Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

My most favorite excuse to eat Mexican food is almost upon us. 

This year, Cinco de Mayo lands on a Saturday so there's no excuse to not celebrate. I've got plans to enjoy the evening at a private tequila tasting followed by a dinner of family-style fajitas and a screening of the Mayweather vs Cotto fight. But regardless of plans, here are a few things to help ensure that this May 5th, is the best one you've experienced yet!

First, make sure you are ready to conquer the margarita. You must read "Mastering the Margarita" via The Wall Street Journal; it is a complete guide to understanding margaritas, sourcing the ingredients, and then making them. Fabulous read. 

Now I'll confess: I drink a lot of margaritas. All types. Shapes. Sizes. Ingredients. I've tried 'em all. 
Here are some ideas for fun new takes on Mexico's favorite cocktail. Some of the best trends in margaritas that I've seen this year are as follows: 

Smoked Salt
Change up the standard salt on your rim to 
smoked sea salt 

Cut your lime juice with fresh yuzu juice for an updated take on tartness

Muddle Fresh Serrano or Jalapenos into your 
tequila for a kick

Almond Extract
Just a couple drops adds a layer of flavor that people 
love but can never figure out 

Next, you need the perfect playlist for entertaining on Cinco de Mayo. Whether you are by yourself in the kitchen or enjoying the evening with your closest pals, a well curated playlist is a major must. 

DJ Savannah Jane Buffett (daughter of Jimmy Buffett) put this Ultimate Cinco de Mayo Playlist together and then I added a few of my favorites (the last five) at the bottom of her list. 

"South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)" - Patsy Cline
"Las Voces" - Josh Rouse
"Margarita" - The Traveling Wilburys
"Desperation Samba (Halloween in TJ)" - Jimmy Buffett
"Dejalo" - Rilo Kiley
"Cinco de Mayo" - War
"Satchita" - Playing For Change
"Candela" - Buena Vista Social Club
"Oye Como Va" - Tio Puente
"Para Donde Vas" - The Iguanas
"Spanish Moon" - Little Feat
"Hot Tequila Brown" - Jamiroquai
"Mexico" - That Handsome Devil
"Margaritaville" - Todd Snider

My Additions:

"Down in Mexico" - The Coasters
"Juan Loco" - Rodrigo y Gabriela
"Baila Me" - Gipsy Kings
"Tamacun" - Rodrigo y Gabriela
"Cumbia" - Mexican Institute of Sound

And finally, you will need a killer recipe for restaurant-style salsa. Here is a fantastic (and simple) fire-roasted salsa that is delicious over and on everything. 
Fire Roasted Salsa


4 Roma Tomatoes

4 Tomatillos
4 Jalapenos
¼  bunch cilantro, chopped
 6 cloves garlic, roasted
¼  red onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t salt

1. Cook tomatillos in boiling water until dark green in color. 
2. Fire Roast jalapenos and tomatoes on grill until blackened. Once grilled, remove the seeds from half of the jalapenos. 
3. Add all ingredients into a saucepan or bowl and puree with immersion blender. 
4. Cover and chill before enjoying. 

Wishing you all a safe and festive Cinco de Mayo! xx, LFE

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