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Cinco de Mayo

May 05, 2016

Cinco de Mayo

Mexican celebration a perfect time to highlight south-of-the-border spices

Cinco de Mayo  – an annual celebration of the day Mexico’s army proved to the world that the underdog sometimes wins when it conquered the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 – is a day that is now celebrated worldwide.

It’s a perfect opportunity to celebrate the spices of Mexico, many of which have crossed the border and made themselves completely at home in kitchens from coast to coast.

Cucumber and Jalapeño Margaritas

The cucumber and cilantro cool the heat of this tart, tangy margarita.

  • Coarse kosher or sea salt to rim glasses
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup peeled, finely diced cucumber
  • 4 slices jalapeño
  • ¼ cup cilantro sprigs
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce light agave nectar
  • 2 ounces 100-percent blue agave silver tequila
  • ½ ounce Cointreau or triple sec

Pour salt in an even layer on a flat plate. Rub the rim of an 8-ounce cocktail glass or margarita glass with lime and coat the rim with salt.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and agave nectar and muddle the mixture gently to release their flavors.

Fill the shaker hallway with ice and add the tequila and Cointreau. Cover and shake well.

Fill prepared glass with ice. Strain margarita mixture into glass and serve with a lime wedge.

Makes one margarita.

Guacamole

This classic dip was born from the Aztecs and has since become a popular topper for tortilla chips or served with lettuce as a heart-healthy salad.

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados (Avocado should be soft yet firm, with a dark green skin)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely mined
  • ½ jalapeno, finely chopped (include seeds)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Cut the avocado in half and then remove the pit.

Scoop the avocados out of their skins and place them in a medium bowl.

Toss with lime juice.

Add the salt and mash the avocado with a fork or a potato masher until it is smooth.

Fold in the cilantro, onion and jalapeno and mix well.

Taste and add more salt if necessary.

NOTE: Diced tomatoes, crumbled bacon, cumin and cotija cheese are all optional add-ins to vary your guacamole and give it a personal touch. Serve with warmed tortilla chips.

Grilled fish tacos

This spicy taco brings a hint of California cuisine to the traditional taco. Serve it with margaritas.

TACOS

  • 1 pound cod or Mahi Mahi fillets
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chili powder or USimplySeason Piri Piri
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • Sour cream and pico de gallo for serving

In a mixing bowl whisk together vegetable oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place fish into a gallon size zippered plastic bag and pour marinade over fish. Seal the bag, shake fish to coat evenly and allow it to marinate for at least 20 minutes but no longer than 30 to prevent fish from losing its texture.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grates with oil and place fish on grill. Grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (cook time will vary based on thickness of fish). Transfer to a plate, break into pieces and serve in warmed taco shells with cabbage slaw, avocado slices, pico de gall and sour cream.

Cabbage slaw: In a medium-sized mixing bowl add ½ red cabbage, cored and sliced thin, ¾ cup thinly sliced red onion, ½ cup grated carrot, 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Pico de Gallo: Mix together 1 ½ cup tomatoes, seeded and diced, 1/3 chopped cilantro, ¼ cup minced purple onion, 1 small jalapeño chile, minced, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Fried ice cream

Almost every Mexican restaurant has a version of this sweet treat, but imagine how happy your friends and family will be if you end your traditional Mexican celebration with this tasty, cool little treat.

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 5 cups corn flakes, crushed
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Honey, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream or chopped pistachios for serving

Place a sheet pan in the freezer and chill it for at least 1 hour.

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop out balls of ice cream about ½ cup in size, placing them on the parchment paper.

Freeze for at least two hours, until the ice cream is very hard.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the crushed cornflakes, coconut and cinnamon.

Roll the ice cream balls in the cereal mixture, coating them well, then shape the ice cream into a smooth ball.

Return the ice cream to the freezer and freeze for at least another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and milk. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and roll each one in the egg mixture to coat, then immediately roll in the cereal mixture to coast a second time, ensuring a thick, even coating.

Return them to the freezer and freeze for at last two hours.

When ready, fill a large pot with 3 inches of oil and heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the oil is ready, carefully drop the ice cream balls into the hot oil and fry for about 30 seconds, until golden brown.

Drain ice cream balls briefly on paper towels and serve immediately with desired toppings.




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