Need ideas for Cinco de Mayo cocktail buffet
I'm planning a surprise birthday party for my husband with about a dozen guests with a Cinco de Mayo theme. For various reasons, I've decided it will work better to have a substantial cocktail buffet rather than a seated dinner. Besides the obvious - chips, salsas, Margaritas, etc. - does anyone have any ideas? Rick Bayless has a Chipotle Shrimp recipe I thought I might try, and I thought of chocolate-pecan or Key Lime tarts as a dessert, but what else? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
I've made RBs Chipotle Shrimp recipe and his chocolate pecan pie recipe. Both are really good, and the pie can easily be converted to tarts.
Here are some other suggestions:
Hot & Spicy mixed nuts (very common botana in Oaxaca)
Albondigas (meatballs) with salsa (I usually use a chipotle sauce, but you could really use anything including mole)
Minilla (from Veracruz) which are tuna stuffed vol a vents, kind of like a puff pastry turnover
Empanadas with various fillings and dipping sauces
Marinated Panela or Cotija cheese (olive & corn oils, a lot of garlic, dried Mex. oregano, marinate over night, bake, serve hot with crackers or toast rounds)
Pickled carrots and peppers
Stuffed chiles (your version of a popper, there are a ton of ways to stuff fresh or dried chiles and serve them cold or at room temp)
Clams Culichi (basically clams with a poblano cream sauce, servered hot)
Chile Agua (from Sinoloa) (fresh shrimp shelled, deveined and split, doused with lime and chile serrano just at service, let sit 10 mintues. extremely spicy)
Queso Fundido (a take off on fondue, often served with crumbled, fried and drained chorizo)
Tuna parfait (layer into 4 or 6 oz clear glasses, avocado cream, finely diced raw yellow fin tuna, minced serrano, minced tomato, maybe some lime crema and finish with something crunchy like corn tortillas that have been fried and crushed
Rick Bayless' most recent book is Fiesta at Rick's and has a lot of recipes for party dishes, many of them suitable for cocktail parties. You can probably find a copy at your local bookstore or library to flip through and see if anything strikes your fancy. He's got a lot of variations on the margarita along with a few other drinks. Not every recipe in this book works, and not all the yields are accurate but it's not too difficult to tweak them. I'm not a big fan of this book and don't recommend purchasing it, but I do think there are a lot of great party ideas in it.
Do you want everything cold/room temperature or will you serve warm foods? Mostly springboarding off of last year's menu, I am making:
Salsa verde con aguacate
Miniature tortas de carne enchilada
Scallop ceviche on black pasta nests
Coctel de camaron
And a make your own taco bar with chiles rellenos, rice and beans, chorizo, chicken tinga and all the trimmings
For dessert I may make Mexican chocolate mousse (flavored with spices and chilies) or opt for a simple tres leches cake.
I may also buy tlacuyos and serve them topped with shredded lettuce, salsa, onions, crema and cheese.
Speaking of senor Bayless, I saw him cook this recipe on his show this weekend, it looked great. I think this would hold up well on a buffet line as well, and would pair well with a simple side of black beans.
Cocktail size one or two bite tortas could be fun also