Pineapple Mojitos

Pineapple Mojitos  |  Lemon & Mocha

A lot of people ask me where I get the inspiration for the recipes that I post. Recipes from cookbooks, food magazines and other food blogs are common, as well as inspiration from dining out. However, a lot of the time the recipe idea comes from using what I already have in my kitchen. These Pineapple Mojitos are one of those times and I could not be more excited about it! I wanted to post a delicious cocktail before Mother’s Day so you all could have something fun to brunch with this Sunday. I came up with what I thought sounded like a perfect springtime cocktail – a strawberry mint rosé drink – but I wasn’t having much success getting it to taste just right. The next night, Matt mentioned he was thinking about making a mojito with the leftover mint leaves from my cocktail experiment. The wheels started turning and when I saw the small cans of pineapple juice on the counter (used for a tasty recipe I will be posting on Monday!) these Pineapple Mojitos were born.

Pineapple Mojitos  |  Lemon & Mocha

A basic mojito consists of mint, white rum, sugar, lime juice and soda water, but basic won’t cut it. After fiddling around with the recipe and trying different variations I came up with the one below. It’s simple, but so refreshing. I used agave as the sweetener because it mixes really well into the drink and who wants to stand over a stove making simple syrup when there are drinks in your immediate future?! The tropical boldness of the pineapple juice is both sweet and tart, bringing even more of an island vibe to your happy hour. I used Polar’s seasonal Pineapple Pomelo seltzer to bring in even more pineapple flavor, but you can use the seltzer of your choice.

Pineapple Mojitos  |  Lemon & Mocha

I am not a big mint fan, but I love this cocktail. The mint is present enough to deepen the flavor of the drink while being subtle enough to not be the dominant flavor. If you love mint, feel free to add more. I made this for a few friends and a couple of them had it without the mint and still loved it so you can certainly omit it if you wish, but I would suggest trying it with the mint first since it is a mojito after all! I will be making this many, many more times this summer. I hate to say it, but this just bumped the Leebreeze as my go-to cocktail at home – sorry Dad!

Pineapple Mojitos  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you enjoy this tropical sparkling cocktail! Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous Moms out there, and a special shout-out to my amazing step-mom, Diane, and my wonderful mother-in-law, Theresa!

Pineapple Mojitos  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pineapple Mojitos
 
Yield: 1 drink or 8 servings in a pitcher
Ingredients
for one drink
  • 6 fresh mint leaves, washed
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2-4 ounces sparking water
  • 1 pineapple wedge, for garnish
for 8 servings in a pitcher
  • 2 cups roughly packed fresh mint leaves, washed
  • 2 cups white rum
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup agave
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • Ice, for serving
  • 16-32 ounces sparkling water, for serving
  • 8 fresh mint leaves, for serving
  • Pineapple wedges, for serving
Directions
for one drink
  1. Lightly muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of your glass. I did this with the opposite end of a wooden spoon. You want to press it just enough to release their minty scent; if you tear or bruise mint leaves they turn bitter. Add the ice cubes.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or cocktail shaker, add the rum, pineapple juice, agave and lime juice. Mix or shake to combine then pour over the ice in your glass. Top with the sparkling water and garnish with the pineapple wedge.
for 8 servings in a pitcher
  1. Lightly muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of the pitcher with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Make sure to do this very lightly; when mint leaves bruise or tear they turn bitter.
  2. Add the rum, pineapple juice, agave and lime juice. Stir until combined. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
  3. To serve, add 4 ice cubes to each glass. Add the rum mixture then top off with 4 ounces of sparkling water each. Garnish with the mint leaf and pineapple wedge. To release the oils of the mint leaf before adding to the glass, clap it in between your hands.
Notes
The range on the sparkling water is to account for personal preference and glass size differences. When I made them in these stemless wine glasses I had plenty of room so I did 4 ounces per drink and they tasted really good. I made them again using short glasses that didn’t have as much room so I only used 2 ounces per drink and they also tasted really good. Start with the 2 ounces, try a sip (or two!) and add more if desired.

 

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

I never thought I would see the words breakfast and salad together, unless we were talking about a fruit salad or it was opposite day and breakfast actually meant dinner. However, the day has come and I am not talking about a fruit salad, although there is fruit in this salad, and it is not opposite day, at least the last time I checked. No, today we are legitimately talking about a salad for breakfast. I often find myself stuck in a breakfast rut. Lately it’s been a banana and a Greek yogurt every. single. morning. Anyone else? Then I started seeing breakfast salads popping up all over Instagram. You would think with my salad aversion I would have kept scrolling, but the possibilities for combinations of toppings drew me in. Salads for breakfast are actually awesome and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

Here are three reasons I think salads for breakfast are pretty cool: 1. Salads are quick and easy to make, especially when almost everything is prepped ahead of time. This checks a serious box for weekday breakfast approved.

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

2. The topping ideas are endless! If you wake up craving something sweet then you could load it up with some fresh berries. Feeling savory? Throw in some chicken sausage.

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

3. This is the most boring reason, but a very important one. I find breakfast to be a hard meal to sneak veggies into and a breakfast salad is a perfect way to get more vegetables into the first meal of the day. For the first Lemon & Mocha breakfast salad bowl I went with a grapefruit and avocado pairing along with a runny egg, of course, because the runny yolk mixed with the dressing takes it to a whole new flavor dimension. The dressing is my favorite quick shallot vinaigrette. It’s flavorful, has the right amount of acid and beautifully complements these breakfast salad bowls.

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although there are no grains in the photos, when I usually make this dish I add quinoa. I forgot it when I was rushing to take my photos, but it adds some heartiness to the dish and soaks up the yolk really well. Farro or barley would both be good substitutions as well. So, do you think you’re going to try a breakfast salad bowl soon?

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado  |  Lemon & Mocha

Breakfast Salad Bowls with Grapefruit & Avocado
 
Yield: 4 salads
Ingredients
for the salad
  • 12 cups salad greens
  • 1 grapefruit, segmented and seeds removed
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, optional (see note)
  • 4 eggs, poached or fried over-easy
  • 1 teaspoon everything bagel seasoning
for the dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
for the salad
  1. Place 3 cups of the washed salad greens in 4 shallow bowls. Divide the grapefruit segments, avocado slices and eggs between each bowl. If you are using quinoa add it now. Sprinkle the everything bagel seasoning over the avocado slices. Top with the dressing and enjoy.
for the dressing
  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Salt and pepper according to taste.
Notes
I included the quinoa in the recipe because that was my original vision for this breakfast salad, but I forgot when I made it to take photos - oops! The grains go nicely with the salad, especially to soak up the egg, and make it more filling. If you don’t want to use quinoa, farro or barley would both be good substitutes.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m so excited the muffin of the month is back on track with another delicious, seasonal and so-good-I’m-just-going-to-have-one-more muffin. Strawberries and rhubarb are now in season so it makes perfect sense that the May muffins are Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble. I have been diligently making (and eating) the Food Network Magazine’s Muffin of the Month for 2018 and reporting to you all with my feedback and the recipe. Although Matt and I are still having a hard time saying anything can beat the March Irish Cheddar, Bacon and Potato Muffins (yes, they were that incredible!), these Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins are one of our favorites so far.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

The muffins are soft and the inside is the texture of a super moist cake, which is caused by the juicy strawberries and rhubarb. What took these muffins into the over-the-top delicious category is the buttery brown sugar crumble topping. Slightly crunchy, the topping adds a second level of flavor that pairs perfectly with the fruit.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have not been making any changes to these muffin recipes from the Food Network Magazine because I want to review them as written, but I did make an exception for the topping on these muffins due to an allergy. The topping calls for 3/4 cup rolled oats and since I am allergic to oats I omitted them so I would be able to enjoy them. The recipe calls for putting the crumble topping on the unbaked muffin batter before putting them in the oven and I already had almost too much crumble without the oats, so I’m sure if you included the oats you would have a fair amount of excess crumble topping. The top of my muffins didn’t look like the Food Network Magazine’s version since my crumble topping seemed to melt and spread. I’m not sure if this was because of the lack of oats or if my butter was too soft, but regardless they tasted so good I’m going to be making them this exact same way the next time I make them.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

This was my first time cooking with rhubarb and I found it to be a very simple ingredient to use. The recipe only calls for one stalk and it looks like a stalk of celery. I cut off the ends and chopped the rest up into 1/2-inch pieces before tossing in the sugar with the chopped strawberries. The rhubarb gets completely soft like the strawberries in the baked muffins and provides the right amount of tartness. Since the rhubarb was tossed with sugar and then baked, the tart quality of the rhubarb is very subtle and definitely not bitter, which is how people have described rhubarb to me in the past. If baked rhubarb always tastes this good there’s some more rhubarb-infused baked goods in my future while it’s still in season!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins
 
Yield: 12 muffins
Ingredients
for the topping
  • ¾ cup rolled oats, optional (I omitted this)
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
for the muffins
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • ⅔ cup chopped strawberries
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted an cooled slightly
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions
for the topping
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats (if using), brown sugar, flour and salt. Add the butter pieces and use a fork or pastry blender to cut in the butter until it creates small clumps. Set aside.
for the muffins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ¾ cup granulated sugar, the baking powder, the baking soda and the salt. Make a well in the center then add the eggs to the well. Whisk to combine then stir in the milk, melted butter and lemon juice until just combined. Stir in the rhubarb mixture, being sure not to over-mix.
  4. Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. They will be filled most of the way to the top. Top the muffin batter cups with the topping. There may be some leftover. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean and the tops of the muffins are lightly browned. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan then remove to a wire cooling rack. Once completely cool, dust with the powdered sugar.

 Recipe from January/February 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Unless I’m busy gorging on pasta, dinner at home doesn’t seem complete to me unless there are some veggies. This is probably because my dad always seems to need at least three types of vegetables on his plate and he’s been like that for as long as I can remember. Roasted vegetables are usually the default in our house, but these orange and apple cider vinegar sautéed brussels sprouts from Pati’s Mexican Table were speaking to me. Well, actually her recipe calls for green beans, but we are big fans of brussels over here so I’ll use any excuse to sub them in.

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s hard to make brussels sprouts look attractive, especially after removing the outer dark green leaves, so you will just have to trust me that these brussels are super tasty. They are light and citrusy, with just the right amount of acidity from the apple cider vinegar. They were also the perfect finishing touch to our dinner of Sweet and Salty Salmon and Arroz Verde.

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Whether I’m roasting or sautéing them, I typically halve brussels sprouts so they cook quicker and have more layers to soak up the seasonings or sauce. I was watching Anne Burrell on the Food Network a few months ago and she gave me another reason to always halve them – it releases some of the gases in the vegetable that can cause it to taste bitter. So always halve your sprouts!

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts  |  Lemon & Mocha

Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, stems and dark outer leaves removed, cut in half
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the halved brussels sprouts, chopped white onion and minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the brussels sprouts are almost tender, about 15 minutes. I usually test to see if I can pierce a sprout with a fork with a little resistance.
  2. Add the orange juice and apple cider vinegar. Cook until the sauce has slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Recipe adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Arroz Verde

Arroz Verde  |  Lemon & Mocha

We’re back at it today with another tasty dish from Pati’s Mexican Table. Pati gave this arroz verde the title of My Favorite Green Rice, but I’m renaming it simply My Favorite Rice because it is the best rice I’ve ever made. The rice is so simple, but it has great flavor to it that really complements dishes like the Sweet and Salty Salmon well. A vibrant green puree is made from poblano chiles, parsley, cilantro and garlic. The puree gets soaked into the uncooked rice before finishing cooking in the water, broth and lime juice. It amazes me that such a small step added to cooking regular rice could make such a huge impact in the flavor. Similar to a few other dishes I’ve had on here where I’ve used chili peppers (Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad and Monday’s Sweet and Salty Salmon), the poblano peppers have the seeds and pith removed so they do not make the rice spicy.

Arroz Verde  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love using my Breville Risotto Plus for this rice dish because it lets me sauté and then switch it to the rice cooker setting all in the same pot. I know I’ve talked about this appliance before, but I love it! In our house it is used as our slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer. We also use the risotto setting when we’re feeling fancy and indulgent. The sauté feature is especially helpful for slow cooker recipes that require you to sauté onions or sear meat before turning on the slow cooker setting.

Arroz Verde  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyway, back to My Favorite Rice! If you don’t have a rice cooker with a sauté setting just follow the directions below for stove-top cooking. In addition to pairing with my favorite Mexican dishes from Pati’s Mexican Table I also love serving this rice to spice up an otherwise “boring” dinner, such as grilled chicken and veggies. Once you try it you won’t want plain rice again!

Arroz Verde  |  Lemon & Mocha

Arroz Verde
 
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 poblano chiles, seeds and pith removed, roughly cut into chunks
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup parsley leaves
  • ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2½ - 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups jasmine or long-grain white rice
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Crumbled Cotija cheese, for topping if desired
Directions
  1. Puree the poblanos, water, parsley, cilantro, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a measuring cup and note the amount (or note the amount if your blender has measurements on the side). In a separate liquid measuring cup, measure out enough vegetable broth so that when added to the amount of poblano puree you make the two liquids together equal 4 cups. Keep the poblano puree and the vegetable broth separate.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil then add the rice. Cook, stirring often, until the rice changes to a milky white color, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped white onion and continue to sauté until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the poblano puree into the pan with the rice and continue to stir while it cooks. Cook until the puree thickens and then is mostly absorbed by the rice, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and lime juice then bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Let cook for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. The rice should be cooked and tender, but there should still be some moisture in the pan. Fluff with a fork or rice paddle then serve with the crumbled cheese on top, if desired.
Notes
If you are using a rice cooker with a sauté setting, switch to the rice cooker setting immediately after stirring in the vegetable broth and lime juice and cover with the lid.

Recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!