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Food Cocktail Series: Win summer with your carne asada, ceviche

Sue Henry was a little dubious about making mole, a traditional Mexican sauce.

“I had never made it before, and I thought, ‘It can’t be good, with chocolate and cinnamon,’” she said. “But it was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had.”

Henry isn’t likely to have tried mole — much less cooked it — if she hadn’t participated in the Food &Cocktail Virtual Series presented by the Review-Journal and La Bonita Supermarkets. The mole was part of the series’ second installment; the third will begin at 6 p.m. Aug. 12 via Zoom.

The sessions are led by Chef La Che, also known as Maria Celeste Perez.

“I haven’t had so much fun in a long time,” Henry said. “Who thought by doing it by Zoom you could?”

She participated in the first installment, which featured paella, with her husband; her sister and brother-in-law joined them for the second. The $75 fee includes step-by-step instruction and recipes, with all food and cocktail ingredients provided by La Bonita.

“The fact that everything is provided is just such a bonus,” Henry said. “That and the cocktails, it just made it very festive, especially with everything that was going on. It was just necessary to have something fun and festive.”

Marcela Gutierrez also participated in the first two sessions, and has signed up for the third.

“I love paella,” she said. “That one was amazing. It was just so easy to make. All the steps were super-cool and it was very, very easy to follow.”

Gutierrez said she missed the Zoom session for the second in the series because of a family emergency, but she watched it on video with her sister.

“We were laughing about how we were messing some of the stuff up,” she said. “It makes it a little easier to have somebody.”

Although …

“The first one, I was just so nervous that I was going to mess things up, it was better I was by myself.”

Perez — Chef La Che — chose carne asada, shrimp ceviche, guacamole and Paloma cocktails for the third session. Of the carne asada, she said, “It is a very popular dish during the summertime. I think it kind of changes your view of the heat and makes it more positive. It’s a wonderful recipe and it brings people out; you can never go wrong.

“The ceviche I love because it’s refreshing. It’s a cold dish that actually sits in the fridge until you’re done cooking everything and pairing it together. It’s just delicious. I always say ceviche is what you eat on vacation on an island, or a beach in Mexico.”

The Palomas have a somewhat different twist in that they’re made with Jarritos grapefruit soda instead of the more conventional grapefruit juice.

Perez said they’re working on creating a La Che Facebook page so participants can provide feedback.

“I’m just very, very excited,” she said about the upcoming session. “I love it when people are able to not only learn a recipe but bring family and friends together. It’s a difficult time, and it’s a healthy way to bring people together.”

To register, visit reviewjournal.com/cooking. Boxes can be picked up Aug. 10 or 11 at one of two locations.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at Hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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