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Home : Tips & Techniques : A Cinco de Mayo Feast

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A Cinco de Mayo Feast

Contributed by: Faith Heinauer

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fiesta. We're serving a tantalizing feast of sizzling flavors and delicious dishes... watermelon margaritas, cuban black beans, tenderloin with a chimichurri sauce, and tres leches (three-milks) cake. El Partido En (party on)!

Watermelon Margarita

Wet your lips with this sweet & fruity cocktail! It's got a frosty blend of watermelon, lime, and tequila... you'll be mad for this margarita.

  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, cubed watermelon
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1/2 cup tequila

Garnish:

  • 3 Tablespoons superfine sugar
  • lime wedges

Place watermelon cubes in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal and freeze watermelon cubes for 8 hours. Place half of the watermelon, limeade and tequila in a blender. Process until smooth (be sure to scrape down the sides). Repeat with the remaining half.

To garnish:

Place the sugar in a wide, shallow bowl. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with a lime wedge. Dip the rim in the sugar. Pour the watermelon mixture into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Preparation time: 15 minutes - Yields: 5 cups

Cuban Black Beans

This popular Mexican specialty consists of black beans, onions, garlic and seasonings. For a twist, this delectable bean dish is also wonderful served over couscous or as a savory base in a wrap.

  • 2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the water, tomato paste, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves: 4 - 6

Beef Tenderloin with Chimichurri Sauce

This much-loved Latin dish is fast, simple and mouth-watering. The grilled tenderloin and the spiced parsley sauce are a perfect combination and an easy dish to serve when hosting a get-together.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2-pound center-cut beef tenderloin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Chimichurri Sauce (see recipe below)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Cut tenderloin lengthwise into 6 steaks. With a mallet, flatten the steaks to an even thickness. Repeat with each of the steaks. Combine the salt, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, and cumin. Rub each side of the steaks with the salt mixture.

Place the steaks on a prepared grill. Grill 2 - 3 minutes for each side (or until desired degree of doneness). Transfer the meat to a cutting board, cover the meat with foil, and let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Slice the steaks across the grain into thin slices. Top each steak with onions, and drizzle with 1 - 2 Tablespoons of the chimichurri sauce.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes - Cooking Time: 8 minutes

Serves: 6

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a spiced parsley sauce that is excellent served over grilled steak, fish, chicken, or vegetables. The fresh-tasting, garlicky, spicy sauce is a staple in Argentina cuisine, and often referred to as "Argentina Ketchup".

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches curly parsley (including stems), washed & chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste

Place the garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and salt (all of the ingredients) in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until the herbs are minced. Scrape down the sides, and process until sauce is smooth and thick (if the sauce is too thick, it can be thinned down with additional olive oil, vinegar or lime juice).

Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Can be made ahead.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes - Yields: 3/4 cup

Tres Leches (Three-Milks Cake)

This delectable Latin American dessert starts with a light white cake, then drenched in a trio of sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk, and followed by a luscious whipped cream topping. Traditionally, the tres leches is topped with meringue, but our icing on the cake is simplified and yummified with an effortless whipped cream.

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated whole milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour a 13" x 9" baking pan. Set aside.

Place the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for 2 more minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 28 - 32 minutes, until the cake is golden and toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the milk mixture: In a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed, evaporated and whole milk. Whisk until combined. When cake is cool, pierce the entire top of the cake with a fork; pour milk mixture over the cake.

To make the whipped cream topping: Place the whipping cream in a clean, chilled stainless steel bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Whip again until the cream forms stiff peaks. Do not overbeat. (Can use frozen whipped topping in place of the real thing).

Spread the whipped cream over the cake. Eat at once (this is an addictive cake). Cover and store the cake in the refrigerator. This cake doesn't last as well as others due to the icing. Share this out- of-the-ordinary cake with your neighbors (they'll love you!).

Preparation Time: 15 minutes - Baking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 10

~~~~~~~~~~
Faith Heinauer is a caterer, cookbook author, columnist, and the creative force behind her website, http://www.breakeggs.com Sign up for her tasty bi-weekly newsletter at BreakEggs.com!
~~~~~~~~~~



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