Mexican cooking night ideas
I have a friend coming into town this weekend, and when I was thinking of things to do, I thought a Mexican cooking night/dinner would be fun. My general idea would be to make carnitas with homemade pico de gallo, guacomole, and maybe another sauce, and maybe trying to make homemade tortillas. I want enough to do to make it interesting, so I don't need super easy ideas, but nothing too crazy either. I'm specifically looking for typical toppings for carnitas- I was in Mexico over Christmas last year, and the best food we had was at a restaurant where the toppers took up more food on the table than the meal (lots of spicy pickled food, as well as 3 or 4 salsas, onions etc). So my questions would be:
1) Any relatively simple tortilla recipes out there? Baking is not my strong suit
2) Any ideas or recipes for good toppings or salsas?
3) Any ideas for appetizers? I don't want to do chips and salsa.
I think that corn tortillas would be traditional with carnitas. I just buy a bag of hasa marina, follow the instructions on the bag, press and grill. They are not hard to make, but if the moisture level isn't correct, can be VERY frustrating. I would suggest making a half recipe to test this idea. Or do what I do, always have a package of made this morning commercial tortillas in the fridge just in case.
For an appetizer, how about pozole or tortilla soup? Rick Bayless has a lovely tortilla soup recipe. Since you don't have any beans in your main course, you could do something like a bean puree on tortillas, topped with some cheese and broiled quickly?
At our house, my husband makes the carnitas and the toppings are generally just finely diced white onion and chopped cilantro.
try a fruit salad with chile powder and salt, like they sell on the street in cups. I also like to do cucumbers or jicama in a tamarind lime dressing. Also thekitchn.com has a great recipe for roasted pepper salsa. maybe make some queso fresco for a topping too.