Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tres de Mayo

A common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day; Mexico's Independence day is actually September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates an initial victory of Mexican forces over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 (thanks Wikipedia). Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with more hoopla in the United States than it is in Mexico. Americans use the holiday as a time to celebrate all that is Mexican culture like their food and their alcohol. Well in my case, if Party City sells a mix CD for the particular holiday I like to have a party to match the soundtrack! So several weeks ago Forrest and I decided to have a Cinco de Mayo party for some of our friends. I knew we would have too many people for a dinner party so I decided to have a "Cinco" themed party since we wouldn't actually have the party on Cinco de Mayo because it fell on a Monday. I proceeded to put together a menu of five different flavored salsas and five different flavored margaritas. Thanks to Martha Stewart (who always urges you to keep your entertaining simple) I was feeling good about sticking to the "easy" menu I had prepared. I started assembling the salsas on Friday night with Forrest as my resident official taster. I don't eat salsa and it was very interesting to prepare recipes that I wasn't willing to taste when several of them instructed me to "salt and pepper to taste". Those of you who know him, know that Forrest is never one to turn down a meal preview so he happily stepped up to the plate in this situation. Several of the recipes took longer than expected because the vegetables required roasting, but other than that they were relatively easy to prepare. Since I can't personally attest to it, I have to rely on the word of my guests, but the general consensus was that they were very all very good. Some were more popular than others as I will indicate below in each recipe.

Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa
Cooking Light

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos
1 large jalapeño pepper
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups finely diced peeled mango (about 2 large)


Preheat broiler.

To prepare salsa, discard the husks and stems from tomatillos. Remove stem from jalapeño. Place tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, and garlic on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes or until the tomatillos and onions are lightly charred (about 8 minutes), turning once; cool.

Peel garlic. Place garlic, tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until ingredients are coarsely chopped. Place tomatillo mixture in a large bowl; stir in mango. Serve with chips.

This certinley was the least popular salsa of the night. Hardly any of it was eaten. I think the onion flavor was too over-powering.

Hot & Spicy Tomato Salsa

2 fresh jalapenos
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic
1 banana pepper
1 lime, juice ( I juiced all my limes at one time since I needed lime juice for several of my salsas and all of my margaritas)

1 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 can diced tomatoes
Put everything but the tomatoes in a food processor. Chop until diced. Add the tomatoes. Serve with chips.

Cook's Note: This recipe can be very hot. And can be made without the jalapeno seeds and veins to make it less hot.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Tomatillo, Cilantro, and Avacado Salsa
Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino

4 roasted tomatillos, each quartered
2 ripe Hass avacoados, peeled, pitted, and coarsley chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 1/2 roasted pablano chiles, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons mince fresh cilantro

In a large glass or ceramic bowl, combine the tomatillos and avocados. Gently stir in the red onion, chiles, vinegar, lime juice, oil, salt, and pepper (don't overdo it or the avocados will get mushy). Let sit for about 20 minutes, then stir in the cilantro and serve. Or, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature and stir in the cilantro just before serving

This guacamole like salsa was definitely the party favorite. It disappeared off the table very rapidly. If I were to do it again, I would make a double batch of this one.

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino

30 ounces canned beans, drained and rinsed
Kernels cut from 8 ears of roasted corn
1 pound plum tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons aji amarillo or chipotle puree
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 avacado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn kernels, and tomatoes. Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the avocados and cilantro. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then gently stir in the avocado and cilantro and serve. (I made labels for each salsa so my guest knew what they were eating- see below)

People seemed to love the Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa. The only problem with this salsa is that several people dropped the black beans under the table during the party and after a tequila infused night I thought they were cockroaches!

Roasted Jalapeño and Tomato Salsa
Nueva Salsa by Rafael Palomino

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 plum tomatoes, diced
8 roasted cloves of garlic
1 red onion, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 roasted jalapeño chiles, peeled, seeded, and diced (see pic below of how I roasted mine)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Saute the tomatoes and garlic for about 2 minutes or until the tomatoes soften slightly. Scrape into a medium bowl.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion, salt, and pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes, or until softened. Add to the tomato mixture. Let cool to room temperature.

Stir in the vinegar and chiles. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then stir in the cilantro and serve.


Below is a picture of the Margarita menu I made and placed on the bar. If you would like any of the recipes, just shoot me an email at and I will be happy to share them with you.


Allie said...

I am sure you did'nt need ole' Forrest around when it came time to "taste test" the Margaritas!! I also think they may have been the reason my phone rang at 11:29pm last night!! Keep up the posts!!

Elizabeth F. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth F. said...

Sorry Allie, I was probably calling to tell you about the cockroaches!

Woody said...

The Tomatillo, Cilantro, and Avocado Salsa was the best with a close second being the
Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa
. it was a very fun party.

GravissFamily said...

Cockroaches! HA! I actually laughed out load in my cube.

The margaritas were a hit - Matthew's headache can attest to that! And Matthew told me as we were leaving - though I should have been driving - "you have GOT to get those recipes from her for football season. We HAVE to have those salsas". Ok buddy.

Muchas fun. Always look forward to what decorations you'll come up with next. If only I could be as "Martha" as you...

mom said...

All of the salsas are very colorful, but again salsa is not one of my favorites. When I was viewing these, Rhonda came to mind. Do you remember that she had chips and salsa almost everyday of her life? If I had been at your party, I surely would have enjoyed the margaritas.