Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sangrita - Mexican Tomato Juice - The Chile Pepper Bible #Giveaway

My friends know that I am a chile head from way back. In fact, my "party trick" as a child was to eat jalapeños without flinching. I love those things, fresh or pickled. I feel the same about my new favorite libation, Sangrita or Mexican tomato juice. It's spicy, a little salty and perfectly refreshing on a warm day.

Each morning when I wake up lately, I poke my head outside and declare the air cooler than the day before. Am I kidding myself? Perhaps. But it's almost November and things HAVE to be cooling off soon, right? Even in Dubai.

Meanwhile, I'm flipping through my new favorite cookbook and reference guide to all things chile pepper, The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson. With more than 250 recipes to choose from, it is super hard to decide what to make first but when I was asked if I wanted to participate in a cookbook blog tour to promote this book, we had a shorter list of recipes we could choose from to share with our readers. So that seemed like the best place to start.

You can see from the varied titles that this book has a worldwide reach of deliciousness. Having just tried the muharrama or spicy walnut dip recently, that one caught my eye first. But maybe I should try something new, right? Perhaps the Castilian Garlic Soup or the Cape Verde Sausage Stew? So hard to decide. Which would you make first?

  • Muharrama or Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Middle East)
  • Castilian Garlic Soup (Spain)
  • Chinese Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup  (China)
  • Paella (Spain)
  • Tagine of Chicken with Apricots (N. Africa)
  • Cuban style hash (Cuba)
  • Original San Antonio Chili (USA)
  • Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (SE Asia)
  • Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Africa)
  • Spinach and Tomato Dal (India)
  • Calabrese-Style Fried Potatoes with Peppers (Italy)
  • Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Thailand/SE Asia)
  • Kimchi (Korea)
  • Sangrita or Mexican-Style Tomato Juice - (Mexico)
  • Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots - (France)

Finally, my warm weather combined with the availability of the most gorgeous red tomatoes in the local market won out.

As the head note says: Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season. It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila. This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Tools you'll need:

  • Large fine-mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth
  • Blender

Ingredients - Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L)
3 lbs Roma or plum tomatoes (15 to 20), cut into chunks
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeño pepper (see Tips, below)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice    
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice    
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
Agave nectar (optional)

Place sieve over a large bowl and line with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth.
In blender, in batches, purée tomatoes, jalapeño pepper to taste, orange juice, cilantro, lime juice and lemon juice until smooth.

If necessary, add water, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, to facilitate puréeing. Strain through sieve as completed and stir gently.

When most of the liquid has passed through, lift the 4 corners of the cheesecloth and twist around tomato mixture to form a tight ball. Using your hands, squeeze remaining liquid into bowl. Discard solids.

Transfer liquid to a large pitcher. Season to taste with salt. (I didn't add any more.)
Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
Taste the mixture; if it is not sweet enough for you, add agave nectar (if using) to taste. Serve very cold, over ice if desired.


Use a whole jalapeño pepper only if you are a true heat seeker. It creates a very spicy result.
You can substitute another fresh Mexican pepper, such as serrano or habanero, for the jalapeño. If you are using a habanero, use only about one-quarter of a pepper.

This recipe is been reprinted courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. I received one copy compliments of the publisher. No other compensation was received. Links to the book are affiliate links. 

When I suggest to my daughters that they might enjoy one cookbook or another, they explain that they can find anything they need to know on the internet. And, indeed, I am sure that is true. But the beauty of a comprehensive book like The Chile Pepper Bible, is that it's all right here, in one place. What Judith Finlayson has not written about chile peppers is not worth knowing. I can't imagine ever having to consult the internet on the subject of chile peppers ever again. Their history, the varieties, the health benefits, even the geography of chile growing and, of course, the scientific measurement of their spiciness are explored in depth.

Not only that, but the tasty recipes are written with easy to follow instructions by a best-selling cookbook author who knows what she's doing. You can trust that the recipes will turn out as promised. If you'd like to win a copy The Chile Pepper Bible of your own, make sure to enter the lucky draw below.

Many thanks to the publishers Robert Rose for providing one copy for the giveaway. US and Canadian residents alike are eligible to enter. Please read all of the terms and conditions before entering.

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