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Channeling Frieda Kahlo – Snapper with Cilantro
After seeing a wonderful Frida Kahlo exhibit in St. Petersburg Florida, I purchased The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel, a fictitious tale written by one of Mexico’s most celebrated new novelists, F. G. Haghenbeck. If you’re not familiar with Frida’s life story, which is filled with drama and great pain, this book offers a beautifully written reimagining of her fascinating life, her work, and her many lovers. For me, part of the allure of this book was that it featured recipes from Frida’s personal journal. Frida loved to cook for friends and family and was quite the seductress in the kitchen…and beyond. Being summoned to the home of Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera was a much sought after invitation for artists, intellectuals, and the famous traveling to Mexico City. Guests would find themselves seated next to Georgia O’Keeffe (with whom she had an affair), Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Henry Miller, and DalÍ.
Like Frida Kahlo, my friend Virgina LOVES cooking for friends and family, so it seemed natural to present her with this book. So… while in Mexico, it seemed natural that bring along the book and cook one of Frida Kahlo’s recipes in honor of this remarkable person (see below for recipe). So without further adieu…
We bought our fish at a small seafood shop in La Penita, Mexico and then headed home to prepare Frida’s Red Snapper with Cilantro. Here’s a visual diary of it all!
Snapper with Cilantro
1 snapper, about 4 1/2 lbs, cleaned and washed
8 cups finely chopped cilantro
5 pickled chiles, cut into thick slices (we used plain serranos)
2 large onions, sliced
4 cups olive oil
salt and pepper
Make three cuts across the snappers back so that it will be well seasoned
In a large pot, prepare a bed using half the cilantro, half the chiles, and half the onion
Pour half of the oil over it. Season with salt and pepper
Place the fish on this bed and then repeat, making another layer with the remaining cilantro, chiles, onion and oil.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 40 minutes, occasionally basting with the sauce so it won’t dry out.
Serve in the pot.
After dinner, we walked to the beach for a beautiful sunset on Guayabitos beach and shared a tequila – toasting to our friend Frida – xoxo
It’s Thursday – Time for Tianguis Market in La Penita!
Thursday is THE DAY to set aside for shopping when you are visiting or staying near La Penita, Mexico. Every Thursday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, this little village springs to life as people comes from miles away to shop for local goods and crafts at Tianguis Market.
In this open-air market, you’ll find an array of treasures to remind you of your fabulous stay in Mexico, or to gift your friends and family back home. Be sure to look for the famous Huichol Indian beaded artwork, Talavera pottery, Oaxacan wool rugs, handmade silver jewelry, beautiful cotton and lace goods, beautiful handwoven baskets, placemats and bags, locally grown coffee, honey and so much more!
One thing you’ll have to find are the handmade leather shoes. About $15 a pair – I couldn’t help myself!
And of course – you’ll be drinking many margaritas this summer so be sure to set up your kitchen with some authentic Mexican glassware. They bubble wrap for easy carry-on!
Whew! Mission accomplished. After all that shopping, we worked up quite an appetite! Virginia, my traveling companion, and bestie, suggested the perfect spot – Hinde y Jamie bar and restaurant. First – the BEST lime margarita! And the fish tacos? Devine! See for yourself!
Hinde y Jamie – Av. Emiliano Zapata No. 57, La Penita de Jaltemba, Nay
Casa San Juan Mexican Breakfast Eggs
Another delicious Mexican breakfast whipped up by our mamasita, Virginia. The eggs in Mexico are super fresh, you can tell by the beautiful color of the yolks. Named after the house it was created in, these spicy black beans with fried eggs, served over a corn tortilla, was the best way to get ready for our next adventure… shopping in the market at La Penita, which takes place every Thursday. More on that later.
Case San Juan Mexican Breakfast Eggs
2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced rings (seeds removed if you don’t want to much “heat”)
1 can of black beans
1 tbsp butter
one egg per person
one corn tortilla per person
1 avocado, sliced
Chop cilantro, onions, tomato, Serrano. Divide in half.
In a pot, saute half of the chopped ingredients in 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add black beans and mash so it’s partially mushy. Add salt to taste and simmer
Saute the other half of the chopped ingredients in 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Crack eggs and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower heat and cover the pan, simmering until eggs are done to preferred consistency.
Heat the tortillas in a pan
Place tortillas on a plate, put beans on the tortilla, add egg, and top with sliced avocado or guacamole.
The Magical Enchantment of Chacala Villas and Marina
Let me start by saying – we’re here for the legendary Mango margaritas! Ok, that aside…. Your senses will surrender to the enchantment of a day spent at Chacala Villas. I knew I was in for a treat the moment I saw the front gates. Hmmm, what’s this? We were announced and the tall wooden gates swing opened to reveal a tropical paradise filled with palm trees, striking tropical plants and trees, and perfectly landscaped surroundings.
Chacala, known for its physical beauty and unhurried lifestyle, is a beach-town set in a small cove on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the State of Nayarit. The name means “where there are shrimp” in Náhuatl, and is part of the coastline known as the RivieraNayarita. Upon entering the complex you are surrounded by a lush tropical paradise and welcomed by hot pink bougainvillea and beautiful pink walls. The place is very well maintained. The main communal buildings house a cabana, a pool and a casual outdoor cafe. You can see the private beach and plam trees from the pool and restaurant. We’re meeting friends for lunch including Millie and Arturo (and their lovely girls) who run the place.
Time for those mango margaritas! On a hot sunny day, one sip of this well-crafted libation and you’re in heaven! Well worth the trip for this experience! Our table is filled with tasty Mexican bites – quesadillas, guacamole, and popcorn shrimp. After time eating and catching up with everyone, we alternate between the beach and the pool and end the day toasting our friendship and good fortune with tequila. Ahh, another excuse to down some tequila!
All I can say is “another day in paradise”! And yes, for a magical finale – that’s a mermaid! Her name is Lucy.
Chacala Villas / Chacala Mexico – Vacation Rentals and Homes
Click HERE to learn more about Marina Chacala, an exclusive oceanfront development located in Chacala, in the heart of the Riviera Nayarit. Less than 90 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Chacala is one of the most beautiful beaches in the state of Nayarit, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and beautiful, yet untouched coastline. From the moment you enter the development, you feel as if you’ve entered another world. The design of Marina Chacala is low density, low impact, in harmony with the coastal and jungle surroundings. The calm waters and tropical landscape of Chacalilla Bay are a soothing, tranquil experience. Designed with the utmost respect for the environment, this incredible Chacala development is a perfect blend of architecture and nature that strives to maintain the natural ambiance of this unique stretch of tropical Mexican coastline.
Date Night at Xaltemba Restaurant / La Penita Mexico
Dinner at Xaltemba Restaurant and Gallery in La Penita is an excellent choice for sharing a romantic meal for two while vacationing in Nayarit, Mexico. The energy of this place is as vibrant as its owners – Roberto Gil de Montes and Eddie Domingo.
As you enter Xaltemba you will find a bar to the left and tables to the right. The room opens up to an open patio with a number of tables for dining al fresco. A two story second building faces the patio, with two open windows where the kitchen crew passes culinary creations to the wait staff.
Tonight, a local musician (and excellent sax player) entertains while patrons shimmy in their seats and dance around the tables. Looming large over the patio on the kitchen side, is a two-story whitewashed wall, with projected images of international music videos and iconic Hollywood dance scenes.
With all this going on – I once again, forget to take photos! For now, you’ll have to imagine a perfectly prepared fiesta of garlic shrimp and crusty bread for dipping, grilled dorado fish perfectly paired with a mango salsa, and key-lime pie for dessert. Between the music, the fabulous imagery on the walls, and the food you’ll relish your night of dinner and dancing under the stars.
Garlic Grilled Snapper at Guayabitos Beach
Time for an afternoon stroll along the beach of Rincón de Guayabitos, with its fine sand and colorful homes and hotels. You’ll find an array of food as vendors walk the beach with all kinds of tempting treats: fresh coconut, chili rubbed pineapple, donuts, grilled shrimp and coconut bread to name a few. There are also beachside outdoor shacks if you prefer a more robust meal like our featured garlic kissed red snapper. The first thing I had to try is the fresh coconut on them beach. After cutting the coconut open the fleshy meat is loosed and served in half of the coconut shell with a fork. You can also get a version that is spiced up Mexican style. Of course, you can also relish the coconut water served in its shell with a straw. On a hot sunny day, this is a refreshing treat.
After a long walk on the beach, we stop for lunch: grilled garlic red snapper, rice, and crispy fries served with a refreshingly, cold bottle of beer. This is the kind of meal that, for some reason, always tastes ten times better served on the beach. It was perfectly grilled – crispy on the outside, tender inside and beautifully spiced with just the right amount of garlic. Here’s a taste of a day on the beach – a great way to spend day two of our travels.
This is the perfect beach for a romantic getaway; it offers the true nature of life in Mexico. Not too crowded, a beach with gentle waves for easy swimming, local music and food, and just the right mix of locals and tourists. This time of year presents the real spirit of this place. Time for a swim!
Breakfast with friends at Rincon de Guayabitos, Nayarit Mexico
Day two of pure bliss. Thankfully, the time difference allows me to wake up just before sunrise (lord knows that’s not my typical daily ritual) – but here, 6 am is 8 am back home. Standing on the second-floor balcony we watch the scene change with the colors of the sun and marvel at the bird sanctuary below . The activity and sounds just are mesmerizing!
Breakfast time! Susan Cobb arrives as Virginia is in the kitchen whipping up tomato, cilantro, onions, and jalapeno fried eggs. Introductions, girl chatter in the kitchen as we slice avocados and cubes of papaya; a pot of coffee brewing – we’re ready for our morning feast.
Susan, a friend of Virginia, left the sunny land of California in 2006 and has been living in Mexico ever since. A well-known author of inspirational articles and her book, The Virgin Territory: How I Found My Inner Guadalupe, Susan travels the world speaking about practical spirituality and the role of women in religion. You can follow Susan on her blog: Welcome to Virgin Territory. The conversations of tres Amigas was lively and fascinating. Stories of travels, projects, female energy, and life experiences…. all I can say is: smart women rock! As much as I wanted to sit by the pool and bask in the sun on my first day of travel, I happily sat in the kitchen for hours listening and sharing tales of life. After clearing the table, with Susan’s book in hand, I snuggled into a poolside lounge chair and dove into Susan’s world.
For the next ten days, I’ll be living in Guayabitos Mexico, on Calle Golondrinas, a cobblestone street in a small fishing village north of Puerto Vallarta. The three-story house, at the end of a cul de sac, leads to Guayabitos beach and is backed by a lively bird sanctuary. Each morning is blessed with the sound of soft swells of the beach and a symphony of bird calls; at this very moment, a bright yellow bird is crooning a soulful tune outside my window. As the sun rises my bedroom turns a golden hue, I stretch and slowly welcome the day.
This is the house of my bestie, Virginia and her husband George. Smart, fun, well-traveled – the exact kind of person you want to travel with. And, as you will see, she is a fabulous cook. We’ve gone through many adventures in life, and hand-in-hand have stepped into this one. I’m happy to share my travels, my friends, this lovely area – the sun, the beach, places to visit, the birds, and of course, the food!
We arrive on Friday evening, shop in the market on our way to the house, toast with tequila in the back seat of the car, and drive to our destination. After marveling at the beauty of the home, with its Mexican flair inside and out – we share homemade quesadillas and more tequila and then visit the shrine at the tip of the beach dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Next stop, the town of Guayabitos. The name is derived from the word guayaba or guava tree – which is indigenous to the area. The town is colorful and lively, just like the birds of Golondrinas. We walk the streets filled with fireworks, music, street performers and open restaurants. We head to El Rodeo, owned by Eddie and Roberto, friends of Virginia. She has the special of the day – whole red snapper, I chose arranchero – grilled flank steak.
After sharing a tequila (I see lots of tequila in my future…), we take in the town. Local families and tourists slowly meander by, children run in and out of storefronts, a passing street cart releases a loud whistle as the air compression is released, a tiny man on stilts dressed as Jack Sparrow, skillfully sashays in and out of stores and restaurants dancing with a wooden skeleton; the children are enthralled. With all of this swirling around me, I forget to take photos of our meal. I need to work on that! So begins our adventure…
Savory Bacon Cheddar Chive Corn Cakes
Who doesn’t love pancakes? Blueberry pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes. Pumpkin pancakes. Banana pancakes with walnuts, and of course- maple syrup. But, have you tried a savory pancake? A few weeks ago, Annette of KichAnnette, and I got together for a girlfriend brunch and decided to try a different kind of pancake. And with that, the Savory Bacon Cheddar Chive Corn Cake was born. And why not top our corn cakes with a luscious poached egg? Yum! Naturally, we shared a glass of champagne and called it a day!
RECIPE: Bacon Cheddar Chive Corn Cakes
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cups corn meal
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or make your own: 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 1/4 cup milk, less 1 tablespoon. Let stand for 5 – 10 minutes)
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (10 – 12 slices)
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
4 tablespoons butter, melted for pancakes
2 tablespoons, butter for cooking (or coconut oil)
2 poached eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Add boiling water over cornmeal, stir and let sit for 5 minutes
Add buttermilk, stir into cornmeal mixture.
Whisk in eggs. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper
Stir in chives, melted butter, bacon bits and cheese; mix all ingredients together
In a large non-stick skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into hot skillet and cook all pancakes. Add more butter as needed.
Cook until the edges of the pancake are dry and small bubbles rise to the surface.
Flip and cook the other side until a light golden color. If your pancakes cook too dark or too light, adjust the heat as necessary.
As you cook corn cakes, place on a large plate and cover to keep warm. Be sure to add a smear of sweet butter to each pancake as soon as it comes off the skillet. We choose smaller pancakes and for a clean, even look, we placed a cup over each pancake and using a knife, cut around the edges to make even pancakes.
Poach two eggs
To poach eggs, boil about ½ inch water in a pan. Bring to a boil and add a pinch of salt and vinegar. Bring heat down to simmer and slip eggs into the water using a slotted spoon. Use a spoon to keep the egg whites around each egg, and to keep them separated from each other and off the bottom of the pan. Let cook for 3 minutes and remove.
Plating the Dish
Place a stack of pancakes on a plate
Drizzle maple syrup over the pancakes
Place a poached egg over the stack of pancakes
Garnish with minced chives and serve immediately
Crush-Worthy Romantic Music Playlist for Valentine’s Day
Whether you prefer to start your night with a slow dance before dinner or shake things up after dessert, here’s romantic, rose-themed music playlist that will set the mood for your special Valentine. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself in the leading role as Bon Jovi croons out: “I want to lay you down on a bed of roses…” #IadoreU
Last of the English Roses – Peter Doherty
Dessert Rose – Sting
Rose Tatoo – Dropkick Murphys
Kiss from a Rose – Seal
La Vie En Rose – Grace Jones
Mother Rose – Patti Smith
Where the Wild Roses – Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue
Break Free – Ruby Rose
Aprindel Luna – Theo Rose
A Rose is Still a Rose – Aretha Franklin
Bed of Roses – Bon Jovi
La Liste – Rosa
Rose in Paradise – Waylon Jennings
Every Rose Has a Thorn – Poison
Roses – The Chainsmokers
English Rose – Paul Weller
The Rose -Westlife
Monarchy of Roses – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Calypso Queen – Calypso Rose
Days of wine and roses laugh and run away, like a child at play. Johnny Mercer
Single On Valentine’s Day? Own It!
February 14th is a day to show your love, but there’s no law that says it has to be for a significant other. Single this Valentine’s Day? Show some love for your friends – or, even better, yourself! Forget the FOMO this year and celebrate your freedom from obligatory date nights and gifts! Here are some suggestions:
Host a Singles-Only Party
No date? Celebrate anyway, whether it’s a “Galentine’s” party with a handful of your closest girlfriends and a mimosa bar or a wild coed night with body shots and a randy game of suck-and-blow.
Treat Yo Self
Take a spa day and get a massage or mani-pedi, or just drop a bath bomb in the tub, light some candles, pour a glass of wine and soak for just as long as you want.
Try Something New
Sign up for a yoga class, make risotto or even volunteer at a food bank. Do something you’ve never done before and revel in your sense of accomplishment.
Work It Out
Get some exercise, whether it’s skiing, indoor rock climbing, ice skating or hiking. Focusing on physical activity will get you out of your own head and into a healthy state of Zen.
Get Out of Dodge
Take a mini-vacation. Cross the state line, check out a town you’ve never seen, enjoy being a tourist. Whether on your own or with a friend, time away from the every day is always a good thing!
To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance – Oscar Wilde
There’s nothing as special as a good friend, except perhaps a good friend with a good bottle of wine . . .
Always strive to create temptation – a glimpse of the pleasure to come – SeductionMeals.com . . .
Seduction is always more singular and sublime than sex and it commands the higher price – Jean Baudrillard . . .
Age and glasses of wine should never be counted . . .
He was a bold man that first ate an oyster – Jonathan Swift . . .
A gentleman seduces his lady’s mind before he even touches her body . . .
First we eat. Then we do everything else – M.F.K Fisher . . .
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away . . .
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Terry Dagrosa, founder and publisher of SeductionMeals.com. As President of Digital Marketing Collective and Tara del Mar Productions, she has extensive experience in sales, design, digital marketing and social media.
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February 14th is a day to show your love, but there’s no law that says it has to be for a significant other. Single this Valentine’s Day? Show some love for your friends – or, even better, your
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About Seduction Meals
Seduction Meals is about Food + Romance, and everything in-between. . . a sumptuous menu, alluring presentation, sensuous music, luscious cocktails and the right ambiance. Like a precious gift, preparing a romantic meal for two is about making that certain someone feel extra special. With just the right combination of ambience and culinary delights, you too can create a memorable, delicious experience for your loved one. Seduction Meals. Everyone has one - what's YOURS?