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Viva Mexico! Let's Get Cooking!

Celebrate Mexico's independence this month with savory eats.

Mexican food is renowned for its bold flavors and rich culinary history. It often features a delightful combination of spices, herbs, and diverse ingredients, such as corn, beans, chiles, and avocados. Tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole are some popular dishes that showcase the vibrant and mouthwatering essence of Mexican cuisine.  

Get your pottery bowls, play some Mexican songs, make a pitcher of Sangria, and enjoy these exciting recipes! And like every September, specifically on the 16th, celebrate Mexico's independence from France. And turn up the music!

Campechana: The King of all ceviches!

4-6 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

- 2 medium poblano or Hatch green chiles

- 1 small tomato, seeded, finely chopped

- 1 avocado, pitted, cubed

- 1–2 jalapeños, stems, ribs, and seeds removed, finely chopped

- 1/2 pound shrimp, boiled 2-3 minutes until opaque

- 1/2 pound crabmeat (preferably jumbo lump, cooked)

- 1/2 cup Clamato-lime juice

- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup

- 3 tablespoons chopped and pitted green olives 

- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

- 3 tablespoons olive oil

- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

- 2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion

- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano

- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

- Tortilla chips

- Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Char chiles, flipping them until blistered all over. This can take about 12-15 minutes. Transfer chiles to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel chiles. Halve lengthwise, discard seeds, and chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Mix chiles, tomato, jalapeños, Clamato juice, ketchup, olives, cilantro, onion, oregano, garlic, lime juice, oil, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Carefully fold in shrimp, crab, and avocado. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chiles en Nogada

8 servings

Ingredients:

- 8 poblano peppers

- 4 eggs, separated

- 2 tomatoes, chopped

- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped

- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

- 1 pound ground beef

- 1 small onion, chopped

- 1 apple, chopped

- 1 banana, sliced

- 1 cup raisins

- 1 cup ground walnuts

- 1 cup sour cream

- 1/2 cup chicken broth

- 1/3 cup slivered almonds

- 2 tablespoons chopped olives

- 1 tablespoon capers

- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

- 1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed

- 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

- 1/8 teaspoon pepper

- Flour

- Oil

- Pomegranate seeds

- Cilantro

- Walnut sauce (recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Char chiles, flipping them around until blistered all over. This can take about 12-15 minutes. Transfer chiles to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel chiles. Cut a slit lengthwise down the side of each pepper. Carefully remove seeds and membranes, then rinse.

Cook and stir ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet until beef is light brown, then drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients except eggs, flour, oil, walnut sauce, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stuff peppers with this filling. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat egg yolks and fold into whites. Coat peppers with the flour and dip into egg mixture. Heat 1/4-inch of oil until hot. Cook 1 pepper at a time, turning once, until puffy and golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Place on paper towels on cookie sheet, keeping warm at 200F in the oven.

For the sauce: Stir together walnuts, sour cream, and chicken broth and spoon it over the peppers. Sprinkle each with pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Fresas al Cognac

6 servings

Ingredients:

- 1 quart strawberries 

- 1/2 cup butter

- 1/4 cup sugar

- 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur

- 2 tablespoons brandy

- 1 teaspoon grated lime peel

- Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Add strawberries, cook, and stir for 1 minute. Stir in sugar, liqueur and lime peel. Cook and stir 1 minute. Heat the brandy in a separate long-handled saucepan until warm, pour over strawberries, and ignite. Serve hot over ice cream.

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