Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

cinco de mayoNow that my appliances are back in working order, I was looking forward to cooking up a celebratory meal.  Cinco de Mayo was this past Sunday and it was a beautiful sunny day, the best excuse for heading to the liquor store to pick up  some Tequila for the Margaritas.

I found wonderful recipes for Cinco de Mayo from Hispanic Kitchen.  Great recipes from Mexico and Latin America arrive by email daily, and the Tequila Lime Shrimp caught my eye.  It’s a very simple and quick dish to put together and you really don’t even need to measure the ingredients, just one pound of shrimp, garlic, Serrano chiles, scallions, lime juice, a quarter cup of Tequila and cilantro to taste. Prep time is about fifteen minutes and about 3 minutes to cook, and you’re done.

I was successfully able to make all the dishes very quickly and with little fuss. There’s better choice of produce coming in now. Tomatoes are a bit more abundant, as are big bunches of cilantro, green chiles and  lots of juicy fresh limes at the green grocer for a fresh Pico de Gallo.

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The Oven Fried Chipotle Chili Chicken, I marinated chicken breasts for a few hours in the refrigerator with a mixture of chipotle chiles in adobo, mayonnaise, cayenne, cumin and smoked paprika. I coated the chicken breasts in bread crumbs and cooked at 425ºF for 30 minutes, then I reduced the temperature to 350ºF  and baked for 20-25 minutes longer.  The coating of course seals in the flavourful juices that the spices created.

Red beans and rice is a standard at my house, but I seasoned it a little with some cumin.  If you read my blog regularly, you know that I love making and eating desert.  This was my first attempt at making a traditional caramel flan.  I had this rich, creamy firm custard desert a few years ago in Austin, Tx.  I think I was the only person who went back for thirds at the buffet!  I never tried to make it before because it would be dangerous, I could envision myself sitting down with a spoon and consuming the whole thing myself.

I made my caramel by boiling to golden two cups of sugar and one cup of water. Next time I think I will trying going to a hispanic grocery store to buy ready-made cajeta or dulce de leche.  For the flan all you need is six eggs, 12 ounces of milk, 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 can of condensed milk and Mexican vanilla (it’s the best!).

Make sure to spray your glass baking dish with release spray or brush a small amount of vegetable oil to make sure the flan can be un-molded.  Blend the remaining ingredients, pour into your glass baking dish.  Bake in a bain-marie at 300ºF for about 40-45 minutes and let cool for a few hours.  I like it cold so I put it in the fridge and let it cool and get really firm.  You can make this a day ahead too.

A few Margaritas before dinner always increases your appetite, so it was natural to indulge.  I hope you had a great Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Cheers and happy eating!

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