Sunday, May 1, 2011

¡Tequila y Chocolate!

I'm not Mexican. Not even close. In fact, I've only visited Mexico once, for a couple of hours, and only Tijuana, as part of a trip to Southern California. Yet there is something about Cinco de Mayo that makes me want to celebrate.

Mostly, it's because it's in early May, and having a party in my backyard forces me to do all of my mulching, get my outdoor lighting hung, and clean the yard. It's an early summer kick-off of sorts. If it's not too hot, I have W light a fire in the firepit, and we all sit around it on Adirondack chairs and drink our Mexican cervesas in sombreros.

I used to make lots of food, and would even have tamales shipped in from Texas for the party. I noticed, though, that hot food can be a problem. Few people actually arrive on time, or hungry, and the hot food cools quickly when outside. My house is too small to be heating food in the kitchen; it makes a mess. I am sure I could Sterno the food, but I find that having people come later in the evening for drinks and dessert, works just as well.

This year, I found some fun recipes for the party. While I am not a fan of tequila, it does seem to be the liquor associated with Mexico, at least in these parts. Given this, I've decided to make a big batch of tequila sunrise to have in a pitcher for those looking for something stronger than cervesa, and a tequila cake (my guests will all be getting the recipe written out on cards as part of my thank you notes) with a tequila glaze.

For those who are in the tequila-free boat, I will be making Mexican chocolate balls. They are easy to eat, and fun to make (recipes below).

This year, we will be having a hot sauce contest. People bring their favorite hot sauce, and everyone taste tests the sauces to see whose is best. I get to keep all the hot sauces to eat the rest of the year, which is a wonderful treat. I have a favorite that I'm having shipped in from Savannah. Still, I am more excited to taste the ones that I've never experienced before. We have taco Wednesdays every week, so the hot sauce goes quickly.

I keep decorating simple. I use empty Corona bottles as vases to keep single red blooms all over the house. With them, I hang a paper flag in the colors of Mexico. I burn saints candles that are Spanish, and have the saints' names and faces on the outside in Spanish. They cost about $1 each and aren't scented so their are no scents to muddle the tastes of the food. They come in different colors with different Saints, so they are lots of fun to have around the deck.

This year is our fifth Cinco de Mayo party. I almost decided to have a mariachi band come, but I think I will save that for our tenth one. ¡Fiesta!

bolitas de chocolate mexicano

3 oz. Mexican chocolate, finely ground
3 c powdered sugar
1 c sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 c almonds, finely chopped

Combine chocolate, powdered sugar, milk, salt & vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Shape into 1" balls. Roll in nuts. Makes 72 balls.

tequila cake
preheat oven to 325*
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c butter
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c milk
  • 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 c tequila
Cream sugar, butter, and eggs together. Stir in milk, then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat well. Add the Tequila and beat until smooth. The secret of this cake is to beat the batter very well until it becomes shiny.

Fold the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour in a 325* oven or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on wire rack, then remove cake from the pan, place on cake server or plate and top with Tequila Cake Glaze.

tequila cake glaze
  • 1 c light brown sugar
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 c tequila
  • 2 T Grand Marnier
Place the sugars, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the mixture becomes semi-caramelized. Remove from heat, stir in the tequila and Grand Marnier and pour over the cake while glaze is still warm.

tequila sunrise

  • 2 oz tequila
  • 1/2 c fresh orange juice
  • 1 T grenadine
  • 1 t lime juice
  • crushed ice and maraschino cherry for topping

Mix tequila, orange juice, grenadine and lime juice in a blender. Pour into glasses. Add crushed ice and garnish with a cherry. (I will have a bucket of crushed ice and a bowl of cherries beside my pitcher, for people to make their own sunrise.)

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait for those chocolate balls.