Bacon-Wrapped Habanero Pineapple Bites

These spicy and sweet Bacon-Wrapped Habanero Pineapple Bites were one of the first appetizers to disappear at a recent party I hosted.

I mean...let's be honest...bacon-wrapped anything is generally a hit, but these are especially lovely because they hit so many great flavor notes all in one perfect mouthful.

I was inspired to make this recipe as part of my ongoing collaboration with Tabasco. It features their Tabasco Habanero sauce, which is a tangy and fiery blend that's perfect for cooking.

It's the spiciest of all their sauces (which I LOVE!), and definitely packs powerful heat, but when paired with the sweetness from the pineapple and a touch of brown sugar and nutmeg, it balances out beautifully.

My number one rule about party appetizers (apart from deliciousness!) is that they be simple to assemble and prepare. Anything overly fussy is too much when you're already managing multiple dishes and still want to enjoy the party yourself.

These little guys come together in minutes and can even be assembled a full day in advance, then cooked right before serving.

I usually wait until the first guest rings the bell to pop them under the broiler--10 minutes later and they're ready to serve!

The only problem is that late arrivals usually end up missing out, but hey...that's why they say you snooze, you lose, right?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by TABASCO. Over the next few months, I will be sharing a series of recipes inspired by some of my favorite TABASCO sauces. All recipes and opinions are strictly my own. Thank you for supporting great brands like TABASCO that make it possible for me to create new content for you. 

Loved this recipe? Here are three other Tabasco recipes you might like:

And let's connect so you can find out the next time I post! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates.

Thanks so much for reading!

Bacon-Wrapped Habanero Pineapple Bites
Makes 20 pieces

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into 20 2 1/2" by 1" pieces
2 teaspoons TABASCO Habanero Sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
20 bacon strips


Preheat broiler or oven to highest setting.

Combine pineapple pieces in a bowl with TABASCO Habanero Sauce, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and let marinate 5 minutes.

Place one strip of bacon flat on a service and starting from the end, roll up one piece of marinated pineapple. Skewer with a toothpick and lay on a foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with rest of pineapple and bacon.

Place under broiler for 5 minutes, then use tongs to turn and broil 5 more minutes. Broilers can vary, so keep an eye on yours to make sure it doesn't burn. Reduce cooking time, if necessary.

Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Feed Your Passion Episode 1: Chinese-Cuban Fusion at Calle Dao

In the first episode of my new show Feed Your Passion with Alejandra Ramos, we visit Calle Dao--a Cuban-Chinese restaurant in Manhattan that's putting a creative spin on this classic fusion cuisine.

Calle Dao is owned by Marco Britti an Italian-born musician who developed a passion for Latin food while traveling the world with acts like Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony (YES!).  While living in Havana for a year, he grew fascinated with the significant Chinese population in that city, and started researching the birth of Chino-Cubana cuisine, which for a time was popular in cities like New York and Miami.

At Calle Dao, he and Chef Humberto Guallpa, have created a menu that brings together some mainstays and flavors from both cultures, along with influences from other Latin and Asian countries. The result is a truly unique and inspiring menu that celebrates the fusion of global cultures in America.

Watch the video below (and don't forget to subscribe, comment, and hit the thumbs up if you like it!)


Raspberry Rosé Wine Slushies

New York City is on fire right now. At least, that's how everybody is acting. It's about 95 degrees, but feels like 105. It's humid. The sun is blazing.

Total madness.

But I confess that...I don't hate it!

I'm one of those crazy people that loves the sun and the heat. Humidity feels good on my skin (horrible for my hair, but I just throw it in a bun and it's all good) and the heat is delicious.

I mean, I'm not about to run around the block in this, but I'd never do that anyway.

But I will happily sit in the sun wearing a pretty breezy dress and holding a glass of something icy.

Something like this Raspberry Rosé Wine Slushie.

Rosé is one of my summer favorites, and adding frozen fruit and ice to it and whirling it up into a gorgeous frozen cocktail just makes it all that much more amazing.

This is a simple drink that's a lot of fun and always a crowd pleaser. Whirl one up in your blender today and stay cool!

Inspired? Check out my Boozy Frozen Peach Sangria Slushie recipe, too!

Loved this recipe? Here are three other summer cocktails recipes you might like:

And let's connect so you can find out the next time I post! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates.

Thanks so much for reading!

Raspberry Rosé Wine Slushies
Serves 2

2 cups rosé wine
3 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup raspberry liqueur or raspberry vodka (you can also use something like Grand Marnier or Triple Sec if it's what you have on hand)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth and slushy. Serve immediately.


Watch: Introducing my new food webseries!

Earlier this summer, I teamed up with brand new website to produce and film a project that I am incredibly excited to finally share with you!

It's a brand new 12-episode food webseries called Feed Your Passion with Alejandra Ramos, where I'll take you along on a journey meeting inspiring men and women who have taken their love for food and turned it into an amazing passion-filled career.

I'll take you to some some cool bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, markets, and more.

There will be lots of delicious things to eat and drink, cool tips and inspiration, but most importantly, I'm excited to share these unique stories that I hope will inspire you to make your own dreams (whatever they may be!) a reality.

We'll be releasing one episode every week, and I'd love to hear what you think of the show!

Check out the short trailer below to learn more about the show, subscribe on YouTube (and comment and like it if you love it!), and if you have any suggestions for future places I should visit or people I should interview in future episodes, definitely let me know!

Thank you so much for your support. I hope you love the show!




Corn and Black Bean Salsa Salad

It takes about 5 minutes to pull this ridiculously easy Corn and Black Bean Salsa Salad together, but the final dish is one of those that's surprisingly good. I call it a "salsa salad" because it really is both!

You can serve it up with a big bowl of salty chips (like these homemade tortilla chips!) or spoon it over tacos or serve it up on its own as a light vegetarian main course.

It's also a great side for grilled chicken or fish, or can be added to mixed greens to bulk them up a bit. I've even stirred this into corn chowder or other light summer soups.

It's incredibly versatile and a universal crowdpleaser. Bring a big bowl of it to your next party, and watch it disappear as you rake in all the compliments.

(You're welcome!)

Note that while you can definitely make and serve this right away, I think the trick that makes it SO good is to let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours so that the flavors all have a chance to get to know each other.

Give it a quick toss just before serving and it'll be good to go.

You can also feel free to improvise a bit--add grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, or switch up the spices as desired.

Loved this recipe? Here are three other salsa recipes you might like:

And let's connect so you can find out the next time I post! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates.

Thanks so much for reading!

Corn and Black Bean Salsa Salad
Serves 6

2 cups cooked corn kernels (fresh or frozen & thawed both work!)
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 large jalapeño pepper, finely diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked spanish paprika OR chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 large lime
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight before serving.


Minty Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer Punch

A few weeks ago, I was walking my dog Hudson down a narrow sidewalk next to my apartment building when a man came out a door and started shouting at me. "Get out of my backyard!" he said, like something out of an old Dennis the Menace cartoon.

I was, naturally, very confused.

"This is your yard?" I asked, looking around at the very-much-public and very-much-not-a-yard street I stood on. The man shouted again that it was his yard, and so Hudson and I hustled back down to the main street.

That man was obviously nuts, but the thing is that when you live in New York City, you kind of have to take a yard wherever you can get it:

A two-foot fire escape four stories up in the air can be a yard. A front stoop with a tiny portable grill can be a yard. A public park 20 blocks away can be a yard.

And, apparently, a narrow public sidewalk can also be a yard...

All you need is a bit of imagination!

Whatever your backyard looks like, Summer is most definitely the time to get out there and enjoy it. Bring together friends and family for a classic backyard bbq, serve up a big punch bowl of something chilled and soak in that summer goodness.

My latest vodka punch recipe in my ongoing collaboration with Smirnoff this summer is this sweet and tangy Minty Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer Punch.

Made with fresh grapefruit juice, Smirnoff Ruby Red Grapefruit, and fresh mint simple syrup, it's a pretty and refreshing punch to sip on hot summer days.

Grapefruit and mint are a gorgeous combination that I absolutely love together, and find that they're particularly lovely in this cocktail made with Smirnoff Ruby Red Grapefruit. The mint simple syrup takes just minutes to prepare, and can even be made several days in advance.

Serve the punch in a big bowl, with plenty of ice and fresh mint for serving.

For more fun summer cocktail recipes and ideas, follow Smirnoff and the hashtag #Punch4Everybody on Instagram and Facebook, and check out their fun party boards on Pinterest!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smirnoff for IZEA. All opinions are 100% my own. Please remember to always drink responsibly!

Minty Grapefruit Vodka Spritzer Punch
Serves 12

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh mint leaves + more for serving
2 1/4 cups Smirnoff Ruby Red Grapefruit
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (or a good quality store-bought ruby red grapefruit juice)
1 liter chilled club soda

Make the mint syrup: Combine sugar, water, and mint leaves in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to the lowest setting and let simmer 10 minutes, or until the liquid reduces by 1/4. Remove from heat, strain out leaves, and let cool completely.

To make the punch, whisk together the Smirnoff Ruby Red Grapefruit, lemon juice, and fresh grapefruit juice. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or until serving.

Just before serving, add the club soda and garnish with grapefruit slices. Serve with ice and fresh mint leaves on the side.

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Travel Diaries: A Weekend in the Hamptons

As much as I love New York City, I also adore the occasional weekend escape out of the city...especially during the summer!

A few weeks ago, Eugene and I dropped Hudson off at my parents' house, packed our bags, and drove a few hours east to Sag Harbor for a little Hamptons beach weekend in the sun.

The highlight of our trip was getting to attend a couple fancy foodie parties at the gorgeous Tasting Table Hampton's House. I was invited by the team at Coca-Cola Life to experience and share about the parties, which featured gorgeous food, drinks, backyard games, and lots of other goodies.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend, plus some of my favorite things that we ate and did in case you're planning your own Hamptons trip this summer!

Since a few of the parties we were attending were going to be in Sag Harbor, I logged onto Airbnb and found a great beach house located steps from the water. It was stunning! I was in my bikini and running toward the water within about 4 minutes from arrival.

On Saturday, morning, I woke up around 5AM and ran out onto the chilly beach to watch the sun rise.

It was so perfect...nobody else was out and the only sound was that of the water and birds. I'm so envious of people who get to enjoy that gorgeous peaceful view every morning.

When Eugene finally woke up a few hours later, we headed to Estia's Little Kitchen--a farm-to-table Mexican restaurant for breakfast. It was fantastic! They made their own homemade salsas with fresh local herbs.

We even had a minor celebrity spotting; Isaac Mizrahi and his husband Arnold Germer were having breakfast there, too. I made the mistake of subtly and quietly pointing him out to Eugene who loudly shouted back, "THE DESIGNER?! WHERE?"

(That was the last time I will ever point out a celebrity to him. Ever.)

After a few hours wandering and shopping in town, Eugene and I picked up some local goodies (cheese from Cavaniola's Cheese Shop, bread, wine, cookies from Tate's, etc.) and had ourselves a little beach picnic.

Later that afternoon, we attended a rosé wine tasting at the Tasting Table house, where we were greeted at the door with cocktails, then entered what is basically the house (and backyard!) of my dreams.

(Oh the parties I could throw!).

We sipped rosé, enjoyed little fancy sandwiches and raw oysters, and chatted with new and old friends.

The chefs in the kitchen were creating fun treats to share, including these delicious frozen rosé slushies, which took about 30 seconds to make and were so fun.

(Stay tuned for that recipe!)

The next morning we slept in (it was gray and rainy and cold!), then headed back to the Tasting Table house for brunch featuring a DIY Bloody Mary bar with all the fixin's

Eugene took full advantage of the bloody mary bar, but I just stuck with the bacon because I have priorities.

It was candied bacon! And I definitely had at least three slices of it, plus one more "for the road" before we left.

No shame, kids. No shame.

The brunch menu was gorgeous, including dishes like this wild smoked salmon salad with charred citrus, a very cool green bean salad with cherries, chorizo omelets, and bottles of chilled Coca-Cola Life.

(I also fell in love with these mini avocado toast appetizers with preserved lemons. So great!)

After brunch, Eugene got me to join him for a game of ping pong, but I'm very bad at ping pong, so he swiftly regretted that.

After a few hours of relaxing, we reluctantly got back into our car for the drive home to the city.

(Though we did stop in Southhampton at Sant Ambroeus for ice cream, first!)

Thanks to Coca-Cola Life for inviting me out for this lovely weekend! I tried out Coca-Cola Life before agreeing to partner with them, and can honestly say I'm a fan!

It's sweetened with a mix of real cane sugar and stevia, but has that great fizzy nostalgic taste that's perfect with pizza or while watching a movie.

If you love the taste of Coke, but are thoughtful about things like calories or what kind of sugars you consume, I think it's a great choice!

Disclosure: This is sponsored collaboration with Coca-Cola Life. I was compensated for my time and social shares, but all opinions are my own. Follow Coca-Cola life on Instagram and Twitter for more fun summer inspiration!


Fresh Pineapple Salsa

I love a good fruit salsa. That combination of sweet and spicy is absolute magic with salty tortilla (or plantain!) chips.

I served this gorgeous Fresh Pineapple Salsa at a party I threw recently, and it was one of the first dishes to go. Best made a few hours in advance, I suggest throwing all the ingredients together, then folding the cilantro in at the very end just before serving.

If pineapples are in season and readily available, definitely use a fresh one, but it will work with good canned pineapple, too (just be sure to drain it well, and don't get the kind that's in syrup!). Then you just add diced red or white onions, jalapeño (as much or little as you want to taste!), fresh lime juice, cilantro, and a bit of salt. 

I served my pineapple salsa in a bowl I made by hollowing out a real pineapple--a simple trick that makes it that much more festive for your next summer party, but you can also just toss it in a bowl.

This is one of those dishes that's as pretty as it is delicious.

Happy summering!

Loved this recipe? Here are three other salsa recipes you might like:

And let's connect so you can find out the next time I post! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates.

Thanks so much for reading!

Fresh Pineapple Salsa
Makes about 3 cups

1 whole pineapple, cored and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 large lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, reserving part of the cilantro. Cover and chill at least two hours before serving. Toss again just before serving, and garnish with reserved cilantro.

Serve with tortilla chips or as a topping for tacos. 


Watermelon, Tomato & Burrata Salad

Sometimes I feel like I'm cheating in the summer.

The ingredients are so good that I really don't have to do much apart from cut and assemble. There is a bit of art to figuring out combinations of flavors, but honestly...there isn't *that* much I can do to a perfect watermelon to make it better.

(Well...maybe some tequila?)

This Watermelon Tomato & Burrata Salad came about on a weekend afternoon when I was staring at the fridge incapable of deciding what I wanted to eat first. I'd just done groceries, so we were stocked. Watermelon. Tomatoes. Berries. Fresh herbs. Burrata cheese.

I wanted to eat all of it at the same time.

So I did (basically).

This watermelon salad recipe is perfect for those of you who like a little sweet with your savory. Fresh juicy cubes of watermelon, ripe summery tomatoes, and just a handful of berries are the perfect complement to creamy burrata cheese.

Serve this as a first course when entertaining guests, or as a simple lunch when it's just you on a pretty summer afternoon. Don't forget to take a picture and tag me @alwaysalejandra and #alwaysorderdessert on Instagram. I want to see what you're cooking!

Loved this recipe? Here are a couple other watermelon recipes you might like:

And let's connect so you can find out the next time I post! Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates.

Thanks so much for reading!

Watermelon, Tomato & Burrata Salad 
Serves 4 as a starter

1 pound ball of fresh burrata cheese
2 cups fresh watermelon, cut into 2" cubes
2 cups assorted small tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, small heirloom tomatoes, etc.), halved
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large and juicy lemon, halved
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Use a knife to gently slice off a thin layer from the top of the burrata (no thicker than 1/2") to open it up. Place in the center of a serving platter with the cut side up.

Arrange watermelon and tomatoes around the burrata. Sprinkle with raspberries, and tuck in basil leaves around the dish.

Drizzle the entire platter with the olive oil, then squeeze the lemon juice just over the fruit (not on the cheese).

Season the whole salad with kosher salt and black pepper.


Elderflower Berry Vodka Punch

I'm not sure what it's like where you live, but in New York City, the 4th of July is usually HOT. The sun shines brightly and summer heat hugs you all heavy and damp.

Personally, I love it. I'll take thick, hot summer over icy winter any day of the year. But I admit it can make it difficult to want to move around or really do much of anything productive.

I had the heat in mind when working on this colorful patriotic punch recipe. It's the third in my ongoing collaboration with Smirnoff this summer, and (shhh...!) it's my favorite so far.

In my head I was picturing a crystal clear and sparkly punch studded with cupfuls of fresh red and blue berries. It's lightly sweet, perhaps even leaning towards tart, with just a hint of something special from the elderflower syrup.

This red, white, and blue Elderflower Berry Vodka Punch is cool and refreshing, and perfect for sipping in tall, berry-filled glasses while sharing with friends under the hot July sun.

The only added sweetness in this punch comes from elderflower syrup, which you can buy online or at well-stocked grocery stores. If you can't find it, you can substitute another floral syrup like lavender or rose, or just stick with a plain simple syrup.

Elderflower pairs beautifully with berry flavors, so I chose Smirnoff Raspberry as this spirit for this punch.

It adds the perfect touch of summer sweetness! Combined with some fresh lemon juice and lemon seltzer, it's a bright and bubbly drink that will be a hit with your 4th of July guests.

A few tips for serving this punch for a crowd:

1. Prepare the base of the drink in advance by combining the lemon juice, Smirnoff Raspberry, and elderflower syrup in a large pitcher, and chilling until it's time to serve.

2. Slice up the strawberries and wash the blueberries, but don't add until the last minute.

3. Just before your guests arrive, add chilled seltzer to the prepared drink base, and stir in the berries.

4. Serve  with bowls of additional chilled berries so guests can fill their glasses. They can sip their drinks, then eat the muddled berries which will absorb a bit of the vodka and elderflower flavor--so much lovelier than sangria!

For more fun summer cocktail recipes and ideas, follow Smirnoff on Instagram and Facebook, and check out their fun party boards on Pinterest!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smirnoff for IZEA. All opinions and recipes are, of course, 100% my own. Please remember to always drink responsibly!

Elderflower Berry Vodka Punch
Serves 12

2 1/4 cups Smirnoff Raspberry
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup elderflower syrup (or other floral beverage syrup)
1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced + 1/2 pound for serving
1 pint blueberries, rinsed + and additional pint for serving
6-8 cups chilled lemon seltzer

Whisk together the vodka, lemon juice, and elderflower syrup in a large pitcher. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or until serving.

Just before serving, add the berries, topped off with 6-8 cups of the seltzer (depending on the size of your pitcher). Stir and serve cold with additional berries on the side.
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