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Cinco de Mayo Celebration

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A spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, avocado salad, and warm, fresh tortillas make for a festive Mexican meal.

The centerpiece of this south-of-the-border weeknight meal is pork tenderloin rubbed with a paste of spices and citrus juices, then roasted. Serve it with two fresh vegetable sides: a salad of avocado, onion and jícama (a crisp, juicy Latin American root vegetable), and a pico de gallo. Warm tortillas are a fragrant complement to the bright flavors; you may be surprised at how quick and easy it is to make your own, but if time is short, store-bought tortillas warmed in the oven work just as well. Finish the meal on a tropical note with caramelized roasted pineapple and vanilla ice cream.

Menu Timeline

One hour ahead:

  • Heat the oven to 450°F.
  • Make the tortilla dough.
  • Make the pico de gallo.

Forty-five minutes ahead

  • Put the pork tenderloin in the oven to roast.
  • Make the avocado, jícama, and red onion salad.
  • Peel and slice the pineapple.

Thirty minutes ahead:

  • Roll out the tortillas and cook them on a griddle.
  • When the pork tenderloin is done, lower the heat to 400°F and put the pineapple in to roast.

Just before dinner:

  • Remove the pineapple from the oven and let cool.

After the main course:

  • Serve the pineapple still slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small jícama
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles
  • 1 large, ripe pineapple
  • 3 medium limes
  • 1 medium grapefruit

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 2 small pork tenderloins (1 to 1-1/4 lb. each)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Other Groceries

  • Large flour tortillas (optional)
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Pantry Staples

  • Note: if you’re using store-bought tortillas, you won’t need the flour, shortening, table salt, or baking powder.
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading and rolling
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
  • 2 Tbs. pure chile powder (preferably ancho)
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

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