Recipes: A Delicious Menu to Celebrate Mexico (Even After Cinco de Mayo)
Love Mexican food? Throw a little fajita fiesta in honour of Cinco de Mayo. Photo: Courtesy of Tono Balaguer/Frida Restaurant at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
May the 5th, or Cinco de Mayo, in Mexico’s history, dates back to 1862. It’s a day of celebration, commemorating a victory over the invading French army in the town of Puebla. The holiday is marked across the country to celebrate Mexican freedom and culture.
And why not celebrate the idea of freedom and culture, especially that of our North American neighbour? Here, a Cinco de Mayo menu to try at home, to allow us to participate in a little bit of armchair travel fun while we dream of days when we can venture again to culturally rich destinations such as Mexico. We say, olé!
The Escencia Margarita
Recipe courtesy of the Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Of course, we’d much rather be sipping this cocktail at the hotel’s Beach Bar overlooking the unspoiled ivory sands of the Riviera Maya’s Xpu Ha Beach – widely considered the most beautiful stretch of beach on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. At the resort, the mixologists use Casa Dragones Blanco, hailed as being the best Blanco Tequila, but at home, any good quality silver or blanco tequila will do.
- 45ml Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco or any high quality silver (blanco) tequila
- 15ml Simple Syrup (NB. traditional simple syrup is made from one part water to one part sugar. White granulated sugar is the standard sweetener, but once you’ve mastered this basic base, feel free to experiment with other sugars, keeping the 1:1 ratio the same)
- 25ml Cointreau
- 60ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- One small rosemary sprig
- 5 grams of crushed ginger
- Muddle rosemary, ginger and syrup
- Add the tequila, Cointreau, juice and ice and shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker or similar
- Double strain and serve on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass
- Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a grapefruit peel twist
Mexican Fajitas with red sauce and avocado
This crowd-pleaser comes to us via José Alberto Méndez, from Frida Restaurant at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. His tip: “Your fajitas go perfectly with either corn or flour tortillas. Buen provecho!”
Ingredients for the fajitas:
- 7 oz. of smoked sausage
- 3 oz. of red onion
- 2 oz. of green bell pepper
- 2 oz. of red bell pepper
- 3 oz. of mushrooms
- Cut the vegetables into long strips and the sausage into medium pieces.
- In a pan with hot oil add the onion and sausage until golden brown.
- Add the mushrooms and peppers and cook until smooth.
- Do not forget to season well with salt and pepper, if you have any other type of protein such as beef or poultry, you can cut them into strips and add them at the same time as the sausage.
Ingredients for red sauce:
- 2 pcs. of tomato
- 100 gr of onion
- 100 gr jalapeño pepper
- 60 gr of coriander
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 200 gr of avocado
- 1 can of dark beer
- Take the tomato, onions and jalapeño pepper to the oven and bake at 375°F
- When vegetables get a bit burned on top, not brown, remove and add carefully, a can of dark beer and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and mix on a blender with coriander, salt and pepper.
- Serve it in a sauceboat, add the diced avocado, and stir slowly.
Coconut tres leches Cake
This recipe features a coconut twist on the classic Mexican dessert. Take a moment and read through the recipe and method first, to ensure you have the necessary tools. This recipe comes to us from one of our Zooming: The Zoomer Travel Club partners, EF/Go Ahead Tours.
Makes 1 cake
Unsalted butter, for coating a baking dish
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp dark rum, plus more as needed
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
⅔ cup evaporated milk (not nonfat)
½ cup unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 325 F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a baking dish with butter (a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish works well for this recipe). Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Set greased baking dish and bowl of flour aside.
Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Reserve the whites in a separate, medium-sized bowl. Add the white sugar to the yolks and, using the paddle attachment, beat on high speed until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Thoroughly clean and dry the stand mixer bowl. Place the egg whites in the clean bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until peaks form, about 1 ½ minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir about ⅓ of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold it in, until flour is just combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the cake is puffed, golden, and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, place the rum and condensed, evaporated and coconut milks in a large bowl and whisk until combined, then set aside.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake and continue cooling, about 45 minutes more. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
When the cake is ready to serve, spread the coconut in an even layer in a large frying pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes – if the coconut begins to burn, reduce the heat. Immediately transfer to a small bowl.
Place the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and whisk until medium peaks form – if you like, flavour it with a tsp of dark rum. Spread the whipped cream over the cake, top with toasted coconut, and serve.