Spicy Epazote Margarita

Halloween Recipe: Epazote Margarita Recipe

This margarita es muy bueno, and perfect for your Halloween/Day of the Dead Celebrations. If you don’t have plans yet for Day of the Dead, be sure to join us at Hipcooks for our amazing supperclub class, complete with an altar, candles and an all-Mexican menu with a Mole to die for (bwah ha ha)!

An herbaceous and spicy simple syrup gives this margarita its kick. The herb we use is a Mexican herb called epazote. The flavor is unique — a bit like basil and cilantro combined. If you’ve had an authentic albondigas soup before, you’ll recognize it! You can find epazote fresh in Mexican markets, and they’ll always have a dried version. Both are fine to use in the simply syrup…or just use basil if that’s what you have to hand.

The purple salt rim gives this drink an extra bit of specialness…we went for sweet and salty to compliment the flavors of the margarita. Find the recipe for the salt below.

Epazote & Chile Simple Syrup

makes 2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dried epazote, or 8 leaves fresh
1 jalapeno chile pepper, halved

Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil, then simmer for about 5-10 minutes until your kitchen smells great. Strain the simple syrup and allow to cool completely before using. Any extra keeps in your fridge for almost forever.


Spicy Epazote Margarita

makes 1 cocktail, or many!

1 part freshly squeezed lime juice (use about 1 ounce per cocktail)
3 parts agave tequila  (use 3 ounces per cocktail)
1 part epazote & chile simple syrup (see recipe above)
peeled cucumber, for garnish
blueberry sea salt, for garnish (see recipe below), or substitute regular salt


Prepare a rocks glass by running a lime around the rim and coating it with the blueberry salt. Or, paint a section of the glass with lime, and sprinkle with salt. (The salt will only adhere to where you have the lime.) Fill the glass with ice.

Plop all the ingredients (minus the garnish) into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake, shake, shake your moneymaker. The more you shake, the yummier the drink. Using the strainer, pour the cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with a rolled cucumber peel for beauty points.

Blueberry Sea Salt

1 cup coarse sea salt
1/2 cup freeze-dried blueberries
Maldon Salt, to finish


In a food processor or blender, whizz the freeze-dried blueberries with the coarse salt until it turns a delightful purple. For delicious flakes, mix in some Maldon sea salt at the end. You’ll enjoy this process so much, you’ll soon be making all kinds of flavored sea salts (lemon and thyme, chile & cumin) and sharing them with your friends, as delightful little gifts in our sweet little salt cellars.

BlueBerry Salt Recipe for Margaritas

Blood-red Cherry Margarita

Only a 2 weeks until Halloween & Day of the Dead, so you better practice your margarita-making. Here is another version that’s creepy and so delicious!

Halloween Recipe: Cherry Margarita

The pizazz in this margarita comes from Amarena cherries and a dash of their syrup. Trader Joes sells these at a great price. Use a dash of the syrup to sweeten the margarita — if you like it sweet, use more. The syrup also sinks beautifully into the cocktail if you prefer to serve a stirred (not shaken) version. A cherry looks cute on the rim of the glass, or plop inside.

We love the smoky taste of Mezcal tequila in this cocktail, but you can choose another if you wish. Black salt is fun to use for contrast!

Blood-red Cherry Margarita

makes 1 cocktail, or many!

1 part freshly squeezed lime juice (use about 1 ounce per cocktail)
3 parts Mezcal tequila  (use 3 ounces per cocktail)
A dash of Cherry bitters (if desired)
Amarena cherry syrup, to taste (see note above)
Amarena cherry, for garnish (see note above)
Black sea salt, for garnish


Prepare a cocktail glass by running a lime around the rim and coating it with the black salt.

Plop all the ingredients (minus the garnish) into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake, shake, shake your moneymaker. The more you shake, the yummier the drink. Using the strainer, pour the cocktail into the prepared glass.

Halloween Recipe: Cherry Margarita


Creepy cocktail kickoff! Persimmon Margarita

Creepy Cocktail season is here! We’re kicking it off with this delightfully sweet & sour Persimmon Margarita with a spiced simple syrup and smoked salt rim.

Persimmon Margarita Recipe by Hipcooks

You can add pizazz to any margarita with a flavored simple syrup. What’s a simple syrup? It’s equal parts sugar and water, boiled until the sugar is fully dissolved and completely suspended in the water. Whenever you have a cocktail that is too sour or too strong, a dash of simple can balance it out. At Hipcooks, we’re not so simple with our syrup (ha ha) — we take the extra opportunity when making it to infuse flavor! Be it herbs, spices, or even chilies: boiling the sugar and water with other stuff is the way to go!

Warm-spiced Simple Syrup

makes 2 cups

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2-inch piece ginger, sliced
A generous peel of lemon
a few Microplane’s passings-worth of nutmeg
4 cloves
4-6 cardamom pods, smashed


Bring the water, sugar and spices to a rolling boil, then simmer for about 5-10 minutes until your kitchen smells great. Strain the simple syrup and allow to cool completely before using. Any extra keeps in your fridge for almost forever. Extra uses of this simple syrup (as if cocktails aren’t enough), would be to mix into your coffee or to drizzle on vanilla ice cream or pancakes instead of syrup.

Halloween Adult Drink: Persimmon Margarita Recipe

Making the cocktail, once you have the simple syrup, is easy breezy. If you’re extra-lazy, you can make the cocktail without the persimmon puree, and just plop in a persimmon slice as an edible garnish. The drink will still be super-delicious (we tried it and concur!)

To make the persimmon puree, you’ll need a nicely ripened persimmon. (The soft Hachiya variety is perfect for this. Beware! This varietal is very astringent until it is super-soft. The flesh should be pudding-like). Cut in half, scoop out the flesh, and pop into a blender to whizz. If you need more liquid, you can add simple syrup. If you are using persimmon slices to garnish, ripened Fuyu persimmons are the ones you want. They don’t get too soft as they ripen, and make the perfect garnish.

Persimmon Margarita

makes 1 cocktail, or many!

1 part freshly squeezed lime juice (use about 1 ounce per cocktail)
3 parts agave tequila  (use 3 ounces per cocktail)
1 part warm-spiced simple syrup (see recipe above)
persimmon puree, to taste (see note above)
persimmon slices, for garnish (see note above)
Maldon smoked sea salt, for garnish


Prepare a rocks glass by running a lime around the rim and coating it with the flake salt. Fill the glass with ice.

Plop all the ingredients (minus the garnish) into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake, shake, shake your moneymaker. The more you shake, the yummier the drink. Using the strainer, pour the cocktail into the prepared glass. Slide a persimmon slice on the edge of the glass for beauty points.

Back-from-school Pinwheel Bread

I’m doing it again! I’m sharing another of my Mamma’s most popular recipes. You guys are so lucky to get this — and you must make it! My mother’s recipe is totally “Hipcooks,” meaning that it’s a snap to make, yet so special and delicious that everyone will be fawning over it (and you!) when it comes out of the oven, smelling sweetly of cinnamon and walnuts.  You won’t believe it, but this bread is no-knead, and no-fuss. A child can make it (and does)!

The last time I made this recipe I was Lucia’s age. How fun it was to re-discover this delicious bread with her.

Basically, you plop warmed milk, butter, yeast (from a  packet) some sugar for the yeast to eat into a mixer, and add egg and flour. Mix until just combined.

Cover, and throw the whole thing into the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or a maximum of 3 days. True! The bread does not care! It will prove (rise) just the same.

Roll it out.

German Yeast Bread Recipe by Hipcooks

Back-from-school Pinwheel BreadSprinkle  the dough with brown sugar, plenty of cinnamon, golden raisins and chopped walnuts. Roll it into one big log, and transfer to a baking sheet. You can give it a horse-shoe shape, a circle, or a heart (credit to my daughter Lucia for best idea ever).

German Yeast Bread Recipe by Hipcooks

This bread will rise further in the oven, brown on top and smell like home.

Do not resist the temptation to cut a piece straight away, slather with superfluous butter and go straight to 7th Heaven.

Back-from-school Pinwheel Bread by Hipcooks

Without further ado…

My Mom’s “Hefeteig” – Pinwheel Bread

Makes one fabulous loaf, great for sharing.

1 package yeast (like Fliechmann’s)
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter (1 stick) + ¼ cup butter for brushing (1/2 a stick or so).
4 cups flour
1 egg
4 tablespoons cinnamon (at least!), have fun judging the amount yourself
1 cup chopped walnuts  (at least!), see above
1 cup golden raisins (at least!), like before
½ cup brown sugar (at least!), you’re getting the hang of this!


Stir the yeast and warm water together. Scald the milk, and mix in the sugar and salt. Remove the milk from the heat and add 1 stick of butter. Once the butter has melted, check the temperature of the mixture. (Adding cold butter to the milk will both melt the butter while bringing down the temperature of the milk to just lukewarm, which is what you want. The Goldilocks Principle applies: too hot will kill the yeast, too cold and it will not activate.

Once the milk mixture is lukewarm, add it to a mixing bowl along with the yeast. (A stand mixer bowl is the easiest method, but you can mix by hand as well.)

Add 2 cups of flour, mix, add the egg, mix, and then the rest of the flour. The dough will be sticky — that’s fine! Cover the bowl and let the dough rest and prove in the fridge. (Minimum, 2 hours. Maximum, 3 days. Hint to the parents out there: make the dough in the evening, and then roll out the dough the next day with your kiddo.)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Turn the raised dough (it will smell delicious already!) onto a floured surface. Roll out as thin as you dare…go for baking sheet size (about a foot by a foot and a half, if you’re a measurer.)

Brush the entire surface of the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar, copious amounts of cinnamon, golden raisins (yes!) and chopped walnuts. Use as much or as little as you like. Roll away! Shape the loaf as you please, and brush the top with butter.

Bake until the loaf is evenly browned and smelling fantastic, about 30 -40 unites depending on the size and shape you have. (It may rise a little in the process, don’t worry either way.) Remove from oven and enjoy immediately (who can resist!) Only superheroes and other very cool individuals are fearless about applying extra butter to each delicious slice.


Fig, Goat cheese & Proscuitto Bruschetta

Our first post highlighted the friendship between figs, Gorgonzola, Bacon & Rosemary. But Figs are a popular bunch. They also love to hang out with goat cheese, prosciutto and balsamic. This recipe makes the perfect snack to enjoy while you sip on wine and make dinner. (And our trusty toaster oven strikes again!)

Cocktails 3: Fig Brushetta

6 slices sourdough bread (rosemary sourdough is awesome, or whichever type of bread you fancy)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
extra virgin olive oil
16 ounces prosciutto, sliced
1 pound fresh figs (if fresh figs are not available, can use peaches), trimmed and quartered
8 ounces goat cheese
chopped rosemary or parsley to garnish (optional)
Balsamic reduction to garnish (optional)


Preheat your oven to 375

Slice the bread to 1/3 to 1/4 inch-thick and pop in the oven to toast. Remove, and rub a garlic clove across the top, just two or three times. (Bring the bread to your nose – see why you did that? Yum!)

Drizzle each toast ever so lightly with the olive oil and add a slice or two of prosciutto on top (we like to tear the prosciutto into smaller pieces). Plop the fig quarters on top of the prosciutto. Dot lovingly with goat cheese.

Switch the oven to broil, and put the toasts on to a baking sheet. Broil for a minute or two melt and brown the cheese.

Putting balsmic reduction on Fig BrushettaPut on a plate, sprinkle with chopped rosemary, drizzle with a little more olive oil – a light touch! The balsamic reduction also looks and tastes great.

Fig Brushetta Recipe by Hipcooks

Fig Tart with polenta crust & lemon mascarpone cream

Hunting on the world wide web led me to this great fig recipe on Epicurious. I’ve made it for years, and love it. So, for a change, here’s the recipe (first published in Gourmet in 2003). The pictures are Hipcooks. The only tweaks I’ve made to the recipe itself is to sub vanilla bean paste (just a drizzle), to the mascarpone cream instead of sugar. It’s a winner!

Fig Tart Recipe Fig Tart with polenta crust & lemon mascarpone cream how to. Fig Tart with polenta crust & lemon mascarpone cream Fig Tart with polenta crust & lemon mascarpone cream Recipe Fig Tart with polenta crust & lemon mascarpone cream recipe


Baked figs with mascarpone & cinnamon

Baked figs with mascarpone & cinnamon recipe

As “Fig Week” marches on, we’ve got another easy fig recipe for you. It’s a luscious dessert (that doubles as a naughty breakfast) and is a snap to make. Once again, we deploy our trusty hard-working toaster oven.

Preheat the toaster oven (or regular if that’s what you’ve got) to 400°F.

Slice figs in half (in quarters if they’re big) and put into a baking dish. Top with spoonfuls of mascarpone. Once you’ve dolloped to your heart’ts content, add a dash of freshly zested lemon, a swirl of vanilla bean paste and a dusting of cinnamon.

This will bake fast — give it ten minutes or so. You want the mascarpone to just begin to break, as the fat starts to separate out of the cheese. Just enough, and you’ll have lovely golden-colored beading on the melting mascarpone, and the figs will be warm. Serve without further ceremony or adornment, as this dish has all it (and you) need.

Baked figs with mascarpone & cinnamon recipe

Roasted gorgonzola stuffed figs, wrapped in bacon


The fig-monkeys strike again! We’ve got a basket full of figs and a week of posting fig recipes for this fabulous bumper-crop.

what to use for Bacon Wrapped Fig Recipe

Figs, please meet your new friends: Gorgonzola, rosemary, and bacon. We have a feeling you’ll all get along just fine.

Divet the figs for the proper introduction of Cheese. Cut the rosemary springs on the bias so that they make a nice sharp skewer. Strip the lower leaves from each rosemary spring by running your fingers down toward the cut end.

Bacon Wrapped Fig Recipe with rosemary

Once the figs are stuffed, wrap in them in bacon and secure each slice with the skewer.

Bacon Wrapped Fig Recipe with rosemary on tray

We baked right on in the toaster oven, on the “whole-y” tray, so that the bacon fat would drip down through the holes. 450°F will do it, for about 15 minutes until the bacon cooks all the way through.

Messy to eat? Guaranteed! Serve on a plate with a fork and knife, or place in a nest of arugula as a dressed-up salad.


kids collecting figs from fig tree.

Back-from-school Apple Cake

I’m doing it! I’m sharing my Mamma’s Apple Cake recipe, the one she learned growing up in Germany. In my family, we all make this cake so much, as it is so versatile. I know the recipe like the back of my hand. We’ve made some changes over the years, like substituting the white flour for almond flour. Why add the empty calories when you can add protein-rich almonds? Besides, it makes the cake much more moist and flavorful. Also, we cut down the sugar. Waaay. And swapped white for brown sugar, because not only is it healthier, the apples like it better. Is ¼ cup of sugar in an entire cake too little for you? We think it’s perfect, but up it if you like.

Lucia eating Apple Cake

Start this cake with your favorite apples. It’s the season! For us, the tarter the better. We choose Pink Lady or Green Apples, but there are so many varietals that will work. Another key adaptation of this traditional recipe — leave the apple skins on. They look pretty, have key nutrients, give the cake a great texture, plus you don’t have to peel apples. We call that a 4-point win! Just core and slice the apples in a pretty fashion (in half, in half again, and one more time make even eighths).

Apple Cake Recipe by Hipcooks

Key to the success and texture of the cake is to cream the butter and sugar well. Stand mixers are bomb.com. Be patient, scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, and get that butter nice and fluffy. The rest of the cake assembles super-fast, so take your time with this step (only).

Apple Cake Recipe

The most wonderful thing about the artisan cake is that it needs no layering, frosting or any of that faff. A sprinkle of powdered sugar on the top and you’ve got a mouth-watering treat, especially if you serve it still warm from the oven. A dollop of whipped cream takes it over the top, you should go for it. And a nice cup of tea.

Sometimes I don’t want a whole cake sitting around our household of 2 — I’ll end up eating the whole thing. So I third the recipe and use a small cake pan. It fits in the toaster oven, so I just bake in there. And then my little cutie has a super-cute after school treat! (With a small slice for me, done and done.)

Apple Cake Recipe from Hipcooks

My Mom’s Apple Cake

makes one 8-inch cake

1 stick butter
¼ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup almond flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 your favorite apples, cored and sliced into 8ths
a sprinkling of sliced almonds (or walnuts), if desired


Preheat the oven to 350°F & line an 8-inch cake pan bottom with parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar using a stand mixer or eggbeaters, until the butter is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Mix together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon. Crack the eggs into a small bowl or jug and lightly beat.

Add the egg mixture and the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar in 2 stages: first, add about half the eggs and mix until incorporated, then half of the flour and mix. Repeat.

Put the cake batter into the prepared pan, and top with sliced apples. The batter will rise and spread, “nesting” the apples in the cake. Scatter the top with nuts and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and the edges are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Allow the cake to cool (even just slightly!) before serving with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream, sweetened with vanilla bean paste, powdered sugar and a splash of booze (either cognac, brandy, whiskey — all work a charm).

Apple Cake Recipe from Hipcooks

Check out the NEW Hipcooks Website!

Hipcooks Link
Our New Website is up!
Your new My Hipcooks account
Our new Class Schedule! page
Our Recipe page!!
Our new Resources page!

Cheers! Get Recipe
Monika Reti owner of Hipcooks
Hop onto the new site! We hope you enjoy it!
It’s been a mountain of a project. I’d love your enthusiastic feedback & suggestions.

Eat well, Be well,

This class is bursting with the flavors of summer


Chop Chop! No need to turn on the heat to pack in the flavor. These healthy, wonderful salads are no sweat in the kitchen. Perfect as a main course or side-dish.
Mix it up & get some new inspiration for healthy eating! This class has great knife skills, so you’ll learn fabulous technique!

Endless Salads Class Pictures
Endless Salads!

Yin-Yang carrot & beet salad
Hearty warm garbanzo salad
Zucchini & quinoa salad with mint & pine nuts
Saffron couscous & roasted vegetable salad with Hipcooks Romesco
Celery, parsley, parmesan & date salad
La Panzanella
West LA: Class Schedule
East LA: Class sign up button
Woodland Hill : Class sign up button

Hi, Firecracker! Kick off your 4th of July with this easy recipe

Here’s the perfect 4th of July celebration cake…
Walnut Roll Recipe
Whether you’re staying home or packing it up. The base is a gluten-free walnut cake, airy and luscious. The filling is good ol’ berries and cream. Fast, easy to make, & fun!
Get Recipe

Cool down & chill out this season with backyard eating! What’s better than a signature cocktail & nibbles to match? In this class, mixologists take you through fun infused cocktails, and Hipcooks teachers will wow you with the bites.
Cocktails 3: Get Infused!
Wednesday, July 18, 6pm – 9pm
Food Menu:
Endive boats stuffed with fennel, orange, & olive salad
Goat cheese & avocado wontons with cilantro-infused aioli
Fig bruschetta with prosciutto & mascarpone
Puff pastry tart with heirloom tomatoes & basil oil
Cucumber cups with Gazpacho
Basil & pine nut-stuffed mushrooms
Gorgonzola & walnut shortbread
Infused chocolates
Drinks Menu:
Basil-strawberry Prosecco Smash
Cucumber-infused Tequila
The Sage Rush
The Garden Party
Waverly Place Echo
The Bramble
Cocktails 3 Class
Class sign up button
Create (& eat!) fabulous Sushi & Japanese izakaya-style bites.
Hipcooks Dreams of Sushi
Friday, July 29, 6pm – 9pm
Sushi Class
Sign up for West LA Sushi Class
Hipcooks West LA

This time, for a delightful evening of all things French, oui oui!
Bastille Day, Saturday, July 14th
Global Supper Club Link

Hipcooks puts the FUN in FUNDRAISING




  • Pick your charity! Email us, & we’ll get started. We’ll suggest a Class Menu perfect for your group & find a date/time.
  • Choose your “ticket price.” All proceeds above the Hipcooks base fee are donated. Hipcooks will kick in a Gift Certificate for 2 (You can auction it off, at the event or later.)
  • Hipcooks will create a tailor-made invite (that you can email), & we will post to our Event Page (so that you can share easily on social media.) Invite your friends, colleges… anyone to support the cause. Fill the class & we’re cookin’ for cash!


  • Do you want to put the FUN in Fundraising?
Email us for more info!

Perfect party menus & a recipe for Mom

View in Browser  Newsletter
Hipcooks Site
Looking to impress your guests this summer? Brush up your grill skills!  Come to our Thrill of the Grill class and learn what’s gonna be hot this summer.
Gazpacho Andaluz with garlicky croutons
Grilled pork loin with pomegranate sauce
Grilled dry-rub chicken
Hipcooks Tabbouleh with mint, cranberries, hazelnuts and fennel
Grilled peaches with amaretto mascarpone
If it’s too hot to cook outside, host a Tapas Party inside! Here’s a sexy menu for an unforgettable party. If you haven’t taken this class yet…you must! Más Tapas, por favor is also perfect as a Private Class – bring your officemates for a team builder. There’s something for everyone!

Spicy & crispy garbanzos
Patatas bravas with orange saffron aioli
Ceviche & mango salsa on mini tostadas
Jamon y queso empanadas
Stuffed piquillo peppers with quinoa and Manchego cheese
Endives with red onion & olive
Beef & lamb meatballs with tomato & anchovy sauce
Goat cheese ice cream with red wine syrup
Spring Calendars are blooming – pluck your class today!
A Cocktail for Mom: Pomegranate Bellini. (But first practice on yourself.)
Brunch Link

<< Previous Posts