Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recipes for Cinco de Mayo

Looking for some dishes to enhance your Cinco de Mayo celebration? The following recipes are based upon the meals featured in the great movies Like Water for Chocolate, What's Cooking?, and Tortilla Soup. From soup to salad to main course to dessert, here's a "one stop" menu for a festive holiday.

Sopa de Fideos (Tecate Noodle Soup)

6 c. chicken stock

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, chopped

1 red hot chili pepper, seeded and chopped

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. cumin

¼ lb. Mexican fideo (or angel hair pasta/vermicelli)

grated añejo

ripe avocado, diced

In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the tomatoes, garlic, onions, and chili pepper and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Stir in the spices and cook on a low heat, covered, for 30 minutes.

Break the fideo strands into thirds, and add them to the pot. Cook for 6 minutes on a medium heat. Remove the bay leaves. Spoon out into small bowls. Serve with grated añejo and a slice of avocado.

Yield: 12–15 servings

Ensalada de Nopalitos

7–8 fresh cactus paddles (needles removed)

½ c. olive oil

4 Roma tomatoes, sliced

½ sm. red onion, diced

1 Serrano chili

2 cloves garlic, pressed

¼ c. pine nuts

½ c. yellow squash, diced

3 bunches cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped

½ c. añejo cheese, finely grated

Preheat oven to Broil. Place the cactus paddles in a bowl and coat them on both sides with a bit of olive oil. Spread onto a cookie sheet and place in the broiler to braise, about 7–10 minutes on each side, until the tops of the paddles begin to turn black.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When sufficiently cooled, cut into small strips. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the tomatoes and the onion. Cut a Serrano chili into small pieces, removing the stem and seeds. Add to the salad along with the pine nuts, squash, and cilantro.

Pour the vinaigrette (see next) over the salad.

Refrigerate until serving. When serving, sprinkle with añejo cheese, then toss.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

½ c. olive oil

¼ c. red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. mustard

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients and whisk well with a fork.

Yield: 8–12 servings

Tortilla Soup

12 Roma tomatoes, quartered

6 cloves garlic, peeled

5 Tbsp. olive oil

1 sweet red onion, finely diced

1 c. carrot, finely diced

1 c. celery, chopped fine

2 tsp. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

8 c. chicken stock

1 15-oz. jar green chilies

¼ c. lime juice

½ c. black beans

¼ lb. tortilla chips

2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

½ c. cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

½ c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

crisp tortilla chips

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes and garlic until smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a low heat. Add the onions, carrot, celery, cumin, salt, and pepper, then cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Mix in the tomato/garlic puree and cook for 10 minutes longer, stirring to ensure that the sauce does not burn.

Add the chicken stock, chilies, lime juice, and black beans to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the tortilla chips and chicken, then cook for 10 minutes more until the chips soften.

Serve hot with cilantro, avocado, cheese, and extra crisp fried tortilla chips set up as side dishes for folks to add their own garnishes.

Yield: 10–12 servings

Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce)

12 poblano chilies

1 sm. onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. olive oil

½ lb. ground pork

1 sm. apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 peach, peeled, cored, and diced

1 lb. plum tomatoes, diced

1 c. shelled walnuts

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. black pepper

1 Tbsp. white vinegar

4 eggs, separated

½ c. all-purpose flour

½ lb. butter

1 c. sour cream

3 sprigs cilantro, coarsely chopped

seeds of 1 pomegranate

Roast the chilies and remove the skins and seeds. (Do not cut them in half, as they are going to be stuffed.)

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until glossy; add the pork and brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the apple, peach, tomatoes, walnuts, all the spices, and the vinegar, and cook for about 5 minutes. Stuff the chilies with the walnut mixture.

Beat the egg whites until stiff; lightly beat the yolks, then add into the whites. Dredge the chilies in flour and dip in the egg mixture. Fry in butter, turning frequently so that they brown evenly. Drain.

Serve each with a bit of sour cream, garnished with cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

Yield: 12 servings

Mole de Guajolote con Almendra y Ajonjolí (Turkey Mole with Almonds and Sesame Seeds)

1 lg. turkey breast

1 lg. onion, peeled and halved

½ lb. butter, melted

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. black pepper

1 c. apple cider or Calvados brandy

4 plum tomatoes, chopped

12 tomatillos

5 mulato chili peppers

5 pasilla chili peppers

3 chipotles

½ avocado, mashed

1 banana, mashed

8 c. chicken stock

½ c. seedless raisins

½ c. sesame seeds

3 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 sm. onions, chopped

1 hard roll

⅛ c. pumpkin seeds

¼ c. slivered almonds

¼ c. walnuts

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground allspice

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. anise extract

1 Tbsp. water

1 cinnamon stick

½ c. brown sugar

2 tsp. Balsamic vinegar

2 sq. bitter Baker’s chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place turkey, breast-side up, in a large baking pan. Stuff the onion inside the turkey cavity. Pour the melted butter over the bird, and sprinkle the salt and pepper over it. Surround the breast with apple cider (or brandy, whichever one is using). Bake, uncovered, for 2 ½ –3 hours, basting occasionally.

While the turkey is cooking, puree the tomatoes, tomatillos, chili peppers, avocado, and banana; place the mixture in a large pan, and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer until it is reduced to about half the liquid content. Remove from the heat and set aside. Stir in the raisins.

In a large skillet, dry roast the sesame seeds; when finished, reserve them for use later.

Add the olive oil to the pan, and fry the garlic and onions until lightly browned; crumble the hard roll into the mix, stir, and remove from the heat. Set aside.

In a separate pan, fry the pumpkin seeds and nuts with the chili powder, allspice, and cloves until well heated, then add the extract and 1 tablespoon of water until mixed thoroughly. Steal ½ cup of the turkey drippings from the oven and add it to the frying pan, whisking the mixture into a kind of light gravy.

In a large pot, combine the stock, garlic, onion, bread, and all the gravy ingredients. Add the cinnamon stick, brown sugar, and vinegar. Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally so that it does not burn (about 20 minutes).

Grate the chocolate into the sauce, and allow it to melt, floating on top of the sauce. Cover until one is ready to present the turkey.

Pour the sauce over the turkey, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

Yield: 12–15 servings


1 c. sugar
8 egg yolks
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-fluid-oz. can evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
edible flowers

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt the sugar over medium heat until caramel colored. Pour into a 9" round glass baking dish, coating the bottom and sides.
In a large bowl, beat the yolks until light yellow in color. Add the condensed and evaporated milks and the vanilla, and beat until very smooth. Pour mixture into the baking dish. Set inside a larger pan; add water so that it comes up as much as possible around the edges of the flan pan.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.
To serve, invert the flan onto a plate with high sides. Surround with edible flowers for decoration.

Yield: 8 servings

All recipes are from Cooking with the Movies: Meals on Reels.