top things off with a salty, crumbly Mexican cheese (such as queso anejo) and a generous amount of finely chopped cilantro for a bit of brightness. I would also suggest adding a little chile flake (Japanese togarashi would be nice) to the mix if you’re a fan of heat.  Continue reading

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Really Refreshing Fresh Lime Soda

Simran and I are addicted to this fresh lime soda. We love it just as much with guacamole and tacos or chana masala as we do with BBQ. It’s simple to make and incredibly refreshing — I’d even say invigorating. I’m picturing myself right now with a tall glass enjoying the upcoming Memorial Day festivities. Perhaps alongside some backyard stomp rocket and Hawaiian-style kalbi ribs on the grill. Good times! This is equally delicious as a kid-friendly refresher or spiked with a little vodka for us bigger kids.

I get my little foodie in on the act whenever possible and this is a perfect recipe for exploring the tastes and smells of exotic ingredients like ginger, dragon fruit, or lemongrass. Let them help you customize the simple syrup that goes into the lime soda base. Hit the farmers’ market or ethnic produce store and go crazy!

Fresh Lime Soda (makes approximately 10 drinks)

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 10 limes, plus 2 more sliced into wedges for garnish
  • 2 – 1 liter bottles of sparkling water/soda water
  • Ice
  • Optional flavorings (we like cardamon, lemongrass, vanilla or mint, but you can use anything from chiles to dragonfruit to rose petals)

Simple syrup

  1. Combine 1.5 cups water with 1.5 cups sugar  in a saucepan and heat until all the sugar is fully dissolved and syrup is clear.
  2. Use it plain or flavor your simple syrup by steeping chopped/muddled fruits, herbs or spices of your choice for 10 to 15 minutes in the hot syrup. I’ve found that you need to be generous (say a whole bunch of mint per 1.5 cup of sugar) to get the flavors to come through.
  3. Give it a taste when cool enough and adjust your flavorings as needed. You can gently heat the syrup if you add more ingredients to extract more flavor.
  4. Strain the flavored syrup into a jar using a fine mesh strainer. Press out as much liquid as you can. Simple syrup keeps beautifully in the refrigerator, so you can make it well in advance.
Making the Soda
  1. Juice 10 limes. (If scaling this recipe up or down, we found that one lime per drink is a good rule of thumb). Avoid picking limes that are hard, they will be dry with little juice. You can often yeild a little more juice if you briefly microwave the limes for 10 seconds or so.
  2. To make your soda base, start off with a combination of 1 part lime juice to 1 part simple syrup. This will probably be a bit on the sour side, but you can keep adding syrup until you get to your desired level of sweetness. You can make this lime base ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
  3. For each drink, combine 3 Tbl of lime soda base to 1 cup of sparkling water. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices. Adults may enjoy a splash of vodka with their lime soda.

If you want to win the kudos and admiration of your friends and family,  bring this to your next BBQ or party. Just transport your lime soda base and sparkling water separately and mix it up when you get there.