Cinco de Mayo Celebration ~ Homemade Corn Tortillas

Fish TacosHappy Cinco de Mayo! I love to celebrate this festive Mexican holiday every year. It gives me an excuse to make some delicious Mexican food, have a margarita, and imagine I’m on a beach in Mexico watching the sunset. Ahh….

Oh, right, I got a little distracted…back to the kitchen! 😉 This year I decided to make homemade corn tortillas for baked fish tacos. There is really nothing like fresh tortillas, and they aren’t very difficult to make. I think they are well worth the effort since I’ve never had a premade tortilla that even comes close to the flavor and texture of homemade. I hope you’ll give it a try!Fish TacosHomemade Corn Tortillas

Based on a recipe from the New York Times

1 1/2 cups masa harina

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons high heat cooking oil, such as safflower

1 cup hot water

Stir the masa and salt in a medium bowl, and then stir in the oil until incorporated. Slowly stream the water into the masa mixture while continuing to stir. Bring the dough together with your hands until it is in the shape of a ball. Knead the dough in the bowl for a couple of minutes until it is smooth and cohesive. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Cut a gallon-sized zip lock bag up both sides, so it is one long piece of plastic with the zip portion on the top and bottom. Lay the plastic on a tortilla press so the seam is where the press folds down. (It will cover the top and bottom of the press so nothing sticks.)

Preheat a large skillet over high heat.

Break off small pieces of dough and roll until they are approximately the size and shape of golf balls. Place each ball in the tortilla press covered in the plastic bag, and press until flat.

Cook the tortillas in the skillet (without added oil) until they have small brown spots. Flip and cook the other side in the same way.

Wrap the tortillas in a kitchen towel to keep them warm. They are best served immediately, but they will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days in a sealed container.

The cute little Cinco de Mayo sign is from Squareview Studios. It was the perfect added touch to dress up our fiesta!Cinco de Mayo sign

Dos de Junio ~ Elote from Elote Cafe

Happy Dos de Junio! OK, it isn’t really a Mexican holiday today. But it is a gorgeous Monday, the sun is shining, and I think there is a reason to celebrate every day. 🙂 I didn’t make a Mexican dish this year for Cinco de Mayo, so I made up for that today. This recipe for Elote has been on my list to try for quite some time, and now that corn is starting to come into the markets, today seemed like a perfect time to make it.

I had this dish in Arizona at a place called Elote Café. If you are ever in the Sedona area, I would highly recommend checking them out! It is such a popular place that people will wait in a long line outside just to experience the food. Get there early is all I have to say! 🙂

This recipe is based on the signature dish at Elote Café with a couple of small changes to make it a bit healthier. I used reduced fat mayonnaise instead of the full fat version. I also didn’t use the entire amount of the mayonnaise mixture on the corn. I just added a little at a time and tasted as I went until I was happy with the flavor. I had a couple tablespoons left of the sauce in the end. I also grilled the corn inside on a grill pan, since I don’t have an outdoor grill. It worked just fine!  Just make sure you have a fan on, since the husks get a little smoky.


Based on a recipe from Elote Café

2 ears corn, husks intact

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1/4 tablespoon Cholula brand hot sauce

1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Pinch of kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon chicken stock

1 tablespoon Cotija cheese, crumbled for garnish

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Tortilla chips, for serving

Over a medium-high grill or on a grill pan over high heat, roast the corn until the husks are well charred, about 5 minutes. Turn occasionally so as not to burn the side contacting the direct heat.

Set the roasted ears aside until cool enough to handle, then shuck them.

Cut the kernels off the cob.

When ready to eat, mix the mayonnaise and all the other ingredients through chicken stock in a sauté pan over medium heat.

Add the corn kernels and warm through.

Pour into a bowl and garnish with the cheese, and cilantro.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

When I was in Arizona, I also picked up a bottle of local wine by Page Springs Cellars called Mule’s Mistake. It doesn’t sound like a fancy wine, but it is actually quite lovely! It reminds me a little of Oregon Pinot Noirs that we love so much.

Happy Cinco de Mayo ~ Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This year, I made a fresh and springy dish from Mexico to celebrate the day. I had this soup in a class from Sur La Table a few months ago, but I thought tonight was a perfect night to recreate it at home. It has a long history in Mexico, which makes it even more interesting to me. But mostly, it is just delicioso! 🙂 I hope you’ll give it a try.

Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde

Based on a recipe from Sur La Table

Serves 6 to 8

7 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups water

4 chicken breast halves on the bone, with the skin

1 pound tomatillos, husked and halved

1 small onion, quartered

2 poblano chilies-cored, seeded and quartered

2 jalapenos, seeded and quartered

4 large garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 15-ounce cans of hominy, drained and rinsed

Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and/or lime wedges, for serving

In a large and heavy stockpot, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, cover and simmer over very low heat until they are tender and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat; discard the bones and skin. Skim any excess fat from the cooking liquid.

In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos, quartered onion, poblanos, jalapenos, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season the tomatillo puree with salt and pepper.

Preheat a large deep skillet at moderate heat. Add the tomatillo puree and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.

Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the stockpot. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper, and cook until just heated through.

Serve the pozole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and/or lime wedges at the table.

This would pair very nicely with the Mexican Sidecar that I wrote about last year or the sparkling wine “margarita” from the year before. 🙂

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo ~ Mexican Sidecar

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today I remodeled my favorite sparkling wine sidecar recipe to be a bit Mexican! 🙂 Swap out the cognac for tequila and swap out the lemon for lime. It has a similar flavor profile to a margarita, which is perfect for Cinco de Mayo. After our Irish Sidecars were such a bit hit on St. Patrick’s Day, I was inspired to try another version to fit this holiday.

Mexican Sidecar

3/4 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz lime juice

3/4 oz of tequila

Dry sparkling wine

In a cocktail shaker, mix the first three ingredients with ice until very cold. Pour into a martini glass, and top with as much sparkling wine as you would like.


Happy Cinco de Mayo ~ Sparkling Wine “Margarita”

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I was inspired by a recipe on Domaine Chandon’s website for a sparkling margarita, which seemed very fitting for this evening. It replaces the tequila with sparkling wine for a lighter drink. My version of their cocktail also has much less sugar than the classic.

All you need is a lime, sparkling wine, and kosher salt. (I like drinks that are a little tart, but if you would like a little sweeter version, just add some agave nectar to the glass.)

Rim a champagne flute with kosher salt. Cut two very thin slices of organic lime, and squeeze the juice of the lime slices into the champagne glass. Drop one of the squeezed slices into the bottom of the glass along with some crushed ice. (You can omit the ice if your wine is very very cold.) Then pour the sparkling wine to the top of the flute.

This cocktail is reminiscent of a margarita, but the flavor is a little different. It sounds a little odd to have salt and lime and sparkling wine in the same drink, I admit, but I think it’s really refreshing. I would have never believed it until I tried it :). I hope you will give it a go!