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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo!
Flavorful Recipes and Tips for Inspired Entertaining

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Pork Medallions with Mirasol and Cherry Cream Sauce
Velveted Pork Tacos

(Family Features) - Cinco de Mayo - a day for family and fiestas - will color cities across the country soon enough. So, why not join the party and throw your own celebration?

Savvy party planners Carolina Buia and Isabel Gonzalez, authors of "Latin Chic: Entertaining with Style and Sass," know firsthand how to throw a not-to-be-missed fiesta. After all, they've hosted hundreds, and according to them, nothing is more important than the food - it's the centerpiece! Their simple recipes for robust pork dishes, along with other inspired entertaining tips, will ensure your home will be transformed into an authentic fiesta. One word of caution: Serving these delicious recipes can only mean one thing - friends and family will demand a repeat celebration!

Entertaining Essentials

  • Celebrate simply. No need to choose an elaborate menu for your gathering. "Design your menu around pork, a mainstay in traditional Hispanic cooking," says Buia. "Few things are as versatile and easy to work with - you will impress your guests and make the most of your time in the kitchen!"

  • Side dishes that stand out. The beauty of working with pork is that it's so versatile, so don't be afraid to get creative with your side dishes! We suggest grilled corn on the cob served with chipotle butter or black beans garnished with cilantro.

  • Presentation is everything. A beautiful and lively presentation will set the mood for the evening. Decorate the patio with strings of brightly colored lights or brighten up the table with jewel-toned flowers and candles.

  • Artsy dipping. For festive guacamole and salsa bowls, make your own with dried corn husks! Soak husk in warm water until pliable, bend into shape of bowl, tie off corners with strips of another husk, place small bowl in middle and let dry. When dry, remove bowl and the husk will maintain its shape.

  • Sweet drink. Impress guests with this refreshing treat - Watermelon Cava Spritzer. If you can't find watermelon juice at the grocery store, you can easily make it: Take 6 cups of seedless watermelon pulp (about a quarter of a medium watermelon) and liquefy in a blender. Then run the puree through a cheesecloth or clean tea towel (yields about 4 cups of juice). Divide into champagne glasses and top with cava or champagne! For a non-alcoholic version, use sparkling water.

You don't need to get on a plane to celebrate the colorful culture and rich culinary offerings of Latin culture. Buen Provecho!

These tips and recipes are great for Cinco de Mayo, but they can also be used for other occasions throughout the year, such as Mexican Independence Day or to give Latin flair to a weekend gathering.

To view more timesaving recipes with Latin flair, visit www.TheOtherWhiteMeat.com.

Pork Medallions with Mirasol and Cherry Cream Sauce

  • 2 16-ounce pork tenderloins
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons or more of Peruvian mirasol pepper paste (also known as aji Amarillo*)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of loosely packed, finely chopped flat parsley
  • 1 tablespoon celery leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pat dry and season the pork tenderloins. Coat a large, ovenproof skillet with oil and heat. Add the tenderloins to the skillet and over moderate heat, brown all sides of the pork. Place the tenderloins on a plate.
    2. Meanwhile, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the onions are soft and the garlic is just starting to brown. Lower the heat and add the wine. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Return the pork to the skillet, add 1/2 cup of water, and place the skillet in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F. Remove pork onto a plate and tent with a large piece of aluminum foil.
    3. Return skillet to the stovetop and over low to moderate heat, stir in the mirasol pepper paste, cherries, sugar, and heavy cream. Simmer until the sauce thickens and lightly coats a wooden spoon. Fold in the chopped parsley and celery leaves and adjust the seasonings to taste. Add the pork back into the skillet, coating. Cut the pork into medallions and serve over quinoa or a side of white beans.
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Makes 6 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*If you are unable to find mirasol pepper, you may use 2 teaspoons of hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco) as a substitute.

Velveted Pork Tacos

Velveted Pork Tacos are inspired by Mexican street-food fare which is always delicious and very easy to prepare.
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  • 2 pounds boneless pork chops
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 package of 12 flour tortillas ("fajita" or smaller size tortillas)
  • 1 small can of corn niblets
  • 1 jar tomato salsa
  • 1 small container sour cream (regular or non-fat)
  • 1 8 ounce package shredded cheese
  • Salt and pepper
Cilantro Red Onion Salad
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 red onion
  • Dash black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    1. Cut pork chops into small, bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, mix together corn starch, oil, cumin and 1 teaspoon black pepper until smooth, like a runny paste. Add pork to mixture and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
    2. While pork marinates, wash cilantro and pluck whole leaves from stems, about 3/4 cup worth. Place whole cilantro leaves in a bowl. Thinly slice red onion and add to cilantro, creating a salad. (You can adjust cilantro/red onion ratio to taste.) Add a dash of black pepper, white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, toss to coat and set aside.
    3. Cook marinated pork in batches. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a non-stick sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. When oil comes to temperature, cook half the pork pieces (without removing the marinade). Cook until the outside of the pork pieces are brown and a crust has formed and the inside is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. If needed, add more oil to the pan, and then cook the second half of the marinated pork. Once finished, sprinkle cooked pork with salt to taste.
    4. To assemble tacos, warm tortillas according to directions on the package. Take one tortilla and smear a teaspoon of sour cream down the middle. Top with 7-8 chunks of pork. Atop pork, place a spoonful of salsa, then top with cilantro red onion salad, a teaspoon of corn kernels and pinch of cheese. Fold over to enjoy!

Makes 6 servings (12 tacos)
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*For a tapas version of this recipe, make the tacos smaller and seal with bamboo toothpicks.

SOURCE: National Pork Board

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