The 16th of September is one of great celebration, not only for Mejicanos, but also for those of Mexican decent everywhere. It commemorates the day Father Hidalgo climbed to the balcony of the Parish of Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) and exclaimed loudly, “Long live independence. Long live Las Americas. Death to bad government.”
This became known as the “Grito de Dolores” a call to independence from Spanish dominance. Soon after his “grito”, Father Hidalgo was captured and executed. Jose Maria Morelos, a small village priest, took up the call for independence and continued to motivate and incite the revolutionaries against the Spanish.
Independence was finally achieved in 1821 when Guadalupe Victoria, a liberal, became the first elected president of the Republic of Mexico.
Hispanics like myself celebrate this holiday as a tribute to the struggle that the revolutionary army made up of farmers, peasants, villagers and indios endured in honor of their success in achieving freedom from the Spanish crown.
You don’t have to be a terminator or super soldier to win your blessed freedom from tyranny. You just have to cherish your freedom enough to stand up for what’s right.
I would like to offer a few Mexico-inspired dishes to get your fiesta up and running. Enjoy life, celebrate your freedom and be grateful for family, friends and country.
Coctel Bandera Mejicana
1 pint Tequila
½ cup lime juice
½ cup sugar
1 cup green seedless grapes
1 cup cherries
Mix the tequila with the lime juice and sugar. Add crushed ice and mix thoroughly. Serve in tall cocktail glasses. Skewer one green grape, one cube of jicama, and one cherry. To represent the colors of the Mexican Flag, garnish each cocktail with the skewered fruits. Makes 8 servings.
1 ½ ounces Tequila
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon chopped green chile
5 - 6 ice cubes
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large stemmed glass and serve with a rib of celery and a pickled jalapeño as garnish. Makes 1 serving.
2 heads of broccoli
1 large head of cauliflower
2 packages (12 ounces each) of cherry tomatoes
1 end-slice of bread
On a rectangle-shaped serving platter, arrange broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes in equal portions starting on the left side of platter with the broccoli and ending on the right side with cherry tomatoes.
With a shape knife, cut the end-slice of bread into an eagle shape (or whatever shape you desire) and toast it in the toaster (or in the oven if you think the bread slice might break coming out of the toaster).
In the center portion, the one covered with the cauliflower, position the toasted, eagle-shaped end-slice of bread in the center. Beneath the eagle, form a ½ circle with jalapeño slivers. Decorate with pimento pieces. Position 1 jalapeño sliver by the eagle's beak to represent the snake. Chill in refrigerator till serving time.
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
Mix these two ingredients and chill in fridge to allow flavors to mellow, 30 minutes. Add minced onion (or onion powder), chopped cilantro, chile powder, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar, all ingredients to taste. Be conservative with the amounts. You can always add more, but you can't take them out!
Pastel de 3 Leches
3 Milk Cake
6 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all purpose flour
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ cups whole milk or cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract or Amaretto
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup Amaretto
Garnish (optional):Sliced fruit, such as strawberries, kiwi, start fruit, etc.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350°. Beat 6 egg whites, baking soda, and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk 6 egg yolks. With mixer on low speed. combine yolks with egg whites. Slowly add sugar and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold in cooled melted butter. Sift ¼ cup of flour into mixture and fold with spatula to combine. Continue sifting and folding the flour into the batter ¼ cup at a time until it is all mixed in. Pour batter into buttered and floured 9-inch cake pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool 5 minutes on wire rack.
For the milk mixture, combine the 3 milks and vanilla about 5 minutes before the cake is donw baking. After the cake has cooled for 5 minutes, remove cake from pan and place on cake plate making sure plate has a rim so that the milk mixture does not runn off the edge. Pierce top of cake with a fork or toothpick. Pour milk mixture onto cake and allow 3 to 5 minutes for the milk to be absorbed. Once the cake has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate until serving time.
For the whipped cream, chill a bowl and beaters thoroughly. Beat the cream with a mixer until it begins to thicken. Slowly add sugar and Amaretto. Beat until stiff peaks form. When ready to serve, cut cake into serving portions and top with the shipped cream. Garnish with sliced fruit.
For the chocolate version of the 3 Leches Cake, go to my chocolate blog and enjoy a delectable style of this wonderful dessert. Aprovecho.
Mexican word of the day: Defense
La migra chase me cause I jump defense!