In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we teamed up with the fabulous Marcia from Smart in the Kitchen to bring y’all some festive recipes for your party weekend! Today’s collaboration started when I offered to host my daughter’s class at our house for dinner a few weeks back. I love throwing parties and host often but have never hosted anything for a group this size (20 or so people) that requires dinner. For bigger groups, I typically outsource the food aka order pizzas (ha!) or do easy appetizers. But dinner for 20, I was in over my head.
I immediately called Marcia and asked for ideas. Clueless in the Kitchen meet Smart in the Kitchen! She had me at kale guacamole! Marcia was also working on a post for fajitas for a crowd and promised it was SUPER easy. If you’ve got a grill (check!) and have a Trader Joe’s nearby (check!), you too, can rock some delicious fajitas for a big group. I did cheat and pick up some rice and beans from my favorite Mexican restaurant. That’ll be our little secret though. Another secret I’ll share, the bagged salads at Whole Foods. That’s right, salad in a bag folks. The Taylor Farms organic Sirancha ranch chopped salad is delish. It comes with tortilla strips that aren’t soggy, sunflower seeds and shredded parmesan cheese. Yum. And add in some avocado and it screams made from scratch. For an appetizer I threw out some crudités with Marcia’s homemade ranch dressing. And served her margaritas for a crowd, another super simple recipe (3 ingredients!) that can be made ahead! After a few refreshing margs, the entire crowd will think the meal was fantastic no matter how it turned out anyway. Ha! Happy Cinco de Mayo, y’all!
- Juice of 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
- 4 small Lacinato kale leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
- ½ cup white or yellow onion, chopped (or less to taste)
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 small Serrano or jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
- 3 large ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- In the bowl of your food processor, combine the lime juice, kale, onion, cilantro, Serrano and salt. Pulse until combined.
- Add the avocado and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt or lime juice if necessary.
- 1 pound tomatillos
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped (this amount can be halved or quartered to taste)
- ½ white or yellow onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- Juice of 2 limes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove husks and place tomatillos on a half-sheet pan lightly coated in oil. Roast in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until soft and browned.
- Place the roasted tomatillos and the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the salsa comes together. Be careful when lifting the lid because of the steam.
Quick Pickled Red Onions
Pickled red onions take only 10 minutes to put together, but they are better after sitting for 3-4 hours. In her book, Tacolicious, Sara Deseran makes these with the addition of Mexican oregano which adds a nice flavor.
- 1 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 red onion, cut in half and sliced very thin into half moons
- In a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, sugar and kosher salt.
- Place the sliced red onion in a glass or ceramic bowl and pour the warm rice vinegar mixture over the onions. Cover and soak for 3-4 hours.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Smart in the Kitchen.
photography by Kate Robinson