OK, so let's get started with some great guacamole. Roast the veggies ahead and then put everything together a few hours before serving so everything gets to know eachother!
America’s Finest City Guacamole with chips and crudités
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
1 jalapeño, cut in half and seeded
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large fully ripened avocados, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons bottled tomatillo salsa (Frontera brand is nice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 shakes of Tabasco sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner, parchment paper, or aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl, toss together the corn, jalapeño, garlic, onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet and roast until the vegetables are lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the roasted mixture from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, peel and chop the jalapeño and squeeze the garlic from its skin.
- Do-Ahead: At this point, you can cover the mixture and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- In a medium-size bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice. Stir in the roasted mixture, then add the salsa, cilantro, and Tabasco, stirring until blended. Taste for seasoning, transfer to a serving bowl, and press plastic wrap onto the dip.
- Do-Ahead: At this point, refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let the flavors develop and up to 12 hours.
Serves10 to 12
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup gold tequila
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
12 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, tenders removed (use for another purpose)
2 limes, thinly sliced, for garnish
1 or 2 oranges, thinly sliced and any seeds removed, for garnish
- In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, juices, tequila, cumin, chipotle, and cilantro and process until smooth.
- Put the chicken in a zipper-top plastic bag, pour in the marinade, seal the bag, and turn the chicken to coat.
- Do-Ahead: At this point, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
- Build a hot charcoal fire preheat a gas grill, or grill pan, or the broiler for 10 minutes.
- Drain the chicken and pat dry. Grill or broil on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a silicone liner until cooked through and golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
- Do-Ahead: At this point, you can let cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Serve, hot, warm, cold, or at room temperature, garnished with chopped cilantro and lime and orange slices.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 standard cupcake pans with liners, or coat with non-stick cooking spray. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the sugar, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, until blended.
- Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and gradually add to the sugar mixture, until the mixture begins to come together.
- Very slowly, add the boiling water, and blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Ladle or scoop the batter into the cupcake tins, filling ¾ full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes in their pans on wire racks until cooled.
- Do-Ahead: At this point the cupcakes can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for 6 weeks. Defrost and ice with the cinnamon buttercream frosting.
Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to frost two 9-inch layers or 24 cupcakes
4 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
Chocolate curls for garnishing cupcakes
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the sugar, to aerate it. Add the butter, vanilla, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon milk, and beat on high speed until the frosting is spreading consistency. If the frosting is stiff, add a few more drops of milk, beating after each addition. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate curls.
- Do-Ahead: Cover the frosting, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 weeks.
Until then, don't forget the Margaritas!