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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CINCO DE MAYO PARTY!


costaricanews

OK - I have no allegiance to this "holiday" whatsoever, but it's a great excuse to grab some friends and enjoy some great food (and drink!)!

Here's the simple Mexican menu that we're going to enjoy:

MENU:
GUACAMOLE with tortilla chips
HOMEMADE SALSA
TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE (with avocado)
CHEESY REFRIED BEAN DIP
CHEESY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
MARGARITAS BY THE PITCHER

DESSERT:
TEXAS SHEET CAKE

GUACAMOLE
(The Silver Palate)
This recipe is my all time favorite for guacamole!  It's just just enough kick to it but also has a bit of crunchiness with the onion and fresh jalapeño to give it texture.  And with the addition of tomatoes it's visually more appealing than simply a bowl of green blob.
4-5 ripe (soft) avocados
2 TBSP onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
1-2 plum tomatoes, chopped finely
3 scallions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2-3 TBSP fresh lemon juice (or use Nellie and Joe's)
Tabasco, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Mash avocados with a fork or potato masher in a bowl, so the consistency is still chunky (rather than baby food consistency). I'm using a gift I got recently from my son to do this chore - a molcajete:




Add all remaining ingredients and stir.




Allow a bit of time for the flavors to blend and serve with tortilla chips. *Note: guacamole does darken when exposed to air for a time, so it needs to be prepared right before serving. But IF you must prepare it a bit before that, cover with Saran wrap and press the wrap directly on top of the guac. It'll keep the air out and reduce the darkening.

HOMEMADE SALSA
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
closetcooking
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes (regular)
1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
2 TBSP lime juice (~1 lime)
salt and pepper to taste
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Puree everything in a food processor to your desired consistency and enjoy!
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
TOMATILLO SALSA VERDE (with avocado)
(Adapted from Rick Bayless)

recipe.com

3 to 4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 hot green chile to taste (roughly 2 or 3 serranos or 1 or 2 jalapenos), stemmed and chopped
About 1/4 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro, thick lower stems cut off
1 large avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and roughly chopped
Salt

In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, garlic, green chile, cilantro and ½ cup water. Process to a coarse puree. Add the avocado and pulse until nearly smooth. Pour into a salsa dish. If necessary, thin to a drizzleable consistency with a little more water (I often add 1 to 2 tablespoons more). Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon.

CHEESY REFRIED BEAN DIP
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
closetcooking
2 cups refried beans
4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup green onions (sliced)
2 TBSP taco seasoning
2/3 cup salsa (extra liquid drained)
1 4 oz can diced green chilies (drained)
1 cup cheese (grated)

Mix everything, place in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 45-60 minutes.


CHEESY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
(Adapted from the AJC)
I've been making these enchiladas for years.  They are super easy and really yummy.  I use lower fat cream cheese and sour cream.

2 - 10 oz cans mild diced tomato and green chiles WITH juice, divided (Rotel is what I use)
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, sliced
8 oz sour cream
8 flour tortillas
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce for topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 glass dish with PAM.  Mix 1/4 cup of the tomato and green chiles, chicken, cream cheese and green onion together.  In another bowl, mix together the remaining diced tomato and green chiles and sour cream.  Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave 15 seconds to warm and soften.  Arrange chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla.  Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Bake, covered for 30 minutes. Pour sour cream mixture over enchiladas, and top with cheese.  Re-cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Garnish with tomatoes and lettuce.

MARGARITAS BY THE PITCHER
(Adapted from Rick Bayless)
pinterest image
1 750 - milliliter bottle silver tequila (use a high-quality, 100 percent agave tequila)
1 to 2 cups (1/3 to 2/3 of a 750-milliliter bottle) Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus several tablespoons extra for rimming the glasses
Several tablespoons coarse kosher-type salt, for rimming the glasses
About 1 gallon ice cubes

Just before serving, in a half gallon pitcher combine the tequila, the minimum amount of Cointreau or Triple Sec and the lime juice. Taste and add more orange liqueur if you think your margaritas need more sweet oranginess to balance the other flavors. Remember, you're tasting it warm and undiluted; when chilled and diluted, the flavors will be mellower and the lime's tartness will be more attractive.

Pour several tablespoons of lime juice onto a small plate and several tablespoons coarse salt onto another. Have martini glasses at hand (chill them for an extra special touch).

As your guests ask for their margaritas, invert a glass into the plate with the lime juice to moisten rim, then lightly dip into the plate with the salt. For each drink measure 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker. If you have a 2-ounce ladle that you can keep in the pitcher, measuring goes much faster. Add ice cubes (5 cubes for 1, 8 for 2, 10 for 3). Secure the lid and top and shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into the salt crusted glasses and serve!

TEXAS SHEET CAKE
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
OK - so it's not technically "Mexican," but, Texas is close to Mexico, and this sheet cake is the best.  Been making it forever.  It's my "go-to" birthday cake, but of course chocolate cake is good anytime!

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk (or use milk mixed with 1 - 2 TBSP vinegar to equal 1/2 cup)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter
2 TBSP cocoa
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.

In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, coffee and cocoa.  Stir and heat to boiling.

Pour boiling mixture over flour and sugar in the bowl and stir.

 Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.  Mix well with a spoon or mixer.

Pour into a greased 11x17 pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until it tests done.

While the cake bakes, prepare the frosting.  In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and milk.

Heat to boiling, stirring.  Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.


Pour warm frosting over the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.  Cool and then cut into ~ 48 bars.  Freezes well.


¡Salud!

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