Mexican Feast For Cinco de Mayo

(CBS) Monday is an important national holiday in Mexico - Cinco de Mayo.

That's a great excuse for folks north of the border to indulge in the feast, and The Early Show's "Chef on a Shoestring" served up plenty to get the party started on Saturday.

Scott Linquist is executive chef of the newly-opened Dos Caminos, in the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. He's a co-author of Dos Caminos' cookbook, "Mod Mex: Cooking Vibrant Fiesta Flavors at Home" (Andrews McMeel).

Linquist only had our shoestring budget of $40 to work with for his mix, featuring guacamole and chicken tacos. The menu: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde, Chips and Guacamole, Chipotle-Marinated Chicken Tacos, Tacos Al Pastor with Roasted Pineapple Pico de Gallo, and Kiwi Margarita Raspado with Fruit Ceviche.


Tacos Al Pastor: Similar to the Greek gyro, and translates to "shepard style." Tacos Al Pastor is a dish that was developed in Puebla, México and traditionally is served with grilled pineapple on top. Tacos al pastor, although less-widely available than other styles in fusion Mexican cuisine, are one of the most popular tacos served in taquerias both in Mexico and U.S. Latino neighborhoods.

Pico De Gallo: Pico de gallo, Spanish for "rooster's beak," is the term generally referring to a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically jalapeños or serranos). Other ingredients may also be added, such as lime juice, fresh cilantro, avocado, cucumber, or radish. Pico de gallo can be used in much the same way as Mexican salsas or Indian chutneys, but since it is less liquid, it can also be used as a main ingredient in dishes such as tacos and fajitas.

Chipotle: A chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeño chili used primarily in Mexican, Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and Mexican-inspired cuisine. Chipotles are a key ingredient that impart a relatively mild, but earthy spiciness to many dishes in Mexican cuisine. The chiles are used to make various salsas. Chipotle chiles can also be ground up and combined with other spices to make a meat marinade known as an adobo.

Raspado: Raspado is similar to a snow cone. You get the granular texture by scraping the ice with a fork several times throughout the freezing process.

Ceviche: Usually, ceviche is a chilled citrus-marinated seafood salad, popular in many Latin American countries. On Saturday, Linquist used a variation of the classic ceviche by replacing the seafood with fresh fruits. His ceviche accompanied the homemade kiwi raspado served as dessert.


Fresh Guacamole
Serves 4

2 Tbls. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 Tbls. finely chopped yellow onion
2 Tbls. minced jalapeno or Serrano chilies, seeds and membranes removed if desired
2 Large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
2 Tbls. cored, seeded, and finely chopped plum tomato
2 tsps. freshly squeezed lime juice
4 Cups warm tortilla chips, for serving
1/2 tsp. Kosher or coarse salt

In a medium-sized bowl or molcajete, manually mash together 1 teaspoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon of the yellow onion, 1 teaspoon of the chile, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Add the avocadoes and gently mash with a fork until it is chunky/smooth.

Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.

Stir in the tomato and lime juice, adjust the seasonings to taste and serve with a basket of warm tortilla chips.

Chipotle-Marinated Chicken Tacos
Serves 3 (6 tacos)

1 Pound Chicken Thighs
1 Cup canola oil
6 corn tortillas (6 inch)

Chipotle Marinade

1 Plum tomato, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 Medium sized yellow onion
2 Cloves garlic
2 Canned chipotle chilies in adobo
1/8 Cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/8 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbl. honey
1/2 Tbl. kosher salt

Roasted Corn and Avocado Pico de Gallo

1/2 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 Cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear) or defrosted high-quality frozen corn
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 Jalapeno or Serrano chile, stem removed and chopped
1/8 Cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tbl. freshly squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 Ripe Avocado peeled, seeded and diced

Method: For Marinade

Preheat the oven to 400ºF

Spread the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a medium sized metal baking pan, and roast until browned, about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Remove the vegetables from the oven, let cool, and then transfer to the jar of an electric blender.

Add the chipotle chilies, orange juice, lime juice, and salt, and puree until smooth.

Put the chicken in a large mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper.

Pour the marinade over the chicken, toss to coat well, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Method: For Chicken

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the chicken into an oven proof baking dish and pour marinade over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and let cool. Save the remaining cooking liquid.

Using a fork, pull the meat from the bone, and shred into one inch long pieces

Toss with about ½ cup of remaining cooking liquid.

Method: For Pico de Gallo

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot.

Add the oil and corn and cook until the kernels are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

Remove the corn and let cool.

In a medium sized mixing bowl toss the corn with the diced tomato, chipotle chile, cilantro, and lime juice. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Just before serving peel and seed the avocado and cut into ¾ inch cubes.
Gently fold the avocado into the pico de gallo.

Tacos Al Pastor with Roasted Pineapple Pico De Gallo
Serves 3 (6 tacos)

1 Pound boneless pork loin, thinly sliced
6 Corn Tortillas (6 inch)

Al Pastor Marinade
1 Ancho chile
1 Guajillo chile
1 Garlic clove
1/4 Yellow onion
1/8 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 Black pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Cup water
1/8 Cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
Kosher salt

Grilled Pineapple Pico de Gallo

1/4 Yellow onion, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick slices
1/16 Fresh pineapple, peeled and cut crosswise
1/8 Cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 Cup thinly sliced Serrano chilies
1/2 Tbl. fresh squeezed lime juice

Method: For Marinade

Toast and rehydrate the chilies.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chilies to the jar of an electric blender along with the garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, pepper, cinnamon, water, apple cider vinegar, and salt, puree until smooth. Set aside.

Method: For Pork

Put the pork sliced between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and, using a meat pounder or the pack of a heavy pan; flatten into ½ inch thick slices.

Season the pork with salt, and put in a large non reactive mixing bowl.
Pour in about ½ cup of the marinade, turning to coat evenly.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

The remaining marinade may be kept in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for 3 months.

Preheat a barbecue grill or grill pan over medium heat.

Remove the pork from the marinade and grill on each side for 2 to 3 minutes.

Grill the onion and pineapple, then let cool.

Let the pork rest for 5 minutes then cut it into small cubes.

Method: For Pico de Gallo

Dice the grilled onion and pineapple into quarter inch cubes, and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.

Toss the onion and pineapple with the chopped cilantro, chopped Serrano chilies, and lime juice, and season to taste with salt.
Serve with warm tortillas and pineapple pico de gallo on the side.

Kiwi Margarita Raspado with Fruit Ceviche
Serves 8 or more

Kiwi-Margarita Raspado

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 lb. fresh kiwis, peeled and pureed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup good quality silver tequila

Fruit Ceviche

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbls. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbls. good quality silver tequila
2 Tbls. triple sec
1 Cup finely diced strawberries
1 Large banana, peeled and diced
1 Mango, peeled and finely diced
1 Cup diced pineapple
1 Cup shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

Kiwi Margarita Raspado

In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar, bring to simmer, and then remove from the heat and refrigerate until cool.

Combine the sugar syrup with the fresh kiwis, lime juice, and tequila in the jar of an electric blender and puree until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a metal baking pan and freeze until just frozen but not rock hard. Remove the pan from the freezer and scrape the ice with a fork several times to stir up the ice crystals.

Return the pan to the freezer and repeat this process 4 or 5 times, until you have a nice granular mixture.

Fruit Ceviche

In a small bowl, stir the sugar and lime juice together to dissolve the sugar.

Stir in the triple sec and tequila.

Combine the fruits in a large bowl, pour the lime juice mixture over the fruit, and toss gently.

To Serve:

Chill small bowls or parfait glasses.

Scoop about ½ cup of the kiwi margarita raspado into each glass and spoon ¼ cup of the fruit ceviche mixture over the top and garnish with the toasted coconut.

Dos Caminos Margarita
(Editor's Note: This isn't in the budget - but you can't have Cinco de Mayo without margaritas!)
Makes 16 small margaritas

Basic Fruit Mix

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup

For Each of the Margaritas:
1 oz fruit mix
11/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
Kosher Salt or coarse salt to rim the glass (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

For each Margarita:

Add the fruit mix along with the tequila and Triple Sec and a dash of salt. Shake hard 20 times.

To rim the glass with salt, pour about 1/4 inch salt into a small, flat dish. Run a lime wedge around the outside top of the glass. Invert the glass into the salt.

Pour over fresh ice or server straight up.

How did Linquist do with our $40 budget?

Cilantro .89
Yellow Onion .59
Jalapeno .10
Avocados $3.98
Plum Tomato .63
Lime .39
Tortilla Chips $1.79

Pork Loin $2.99
Chicken Thighs $1.79
Tortillas $2.18
Ancho Chile .99
Guajillo Chile .99
Garlic .36
Yellow Onion .59
Cumin .95
Apple Cider Vinegar .79
Pineapple $1.89
Serrano Chile .17
Chipotle Chile $1.19
Plum Tomato .63
Orange .25
Lime .39
Honey 2.19
Corn .59
Tomato .62
Jalapeno .10
Avocado $2.00

Kiwis $1.99
Orange .25
Lime .39
Strawberries 1.49
Banana .35
Mango .99
Coconut $1.29
Tequila $1.50
Triple Sec .99

FINAL COST = $39.26!

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