Cinco de Mayo Recipes from Third Coast Cuisine

Cinco de Mayo is not a big deal in Mexico.  It is not the Mexican Independence Day but an attempt by the US restaurant and adult beverage industries to create a second St. Patrick’s Day.  So it isn’t the equivalent of our 4th of July, rather it is closer in stature to our Flag Day.  That doesn’t mean we can’t still throw a fiesta to commemorate the Battle of Puebla.  Here are a few recipes from the cookbook Third Coast Cuisine:

1½ tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
Juice of 1/2 large lime
Coarse salt

Mix all but salt with cracked ice in a blender until smooth. Pour salt onto a saucer. Rub the rim of the glass with lime peel. Dip glass in salt until well coated. Pour drink into glass and serve with a lime slice as garnish.

Salsa Rojo (red salsa)
3-4 small tomatoes, quartered or 1 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 onion, quartered
2-3 jalapeños or Serranos, sans stems
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
sea salt

Place onions into a blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and blend another 30 seconds. Add garlic and peppers and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste and cilantro and blend until well mixed. Chill one hour before serving.

1 tsp. sugar
2 oz lime juice
4 oz carbonated water
4 oz red wine
1 ounce Grand Marnier

In a tall glass, dissolve 1 tsp sugar into 4 ounces of lime juice.  Add the carbonated water, wine, and Grand Marnier.  Stir and add ice.

6 tablespoons rice
1 1/4 cups blanched almonds
1 inch cinnamon stick
Zest of one lime
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 cups water

In a blender pulverize the rice until smooth.  Combine rice with almonds, cinnamon, and lime zest and refrigerate 6 – 24 hours.  Place rice mixture into the blender and blend 3 – 5 minutes or until smooth and all gritty texture is removed.  Add 2 cups of water and pulse 3 times for five seconds each pulse.  Line a sieve with 2 or 3 layers of cheesecloth and pour a little of the mixture at a time through the sieve into a bowl.  Gather the corners of the cheesecloth, give it a twist, and squeeze out the remaining liquid into the bowl.  Pour liquid into a pitcher, add final two cups of water, and stir in sugar.  Serve over ice.

Arroz Con Pollo
1/2 cup rice
1 lb chicken breast strips (dice after cooking)
1/2 med onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 chili, (jalapeño for medium heat, Serrano for hotter, habanera for too hot) diced
1 15 oz can of corn (all juice removed except for 2 tablespoon)
1? cup chicken broth
5 to 10 strands of saffron (optional)
2 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste
Grated Colby/Jack Cheese

Boil rice in chicken stock with saffron and 2 tablespoons cumin until done. Season chicken to taste and brown in a skillet. Remove chicken and sauté onions, tomato, and chili (add oil or butter if needed) until onions are clear. Add corn and reserved corn juice and season to taste and heat through. Add chicken, rice, and final ½ teaspoon of cumin then simmer 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Top with Colby/Jack Cheese. Use tortillas as the only eating utensils.

Traditional Flan
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
8 eggs
16 egg yolks
1½ cups sugar
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups half-and-half

Preheat an oven to 300 degrees.  Place the 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for approximately 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.  Bring milk and half-and-half to a simmer. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Into each of the 16 flan cups spoon enough sugar/water mixture to cover the bottom of the cup. Then pour in the flan mixture. Place the cups into a baking pan with approximately one-inch of water. Bake for roughly 25 minutes.

battle of puebla

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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