FELIZ CINCO DE MAYO!!! May was a bit of a slow month for drinking holidays in America, and the Irish were already taken, so we invented Cinco De Mayo! (True story, they don’t celebrate in México)
For those who know me well, they know that I will NEVER say no to Mexican food. Doesn’t matter if it’s dinner and I just ate it for lunch, I will have it again and enjoy ever last bite. While living in Portland I really had to hone in my latino repertoire, because as surprising as it may be, the city is SERIOUSLY lacking in truly delicious Mexican food. My sister Kacey and I made it a personal quest to find our go to authentic home away from home and to no avail. It doesn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of yummy restaurants, but I really do believe that when you are from California, the Mexican Food here gets into your blood stream and changes your genetic make up so you are predisposed to be able to spot a fake from a mile away. There is something insatiable and incomparable about this wonderful cuisine. Now I am not claiming to be an expert, but I will say that these are pretty fantastic building blocks and I promise they will leave your casa smelling like your favorite cantina or carniceria.
I’m giving you the full gambit to make your Cinco De Mayo celebration complete! Listed below is my recipe for Horchata, Chips, Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken, Enchilada Sauce, Mexican Rice, and my Guacamole! From here you can make all kinds of In all honesty, you can make refried beans from scratch, but it’s a 24 hour process and it’s much easier to find your favorite brand at the store and garnish it as you please. ¿Estamos listos? ¡Vamos!
Horchata (Yield 6ish Cups)
- 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- 5 cups water, hot
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
- 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (or 1 Vanilla Bean Pod, seed scraped, pod reserved)
- 2/3 cup Sugar
- Optional: Lime Zest and 1-2 teaspoons Lime Juice (if you’re feeling sassy)
- Optional: Your favorite light Rum
- Begin by boiling your water. While your water is going add the uncooked rice to your blender and pulverize, on the lower speed, until broken up into smaller pieces.
- Add the rice to a bowl and pour the hot water over it. Add the cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and lime zest. Cover and let sit at room temperature for no less than 3 hours. (The longer it sits the better it is! Overnight is ideal).
- Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the rice milk and discard the rice solids and lime zest if used). You can toss the cinnamon stick, or save it to make another drink or potpourri! Slowly whisk in the sugar until you have achieved desired sweetness (don’t add it in all at once, you may live to regret it!)
- Chill the Horchata in the fridge until cold. Serve over ice. (Now would be the time to add more lime juice or Rum if you want your rice milk to put on the grown up pants!)
Crispy Oven Tortilla Chips
- White Corn Tortillas
- Lime or Lemon Juice
- Optional: Salt
- Preheat your oven to 325F.
- Stack the desired amount of tortillas on top of one another and cut into 8 equal sized wedges. Toss the tortillas in freshly squeezed lime/lemon juice and the cumin until evenly coated. Spread out the tortilla wedges so they are not touching and have room to breath. If they are too close or on top of one another they will not crisp or brown evenly.
- Bake in the oven for 10-11 minutes then toss again and continue to bake for another 1-3 minutes. (After the initial 10 minutes you are going to want to pay attention to them. Once tortillas have had the moisture pulled out of them, they cook very quickly.
- Once they are firm and crisp to the touch and evenly browned they are good to go!
- These guys are best the day of. They don’t have a long shelf life…which shouldn’t be a problem. They go fast!
Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken
- Fresh Skinless Chicken Breasts (bone in for more flavor)
- Your favorite Salsa Verde
- Cumin, ground
- Lime/Lemon juice
- This will be the easiest thing you ever make. If you have a crock pot, God bless you. Submerge the chicken in the salsa verde and turn it on to the low setting. Let the chicken slow cook for 6-8 hours. Shred when you are ready to serve and eat!
- If you do not have a crock pot (like myself…), in a glass casserole dish, completely cover the chicken with the salsa verde. Tightly cover with plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 325F for 3 hours. (Check on at each hour).
- These go amazing with sour cream!
Kiki’s Mexican Arroz
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil (or better yet Manteca)
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- 1 heaping teaspoon Cumin, ground
- 1/2 small Red Onion, diced
- 2 large cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Red Jalepeño, sliced in halve, seeds removed and julianned (cut into long thin strips) (Green is fine, I prefer the red for color sake and they are sweeter)
- 3/4 cup Low Sodium Veggie or Chicken Broth
- 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce
- 1 Roma Tomato, deseeded and chopped
- Tapatio, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Cilantro, as garnish
- In a sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, warm the oil over medium heat.
- While the oil is warming. In a bowl combine the stock, tomato sauce, diced tomato, 2-4 dashes of tapatio and a pinch of salt. Whisk together until combined. Set aside.
- Once the oil is to temp, add the rice and toast until the kernels are golden brown (The less you agitate the rice at this stage the more even the toast will be). Add the Cumin and toast for about another minute, or until fragrant.
- Using a wooden spoon, add the onion and garlic and sauté in the hot rice for about 2-4 minutes, or until translucent and very aromatic. Add the jalepeño and sauté until it just begins to soften.
- Add the broth mixture all at once and give a very quick stir and cover immediately! The rice and liquid will sizzle and boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook the rice for 18-21 minutes. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that you do not lift the lid or touch the rice before this. Let it sit and work its magic!
- Once the rice has cooked fluff with a fork and toss in chopped cilantro and a fresh squeeze of lime juice and toss. Transfer to a serving dish and consume immediately!
- Optional: If you desire a more southwestern style rice. Add diced bell pepper and corn kernels when you add the jalepeño during the sauté process.
Enchilada Sauce (Yield about 3-4 cups)
- 3-4 oz Dried Red Chilis (Guajillo or Anaheim)
- 2 large cloves Garlic, diced
- 1 small Red Onion, Diced
- 15 oz Can skinned, chopped, Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin, ground
- 1 teaspoon Lime Juice
- 1-2 cups Low Sodium Veggie Broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Honey (Keep this on hand to balance out the sauce should it be too acidic or spicy. Adds a nice dimension as well!)
- Remove the stems and ALL the seeds from the chili pods (unless you like it really spicy, get rid of ‘em)
- Toast the chilis in a cast iron skillet for 1 minute. It is very important that you do NOT burn the chilis. If this happens. Quit while you are ahead.
- Place the toasted chilis in a large bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain the chilis, reserving some of the liquid. We will be using this in a bit!
- Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 1-2 minutes or until they are sizzling and fragrant. Add the oregano and cumin and sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the softened chilis, the can of tomatoes, and veggie broth. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-4 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to your food processor and chop until completely smooth. (This is where you will use the chili water if the paste is too thick! Use your eyes and senses, make your sauce look like the kind of enchilada sauce you enjoy most!) You may need to do this step in batches to avoid a massive mess. Take your time.
- Return your sauce to the same pan and simmer for an additional 10-12 minutes stirring often. Taste, season with salt and honey if needed.
Again, I’m going to have to apologize…there are not exact measurements for this recipe. There are far too many variables. My best advice, start small and work your way up. Also, add more of what you like, and less of others! Have fun with this!
- Large California Avocado (do not choose an overly soft fruit. The skin should be healthy, dark, and the avocado should give to your pressure but spring back on you).
- Roma tomato, deseeded and diced
- Red Bell Pepper, diced
- Red Onion, diced
- Lime Juice (this is the money maker right here folks)
- Granulated Garlic
- Salt & Pepper
- Tapatio or Dried Red Chili Flakes
- Add all the veggies in a mixing bowl at once. Using a spoon, mix and mash lightly. I don’t care what any one says…Guacamole should NEVER be mushy. How dare anyone disrespect an avocado in that manner!
- Once the vegetables are incorporated add the lemon juice and spices. Fold delicately. And get your chips we made (nod, nod, wink, wink they taste amazing with this dip) and taste test and season until you get it just right.
- Salt and Lime juice will be the biggest players in this game. Followed by the black pepper, cumin, granulated garlic, and red chili flakes in that order.
- My sister Kacey LOVES this dip. My favorite part on our “Taco Tuesdays” was having everything made and doing the guac last so we could taste it together. I loved watching her mind work and try and figure out exactly what was needed to make it perfect.
WHEW! There it is! It was a mouth full to be sure, but it should get you started off on the right foot for your fiesta tonight! Remember to have fun and go slow. That’s the secret to good Mexican cooking, take your time. Imagine all of all the old, tiny abuelas! Haha, well that’s my motivation any way! Salud amigos!!!