(Family Features) Cinco de Mayo is, officially, a holiday celebrating Mexico's victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. In the U.S., where it is actually celebrated with more gusto than in its native country, the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.
The holiday also provides a great excuse to make irresistible Mexican-inspired recipes for entertaining and, of course, a big batch of margaritas to wash it all down. Fresh sweet corn is an essential component of many Mexican dishes and a cultural staple.
Luckily, Cinco de Mayo falls right in the middle of Florida's Sunshine Sweet Corn season, meaning that the sweetest corn, available all year, arrives just in time to be a part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration. These naturally-bred varieties are grown by a group of family farmers who are committed to producing the finest sweet corn.
Get the fiesta started with this Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip and a big bowl of tortilla chips. Crunchy, spicy, sweet and creamy, this addictive dip will have your guests asking for more.
Next, be sure to serve Mexican Style Corn, a truly authentic and delicious Mexican street food. Crunchy ears of fresh sweet corn are charred to perfection then slathered with a mixture of cheese and mayo, sprinkled with chili powder and squirted with lime for simple flavor perfection.
Finally, no Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without tacos. For a healthful twist on your typical taco, try this recipe for Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw that will have both vegetarians and meat eaters clamoring for seconds.
Incorporating more healthful whole foods and veggies into your Cinco de Mayo celebration this year makes it easier to justify one more margarita. No matter what you serve at your Cinco de Mayo celebration, make sure to incorporate the sweet and wholesome flavor of fresh spring sweet corn.
Discover more mouth-watering recipes for Cinco de Mayo and every time of year at www.sunshinesweetcorn.com.
Six Global Spreads for Sweet Corn
- North America: Maple Bourbon Butter - Combine one stick butter, 4 teaspoons bourbon, 2 teaspoons maple syrup and pinch of salt.
- South America: Lime-Avocado Crema - In a blender, combine one avocado, 1/4 cup lime juice, one garlic clove, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1/2 cup sour cream and pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Add water if necessary.
- Europe: Combine 2 ounces goat cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, and pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
- Asia: Sriracha Butter - Combine 1/3 cup butter with 3 tablespoons Sriracha.
- Africa: Harissa-Yogurt Spread - Whisk together 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons Harissa sauce, one crushed garlic clove and pinch of salt.
- Australia: Honey-Ginger BBQ Sauce - In saucepan combine 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons minced ginger and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened and reduced to about 1 1/4 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.
Mexican Style Corn
- 4 ears fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn, husked
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 4 ounces Cotija or feta cheese
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 lime slices
- Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil corn, turning occasionally until hot and some kernels turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using knife, coat each ear of corn with about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble cheese on one side of each corn ear.
- Sprinkle with chili powder, dividing evenly. Broil until cheese starts to melt, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with lime.
Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw
- 4 ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
- 1/2 cup torn cilantro, parsley and mint leaves
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 cup radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
- 10 to 12 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
- Brush corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Over hot grill or open gas stove flame, char ears of corn until well blackened but not completely burnt. Remove from heat; cool. With large knife, shave off kernels into bowl. Add cilantro, parsley and mint; reserve.
- In small bowl, combine onion and lime juice; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, radishes, zucchini, jalapeno and 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
- Heat your tortillas one of two ways: Wrap whole stack in foil and place in warm 250°F oven for 15 minutes, or coat cast-iron skillet with thin layer of oil and heat over high heat; warm each tortilla 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, until lightly blistered.
- To make tacos, fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup corn. Top with cheese and radish-zucchini slaw. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip
Serves: 8 to 12
- 3 to 4 ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 cup cooked chorizo
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1(8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 pound spicy pepper cheese, like pepper-jack or habanero cheddar
- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
- Preheat oven to 400°F and preheat grill to high heat.
- Remove cornhusks and corn silk, and place fresh Florida Sweet Corn, onion slices and red bell pepper on grill.
- Grill corn and bell pepper for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until all sides are slightly charred.
- Grill onion slices for approximately 3 minutes per side. When veggies are cool enough to handle, cut corn off cob. Then chop onions and pepper, removing pepper seeds. In 8-by-8-inch baking dish or one-quart souffle dish, mix all ingredients together until well combined.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until edges are bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Source: Sunshine Sweet Corn
(Family Features) If you’re having trouble getting started, or even sticking to, a healthy eating regimen, you may be surprised that one highly effective practice doesn’t require counting calories or hours of exercise. You simply need to plan out your meals.
When hunger strikes, it’s tempting to grab the fastest, easiest-to-make food available, but that’s rarely the best choice for your health. Planning your meals encourages you to invest in better-for-you options ahead of time and reduces food waste, while saving significant time and money in the long-term. If you don’t know where to start, follow these easy tips to help make meal planning a breeze:
- Build meals around themes like taco night or seafood night. This can help narrow down your options but still allow you to experiment with new recipes or variations on favorites that can be added to your regular rotation.
- Be sure to include breakfast, lunch and snacks. Whether these are meals on the go or foods you’ll eat at home, planning ahead can help ensure you have tasty, healthy options at your fingertips all day long.
- Make it a family affair. Invite meal feedback from everyone and keep kids involved in the prep process to create more family time together.
- Take inventory of your pantry and leftovers before heading to the store – yesterday’s grapefruit breakfast could be today’s citrus salad.
- Shop wisely. Maximize time and money savings by shopping at a store such as ALDI, where you can find all your weekly must-haves, like fresh produce and organics, dairy, USDA Choice beef and bakery items. ALDI also offers a variety of healthy eating resources, including weekly meal plans and recipes like these Quinoa Lentil Tacos, at aldi.us/hellohealthy.
Quinoa Lentil Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
- 32 ounces SimplyNature Vegetable Broth
- 3/4 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Stonemill Essentials Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Onion Powder
- 1 cup SimplyNature Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon Baker’s Corner Corn Starch
- 10 Pueblo Lindo White Corn Tortillas
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup crumbled Pueblo Lindo Fresco Cheese
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- In medium saucepan, bring broth, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, quinoa and lentils to boil; reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.
- Remove lid and add corn starch. Stir 5-8 minutes until lentils are cooked through.
- Heat medium pan over high heat. Heat tortillas 1 minute on each side.
- Divide lentil mixture evenly among tortillas. Top with red onion, avocado and fresco cheese. Serve each with lime wedge.
(Family Features) What can family members do special this year for Mom? Most Moms dream of a fine meal they don’t have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother’s Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.
Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It’s easy when your family shops where the pros shop, such as Sam’s Club for frozen appetizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake ready to thaw and serve. For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.
Check out www.samsclub.com — or the Sam’s Club nearest you — for more great Mother’s Day ideas.
Mother’s Day Game Plan
Here’s the game plan for catering a Mother’s Day meal at home.
- Chill the champagne or make a delicious punch a few hours before the meal.
- Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
- Prepare and cook the salmon.
- Slice up some fresh fruit or bread.
- Finish with a deliciously moist cheesecake - a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
- Serve Mom in bed - let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
- Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
- Watch Mom smile.
Mom’s Secret Wish List
Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she’d love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.
- Diamonds. They’re always a girl’s best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything — jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.
- Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.
- Furniture. Surprise her with something she’s been wanting, whether it’s the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.
- Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?
- Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it’s time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she’d love a stand mixer or a great platter.
Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington preparations are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it’s a breeze. The bundles can be prepared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.
Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.
Makes: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon thyme or dill
- minced Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- 4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)
- 2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.
- Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.
- Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet — about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.
- Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleating like a pie crust. Repeat for each “package.” Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Cranberry Splash Punch
Makes: 8 servings
- 4 cups cranberry juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup cherry juice
- 2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 6 cups ice cubes
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 limes, sliced
- 3 cups orange soda or ginger ale
- Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly.
- To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.
Source: Sam's Club