Butternut squash is the surprise ingredient in Chef Jesus Gonzalez's hot chocolate.
“The recipe starts with the seed in the garden,” says Chef Jesús González as he roasts butternut squash for his Mayan Hot Chocolate. He is referring to most all of the food served at Rancho La Puerta, a fitness spa an hour and a half south of San Diego, in Tecate, Mexico.
Jesús is the chef at the ranch and its cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, “the kitchen that sings.” “The ranch,” as it’s lovingly called by repeat guests (who outnumber first-timers), serves food with ingredients gleaned almost exclusively from its six-acre organic garden. This “food less traveled” is the start for many of Jesús’ inventive dishes, low in fat and brimming with flavor and freshness.
Jesús has a Midas touch with lighter healthy foods. He reduces grocery store balsamic vinegar with spices to create a luxurious syrup that mimics extravagant aged balsamic vinegar. He purées leeks, garlic, basil and broccoli for Creamy Broccoli Soup without the cream. And he enhances hot chocolate with roasted butternut squash, a technique that’s sheer genius. Jesús spent 15 years in the kitchen of The Golden Door Spa, and it shows. His food is eclectic, fresh, wholesome and healthy, perfect for hearts at the spa and yours wherever you are.
—Jill Melton, Editor
Loaded with calcium and beta-carotene (from the squash), this thick creamy drink is substantial enough for dessert.