By Katrina Castner
These are some of my favorite recipes to make here. Sometimes the recipes call for things like “a fine mesh sieve,” which I don’t have. So I used a thin scarf because that’s literally the only time it will be used in the next two years. If you don’t have the facilities to make these but really want to try them, my house is always open and a la orden!
The “Eww Gringos Are Weird” Chilled Cucumber Soup
I usually double the recipe so I can have soup for the whole week and not have to think about cooking. This recipe requires a blender or something that can liquefy cucumbers. Also, you can use whatever type of yogurt you want but I HIGHLY recommend Greek Yogurt because the consistency is a little thicker.
2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped (with the cucumbers here, I usually scoop out the seeds because they don’t really liquefy and it gives it a weird texture)
1 ½ cups plain Greek Yogurt
3 ½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (here I use the big limes)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup dill, stems removed and diced
¼ cup parsley, stems removed and diced
¼ cup olive oil
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
A small handful of ice cubes (if you want to eat right away)
Hot sauce to drizzle on individual bowls
In a blender, combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, parsley, ice cubes, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Keep soup chilled until ready to serve. Season to taste with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and excess herbs.
The “Crowd-Pleaser” Oreo Cheesecake
This is easily my most popular recipe and I get almost daily requests to make it.
32 Oreo Cookies
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
750 grams cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat “oven” to “350 degrees” (aka turn on your oven or pseudo-oven, if you have one, and hope it reaches the right temperature). Put 24 cookies in a mixing bowl and mash them up using the bottom of a cup. Add butter and mix well (you should probably use your hands). Butter the pan thoroughly. I used a 9 x 13 glass dish, but honestly just use whatever you can get your hands on. Press cookie mixture firmly onto bottom of buttered pan.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add eggs. Crush up remaining 8 cookies and sprinkle them into the mixture, stirring gently. Pour over prepared crust.
Bake for 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
This is an “adult” beverage but it can also be made without the rum and it’s almost equally delicious. Definitely something to make in advance because it takes a few hours to freeze.
4 cups fresh cubed watermelon (about half a watermelon)
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup rum (coconut rum if you wanna be fancy)
1 (14-ounce) can of full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (if you know how to make this with a real coconut, it’s probably delicious and way cooler.
Add the watermelon to a blender and blend until completely pureed. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a measuring cup and use a spoon to press every last bit of liquid out of the watermelon pulp.
Add the watermelon juice and sugar to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and once the liquid comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Pour the juice into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and whisk in the rum. Freeze for four hours and then use a fork and scrape the mixture into small icy bits. Make sure to do this within the four hour frame or the mixture will get too solid and you will be unable to break it up. Freeze and repeat and scraping one or two more times within the next two hours or so.
When ready to serve, open the can of cold coconut milk and discard all of the liquid. Scoop the cream into a bowl and beat until peaks form (it is hard work, get ready to sweat). You can sweeten it with a little sugar. Serve the granitas in a cup and then top with coconut cream and a spring of mint, if you can find it. Enjoy!!