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May 1, 2013 8:17 PM by Faye DeHoff

Let's Make a Meal: Combining Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day

TUCSON - In today's Let's Make a Meal, Food Contributor Jennifer English is combining two traditions in this country, Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby.

Derby de Mayo. Say it fast and you get the delicious fun which awaits us this weekend.

It is rare that you get the celebrations of Cinco de Mayo and the running of the Kentucky Derby on the same weekend, but this year is one of those times. So do you have a Derby Day party in the grand Southern Tradition, crush some ice, snip some fresh mint and serve Mint Juleps? Or, do you channel the spirits of Jalisco, Mexico and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a drink that is going to be THE drink of the summer for 2013, The Paloma?

I say do both. Derby Day, plus Cinco de Mayo. Equals, Derby De Mayo. Here are two time-honored recipes for these two celebrated traditions. Since it will be quite warm here in Tucson as we watch the 139th running of the venerable horse racing tradition known as the Run for the Roses on Saturday May 4th, and celebrating Cinco de mayo on Sunday May 5th. These two cocktails will offer the thirst-quenching cooling refreshment as well as an apropos nod to tradition. The 2012 Kentucky Derby winner gives us our cues. I'll Have Another also won the 2012 Preakness race with jockey Mario Gutierrez on board ( from Veracruz, Mexico!) . This year Gutierrez might just be wondering how to celebrate this year himself after the race? Mint Juleps of Palomas? Even if he doesn't win this year, Gutierrez can enjoy the memory of last years roses with a Four Roses Mint Julep.

With each cocktail, we have the perfect companion snack to go with either/each. Sweet & Spicy BLT sandwiches with spicy Chipotle mayo. The BLT features thick cut brown sugar glazed pepper bacon for total umami satisfaction. I urge you to make extra pepper bacon for the morning of Cinco de Mayo. The sweetness and black pepper of the bacon pair perfectly with the grapefruit notes of the Paloma. The classic tomato & lettuce marriage call the traditions of the American South. Try resisting a big platter of these cut into tempting quarters!

Sweet & Spicy BLT

The classic bacon, lettuse and tomato sandwich is dressed up in the Derby Day tradition in the colors of Cinco de Mayo red (tomato), green (lettuce) and white (classic french box loaf slices, served gently and lightly toasted. To make a platter of quartered sandwiches you will need.

Bacon as directed below
Chipotle Mayonaise as directed
12 slices white French Box Loaf bread
1/2 Iceberg Lettuce, washed and dried
1 head Boston or bibb lettuce washed and dried
4 truly ripe heirloom red tomatoes ready to eat.

Lightly toast the slices of bread. Spread 1 tablespoon chipotle mayo on each slice of toasted bread. (More or less, to taste). Add 1-2 slicse of each lettuce to 4 pieces of mayo-spreaded toast. Arrange 3 slices of bacon evenly on top of tomato. (Break bacon slices in half to fit, if needed.). Add 2 slices of tomato on top of lettuce. Put the remaining 4 pieces of mayo-spreaded toast on top to finish the sandwiches. Cut into triangle quarters and serve.

Brown Sugar Pepper Bacon

Warning. This meat candy is addictive.
1 lb. thick slice peppercorn crusted bacon
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1. Arrange bacon in a single layer in an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Cover evenly with brown sugar.
2. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until done.
3.Quarter each slice; let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar is set.

Chipotle Mayonaise
combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
· 1 cup Best Foods mayonnaise
· 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped (a second can be useed to taste)
· 1 green onion, finely chopped
· 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
· 1 teaspoon lime juice
· pinch kosher salt
· 2 twists freshly ground pepper

Mint Julep
Jacquelyn Pobst, Bar Manager
Doc Crow's, Louisville, Kentucky
2-3 oz Four Roses Yellow Label
2 tsp sugar
12 Mint leaves
Club Soda
Garnish: Mint sprigs and Orange slice

Gently crush mint leaves in a cool tall glass. (Lightly muddle the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass.) Fill the glass with cracked ice. Add Four Roses, club soda and stir well. Garnish with a slice of orange and a few sprigs of mint, and serve.

A Paloma cocktail is a taller, cooler Tequila drink starring freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Many of us still have yellow juice bombs hanging from the trees in our yard ( or our neighbors) this is a bright way to use the last specimens. The peppery notes of the grapefruit oils and the bitter backbone of the juice are delightful refreshment.

2 oz Casa Noble Crystal
Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of Fizz
Pour ingredients over ice


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