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A Latin inspired dinner party

As a last summer “hurrah” we assembled our Friday Supper Club group and had a Latin inspired dinner – – Very casual, homemade tortillas, spicy roasted tomato salsa, smoky black bean dip, guacamole made in the traditional way (in a molcajete), tortilla chips (admit that they were white corn store-bought… that’s okay, though) and homemade margaritas (equal portions of freshly squeezed lime juice, Patron Silver, and Cointreau with a sea-salt rimmed glass) – – folded in shredded spicy chipotle chicken into the tacos for those who eat meat. A great time was had by all. The recipes follow.

Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (or as needed)


Place the flour, shortening and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Beat with the paddle until crumbly, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the warm water and continue mixing until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a ball and place on a baking tray or board. Cover with a towel and let rest at room temperature at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Cut out eight (12-inch) squares of waxed or parchment paper for stacking the tortillas.

On a lightly floured board, roll each ball into a 10-inch circle, and transfer to a paper square. Stack on a baking tray or platter and refrigerate until cooking time. Uncooked tortillas can be kept in the refrigerator, well wrapped with paper squares between the layers, up to 2 days.

Heat a dry griddle or 12-inch skillet (non-stick works, too) over medium heat.

Carefully peel off the paper and cook the tortillas one at a time, until puffy and slightly brown, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Set aside to cool slightly on a towel-lined platter. Bring to the table wrapped in a towel for warmth, or wrap well and refrigerate or freeze.

Makes 8 tortillas

Roasted Tomato Salsa

This salsa is quite complex in flavor. It goes very well with eggs, or grilled meats, too. Remember to tuck the garlic under the other vegetables while broiling. You want the garlic to be “golden” and not blackened. Make sure to include all the juices that accumulate in the pan into your salsa.


1 pound Roma tomatoes

8 garlic cloves, peeled

2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded if desired

1/2 yellow onion, peeled

1 cup water (or vegetable or chicken stock)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

pinch of freshly ground pepper


Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes, garlic, chiles and onion on a baking tray. Tuck the garlic under the other vegetables to avoid blackening. Broil, turning frequently, until well charred (about 15 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Transfer the roasted ingredients to a food processor.and puree with water/stock until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


Chipotle Corn Salad

This recipe comes from Food & Wine’s amazing Grace Parisi. The smokiness of chipotles chilies and the zing of fresh lime juice are a nice pairing. Friends were caught in the kitchen sneaking tastes throughout the evening! This works well as a side dish or even as an ingredient inside a taco.


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and finely chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

5 ears of corn

1/2 medium Vidalia or Walla Walla onion, thickly sliced crosswise

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the corn and onion slices with the olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until charred in spots but still slightly crisp, about 7 minutes (I charred them under a broiler, turning frequently). Let cool slightly, then cut the kernels from the cobs and coarsely chop the onion (or have my friend Julian do it as he is a pro!)

In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the lime juice, chopped chipotle chiles and sliced scallion and stir in the charred corn and onions. Season the corn salad with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

The chipotle-corn salad can be refrigerated overnight. Let the salad stand for 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.


This recipe comes from the highly esteemed restaurant in NYC, Rosa Mexicano. The paste prior to incorporating the avocado is the key to the depth of flavor. In addition, the avocado is not creamed or smashed, but left chunky and creates a great texture which most Americans are unfamiliar with when thinking about guacamole.


1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

1 firmly packed tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeño, or more to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or as needed

Additional Ingredients

3 medium ripe but firm Hass avocados (about 8 ounces each)

3 tablespoons diced tomato

2 firmly packed tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon finely chopped white onionSalt if necessaryTortilla chips and/or fresh corn tortillas


Make the chile paste: Grind the onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and salt together in a molcajete until all the ingredients are very finely ground. Alternatively, use a fork to mash all the ingredients to a paste in a wide hardwood bowl.Cut each avocado in half, working the knife blade around the pit. Twist the halves to separate them and flick out the pit with the tip of the knife. Fold a kitchen towel in quarters and hold it in the palm of your “non-knife” hand. Rest an avocado half cut side up in your palm and make 3 or 4 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts through the avocado flesh down to the skin, without cutting through it. Make 4 crosswise cuts in the same way. Scoop the diced avocado flesh into the molcajete. Repeat with the remaining avocado halves.

Watermelon salad (with a “kick of spice”)

We have posted this recipe before but will repost here again. A huge hit at the dinner party.

This watermelon salad is bright and fresh on a hot day. It incorporates the acidity of freshly squeezed lime juice, a little salt, and the freshness of mint to contrast a juicy and sweet watermelon. The cayenne gently hits your tongue and is a great add-in.


  • 6 cups seedless watermelon cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
  • Kosher salt


  1. Cut watermelon into one-inch chunks.
  2. While the watermelon is on the board, season nicely with Kosher salt.
  3. In a large bowl mix the lime juice and cayenne pepper.
  4. Put the watermelon into the bowl, garnish with the mint and fold to incorporate the lime/cayenne mixture.
  5. Serve cold.


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