Cinco De Mayo Feast

Cinco De Mayo (the 5th of May) is a good excuse to serve up a wonderful South of the Border meal. A few years back, I put together an awesome feast for my family. It’s become our tradition ever since.

The cupcakes can be made the day before or early in the morning. Mid-day is the perfect time to make the salad; then finish off the meal preparation by making the tacos and warming the beans. You can make quick work of prepare the garnish, warm the shells and cook the filling in stages. Chop the garnish, then ss the taco filling cooks, the pinto beans can be gently warmed without much attention. That way everything comes together beautifully without a lot of stress.  Don’t forget the margaritas!

Margarita CupcakesMargarita Cupcakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 2 limes (grate zest or chop finely)
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila to brush the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees . Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)

Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with a thin glaze of powdered sugar and tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

Tequila-Lime Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch of coarse salt
Food Coloring, if desired

Using a hand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add 3 cups powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

Add the lime juice, tequila salt and corn syrup, mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add additional 1 cup of sifted powdered SLOWLY until desired consistency is reached.

Frost cupcakes by filling pastry bag fitted with desired tip. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt or a lime wedge.

Mango & Jicama Salad
¾ Cup Jicama, peeled & Julianne cut
½ Cup Ripe Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
½ Teaspoon Sugar
1 ½ Teaspoons Chopped Cilantro
¼ Teaspoon Salt
Dash of Pepper

Peel Jicama. Cut Julianne style. Place in a large bowl

Peel Mango. Cut into chunks. Place in bowl with Jicama.

In a small bowl, combine lime juice, sugar and chopped Cilantro. Toss to coat.

Season juice with salt and pepper. Pour lime juice mixture over Mango & Jicama salad.
Toss to mix well. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Fiesta Chicken-Chorizo Tacos
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Lbs Chicken Breasts, boneless, Skinless cut into thin strips
2 lb Chorizo Meat
1 Teaspoon Mexican Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
¼ Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons Tequila
1 Red Onion, cut into thin strips
1 Small Yellow Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips (Optional)
12 Soft Shell Corn Tortillas
Cooking Spray

Cut chicken into thin strips (as you would for stir-fry). Place in a large, non-reactive bowl. Season with chili powder, cumin, chipotle and a dash of salt. Sprinkle with lime juice and tequila. Toss and let sit for 30 minutes to soak in flavors.

In a medium size cast iron skillet, cook chorizo meat. Cover and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan, repeat with remaining chicken. Remove second batch and keep warm.

Add onion and bell pepper strips to same pan. Squeeze juice of remaining lime over vegetables and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan, toss with vegetables and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Hold and keep warm.

Spray a flat griddle with cooking spray.  Warm soft taco shells until pliable.  Transfer to a tortilla warmer or plate for serving.

Place chicken on one size of a warm serving platter. Place chorizo meat on opposite side. Serve with corn tortillas. Fill tortilla with chicken mixture, top with chorizo and garnish as desired.

Garnish for Tacos
1 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Head Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
3-4 Tomatoes, Chopped
1-2 Avocados, thinly sliced (with a sprinkling of lemon juice to retain color)
2 Cups Feta or Mexican Crumble Cheese
1 Cup Sour Cream
Pico de Gallo or Chunky Salsa if desired

Prepare garnish for tacos.  To shred the lettuce, place leaves one on top of the other in a stack. Roll like a long cigar, then cut into thin slices lengthwise.  Toss gently to separate.

Place garnish into individual bowls for easy passing at the table or arrange decoratively on a serving platter.  Keep refrigerated until serving.

Spicy Pinto Beans
2 Can Mexican Pinto Beans
3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1-2 Jalapeño Pepper, chopped

Pour Mexican Pinto Beans into a saucepan. Add seasoning and Jalapeño Pepper. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally.

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