When we think of Mexican cuisine, we usually think of food that is hot and spicy. But actually it ranges from subtle to spicy, simple to complex, and rustic to sophisticated. Summer is a great time to try some of their special traditional foods.

Corn is a basic in Mexican cooking and this recipe uses three versions of that vegetable. Use this corn pie as a luncheon dish or a side dish for dinner.

Pastel de Elote

(Mexican Corn Pie)

(Servings: 8)

Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 (8¾ oz.) can cream-style corn

1 (10 oz.) bag frozen corn, thawed and drained

½ cup butter, melted

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup sour cream

4 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes

4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 4-oz. can chopped mild green chilies

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pie plate generously with solid shortening. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour into pie plate and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour. *The pie may be baked and then kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat refrigerated pie at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. The pie may also be frozen after baking and kept frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Source: Colorado Cache Cookbook, Junior League of Denver

What can be better than shrimp tacos on a summer evening along with a chilled margarita? This recipe adds the flavor of guacamole to the mix.

Cilantro Shrimp Tacos with Guacamole

(servings: 8)

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp

⅓ cup fresh cilantro, finely snipped

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon black pepper

4 cups packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed

1 cup guacamole

Directions:

Thaw shrimp, if frozen; rinse and pat dry. For marinade, combine next eight ingredients (through pepper). In a medium bowl combine shrimp and ¼ cup of the marinade. In another medium bowl combine coleslaw mix and remaining marinade. Marinate shrimp and coleslaw at room temperature 10 minutes. Preheat broiler. Place shrimp on unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 2 to 3 inches from heat 6 to 7 minutes or until opaque, turning once. Top tortillas with guacamole, shrimp and slaw.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications,” Mexican”, 110 Authentic & Fresh Recipes, 2017.

Rice and beans are a staple of Mexican cooking. Rather than serving them hot, enjoy the combination of the two in a tangy, chilled salad. You can use left-over rice, brown rice, or extra rice from Asian take-out to make the salad.

Black Bean, Cilantro, and Sweet Pea Rice

(Servings: 6 to 8)

Ingredients:

2½ cups cooked long grain rice, chilled

2 cups frozen peas

1 (15 oz.) can black bean, rinsed and drained

½ cup chopped red onion (1 medium)

1 medium fresh jalapeno chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or cider vinegar

1½ teaspoons lime juice

1 tablespoon bottled minced roasted garlic

2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons finely snipped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, frozen peas, black beans, red onion, chili pepper, the ½ teaspoon salt, and the ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Mix well. For vinaigrette, pour olive oil into a blender. With blender running, add vinegar and lime juice through hole in lid. Add roasted garlic; continue blending until mixture is smooth, scraping side as necessary. Pour mixture into a small bowl, stir in the 2 tablespoons snipped cilantro, the parsley, the ¼ teaspoon salt and the ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper. Pour vinaigrette over rice mixture, toss to combine. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro sprigs.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications, “Mexican”, 106 All-New Authentic Recipes, 2011.

Chocolate has a long history in Mexico, so for a special finish for your Mexican-themed dinner, select this easy-to-make Mexican Chocolate Mousse. Mexican chocolate is a mixture of chocolate, almonds, sugar and sometimes cinnamon and vanilla, ground together and formed into round or octagonal tablets.

Mexican Chocolate Mousse

(Dulce De Chocolate)

(Servings: 4)

Ingredients:

6 to 6½ ounces Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped

1½ cups whipping cream

3 tablespoons golden rum, if desired

¾ teaspoon vanilla

Sliced almonds

Directions:

Combine chocolate and 3 tablespoons cream in top of double boiler; heat over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Gradually stir in rum; remove from water. Let stand at room temperature to cool slightly, 15 minutes. Combine remaining cream and vanilla in small mixer bowl; beat until stiff. Gently fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture until uniform in color. Spoon mousse into 4 individual dessert dishes; refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours. Garnish with almonds.

Source: “Mexican Cooking Class Cookbook”, by Editors of Consumer Guide.

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