No matter where I’m living, every year I throw a big Cinco de Mayo party. When I was living in Ithaca, I invited a hundred people over to my friend’s big house by the lake and we ate grilled chicken thighs and corn on the cob slathered with lime butter and queso fresco. We drank Coronas spiked with hot sauce and danced to Juanes until 3am.We decorated the house with dollar store decorations that made my friend’s backyard look like a used car sales lot, and we even bought a pinata and stuffed it with candy. There was beer pong, a raging grill, a live reggae band, and blankets scattered all over the hillside. All of the girls wore pretty, embroidered cotton dresses, and the boys brought guitars and played music in the grass.
After a rad field trip to Supermarché Andes, I made crema from scratch. (It’s so simple, just bring heavy cream to a warmish-room temperature in a small pot, then stir in sour cream and let sit in a warm area with the jar lid loosened. After 12 hours, the mixture will have considerably thickened to a luscious cream, and is great straight out of the jar, if you have no restraint, like me.) I also made two salsas — one roasted tomato with chipotles in adobo, the other a fresh spicy tomatillo salsa. There was a quick red onion pickle relish, which marinated in freshly squeezed orange juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar and peppercorns for a day before eating. There were fresh radishes, limes, and poblano peppers. I made a fennel and carrot escabeche with savory granola, adapted from the irresistible recipe on Lottie + Doof. (And then snacked on the escabeche and granola for the rest of the week). I turned on the barbecue and grilled pork tenderloin in adobo. There was also Mexican chorizo and flank steak marinated in pureed onions, garlic, lime, and cumin. That all went on the grill, too. All of this was tucked into warm corn tortillas, with refried black beans, queso fresco, Mexican rice, and crispy fingerling potatoes to round things out. There was so much food, it was probably a good thing that I didn’t make those sopaipillas that I had my eye on.