When you dine at a typical Mexican restaurant, you’re probably already familiar with the usual offerings of enchiladas, tacos, refried beans, and rice, right? It’s kind of ironic that many dishes served in most of today’s Mexican joints are actually of American origin by way of Texas or California. We Americans have put our own twists on the originals over the years and have since labeled them “Mexican food”.
To get a little more authentic taste of South of the Border cuisine, try out the following recipe for Mexican sopes, a zesty appetizer that will have you ditching your old gringo go-to of nachos and chimichangas.
Sopes are handheld Mexican street food dish made from a dough made of masa flour (dried and finely ground corn) that are flattened, typically fried, then topped with either meat or beans and salsa. This version of the classic Mexican dish sees the little masa “boats” baked instead of fried — saving you some calories and a greasy mess on your stove top. I chose to use flavorful Mexican chorizo sausage for the filling and topped it with a Yucatecan-style (i.e.: from the Yucatan Peninsula) sauce comprised of toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro and habanero pepper. These sopes can be made any size you please — form smaller ones for appetizer servings and larger ones if you’re serving them as a snack or main course.
Read the rest of this entry
Due to the simple fact that we Americans have to make just about every holiday an excuse to drink, I’m sure that most of you are well aware that Cinco de Mayo is this weekend. That means parties, sombreros, and tequila drinks galore. And no, for the last time, it does not mark Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s September 16th); it’s a celebration and remembrance of Mexican fighters taking down the French forces at The Battle of Puebla in 1862. Use that one to impress friends and potential one-night-stands on Sunday.
I digress. On to the drinks!
Tired of celebrating with the standard margarita, I decided to concoct a new tequila-based libation. I borrowed the idea of the “Beergarita” — a mixture of Mexican lager beer, limeade or sour mix, and tequila — and gave it a sweet and spicy twist by replacing the lager with ginger beer, and adding fresh ginger and jalapeno. Ginger and reposado (slightly aged, amber-colored) tequila are a great flavor pairing in this Ginger Beergarita and the addition of the jalapeno enhances the spiciness of the ginger — which can easily be omitted from the recipe if you’re not a fan of heat.
Not that this would be the first thing on your mind when mixing a drink on Cinco, but the Ginger Beergarita also has some great health benefits. Ginger has natural immune system-boosting properties and helps to fight of certain types of cancer cells with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects. Bonus: ginger has been a natural remedy for migraines and nausea, so this drink may actually reduce your hangover on May 6th.
So while celebrating the rich culture and heritage of Mexico (and the time they kicked some French ass) by guzzling far too much cerveza and tequila, try out the following exotic tipples this weekend.
Read the rest of this entry