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Cinco de Drink-O!!
I typically love any occasion where the tradition is to celebrate with food and drink, but Cinco de Mayo has a special place in my heart due to my undying devotion to TEQUILA. A fine tequila is like a hot chocolate on a snowy Christmas night, or a compliment from a good-looking stranger…or rolling in a pile of puppies…you get my drift.
I hope I’m not the only gringo who gives this holiday the respect it deserves by celebrating with a snifter full of “1942” …who knows, if the Mexican army didn’t tell the French what time it is so many years ago, the US might not be what IT is today, (and even with its’ flaws, I think we can all agree, America rocks!!) so let’s help our southern neighbors rejoice in proper tradition: lick, shoot and suck…
Many have written this holiday off as just an excuse to drink tequila (SO??!!) which might make some people’s faces (and stomachs) turn all the colors of the Mexican flag, so if you can’t handle the salty/limey magic in it’s pure form, here are a few recipes using this fine distillate so you can get in the Fiesta mood:
Smokey Cherry Margaritas
2 oz. tequila, 100% agave
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup made with agave nectar
2 oz. Just Tart Cherry Juice
lime and smoked salt garnish
Tequila Flan Cake
6 large plain croissants
2 oz. tequila, preferably anejo
2 ½ C sugar
6 large eggs
8 oz whipped cream cheese
18 oz. evaporated milk
7 oz condensed sweetened milk
2 C half and half
1 T vanilla bean paste
6-8 medium croissants
Preheat oven to 350°F .Cut the croissants in half and toast in the oven on a baking sheet.
In a small sauce pan, caramelize the 2C sugar (dissolve it over medium heat till light golden brown). Add the 2 oz. tequila and blend.
Pour the molten sugar into a 9×11 casserole pan, making sure to coat the entire bottom of the pan. Allow to cool and layer in the croissants (they will be stacked on top and overlapping).
In a blender mix eggs for 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese, evaporated milk and condensed milk, blending till smooth. Follow with the remaining ingredients and blend everything together.
Pour the creamy mixture over croissants making sure to do it slowly and allow the mixture to be absorbed by the croissants.
Place pan in a larger pan and fill that pan with ½” water.
Place in oven and cook approx 1 hr flan should have a light golden color when done and slightly set up.
Allow to cool completely. Cut with round form and serve drizzled with melted tequila/caramel sauce.
Tequila-Lime Gazpacho with Margarita Shrimp
For the Gazpacho
1 ½ lbs heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1C Tomato juice
1 C cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ C chopped red bell pepper
½ C chopped red onion
1 habanero, seeded and minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 t balsamic vinegar
2 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t toasted, ground cumin
1 t sea salt
¼ t freshly ground black pepper
2 oz tequila
2 T fresh cilantro leaves,
For margarita shrimp
1 lb raw large shrimp, head off
1 t lime juice
1 t sugar
1 T tequila or Mezcal
For the shrimp
Peel, de-vein, was and dry the shrimp. Mix the remaining ingredients and combine with the shrimp. Marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat grill to high. Char the shrimp on the grill for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they barely turn pink. Set aside and allow to cool.
For the Gazpacho:
Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt, pepper and tequila and stir to combine. Transfer 1 ½ C of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve in a martini (or other fancy glass) garnished with charred shrimp and cilantro.
Chipotle Roasted Pork with Agave Glaze
3 lb boneless pork loin roast
½ t salt
1T chili powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ C chipotle sauce
½ C water
¼ C fresh lime juice
¼ C chopped cilantro
1 C tequila, divided
1 C agave nectar
Combine salt, cumin and chili powder and rub on the pork roast. Place the roast in a slow cooker, and season with garlic on top of roast. Pour in the chipotle sauce and ½ C water and ½ C tequila.
Cover, and cook 7 hours on Low.
Remove roast from the slow cooker, and use two forks to shred. Return pork to the slow cooker, and allow to sit 15 minutes to absorb some of the liquid.
Pre-heat oven to Broil.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining tequila and agave nectar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium/high heat until reduced by about ¼.
Place the shredded pork on to a non-stick cookie sheet and pour the sauce over the shredded pork. Place the sheet under the broiler for 5 minutes, rotating every minute to evenly crisp the pork.
Serve as sandwiches, nacho topping or over rice.
As always, a giant THANK YOU to Whole Foods Market for their constant support and for sponsoring the segment!!