(Family Features) For Mexican food lovers everywhere, Cinco de Mayo provides the perfect excuse to host a fiesta.
This year, try spicing up your party menu with Mexican-inspired bold flavors and fresh ingredients. With a little planning and some key fresh ingredients, you can host a fiesta everyone will enjoy.
To add more authentic flavor to your table, be sure to serve Fiery Fiesta Empanadas.
With a soft cornmeal crust, ground beef, cheese and olive filling, this dish boasts bold notes of cumin, garlic and mild Tabasco green jalapeño pepper sauce – making these empanadas a sure-fire way to spice up your menu.
For more sizzling, south-of-the-border recipes, visit www.tabasco.com.
Fiery Fiesta Empanadas
Makes 4 empanadas
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter or margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 Tbsp. water
1 pound ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 c. taco sauce
1/4 c. pitted ripe olives, chopped
4 tsp. Tabasco green jalapeño pepper sauce, divided
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 large egg, beaten
Combine flour, cornmeal and salt in medium bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle in water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough sticks together.
On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll out half of dough until 1/4-inch thick.
Cut dough into two 7-inch rounds. Repeat with remaining dough and scraps. Cover; set aside.
Cook ground beef and garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned on all sides, stirring occasionally to break up beef.
Stir in scallions, taco sauce, olives, 3 tsp. green jalapeño pepper sauce, oregano, cumin and salt until well blended. Stir in cheese.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease large cookie sheet. Spoon about 1/2-c. filling on 1/2 of each round, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
Stir together egg and remaining tsp. green jalapeño pepper sauce.
Brush border with egg mixture.
Fold dough over filling, pressing out air. Crimp edges with fork or fingers to seal.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake 25 minutes or until golden.
1 pound shrimp (medium-sized), peeled
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
1/4 c. peanut oil
1/2 c. sweet cooking rice wine (found in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. fresh scallion, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Sauté garlic and minced chilies in peanut oil over medium-high heat until garlic turns slightly brown.
Add rice wine and cook for 1 minute to evaporate alcohol.
Add soy sauce and lemon juice.
Let cook for 1 minute. Stir, add shrimp, and raise heat to high.
Cook, stirring often, until shrimp become pink between one and two minutes.
Then remove from stove immediately, garnish with chopped scallions, and serve shrimp, along with sauce.
Sweet and Salty Bites
Similar to prosciutto, jamón is a salt cured ham from Spain. If you can’t find it at your local butcher, you can easily substitute with prosciutto.
medium cantaloupe or honeydew melon
20 to 30 paper thin slices of jamón or prosciutto
Cut melon into bite size pieces. Wrap jamón around melon slice and secure with a toothpick.
Photo of Sweet and Salty Bites is courtesy of Getty Images.