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Meg and I both love Mexican food and we also love to have appetizers for dinner. So, for our Cinco de Mayo dinner, what better way to enjoy the variety of flavors of Mexican food than by making several different appetizers. One of my favorite things about Mexican food is that you can get the flavors of a typically meat containing meal in a meatless option as well.
For our first course, the appetizer course, we made some stuffed jalapeños, guacamole and a fresh salsa of grape tomatoes and onion. The guacamole is simply an avocado, mashed up, with some lime, salt, some of the tomato onion salsa and cilantro. For the stuffing used with the jalapeños, I mixed softened cream cheese, about 3 ounces, with some freshly shredded pepper jack cheese, about 1 ounce. I added in some salt and mixed it up in a bowl to incorporate the cheeses together. I halved and seeded the jalapeños before stuffing them with the cheese. Bake the peppers at 450F for 10-12 minutes, until they start to get slightly browned.
Onto our second course, the main course. I decided to make a Mexican summer salad, based on a recipe from Marcela Valladolid (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/mexican-summer-salad-recipe/index.html). I modified the dressing, used a mix of olives we picked up at the store and used crumbled goat cheese in place of Cotija cheese.
In a bowl, combine the olives, tomatoes and cheese. Season with cumin, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Add extra virgin olive oil and mix to combine. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
To go alongside the salad, I made my rendition of potato rajas tacos. I saw the original recipe on The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Best Thing I Ever Made episode on Food Network. The original recipe can be found on FoodNetwork.com, my version has a few modifications (not fried, a random spicy pepper in place of the poblanos I could not find, goat cheese).
Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes in salted water, until fork tender. Be careful not to overcook.
In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Cook the onions for 7-8 minutes, seasoning with salt, until slightly browned. Add the peppers and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream and add the potatoes. Bring the cream to a low boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Monterey Jack cheese, cook until melted. Top with the goat cheese and remove from the heat. Stuff the wraps with the mixture, roll up and brown in the sauté pan.
For dessert, we picked up an apple crisp at the store and topped it with some homemade whipped cream. A delicious ending to a Mexican fiesta.