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Celebrate a Sweet Cinco de Mayo

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 04/21/14 -- (Family Features) Cinco de Mayo is, officially, a holiday celebrating Mexico's victory over France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. In the U.S., where it is actually celebrated with more gusto than in its native country, the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.

The holiday also provides a great excuse to make irresistible Mexican-inspired recipes for entertaining and, of course, a big batch of margaritas to wash it all down. Fresh sweet corn is an essential component of many Mexican dishes and a cultural staple.

Luckily, Cinco de Mayo falls right in the middle of Florida's Sunshine Sweet Corn season, meaning that the sweetest corn, available all year, arrives just in time to be a part of your Cinco de Mayo celebration. These naturally-bred varieties are grown by a group of family farmers who are committed to producing the finest sweet corn.

Get the fiesta started with this Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip and a big bowl of tortilla chips. Crunchy, spicy, sweet and creamy, this addictive dip will have your guests asking for more. For something on the lighter side, whip up a batch of refreshing and zesty Sweet Corn, Mango and Black Bean Salsa that is also delicious served over grilled fish and chicken.

Next, be sure to serve Mexican Style Corn, a truly authentic and delicious Mexican street food. Crunchy ears of fresh sweet corn are charred to perfection then slathered with a mixture of cheese and mayo, sprinkled with chili powder and squirted with lime for simple flavor perfection.

Finally, no Cinco de Mayo celebration is complete without tacos. For a healthful twist on your typical taco, try this recipe for Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw that will have both vegetarians and meat eaters clamoring for seconds.

Incorporating more healthful whole foods and veggies into your Cinco de Mayo celebration this year makes it easier to justify one more margarita. No matter what you serve at your Cinco de Mayo celebration, make sure to incorporate the sweet and wholesome flavor of fresh spring sweet corn.

Discover more mouth-watering recipes for Cinco de Mayo and every time of year at

Mexican Style Corn
Serves: 4
4    ears fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn, husked
1/4  cup mayonnaise
4    ounces Cotija or feta cheese
1    teaspoon chili powder
4    lime slices

Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil corn, turning occasionally until hot and some kernels turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using knife, coat each ear of corn with about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble cheese on one side of each corn ear. Sprinkle with chili powder, dividing evenly. Broil until cheese starts to melt, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with lime.

Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw
Serves: 4
4      ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
       Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
       Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed
1/2    cup torn cilantro, parsley and mint leaves
1/2    small red onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2  tablespoons fresh lime juice
1      teaspoon maple syrup
1      cup radishes, cut into matchsticks
1      small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1      jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2    cup (2 1/2 ounces) crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
10     to 12 small (6-inch) soft corn tortillas

Brush corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Over hot grill or open gas stove flame, char ears of corn until well blackened but not completely burnt. Remove from heat; cool. With large knife, shave off kernels into bowl. Add cilantro, parsley and mint; reserve.

In small bowl, combine onion and lime juice; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, radishes, zucchini, jalapeno and 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat your tortillas one of two ways: Wrap whole stack in foil and place in warm 250 degrees F oven for 15 minutes, or coat cast-iron skillet with thin layer of oil and heat over high heat; warm each tortilla 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, until lightly blistered.

To make tacos, fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup corn. Top with cheese and radish-zucchini slaw. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Fire Roasted Corn and Chorizo Dip
Serves: 8 to 12
3      to 4 ears Sunshine Sweet Corn
1      small onion, peeled and sliced into rings
1      small red bell pepper
1      cup cooked chorizo
3      cloves garlic, minced
1      (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2    pound spicy pepper cheese, like pepper-jack or habanero cheddar
1/4    cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and preheat grill to high heat. Remove cornhusks and corn silk, and place fresh Florida Sweet Corn, onion slices and red bell pepper on grill. Grill corn and bell pepper for 8 to 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes until all sides are slightly charred. Grill onion slices for approximately 3 minutes per side. When veggies are cool enough to handle, cut corn off cob. Then chop onions and pepper, removing pepper seeds. In 8-by-8-inch baking dish or one-quart souffle dish, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until edges are bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Six Global Spreads for Sweet Corn
1. North America: Maple Bourbon Butter - Combine one stick butter, 4 teaspoons bourbon, 2 teaspoons maple syrup and pinch of salt.
2. South America: Lime-Avocado Crema - In a blender, combine one avocado, 1/4 cup lime juice, one garlic clove, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1/2 cup sour cream and pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Add water if necessary.
3. Europe: Combine 2 ounces goat cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, and pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
4. Asia: Sriracha Butter - Combine 1/3 cup butter with 3 tablespoons Sriracha.
5. Africa: Harissa-Yogurt Spread - Whisk together 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons Harissa sauce, one crushed garlic clove and pinch of salt.
6. Australia: Honey-Ginger BBQ Sauce - In saucepan combine 1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons minced ginger and 1 teaspoon salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened and reduced to about 1 1/4 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.

3 New Ways to Cook Corn
Grilling and boiling are the most typical ways for cooking fresh sweet corn, but here are three quick ways to do it in the kitchen.
1. Skillet Steaming: Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a skillet. Add husked corn in a single layer. Return to boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook until corn is hot, 2-3 minutes.
2. Microwaving: Microwave one ear of corn in the husk on high for 2-3 minutes, or wrap a husked ear in a damp paper towel. Let cool before handling.
3. Broiling: Mimic grilling indoors by broiling husked corn 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally.

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