Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo which is Spanish for the fifth of May is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla. It is the anniversary of a victory in 1862 in the fight for independence from French forces. The festival originated with Mexican-American communities in the American West as a way to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.  
Today the date is observed in the United States as a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background, who live in the United States.  There is a large commercial element to the day,with businesses promoting Mexican services and goods, particularly food, drinks and music. Other aspects of the day center around traditional symbols of Mexican life, such as the Virgin de Guadalupe, and Mexican-Americans who have achieved fame, fortune and influence in the United States.

Chicken Enchilada and Black Bean Casserole
Adapted from
Cook’s notes: Be sure to use corn tortillas.  This is a hearty flavorful dish so you won’t even miss using regular cheese and sour cream
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 TB. fresh cilantro
  • 1-15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small can corn drained
  • 1/2 cup diced red or green peppers
  • 1 small container of lite sour cream
  • 1-10 oz. can red enchilada sauce-medium flavor
  • 8 – 6 inch corn tortillas
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded low-fat Mexican blend cheese(set ½ cup aside for topping)
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • Black olives
  • In a small bowl mix cumin, coriander, chili powder
  • In a glass dish place chicken breasts and rub in spices, drizzle with lime juice-set aside
  • Preheat oven to 450 and spray cookie sheet with PAM (Olive Oil)
  • Crisp tortillas for 2-3 minutes per side (watch carefully so as not to overbrown)
  • Chop chicken and sauté with sweet onion and garlic-cook till chicken is done
  • Transfer cooked chicken to a bowl and stir in cilantro, drained black beans, drained sweet corn and peppers
  • Spread half of the enchilada sauce in bottom of a 11 x 7 baking dish
  • Place 4 tortillas over the sauce
  • Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas and sprinkle ½ cheese and ½ lite sour cream
  • Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese and make another layer of tortillas with chicken mixture and ending with low fat cheese and lite sour cream
  • Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes
  • Remove foil and sprinkle more cheese cook for about 5 minutes
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving then add chopped tomatoes, chopped black  olives and a few sprinkles of chopped green onion

Margarita Cake
Cook's notes:This recipe was originally published in Cook's Country magazine
It makes a large recipe and is perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo or your summer crowd. Despite the fact there are several steps-trust me well worth the effort!!!
Serves 10
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut that has been toasted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 lime, sliced thin (2 limes) 
  • 3 cups crushed pretzels (use food processor)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin 
  • 1 (10-ounce) can frozen margarita mix, thawed 
  • 1/4 cup tequila 
  • 1/4 cup triple sec 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled 
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Directions for the crust:
  • Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease 9-inch spring form pan and line perimeter with 3-inch-wide strip of parchment paper
  • Process coconut and lime zest in food processor until coarsely ground; reserve 1/2 cup
  • Add crushed pretzels to remaining coconut mixture and process until finely ground
  • Add melted butter and pulse to combine. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely. 
Directions for the filling:
  • Combine 1/4 cup water and gelatin in small saucepan and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes
  • Add margarita mix, tequila, and triple sec and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until gelatin dissolves, about 5 minutes
  • Cool 15 minutes
  • Using mixer whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy then increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form
  • Use a clean bowl, whip sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese until combined
  • Add in 1 cup margarita mixture and whip until incorporated. Fold in one-third whipped cream, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour filling into crust. Refrigerate until just set, about 1 hour. 
Directions for the topping:
  • Stir remaining 1/2 cup water into remaining margarita mixture
  • Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into 2-cup liquid measuring cup
  • Pour over filling and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Remove sides of pan and parchment. Press reserved coconut mixture onto sides of cake and top with lime slices. 
Cook's note
I have saved my best Mexican recipe for the last and certainly the easiest of them all :)
  • 6 shot glasses of plain ( no alcohol) margarita mix ( I like to use Jose Cuvero) 
  • 2 shot glasses of Tequila
  • 1/2 shot glass Cointreau
  • 1/2 shot glass Grand Marnier
  • 1 tray of ice cubes
  • In a blender crush ice cubes
  • Add rest of ingredients and blend  till smooth
  • Dip rim of glass in lime juce and then into salt

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