Hey, you! There’s a party happening in this casa and you’re invited!
No cover charge, no wristband required, and you don’t even need to bring a salad or dessert.
Today, we’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo and I’m pulling out all the stops. So get in here and grab a plate!
Today’s menu was inspired by simple, flavorful Mexican street cuisine. Stuff you can eat out of your hand, whether you’re at a party or making your way down the block. It’s decidedly unsophisticated, but definitively delicious.
Plus portable = festive. Always.
There’s something for everyone here, which is probably the way that every successful party should roll.
We’ve got luscious, savory pasta tacos – I made mine with fideos, or Mexican pasta, but you can make yours at home with angel hair.
Then there’s creamy corn cups, also known as esquites. Corn, cheese, lime juice and just a little spicy heat – really, is anyone saying no? I didn’t think so.
Then there’s a Tossed Seven Layer Salad with a creamy roasted pepper dressing.
And did you think I would skimp on dessert? Of course not!
I’m serving up luscious Strawberry Tres Leches Pots that are ridiculously easy to prepare and double ridiculously fun to eat.
This is what I call good eats.
This is what I call a fiesta.
This is how I celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Tacos De Fideos (Pasta Tacos)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1- 12 oz. package cut fideos (One 12 oz. box of angel hair pasta may be substituted. Simply cut the pasta into 1″ pieces before preparing.)
1 1/2 c. yellow onion, diced
2 tbsp. garlic, fresh, minced
2 tsp. cumin, ground
2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
1 1/2 tsp. oregano, dried, ground
approximately 18- 5-6″ soft white corn tortillas
crumbled queso fresco for finishing
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, sauté the onions and pasta over medium-high heat until both the onions and pasta pieces begin to brown, approximately 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, black pepper, oregano, and crushed tomatoes and stir well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the pasta is tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally as the pasta cooks. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool. As soon as you are ready to serve, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta mixture into the middle of a soft taco, top with crumbled queso fresco and serve.
YIELD: approximately 18 tacos
4 c. corn kernels, cooked
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 c. queso fresco, crumbled
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. cayenne, dried, ground
Toss all the ingredients in a large bowl until evenly mixed. If preparing this dish in advance, toss again before plating or serving.
YIELD: approximately 5 cups (I served my esquites in half-pint jars and was able to fill 5 jars with this recipe.)
Seven Layer Tossed Salad
3 c. Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 c. black beans, cooked
1 1/2 c. jicama, peeled, chopped
1 1/2 cotija cheese, cubed (feta cheese may be substituted)
1 1/2 c. avocado, chopped (once chopped, immediately toss in several tablespoons of lime juice so the flesh doesn’t brown)
1 c. green onion, chopped
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
A note on preparing the ingredients: I think this salad is most enjoyable if you attempt to keep the various ingredients as similar in size as possible. So, for example, I recommend cubing the cotija instead of grating it. Items such as beans and green onions are obviously exempt from this instruction, but tomatoes, jicama, cheese and avocado can all be chopped in similar sizes.
Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. This salad is best just after it is assembled, but if you’re making it in advance I recommend storing it covered in the refrigerator. I do not dress this salad, but simply serve the dressing on the side.
YIELD: approximately 6 servings
Creamed Pepper Salad Dressing
2 large poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, stemmed and diced (A note on preparing the roasted chiles: I use metal tongs to roast my chiles directly over an open flame until the exterior of each chile is charred and black. Once the chiles are charred, I carefully remove them to a Ziploc bag, lock them in, and allow them to sweat for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the blackened skin has loosened and I simply peel or scrape it off, stem and seed the chile, and dice the flesh. If you don’t have access to an open flame on your stovetop, you can simply broil the chiles inside your oven and then proceed with the remaining steps of preparing the chiles.)
1 3/4 c. crema (sour cream may be substituted)
1/2 tsp. cumin, ground
1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
Whisk the crema, cumin and black pepper together in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the chile pieces. Bottle and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
YIELD: approximately 15 fluid ounces
Strawberry Tres Leches Pots
For the cake:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. whole milk
4 large eggs
1 1/2 c. white sugar, granulated
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and milk together. Beat in the dry ingredients, mixing until you have a uniform batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Remove the baked cake and set aside to cool before unmolding.
For the tres leches soak:
1- 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/4 c. whole milk
Whisk ingredients together in a large bowl.
For the pots:
4 c. strawberries, chopped (I removed the tops and cut each strawberry into quarters vertically.)
1 cake recipe
1 tres leches soak recipe (you may have more soak than you need, depending on how much you want to use in each pot)
2 c. whipped cream
Prepare the cake by cubing it. I cut my cake into 1″ squares and then cut each square in half vertically. Carefully toss the cake cubes and strawberry pieces together in a large bowl (I recommend using a slotted spoon and light hand here, just so you tear the cake pieces as little as possible). Spoon the mixture into your pots (I used pint-sized jars) and transfer the soak to a pouring vessel. Pour 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the soak into each jar. You can spoon a little more of the strawberry and cake mixture into each jar as the mixture settles, just be sure to leave at least 1/2″ of head space for the whipped cream. Finish each pot with a liberal spoonful of whipped cream. Serve immediately.
YIELD: approximately 6 pint-sized jars