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Posted May 3, 2005 by Nick Lindauer in Hot Sauce News
 
 

Lay on the flavor for Cinco de Mayo


By Eileen Goltz
For The Journal Gazette

Bienvenidos! I love Mexican food and think everyone else should, too. With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some of my favorite Mexican and Tex/Mex recipes.

Contrary to popular belief, the 5th of May 1862 (Cinco de Mayo) is not Mexican Independence Day. Mexico actually declared its independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1810, nearly 60 years earlier. So what happened on May 5, 1862, to cause Mexicans and countless Mexican-Americans as well to celebrate this day? The Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla, of course.

Cinco de Mayo’s origin begins with the French army’s occupation of Mexico at the behest of Spain. There was a great deal of resistance to the French army’s abuses and occupation and Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory (in Puebla) of the smaller, poorly armed Mexicans over the much larger French army.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States are as large as those in Mexico, complete with parades, street parties, music, pinatas and huge feasts where everyone participates in bringing their favorite dishes.

Fried Ice Cream

Yes, Fried Ice Cream sounds like an oxymoron, but this popular Mexican recipe really works and is the perfect combination of hot, cold and delicious.
Ingredients:

  • 1 pint ice cream, any flavor
  • 1 loaf sliced white bread
  • 6 to 8 cups oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Optional: chocolate or fudge sauce

Place a plate or sheet pan in the freezer and let it chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Using a large ice cream scoop, make balls of ice cream and place them on the sheet pan then return them to the freezer. Cut the crusts off the sliced bread and using about 2 slices per ice cream ball, form the bread around the ice cream using your hands to pack it like a snow ball. After it’s completely covered return it to the freezer. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, mix well and set aside.

In a medium saucepan (or deep fryer if you have one), heat 3 inches of oil to 365 degrees. Drop the covered ice cream balls, one at a time, into the hot oil and fry, turning occasionally so they color evenly, until golden brown on all sides. Remove from oil and briefly drain on paper towels. Coat the fried ice cream balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve immediately alone or with chocolate sauce. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled.


Banana Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 medium bananas, 2 ripe and peeled
  • 10 flour tortillas (7 inches in diameter)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups caramel sauce, warm (recipe follows)
  • Whipped cream
  • Fresh mint sprigs

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and ripe bananas, continue to beat until smooth. Spread 1/4 cup of the filling over half of each tortilla. Fold the other half over the filling and press slightly. Place on a large plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the filling sets, about 30 minutes. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Pan-fry the tortillas in batches, 3 at a time, until golden on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat the above process with the remaining butter and filled tortillas. To serve, slice each filled tortilla into thirds. Arrange the slices in the center of each serving plate. Spoon 1/4 cup of the warm caramel sauce over each plate. Peel the remaining bananas and slice 1/4 -inch thick. Garnish each plate with the sliced bananas, a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint.
–?Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2000

Caramel Sauce
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream

In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is a deep caramel color and has the consistency of a thick syrup, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cream, return the saucepan to high heat, and boil the sauce until it regains the consistency of a thick syrup, about 2 minutes. Yield: about 3/4 cup

–?Recipe from “Everyday Is A Party Cookbook,” by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett (William Morrow, 1999)

La Mansion’s Chicken Fajitas
The recipe is from La Mansion del Rio in San Antonio.
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 to 6 flour tortillas

Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, tomato, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream

In a large glass bowl, combine the lime juice, garlic, pepper, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the marinade, cover and refrigerate 1 hour or as long as overnight. Grill in a grill pan or on a barbecue grill until done.

Cut the chicken in bite-size strips. Place the cooked chicken strips on warm flour tortillas and add desired toppings. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Mexican Rice

All of the authentic Spanish rice recipes I’ve seen call for the rice to be browned first in a skillet. This browning adds a smoky element to the recipe and gives the recipe a unique layer of flavor.
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups uncooked rice
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil or shortening
  • 1 cup onion, diced into medium sized chunks
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 cups water (or beef broth)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley, fresh or dried
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Fry rice in large skillet over medium heat until an opaque yellow, stirring to prevent burning. Add the onion and garlic and saute until transparent. Add bouillon. Stir in tomato paste, parsley, mushrooms, cumin and coriander. Reduce heat to simmering, cover pan and simmer 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Check often and stir to prevent sticking. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled.


Nick Lindauer

 
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