Just like the Americanization of the holiday itself, these recipes are only marginally authentic — but man, are they festive. Cue the mariachi music and host your own fiesta!
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 quart warm water
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Whole cinnamon sticks, optional, for serving
In a blender, combine the rice and warm water. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes until the rice breaks up but does not form a powder. Let the rice mixture stand in the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight.
Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.
Pour the rice water into a blender and add the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, and sugar. Blend for 1 minute until well combined and smooth. Serve the horchata over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.
Mexican Baked Eggs & Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin (more or less to taste
- jalapeno peppers to taste (I went light)
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or you could use fresh)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 handful cilantro, chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated cheese like jack & cheddar or a Mexican blend
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.Add the garlic, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and jalapeno saute until fragrant, about a minute.Add the tomatoes, black beans, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.Place half of the mixture into one or more baking dishes, top with the eggs and spoon the remaining mixture around the eggs.Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the eggs just start to set, about 5-8 minutes.Top with the cheese and broil until it melts, no more than a minute or so.
For the tortilla chips: cut a stack of corn or flour tortillas into wedges (I used 8-inch rounds, and cut up about four of them) and brush with olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with kosher salt and a squeeze of fresh lime (you could also add cumin), and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes. Turn the pan around in the oven and give the chips a stir, then put the pan back in for just a couple more minutes until they are crisp but not burned. Let them cool briefly before serving.
- 1 package of large flour tortillas (you can also use the smaller 6-inch size, but I prefer to make mine a bit larger)
- 1 package (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream (I buy one small container and reserve the rest to serve alongside the enchiladas)
- 1 can enchilada sauce (I used green)
- 1 package shredded monterey jack cheese (2 cups)
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 a cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- butter, for cooking
- optional: 1 small can of green chilis or a sprinkle of hot sauce
Start by preheating the oven to 375. Prepare the spinach (thaw, rinse and squeeze dry), and set aside.
Next, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and then the garlic (so it doesn’t burn), cooking until fragrant but not browned. Stir in the spinach. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring, then remove from heat. Mix in the ricotta cheese, sour cream, and half the monterey jack cheese.
Prepare the bottom of a glass baking dish by pouring about a third of the enchilada sauce in the bottom, making sure you spread it around to coat the bottom of the baking dish evenly.
Now, assemble the enchiladas. Take a tortilla, spoon some of the warm spinach mixture into the center and fold into thirds, placing the rolled-up enchilada face down in your baking dish.
Repeat, laying each enchilada side by side until the dish is filled. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top, spooning it evenly over each tortilla and making sure it gets down in between the seams to nothing sticks while cooking.
Sprinkle the remaining monterey jack on top of the enchiladas. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the whole thing looks browned and bubbly. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, rice … you name it!
Restaurant Style Salsa
- 2 1/2 cups tomatoes (about 3 heirloom) or 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes
- 2 cans (10 oz) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, mild or medium
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- jalapenos to taste (start with a few slices and add if needed)
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- juice of 1 lime
Using a large food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients until you get the consistency you desire. I err on the side of chunky and not smooth. Test the seasonings, refrigerate for an hour and serve! This makes a pretty good-sized batch, so you can definitely bring plenty to a party and still have leftovers (or, if you have a huge family, just eat it all at one sitting).
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups ice
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 orange, juiced
- 2 cups mango nectar
- Tequila (optional)
- Lime wedges, for garnish