Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinco De Mayo

I have celebrated Cinco de Mayo for as long as I can remember – a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army's uncertain victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 - and it’s always been one of my favorite celebrations. Let’s just call it one of those “drinking holidays.”

For most of us, it’s just another reason to make a great jug of Margaritas and get friends together for a festive Mexican meal.

You really don’t need to buy out the grocery store to put together a Mexican feast – look in your refrigerator and you’ll find plenty of ingredients and leftovers to invent the magic.

Lesson One: It’s all about buying good ingredients and making extraordinary sauces and salsas. I made three today and they were all so easy. A lot of chop chop and you’re done!

Lesson Two: Bolillos …authentic Mexican bread make the BEST sandwiches and they are baked fresh every day at my little Mexican bakery.

Here are a few recipes that will help get your party started.

Buen apetito!

Salsa Verde
My absolute favorite on Queso Fundido, Pork and Eggs.

10 Green Tomatillos – husks removed and cleaned
Half A White Onion
2 chiles serranos or Jalapenos
2 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
Approximately 10 Leaves of Cilantro
½ teaspoons Cumin
¼ teaspoons Mexican Oregano

Place tomatillos and jalapenos in water to cover. Bring to a low simmer, turning tomatillos so they are lightly browned. Add water as needed.

Remove and place in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, cumin, oregano, and blend.

Cut stems from the cilantro and place leaves into the blender. Blend until the cilantro is mixed.

Dice onion and place in the blender. Blend for a second so the onion is still a little chunky.

Cool and serve.

This is my recipe for Margaritas. After years in the test kitchen, I was amazed to discover that this simple combination was the perfect combination with the Roses Lime being the key ingredient.

½ cup agave tequila
½ cup Triple Sec
½ cup Margarita mix – Jose Quervo
½ cup Roses Lime

Pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into your favorite Margarita glass.


I’m not a beer drinker but this is really enjoyable if you want to switch it up. The recipe calls for 2 ounces of tomato juice but I actually use about half that amount.

1 large lime
2 ounces tomato juice
3 dashes Maggi brand sauce
12 ounces Mexican beer

Salt the rim of a 20-ounce glass; fill glass halfway with ice. Cut lime in half and squeeze both halves into glass. Add tomato juice and Maggi seasoning sauce. Top off with beer.

Makes 1 drink

You don’t always have to make everything from scratch now do you?I was going to make some homemade Sangria today, but found a 6 pack of Bacardi Silver Sangria at the grocery store. I took it home, loaded it up with slice fruit and let it sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour. This was surprisingly good, refreshing and light.

If you do have the time, this adaptation is a spicy, heavier version than the Bacardi – Silver which had more of a wine base and was sparkling.

You can add a dash of vodka if you want a better kick.


4 ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup chopped onion
6 ounces orange juice
4 ounces lime juice
1 ounce Worcestershire sauce
16 ounces tomato juice
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Toast ancho peppers in a 325-degree oven or in a hot pan until soft and lightly toasted; let cool.

Place peppers, onions, orange and lime juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain to remove ancho pieces.

Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, salt and pepper; let chill.

Makes 1 quart.

Guacamole en Molcajete
Another version of Guacamole and this time I used Xochitl chips.

I don’t often put chopped pepper in my guacamole but it added a ton of flavor. I will certainly be experimenting with other additions.

1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped Serrano pepper
11/2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 Haas avocado
2 tablespoons diced plum tomatoes, seeded
11/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Using a tejolote and molcajete (Mexican version of mortar and pestle), mash the garlic, pepper, onion, salt and half of lime juice.

Cut avocado in half around pit; twist halves apart. Tap knife firmly into the pit, turn knife and remove pit. Cut flesh of avocado into 1/2-inch pieces and scoop out with spoon. Using a wooden spoon, mash the avocado pieces in molcajete. Mix to a creamy but chunky consistency.

Add tomatoes, cilantro and remaining lime juice and mix gently.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Serves 2