So we’ve got a couple of thing going on this weekend. First and foremost, today is Cinco de Mayo. It’s raining again, so a sunny Mexican-inspired meal sounds pretty good about now. If you don’t have time to fiesta tonight, then you can always celebrate the Kentucky Derby tomorrow.
Here are a few ideas for your Cinco de Mayo feast!
For starters, how about the Middle East meets Tex-Mex with a tasty Chipotle Sweet Potato & White Bean Hummus? Or try my Corncakes with a dab of Roasted Red Pepper Dip.
Move to the table and a simple salad. My Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad is delicious. Now for the main course. My grill is still on porch so I’m good to go with Grilled Shrimp with Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Arbol and a side of Grilled Zucchini, Onions and Peppers and a spoonful of steamed rice.
And for dessert … as far as I know my I Love Lime Pie has nothing to do with Mexico. However, it is delicious. That’s a good enough reason for me. How about you? Feliz Cinco de Mayo y ¡buen apetito!
Now, what about Derby Day?
Celebrate the Derby with fun and festive cocktails! It’s not a Derby without Mint Juleps:
Kentucky Mint Julep
1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint
Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint
Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.
Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
Now the question, what to nibble while you watch the sport of kings?
How about a make-your-own crostini bar? Grill up some bread, add some breadsticks and artisanal crackers and let your friends mix and match. To build your crostini bar, start with a Duo of Pestos Artichoke and Sundried Tomato and add a small bowl of Tapenade. Grilled Vegetables are lovely on crostini. Asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers … any and all are delicious. While you’re at it, throw a few Shrimp on the Grill.
Alright, what’s next, hmmm … how about Chicken Liver Pâté and Smoked Salmon Mousse. Of course, you’ll want some cheese … a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a log of goat cheese and maybe another wedge, this one Stilton or Gorgonzola. Be sure to include something sweet, maybe some honey or Fig Jam and add some nuts. Walnuts and pine nuts are always a good choice.
Top off the evening with something sweet: In keeping with the make-your-own-theme, how about a sundae bar? A few quarts of your favorite ice cream or gelato and some delicious sauces, Chocolate, Caramel and Maple, one, the other or all three, work for me. Some fresh berries would be nice too!
Stay dry, have a great weekend and bon appétit!
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© Susan W. Nye, 2014