Archive for August, 2010

Sponsor Spotlight – North American Standards

Taste of Playa Sponsorship is what makes this event work and enables a complete and extended community circle of support in this culinary event. The greatest compliment to the event and to the chefs that participate is returning sponsors who believe in Taste of Playa as a destination event that supports not only chefs but the entire community.

North American Standards Property Management is one of those sponsors, being one of the first local businesses to show their support in 2009 and eagerly signing up for more involvement in 2010. Matt and Allan have been involved in community projects since their arrival to Playa Del Carmen from Boston and your stereotypical business owners who feel that supporting where you live is not only good business sense but also good stewardship.

North American Standards Property Management Company (NAS) is a boutique Playa del Carmen property management and vacation rental business founded by Matt Weatherbee and Allan Lockhart. NAS seeks to distinguish itself by providing the quality of care clients expect from a major property management firm as well as the personal attention clients require from a dedicated manager. Matt and Allan bring over 40 years of combined property management experience. Unlike many larger companies in the industry, NAS focuses solely on property management and rentals, allowing them to provide to their clients a more tailored and personalized service.Through this type of personal attention, NAS strives to cultivate long lasting relationships with its clients.

This philosophy has extended to the Taste of Playa event, having North American Standards not only participate as a sponsor and provided important feedback to the Volunteer Executive committee, but has taken on the task of being a Marketplace Participant with their line of hot sauces, ‘Hot Lips’. This year, they will have a view from both ends of the stick, as a sponsor and participant at Taste of Playa 2010 which will give them an advantage in understanding and reaching the public that attends this extraordinary culinary event in the Riviera Maya.

Matt and Allan, the owners of North American Standards, join the event with over 40 years’ of combined property management experience from Boston to Mexico. Their enthusiasm and dedication to the Riviera Maya area is a breath of fresh air and a great addition to this important group of supporters.

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North American Standards Property Management
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Toll Free: 877-517-3499
US Tel: 617-314-6232
US Fax: 617-933-9339
MX Tel: 52 + 984-873-3548
MX Cell: 1 + 52 + 984-129-3941
MX Cell: 1 + 52 + 984-129-3940

http://www.nasplaya.com
Email: contact@nasplaya.com

Chilled Avocado Soup

One of the luxuries of living in Mexico is the access to lovely avocados. Back in the U.S., whipping up a bowl of guacamole felt like a real splurge with Hass avocados running about $2.00 or more per piece. Here in Playa del Carmen, avocados are abundant and inexpensive all year round making them a staple part of our diet. We use them in salads, on sandwiches or just sliced with a little lime juice and salt. One of my favorite avocado recipes is this lovely chilled soup that is fast to make and easy to adapt to your particular taste. It is smooth and creamy and the perfect lunch for Meatless Monday!

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white onion – diced
1 cup cilantro leaves – rinsed well
1 serano chili – seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 large ripe avocados (about 3 cups)
6 cups vegetable stock – chilled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (to taste)
1/4 cup heavy cream
cayenne pepper to taste

TO PREPARE
In a skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add in the onion, serano chili and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the cilantro leaves and allow to wilt. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp. Place the avocado in a blender or along with the cooked onion/serano/cilantro mixture, vegetable broth, lime juice and salt. Puree until smooth, taste for seasoning. Add salt and cayenne pepper as desired. Pour into a serving bowl and stir in heavy cream. Chill well.

Garnish with a bit of queso fresco, chopped onion, cucumber, cilantro leaves or whatever you like!

Serves 4- 6

Submitted by Michele Kinnon. Michele is the Marketing Chairperson for Taste of Playa 2010. She writes a local interest blog www.LifesaBeachBlog.com and is the owner of Buy Playa Real Estate Advisors.

Chiles Rellenos – Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Chiles Rellenos is a very popular dish that has become a favorite and ubiquitous in Mexican cuisine. This recipe, submitted by www.mexicancaribbeantoday.com,  is a traditional preparation but you can mix up the filling ingredients and change the batter to make it uniquely yours.  Buen provecho!


Ingredients:

6 large poblano peppers (chile poblano)

For the Picadillo Filling:

1 pound ground beef (carne de res molida)
1/2 pound ground pork (carne de cerdo molida)
1/2 large white onion chopped well (cebolla)
1 large carrot chopped well (zanahoria)
1 large potato cut into small cubes (papa blanca)

1 small can of peas (chicharos)
2 large tomatoes chopped (jitomate)
2/3 cup of tomato juice (jugo de tomate)
2/3 cup of water
1/2 cup of raisins (pasitas)
3-4 cloves of garlic minced (ajo)
3-4 tablespoons sugar (azucar)

3-4 tablespoons white vinegar (vinagre blanco)
3 teaspoons of cinnamon (canela)
1 teaspoon of cumin (comino)
3 pinches of oregano (oregano)
3 big pinches of salt

For the batter:

4 tbsp. corn starch (maizana fecula de maiz)
6-8 tbsp all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3 eggs, separated

For the tomato sauce:

1/2 large white onion chopped well (cebolla)
3 large tomatoes chopped (jitomate)
2/3 cup of tomato juice (jugo de tomate)
2/3 cup of water
3-4 cloves of garlic minced (ajo)
3 pinches of oregano (oregano)
3 big pinches of salt

Roast the chiles on an open gas flame or under a broiler until the skin is charred but not burnt completely. Place in a plastic bag and close it up. Leave it to stand for 20 minutes. Remove the chiles and strip off the charred skin. DO NOT REMOVE THE STEMS. You’ll need those later.

Saute beef and pork in a large skillet, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Cook until it loses the pink color. Add the onion, potato and carrot and oregano. Cook for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook an additional 10 minutes. Add tomato juice, water, peas and seasonings, including sugar. Pour the raisins in the center of the mix and add the vinegar on top of the raisins. Let it rest for a few minutes, then mix it into the rest. Let it cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Allow to cool to room temp.

Make a slit in the side of each chile and remove the seeds and veins. Stuff each chile with the picadillo filling. Close the chile peppers with toothpicks if necessary. Dust each chile with corn starch MAIZENA and set aside.

Separate the yolks from 3 eggs. It’s very important the eggs are at room temperature, not cold, straight from the fridge. Lightly beat the yolks with 8 tablespoons of flour, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of water.

Using a whisk or even better, an electric hand mixer with 2 beaters, beat the egg white until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Now you have a nice batter. Dip each chile into the batter, holding onto the stem. (Told you that you’d need that stem later).

Heat oil in a deep frying pan until just smoking.  Gently fry the chile peppers just until golden. Serve with a mild tomato sauce.

For the mild tomato sauce:

Heat oil in a pan and add onions, cooking until soft. Add tomatoes, oregano and garlic and allow to cook down a bit. Add tomato juice and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until you have a thin but saucy consistency. Pour over cooked chile peppers.

Serves 6 people

Sponsor Spotlight – Deli Playa

Deli Playa is another of our repeat performers as a Taste Of Playa Sponsorship supporter with an increased commitment to the event and the chefs that they serve on a daily basis.

Deli Playa is the foremost seafood supplier to the local restaurants in the area, with their business expanding rapidly throughout the coast.  Their dedication to only the best quality and freshest seafood that is from the area and within the boundaries of Mexico enables the restaurants to start with quality and have their finished product, the meals that are served to you at dinner, end in quality.

The goal of a chef is to transform the freshest ingredients into the culinary treats that are served to you, the eater.  It is next to impossible to be a supplier, a dedicated culinary artist and an eater.  The Culinary chain is complex and depends on people like Deli Playa to source out quality seafood, and bring it to the artists so that their full energy and expertise is put into their creations.

Deli Playa has taken on this responsibility and takes it seriously.  The owners started with local seafood and extended their offerings to include weekly special ‘treats’ that are outsourced from different countries.  Mussels, oysters and other seafood delicacies, not found in the local restaurants 10 years ago are now found at Deli Playa who is committed to fueling the need for international flavors that the local restaurants serve Riviera Maya Guests.

For those who want to try their hand at re-creating or creating their own culinary treats, or wish to try first hand manipulating and playing with local ingredients in combination with seafood, Deli Playa is open to the public with a portion of their business open to retail clients who want to attempt cooking their own meals.

Half the fun of eating out is trying some of these dishes at home.  Deli Playa is open to the public and encourages locals and visitors to try cooking at home and experimenting with our local and international seafood.  The adventure on your vacation is not just on the streets and highways of the Riviera Maya, it is also in your kitchen where you can successfully try ingredients that you cannot get at home.

Av. 10 Nte. Mza. 65 Loc. 7
Entre Calle 32 y 34 Norte
www.deliplaya.com

(984) 803 5552  – (984) 155 4200

Good Wine is “Hard Labor: 2 – Cleaning the Vats”

Not all the hard work that goes into making a great wine takes place in the vineyard as Wine Enthusiast News Editor, Eric Arnold, demonstrates!

Make your own salsa at home and have it taste like Mexico

Here is a great video on how to make your own fresh tomato salsa!  once you master this basic recipe of tomato salsa you can then experiment and add some fruits, mango, orange, passion fruit, dragon fruit or you can add other veggies, substituting tomatoes for green, yellow and red peppers, or cucumbers.

Submitted by Nicola Inwood. Nicola is the Executive Chairperson of Taste of Playa 2010.  She writes for numerous blogs, one being www.lifejustbecamesimpler.wordpress.com and is the owner of various businesses in the Riviera Maya.

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Reducing meat consumption by 15% (the equivalent of one day a week) lessens the risk of chronic preventable illness and has a strong positive impact on the environment.

Susan’s Magical Margaritas

Being a professional caterer in a resort area definitely is a dream job! Who would not want to plan parties whether a dinner party or a wedding where the guests are perpetually happy to be there and always ready to have fun!
Even before I moved to Playa del Carmen, I enjoyed tequila for years. Now that I do live here I can honestly say I make a pretty mean margarita and so I wanted to share my tried and true recipe with you all!

– fill a martini shaker with ice
– 1 1/2 ounces of tequila for every margarita *I use the best I can buy! No Cuervo for me!!!
– 1/2 ounce triple sec or Cointreau or for an out of this world margarita use Grand Marnier
– 1/2 ounce Jarabe (simple syrup) or to taste
– 1 1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice

Shake and serve on ice in a glass with the rim salted. An excellent variation to salt on rim is mixing chili powder with salt for a nice kick!

Enjoy! They taste so good you’ll be tempted to blame me for the morning after….

Share your favorite margarita recipe with us!

Susan de Lima is the Operations Chairperson for Taste of Playa 2010. She owns and operates a local catering and concierge business Latido de Mexico, www.latidodemexico.com.


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