Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Last night we had an impromptu get together for Cinco de Mayo. A friend of ours offered to fish for some fresh bass for fish tacos and for those non-fish eaters, I opted to also make Carne Asada. Lou of course nominated himself bartender and received rave reviews from our guests on his Margaritas. It was not a recipe he developed over time -he asked me at 7:00pm last night how to make a margarita. I told him the classic recipe and he ran with it-measuring the ingredients, shaking the concoction with ice and straining it into cocktail glasses. He couldn't keep up with the demand. We went through 25 limes 2 bottles of tequila, and a bottle of Triple Sec. It's amazing how good a drink can be when you just go back to basics.

Drink Recipe-Margarita
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
1 part Triple Sec
2 parts Tequila

If desired, rub a slice of lime around the rim of a cocktail glass and dip into a dish of salt. Measure the lime juice, Triple Sec, and Tequila into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake, then pour into the prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of lime. Measuring the ingredients ensures a drink that is not too sour or strong. I think that was the key to Lou's success.

Carne Asada
2 -2 pound flank steaks
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic

Trim excess fat from the flank steak and slice each of them through the center into 2 thin steaks. Mix the remaining ingredients and marinate the meat for 30 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over the steaks, then grill them on a hot stove-top grill pan or outdoor grill. Serve sliced steaks in a warmed corn tortilla with Guacamole, Salsa Fresca, and Salsa Roja or bottled hot pepper sauce.

4 avocados
1 to 2 limes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
4 green onions
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Mash the avocados, then stir in lime juice from 1 or 2 limes. I like a strong lime flavor, but some people prefer less. Mix in the salt and then add more lime juice if desired and salt to taste. The salt will counteract the acidity of the lime. Add the green onions and cumin and mix to combine.

Salsa Roja
I love this stuff. the pan roasting creates a smokey flavor that makes the meat taste like it was barbecued even when grilled indoors on the stove-top. It's nice and spicey too!

1/2 cup dried chiles de arbol
2 tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Remove the stems of the chiles and toast them in a skillet over medium heat, allowing them to blacken. In a small saucepan, just cover the tomatoes with water and boil just until softened. Place the toasted chiles in a blender or small food processor (leaving out any seeds that fell out of the pods and blackened) and cover with tomato water-you won't use all the water. Add the tomatoes and salt and blend until smooth.

Fish Tacos
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 Tablespoons hot pepper sauce such at Tapatillo
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pounds white fish (We used bass and tilapia) cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Mix marinade ingredients and pour over fish. Marinate for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Mix together flour, baking powder and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a shallow bowl. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to cover the bottom of the hot pan. Dredge the pieces of fish through the flour mixture and pan fry, turning after the under side is crisp. Serve in a corn tortilla with Baja cream sauce and shredded cabbage.

Baja Cream Sauce
1/3 cup crema mexicana or creme fresh
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup

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