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12 Days of Cinco de Mayo – Day Doce

Finally, day 12 of our Cinco de Mayo countdown has arrived, and you have had the whole spectrum of Mexican recipe ideas presented to you. Hopefully you found several which whet your appetite or inspired you to find out more. You have less than 24 hours to go before the big day is here, so if there is anything you forgot to get, now is the time to rush out and grab those last-minute party essentials! Perhaps you are making a beef dish which needs the meat to be marinated, in which case start it now so it gets time to become really tender and flavorful.

You will already have your Cinco de Mayo recipes picked out, which is why today we are looking at Mexican seasonings, so you can learn more about what it is that makes Mexican food taste as unique and special as it does. South of the border seasonings range from mild to very spicy, aromatic and delicate to vibrant and bold, and they can be combined in many clever ways. Typical Mexican seasonings include cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, sage, cilantro, and of course you have the whole gamut of fresh, pickled, dried and ground chilies to choose from.

If you are new to Mexican recipes and cooking south of the border dishes, you might like to add a little spice at a time, taste and then add more. Over-seasoning is an easy mistake to make, but remember the seasonings need to complement the ingredients in the dish, not the other way around. A beef dish for example should showcase the beef, not disguise the flavor of it with overpowering flavors. The more Mexican dishes you cook, the better idea you will get about not only quantities but choosing which type of chili, for example, or which seasoning is good with which meat. Continue reading

12 Days of Cinco de Mayo – Day Once

Despite the misunderstanding that Mexican food is always high in both fat and calories, the truth is a lot of the dishes are very healthy, and the reason for this is how fresh produce is often the main part of a meal. Whether that is a trio of vegetable side dishes, some homemade pico de gallo ladled generously over grilled lean fish, a tasty salad made with fresh ingredients, or even tortillas stuffed with something tasty, there are plenty of diet-friendly Mexican recipes to choose from. There are no set recipes for Cinco de Mayo so you can choose anything.

Dairy, such as cheese and cream, is used plentifully in Tex-Mex cuisine but much less in Mexican recipes. This is a common misconception about authentic south of the border cuisine, and it is hardly surprising when so many people assume what you get served in Taco Bell is the same as what a Mexican family would be preparing for their evening meal! Take inspiration from the way Mexican cooks eat by visiting the local market and finding out what is in season, then you can plan your whole meal around this delicious locally farmed produce.

Once you get into the habit of cooking in this way, you will find you naturally gravitate more toward available fresh produce and think of tasty meals to build around them, rather than simply finding a recipe and then trying to find everything on the ingredients list. You can also get creative and tweak existing recipes. Perhaps you cannot find tomatillo, for example. In most recipes, you can simply use tomato instead. Perhaps you do not like one of the layers in a seven-layer Mexican salad, in which case simply substitute something else, and make it your own. Continue reading

12 Days of Cinco de Mayo – Day Diez

With only a few days to go until Cinco de Mayo, we are sure you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to make by now. So what delicacies have you decided on? Are you going to go the classic route and prepare tacos, fajitas or enchiladas, or are you in the mood for rustling up some tamales or a 7-layer Mexican salad perhaps? And what about dessert? Some people like to choose various make-ahead desserts to make, then get everything prepared in advance so they can simply serve them whenever they are ready.

Other people might like to make a hot dessert like fried bananas or fried ice cream, something they can make just before serving. The more people you are having over for your Cinco de Mayo event, the more dishes you will want to make, but if there are lots of folks coming over, why not get everyone to bring some potluck dishes? Then you will be able to make whichever south of the borders you like, plus end up with a few surprises too! You can specify whether you want people to bring appetizers, desserts or just whatever they want.

Today we are going to be looking at shrimp avocado cocktails, but not the kind you might remember fondly from 1970s dinner parties! The south of the border take on a shrimp cocktail includes typical Mexican ingredients like lime juice, avocado, hot sauce, and cilantro, along with shrimp, tomato juice and red onion, so you can expect a wealth of color and flavor. This makes a tasty appetizer or lunch, as you prefer, and you can use fresh shrimp if you can get them, or even thawed ones if you can only get those, but ensure they are well drained before use. Continue reading

12 Days of Cinco de Mayo – Day Nueve

Cinco de Mayo is almost here. In fact we have reached day 9 on our countdown calendar, which means there are only a few days to go until the celebrations can begin! Not everyone will be having a big party of course, but the great thing about this holiday is there is no set way of celebrating or set foods you have to make, so you can pick how big or small you want your party to be (or even just enjoy it with the family) and make whatever dishes appeal to you. We have selected 12 of the tastiest Mexican recipes though, just to inspire you, and today we are looking at Mexican fried bananas.

Everybody has their own favorite Mexican dishes, and while most people will name something savory as their preferred dish, others have a sweet tooth and will consider arroz con leche (rice pudding Mexican style) or platanos fritos (fried bananas) as theirs. If you are catering for a number of people on Cinco de Mayo, you will want to offer various appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. These delicious bananas are a great idea. You need to cook them just before serving, since they are a hot dessert, but they only take a few minutes and are very easy to prepare.

We are adding cinnamon, lemon and orange to the bananas, to add not only an earthy, spicy taste, but also the bright zing of citrus to contrast with the sweetness of the bananas. Sweetened condensed milk is nice drizzled over these. A lot of Mexican desserts are quite sweet, and if you are lucky enough to have Mexican bakery locally, you will probably have tried various Mexican breads and cakes, so you will know. If this is too much sweetness though, feel free to omit the sweetened condensed milk. Alternatively you cannot go wrong serving a scoop of vanilla ice cream with these bananas. Continue reading

12 Days of Cinco de Mayo – Day Ocho

Our countdown has reached day 8, and that means it is high time you thought about dessert for your Cinco de Mayo party if you have not already. Although there are plenty of typical Mexican desserts to consider, one of the most popular has to be arroz con leche, which is a south of the border version of rice pudding. A little cinnamon and vanilla feature in this tasty dessert to offer authentic Mexican flavors. Although this might sound like a hearty dessert, especially if you had rice with your entrée, you can keep the portions small just to give everyone a tasty of this decadent Mexican dessert recipe.

Although we usually tend to avoid doubling up in meals, for example not having a chicken appetizer followed by a chicken dessert, there is no harm in serving arroz con leche even after having rice with the entrée. It is too good to miss out on! As well as planning your main dishes, desserts, beverages, and guest list, you will also want to get a nice atmosphere for Cinco de Mayo. There are no set foods for this holiday, which makes the food planning easier because you can simply prepare everyone’s favorite dishes, perhaps including some make-ahead recipes to make things easier for you.

Ensure you have some mariachi music to play, at least during the meal, and consider decorating the room or house in red, white and green – the colors of the Mexican flag. Some people love to theme everything but of course this depends on how much time you have available as well as whether you actually want to. Others prefer to keep things simpler, focusing on great food and drinks, and never mind about the décor. If you are having a party you will probably want to decorate, even on a small scale, but if it is really not your thing, why not get the kids to blow up balloons or help with the other decorations? Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, I'm Christine, and I'm pleased to welcome you to I have endeavored to gather as many delicious South of the border recipes here for you, including Mexican-inspired as well as traditional Mexican, and also some Tex-Mex and Mexican fusion dishes. Food is very important to our family's lives and Mexican food is certainly a favorite around here.

We have everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, drinks, entrées, and much more. You will find everything from mild dishes to super-spicy ones, simple recipes based on fresh ingredients up to more complex ones suitable for a dinner party.

Home cooks just starting out with Mexican cooking tend to be surprised how much of the emphasis is placed on using fresh ingredients and aromatic herbs and spices. Forget the typical ideas about Mexican food being all beans, cheese and beef (that applies a little more to Tex-Mex), take inspiration from authentic Mexican dishes based on fresh ingredients, and inject all your passion into cooking South of the border food, for perfect results every time.

Thanks for visiting,