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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.
Thanks!

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    1. 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?

      1. I love shrimp ceviche as an appetizer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Njchicaa

          +1, shrimp ceviche preceding carnitas is a winner. With the carnitas tacos, have a little pineapple, cilantro, diced onion, and a bottle of El Yucateco nearby.

        2. At our house, my husband makes the carnitas and the toppings are generally just finely diced white onion and chopped cilantro.

          1. 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.