Cinco de Mayo feastBy LISA IRELAND,
With Cinco de Mayo approaching, it is the perfect time to throw a taco party. Few things are as versatile, easy, delicious, and crowd pleasing as Mexican food. Many food allergies are not a problem if you serve buffet-style with many Mexican favorites. For the gluten sensitive: serve corn tortillas and corn chips, along with flour tortillas. For vegetarians and vegans: serve lots of veggies, guacamole, and beans and rice. For meat lovers: serve several kinds of meat. Lactose issues: keep the cheese and sour cream on the side. Everyone can build their own plate and everyone can go away satisfied and happy.
Sweet Pork Taco Meat
Roasted pork in a taco is my favorite taco filling. This is a very easy recipe and can be made in the crockpot. Feel free to make it a few days in advance and heat in a 425 degree oven until edges of pork get a little crispy.
6 lb. pork shoulder
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 -20 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 ½ cups brown sugar
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Put all ingredients in crock pot and cook on high for 6-8 hours, until meat can be shredded with a fork. Can be made ahead and reheated in crockpot or oven. Serve on tacos with fresh cilantro lime slaw and lime wedges.
Cilantro Lime Slaw
1 package Cole slaw
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
½ cumin powder
Mix all ingredients except cole slaw and store in refrigerator. About 30 minutes before serving, toss dressing with slaw (you may not need all the dressing).
El Pollo Loco Chicken Marinade
I am not sure where I got this recipe but it is my “go to” marinade for chicken.
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 Tbs. salt
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp. hot sauce
Mix all ingredients and marinate chicken for several hours in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, grill chicken slowly until done. Once chicken has rested for about 10 minutes, slice and serve.
Creamy Jalapeno Dip
Each time she would visit her sister in Houston, my neighbor and close friend, Amy Turner, would bring back this amazing dip from a restaurant called Chuy’s. I have never been to a Chuy’s but we became obsessed with trying to make a dip that tastes the same. This is our best effort and we think it is pretty close to the original. I have said this before, but if you make one recipe from this article, this is it. It is so simple but is always a big hit.
1 24 oz. container of sour cream
1 package dry ranch dressing mix (I use Hidden Valley Ranch)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ cup pickled jalapeno pepper rings (more or less depending on your taste)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
½ tsp. salt
Place all ingredients, except cilantro, in bowl of food processor and process until combined. Add cilantro and pulse a few times to mix. Feel free to add in a few tablespoons of buttermilk for a thinner dressing. Do not over process or the mixture will turn green. Store in refrigerator. Best made a day in advance.
1 – 26 oz. can peeled tomatoes, including juice (I used fire roasted)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 tsp. salt
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
5 pickled jalapeno peppers, or 1 tsp. chopped chipotle chili peppers in adobo
1 can green chilies
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
In a food processor, pulse onions and garlic, then add all remaining ingredients except cilantro. Pulse 4-5 times. Do not over process. Add cilantro and pulse 2-3 more times. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.
Roasted Corn Salad
4 cups corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh
4 rings pickled chopped jalapeno or 1 fresh jalapeno chopped
3 Tbs. mayonnaise
4 Tbs. crumbled cotija cheese
4 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ tsp. chili powder
1 clove garlic, pressed
Juice of 1 lime
Spread corn kernels on a heavy cookie sheet and roast in a 450 degree oven until kernels are starting to turn brown. Toss kernels and cook for a little more browning. Cool corn and mix all ingredients. Serve on shredded lettuce or as a taco topping. You can add a can of drained and rinsed black beans. Can also serve as a dip with chips.
1 gallon burgundy wine (not fancy)
1 small can frozen orange juice
1 small can frozen lemonade
½ cup Triple Sec
¼ cup brandy
1 – 2 liter bottle of club soda or sparkling water
Mix all ingredients and serve with sliced oranges, lemons, limes, apple slices
1 – 19.8 ounce package fudge brownie mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
½ cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs. Kahlua liqueur
12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix brownie mix, eggs, coffee and oil until well blended. Bake in a well-greased 9x13 pan for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow brownies to cool for about 30 minutes.
For icing layer: mix powdered sugar, ½ cup melted butter, and Kahlua until smooth. Spread over brownie layer. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter on low until melted and completely smooth. Spread chocolate over icing and allow to chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before cutting.