Special of the day: South of the Border Cinco de Mayo Soiree

02 May Special of the day: South of the Border Cinco de Mayo Soiree

Roasted Roma Tomato Shrimp Cocktail

Hola, amigos!  The month of May is upon us, and it’s high time for a fiesta. Set your sights south of the border and throw a Cinco de Mayo soiree this week.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations commemorate the May 5, 1862 Battle of Puebla victory of the greatly outnumbered Mexican Army over the French Army that subsequently sparked great pride and unity throughout the country of Mexico.

The occasion has become increasingly popular and is now widely celebrated throughout the United States with parades, festivals, and of course, food, on or around May 5.

Falling on a Saturday this year, there’s no better time to celebrate Mexican culture than Cinco de Mayo, especially when armed with a few easy do-ahead recipes that are guaranteed to please your guests.

As for you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how simple this menu’s plan of attack really is. All three recipes can be prepared in advance. The pork adobo is a snap to make in a slow cooker and can be rewarmed just prior to serving.  Making the mousse mixture a day ahead will allow time for chilling before whipping and piping into dessert dishes.  Roasting the Roma tomatoes and sweet onions ahead of time will leave little else but assembly for the Roasted Roma Tomato Shrimp Cocktails.

Ice some Coronas, slice some limes, and get the fiesta started with this week’s Special of the day: South of the Border Cinco de Mayo Soiree and recipes for Roasted Roma Tomato Shrimp Cocktail, Pork Adobo Tacos and Mexican Chocolate Mousse.

Roasted Roma Tomato Shrimp Cocktail

Roasted Roma Tomato Shrimp Cocktail

(makes 4 appetizer-sized shrimp cocktails)

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

¼ cup sweet onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ripe avocados, diced

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

Freshly ground pepper to taste

12 large cooked shrimp, rinsed and dried

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon chili powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread diced tomatoes and onions in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Roast in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent overbrowning.

Remove from oven and let cool.

(Can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to assemble shrimp cocktail.)

To assemble:

In medium mixing bowl, combine roasted tomato mixture, diced avocado, lime juice, salt, chili powder and freshly ground pepper.

Distribute mixture among four martini glasses.

Toss shrimp with lime juice, chili powder and salt.

Hang shrimp around rims of martini glasses.

Garnish with lime wedges.


Pork Adobo Tacos

Pork Adobo Tacos

(serves 10-12)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small sweet onion, sliced into thin rings

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ pound pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized cubes

2 teaspoons chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

2  16-ounce jars Fire-Roasted Chipotle Salsa (Albertsons)

2 10-ounce cans Rotel Mild Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles, drained

¼ cup vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat slow cooker on high.

Add olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until softened.

Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, put lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 1 and ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Set Pork Adobo out on taco bar with warmed tortillas, grated cheese, sliced avocados, sour cream and salsa for guests to assemble their own Pork Adobo tacos.



Mexican Chocolate Mousse


Mexican Chocolate Mousse

(makes 4 small servings)

(*Make mousse mixture the day before you serve it. It has to refrigerate overnight.)

1 ½ cups heavy cream

6 ounces Mexican chocolate (or substitute Bittersweet chocolate), chopped

1 ½ teaspoons Instant Espresso powder

Dash of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat cream to a simmer.

Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and let sit briefly to melt.

Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.

Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Transfer mousse mixture to mixing bowl.

Beat mousse mixture with electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

Transfer to icing bag and pipe into dessert dishes.

Garnish with chocolate curls*, if desired.

*Chocolate curls can be made by running a vegetable peeler along the long edge of a bar of bittersweet chocolate. For best results, make sure chocolate is slightly warmer than room temperature by heating it for a few seconds in the microwave or setting it in a sunny window to warm.


Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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