My husband and I have some friends who have an annual cookout on the first Saturday in May. They call it their Cinco de Mayo party, though it only occasionally falls on the fifth of May. Still, there’s always a bounty of chips, guacamole, carne asada and other appropriately celebratory foods.
It’s always a challenge to come up with something to bring that will please a number of palates, will transport well (they live about an hour away) and is in keeping with the theme of the day. In past years, I’ve brought hand-chopped coleslaw with a cumin dressing, a vat of homemade pico de gallo and jars of my favorite roasted corn salsa. All good options, but this year I was ready to up my game a little.
I’ve been thinking that enchiladas would be a good way to go, but I didn’t have a recipe I really loved. Happily, there was a wealth of recipes to be found in the Food Network archives. I settled on Tyler Florence’s Chicken Enchiladas With Roasted Tomatillo Chile Salsa. I find that chicken is nearly always a crowd-pleaser, and I liked the idea of making the sauce from scratch.
These enchiladas are definitely a multi-step process, but they’re easy to make once you get an assembly line of sorts established on your kitchen counter (they go even faster if you enlist help). The finished product is an enchilada that is tangy, cheesy and pleasantly spicy. They are just the thing for your Cinco de Mayo Weekender!
Before you start cooking, read these tips
It’s not just about eating more fish and using olive oil. To get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, you need to embrace the lifestyle.
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This weekend, it’s all about Mexican food and a night of serious competition with the finale of Chopped All-Stars and premiere of Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions.
Start your Saturday morning with Paula, who’s cooking a feast of sloppy but delicious Tex-Mex inspired recipes with her friend Cheryl. Later in the morning, Giada makes modern interpretations of Mexican dishes. On Sunday morning, Guy’s cooking a south-of-the-border feast. And on Sandwich King, Jeff is making Mexican wraps.
On Sunday evening tune in to all the competition, starting with a new episode of Cupcake Wars, where the bakers compete for a chance to serve their goods at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Then it’s the finale of Chopped All-Stars. Watch to see if Sunny, Gavin, Scott or Laila takes the championship. And last, it’s the premiere of Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions, in which Iron Chef battles Iron Chef. In this first battle, Geoffrey Zakarian is up against Alex Guarnaschelli.
Read about the shows
Enchiladas, burritos and tacos may be traditional fare on Cinco de Mayo, but when it comes to feeding a crowd this weekend, look to big batches of warm chicken tortilla soup to make entertaining a cinch. A no-fuss favorite that will impress your guests, tortilla soups are packed with bold spices and hearty ingredients like beans and vegetables; plus they become an all-in-one-meal when made with moist, juicy chicken. Check out Food Network’s top-five chicken tortilla soup recipes below to find the ultimate roundup of flavor-packed favorites from chefs like Guy, Rachael, Trisha and the Pioneer Woman, then browse Food Network’s entire collection of Cinco de Mayo eats and drinks.
5. Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup With Tequila Crema — After marinating chicken thighs in a mixture of garlic, cumin and chili powder, Guy grills and shreds them, then tops the chicken with a jalapeno-laced broth, fried tortilla strips and cool sour cream spiked with tequila. Click the play button on the video after the jump below to watch him make it.
4. Chicken Fajita Tortilla Soup — Rachael brings all of the flavors and textures you look for in classic fajitas to a satisfying soup by simmering chicken tenders with onions, peppers and jalapenos in a tomato broth and serving each bowl with crunchy tortilla chips, shredded cheese and creamy avocado.
Get the top three recipes
If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, don’t be discouraged. Instead, throw your own celebration at home with a viewing party. Gather your family and friends for a day of fun filled with classic Kentucky dishes. Food Network has your menu covered with recipes for Kentucky Burgoo, Derby Pie, Mint Juleps (pictured above) and more. And just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up for the races — ladies, put on your hats, and gentleman, don’t forget your jackets!
Get the Kentucky Derby recipes
Try a salty spin on an old ice cream-truck favorite, the Choco Taco. Fill taco shells with softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Melt 6 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in the microwave, then stir in 6 tablespoons chopped butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup. Dip the tacos in the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and let harden, about 2 minutes.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
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This Sunday, (May 5 at 10pm/9c), the first-ever Iron Chef America: Tournament of Champions will begin — pitting Iron Chefs against Iron Chefs. In preparation for such a challenge, I thought it’d be a good idea to sit down with the Iron Chefs and ask them questions that will help readers and fans get to know them a little better. Last week we kicked it off when Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli — this week it’s all about Iron Chef, Jose Garces. Check back every Thursday for an inside look at the remaining roster of Iron Chefs.
This year gave me my first opportunity to judge Iron Chef Jose Garces in Kitchen Stadium. Although I already knew he has always been held in high regard in the culinary world, it was great to experience, first hand, how he combines his superb technical skills with an ability to make seriously delicious food.
I hope I have many more opportunities to sample his dishes again in the future. In the meantime, I caught up with him for a few moments to ask 10 questions about his culinary background and beliefs.
Much is made of the importance of eating organic, community-supported, farm-to-table cuisine, but for many chefs across the country, sustainable choices are difficult to make, oftentimes simply because of a lack of information. Chefs Collaborative, however, a nonprofit organization, is committed to educating culinary industry professionals on how to best purchase ingredients, partner with vendors and plan menus in an effort to help them offer the most-wholesome meals possible.
Founded 20 years ago on the basis that food should be “local, sustainable [and] delicious,” Chefs Collaborative celebrates the natural beauty of seasonal selections and believes that food tastes better when it’s intelligently grown and responsibly sourced. This network of more than 12,000 chefs, restaurateurs, culinary experts and business specialists, among them kitchen superstars Michael Anthony and Bill Telepan from Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern and Telepan Restaurants, respectively, has teamed up not to merely tell their peers a right way to buy and prepare their food, but instead to give them the tools and resources to do so efficiently in ways that make sense for them. Part of their mission is to “build a strong membership base of hundreds of members across the country,” and, in doing so, begin a nationwide conversation about making sustainability a key focus for chefs everywhere.
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Some of the mystery basket ingredients that get used on Chopped are pretty unusual, to say the least. But the culinary producers who come up with them don’t just draw them out of a hat — though sometimes it does seem that way! They take their time to decide on the ingredients, making sure the basket components are just right and actually manageable. FN Dish queried the culinary producers to find out the top 16 weirdest basket ingredients they’ve had on the show. The list of ingredients ranged from goat brains to gummy eggs over easy — almost no ingredient is off-limits.
Now it’s up to you, Chopped fans, to vote on the ingredient you think is the weirdest of them all in this four-round bracket tournament, which coincides with the new season of Chopped All-Stars.