For those of you who have been following me, you know how much I love to put together complete menus – especially for the “holidays”. May is a month filled with special days – beginning with Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May); then Mother’s Day and finally Memorial Day – the official kick off of the summer cooking season.
For the last several years, I serve up my festive Cinco De Mayo Feast. It’s colorful, delicious and always a hit with my guys. This year, I thought I’d take it up a notch – with appetizers, a three dish main course selection and a yummy yet light casual dessert.
For the appetizers, I’ve got both a hot and cold dish. For the main attraction, I thought Skirt-Steak Beef Fajitas with lots of grilled veggies, spicy Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. And to conclude this lively meal, Mexican Spicy Brownies would do the trick. The brownies could be served warm with ice cream on the side if desired. Let the margaritas flow throughout the evening, with cinnamon coffee to be served with dessert.
Cinnamon coffee really doesn’t have much in the way of a recipe. Simply add a stick of cinnamon to your pot when brewing.
Chorizo & Goat Cheese-Stuffed Peppers
24 baby sweet red, orange, and yellow peppers (about 1 pound)
8 ounces Good Mexican chorizo sausage (check out your local Mexican Markets)
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Cilantro, fresh chopped for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut about 1/4 inch from top of peppers to form a “boat.” Seed peppers, if desired, and finely chop pepper tops.
Combine chopped peppers and chorizo in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until chorizo is browned. Drain well, if necessary. Add cheeses, stirring until well blended.
Spoon or pipe sausage mixture into pepper boats. Place on prepared baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes or until cheese melts and peppers are tender.
Garnish, if desired.
Dressed-up Salsa & Chips
1 (24-oz.) jar chunky medium salsa
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
Tortilla Chips for serving
Pulse all ingredients for the salsa in a food processor or blender 3 to 4 times or until mixture is thoroughly combined.
Place salsa in a large margarita or martini glass. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Place glass on a round serving plate or dinner plate, surround with tortilla chips and serve.
Plato Principal (Main Dish)
Beef Fajitas with Grilled Vegetables
2 lbs skirt steak or flap meat
Juice of 2 limes
1 Teaspoon salt
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 large Spanish Onions, halved vertically, then cut into slivers
1 Teaspoon taco seasoning
½ Teaspoon Ground Chipotle Seasoning
¼ Cup Vegetable oil plus additional oil for frying
18 Warm Tortillas
Grated Cheese, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Chopped Tomatoes and Roasted Jalapeño Peppers.
Cut meat into strips 4 to 6 inches long by 2 inches wide. Combine lime juice, garlic, salt, taco seasoning, chipotle seasoning and a generous amount of fresh ground pepper in a shallow bowl; whisk in oil. Add meat strips, roll and turn to get maximum amount of marinade absorbed into meat. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or refrigerate 2 hours.
Grill meat about 3 inches from hot coals until charred on each side. beef should be rare in the center, chicken should be cooked through. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide. Place meat on a serving platter, cover with foil and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.
Cut bell peppers and onion into strips. Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast iron skillet, add onions and peppers. Stir-fry until crisp-tender. Remove meat from oven, spoon vegetables around meat and place in the center of the table. Pass a napkin-lined basket with hot tortillas and bowls of Grated Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Guacamole sauce, chopped Tomatoes and Roasted Jalapeño Peppers.
Easy Mexican Refried Beans
2 Cans Refried Beans
1 1/2 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings
2 1/2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning, if desired
Heat a small amount of bacon dripping in a skillet over medium heat.
Spread refried beans out in the skillet, reduce heat to low heat. Season and stir, cook until hot. Transfer to a large bowl or plate individually to serve.
Spicy Spanish Rice
1 1/2 Cup Long Grain White Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Can Chopped Mexican-Style Tomatoes with Chili Peppers
½ Spanish Onion, diced (if unable to find a Spanish Onion, use a large yellow onion_
2 Cans Chicken Broth
4 Tablespoons Chopped Roasted Jalapeño Peppers (you can use Nacho Peppers)
1 Tablespoon Cumin (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-heat. Add rice, brown slightly.
Add Diced tomatoes with juices, chicken broth, season to taste. Throw Jalapeño Peppers into the pot. Stir well to distribute the peppers. Bring pot to a rolling boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated and rice is soft, about 30 minutes. Stir as needed to prevent the rice on the bottom from browning.
Place in a large bowl or plate individually to serve.
Mexican Spice Brownies
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground Mexican cinnamon (canela)
1/2 teaspoon ground Pequin Chile pepper or Cayenne Pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12×15-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches of paper overhanging 2 sides to use as handles. Set aside.
Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on Medium until the butter is about half melted, about 1 minute. Mash the butter with sugar until well combined, and stir in eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Mix in vanilla extract.
Sift the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, pequin pepper, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Sprinkle in any salt caught in the sifter. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, stirring to blend well, and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan, and use parchment paper handles to remove the brownies for slicing.
Other Mexican Dishes: