Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Dispatches - Cinco de Mayo dinner & menu

It all started with Cinco de Mayo. Trying to understand the why, how and what it would require to celebrate in style led me to extensive web research on many, many food and cooking sites and blogs. The menu included :tasty, refreshing margaritas, chiles rellenos, pico de gallo, guacamole, chicken tacos(no, not just any simple tacos) , salsa verde. Some of the recipe ingredients, such as poblanos, were a bit difficult to find in Montreal at the beginning of May, but a trip to the Marché Atwater solved everything and all ingredients were found!

The margarita recipe is from the America`s Test Kitchen newsletter "Notes From the Test Kitchen" May 2, 2008.

Refreshing, with a great citrus twist. Allow time for the grated citrus rinds, juices and sugar to macerate for several hours. For a special added touch, don't forget to rim the glasses with lime juice and salt.

4 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/2 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 medium limes
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 to 3 medium lemons
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Pinch table salt
2 cups crushed ice
1 cup 100 percent agave tequila, preferably reposado
1 cup Triple Sec

Combine lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt in large liquid measuring cup; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors meld, 4 to 24 hours.

Divide 1 cup crushed ice between 4 or 6 margarita or double old-fashioned glasses. Strain juice mixture into 1-quart pitcher or cocktail shaker. Add tequila, Triple Sec, and remaining crushed ice; stir or shake until thoroughly combined and chilled, 20 to 60 seconds. Strain into ice-filled glasses; serve immediately.

Chiles Rellenos

The Chiles Rellenos recipes is more of a casserole type recipe, not the usual deep-fried traditional recipe. Easy to prepare, and hopefully a bit healthier than frying the stuffed chiles the recipe can be found at:

Chipotle-Marinated Chicken Tacos - Serves 3 (6 tacos)

1 Pound Chicken Thighs
1 Cup canola oil
6 corn tortillas (6 inch)

Chipotle Marinade
1 Plum tomato, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 Medium sized yellow onion
2 Cloves garlic
2 Canned chipotle chilies in adobo
1/8 Cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/8 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Method: For Marinade
Preheat the oven to 400ºF

Spread the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a medium sized metal baking pan, and roast until browned, about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the vegetables from the oven, let cool, and then transfer to the jar of an electric blender. Add the chipotle chilies, orange juice, lime juice, and salt, and puree until smooth. Put the chicken in a large mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken, toss to coat well, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Method: For Chicken
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the chicken into an oven proof baking dish and pour marinade over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the marinade and let cool. Save the remaining cooking liquid. Using a fork, pull the meat from the bone, and shred into one inch long pieces Toss with about ½ cup of remaining cooking liquid.