Hacienda Style

Mi casa es su casa. This May, create a saucy south of the border vibe at home. Include tons of rich texture, plenty of exotic tropical flora and flowers, and then roll out the gorgeous Spanish style street food, from churros to empanadas. But first, soup.

Cucumber and Jalapeño Margarita 

Makes 3 Cocktails

This spicy little margarita number is so refreshing! I love the herbal hint of chartreuse liqueur and the pretty borage herb blossom actually tastes like cucumber!


5 ounces silver tequila

1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño

11/2 ounces lime juice

1 tablespoons agave juice

1/4th cup chopped cucumber

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon Chartreuse


Combine the tequila and chopped jalapeño. Chill for an hour and strain. 

In a glass container, add the lime juice, agave, cucumber, cilantro and chartreuse. Muddle well. Add the tequila, stir and chill until ready to use. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the margarita mixture, shake and lightly strain, into three ice-filled glasses. Garnish with thin slices of skewered cucumber, a wedge of lime, round of jalapeño and fresh borage blossoms. Cheers!


Love a chilled soup starter? Try this combination of deep red tomatoes, vibrant yellow bells, pale green cucumber, fennel and spicy jalapeño, all whizzed up into an orangey-pink perfection. Garnish the bowl with a beautiful sprinkling of the soup ingredients.


5 vine-ripened tomatoes, skin removed, and halved

½ cucumber peeled and
rough chopped

½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

¼ jalapeño pepper, seeded
and chopped

Half of a small fennel bulb,
cored and chopped

1 garlic clove chopped

1 pieces of bread, crust removed

Juice of half a lime

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/8th cup olive oil



Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped veggies.

Fruit Cups 

Simply cut sweet watermelon sticks, garnish with fresh mint sprigs and edible blooms, and pop into mugs.

Chopped Romaine Salad with Grilled Corn and Black Beans

This gorgeous salad is the perfect combo of sweet and savory. The corn is slathered with olive oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and cumin and then grilled off, in a stovetop pan. The black beans are gussied up with lime juice, garlic and herbs. The salad toppings are layered onto the crisp, chopped romaine. Don’t forget the zippy dressing!


4 hearts of romaine, chopped

2 ears of corn, grilled (sprinkle with cinnamon and cumin) 

1-15 ounces can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon each, chopped mint and cilantro

1 teaspoon each, salt, pepper and cumin

Juice and zest of half a lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ small red onion, chopped

¼ jalapeño, seeded and chopped

½ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled

Edible flowers

Black beans

Place the beans in stove top pan. Add, mint, cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice, zest and olive oil to the pan. Simmer on low until flavors are combined.


Juice of half a lime

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

11/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons agave syrup

1/4th cup olive oil

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

Whisk together the first five ingredients. Whisk in the oil, until smooth, then whisk in the crème fraiche.


Fill a medium bowl with chopped romaine. Layer in, the colorful toppings in rows and dot with fresh edible blooms.

Mushroom and Onion Empanada

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Makes 12 

Savor the flavor. What’s not to love about, stuffed, baked pastry, hot out of the oven? This veggie version of an empanada is easy to make and even easier to gobble down.

Dough Ingredients 

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed

1 egg beaten

1/3 cup ice water


Sift flour. Place dry ingredients the bowl of a food processor and pulse. Add butter and egg. Pulse. Add just enough ice water, for the dough to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead dough, on a lightly floured surface.

Flatten into a disc between parchment paper. Chill for 1 hour or overnight.

Filling Ingredients

Olive oil


4 shallots chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

16 ounces baby bell mushrooms chopped

2 tablespoons fresh parsley 

3 tablespoons breadcrumbs

2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano 




Coat a skillet with olive oil and add a splash of cognac. Sauté the shallots and garlic on medium low for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients along with another drizzle of olive oil and splash of cognac. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.


Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8th inch thickness.

Cut into 5-inch rounds. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each dough disk. Fold over the dough and seal with the tines of a fork. Chill 20 minutes before baking. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly golden brown.

Sugar & Spice Baked Churro Bites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Churros are my kind of Spanish street food. Baked dough, rolled in cinnamon sugar, and begging to be eaten.


¾ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons vanilla
bean sugar

Dash of salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons unsalted
butter, cubed

½ cup whole milk

¼ cup water

1½ teaspoons vanilla

1 large egg, hand beaten

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  

Place the butter, milk, water and vanilla, in stove-top pan.

Bring the liquid to a boil on medium high heat. Once it begins to boil, stir in the dry ingredients. 

When the dough forms a ball, pull the pan from the heat. 

Allow the mixture to cool for about two minutes, then stir in the egg. If the dough is too hot, the egg will begin to scramble.

Place the dough in a pastry bag with a star tip.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pipe the dough onto the parchment in roughly two-inch long pieces.

Bake for approximately 8 to 9 minutes until the underside is golden brown.

While the churros are baking, whisk together 1/4th cup vanilla bean sugar and 11/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Pull the baking pan from the oven and immediately roll the churros in the sugar mixture.

See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at lafamigliadesignllc.com. 

Tableware – anko, Lynnwood

Plants- Wells Medina
Nursery, Bellevue

Monica’s outfit – ARITZIA,
at The Bellevue Collection

Hair – Seven the Salon

is a 425 contributor.
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