Throw a Latin party for the Belmont Stakes (RECIPES)

I just cannot believe this! I'll Have Another is out of the Belmont Stakes, which basically means that jockey Mario Gutierrez won't take home the Triple Crown this year (a feat that is super rare but he was very close to achieving).

When we wrote about praying for Mario because he may have been cursed, I didn't really take it seriously. But there seems to be SO much bad luck going around at Belmont this year! A lot of horses have dropped out and this is just the latest casualty.

Although I'm upset, I'm not letting this derail my Belmont Stakes party plans! Granted, I'm not really all that into sports… but I am into seeing one of our Latinos win the title and, although Mario may be out, Ramon Dominguez or Alex Solis can still win. And so, in honor of them (and the unfortunate Mario), I'm going to be serving up some delicious Latin appetizers at my Belmont Stakes watching party—all while having the classic drink Belmont Breeze. I hope you'll join me and make these, too!


Read more ¿Qué más? Pray for Triple Crown hopeful Mario Gutierrez, because he just got cursed

In honor of: Mario Gutierrez, who's riding I'll Have Another

Have some: Mexican Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños (recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

20 whole Fresh Jalapenos, 2-3 Inches In Size
2 cubes Cream Cheese, Softened
1 pound Thin (regular) Bacon, Sliced Into Thirds

1. If you have them, slip on some latex gloves for the pepper prep... Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (the source of the heat; leave a little if you like things HOT). Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/3 slice). Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle.

2. Bake on a pan with a rack in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You don't want the bacon to shrink so much it starts to the squeeze the jalapeno. If, after 20 minutes, the bacon doesn't look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish it off. These are best when the jalapeno still has a bit of bite to it.

3. Serve immediately, or they're also great at room temperature.

In honor of: Ramon Dominguez, who's riding Dullaham or My Adonis

Have some: Venezuelan Cachitos, a.k.a. ham croissants (recipe courtesy of

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1 pound thinly sliced deli ham

1. Cut butter and shortening into small pieces and place in a heat proof bowl of a standing mixer. Bring the milk just to a boil in a saucepan over medium high heat.

2. Pour hot milk over shortening and butter and stir until melted. Let cool slightly.

3. Add sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour to butter/milk mixture and stir. Add eggs and stir well.

4. Add yeast and mix well. Add rest of flour and mix.

5. Using dough hook attachment, knead dough until smooth and stretchy, adding more flour if necessary. Knead for 5 minutes. Dough should be soft, and slightly sticky.

6. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 2 hours. (or chill overnight in the refrigerator).

7. Punch down dough and divide into 4 pieces. Roll one piece out into a 10 inch circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 6 equal triangles, or pizza slices.

8. Take 1/4 pound of the sliced ham, and cut it into thin strips. Divide the ham among the 6 triangles, placing it on top of the wide part of the triangle.

9. Roll the triangles up toward the point, keeping the ham inside, and place the rolls point side down on a baking sheet, curving them slightly to form a crescent shape.

10. Repeat with remaining dough.

11. Brush rolls lightly with melted butter, then let rise in a warm place until doubled.

12. Preheat oven to 375. Mix egg white with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake rolls for 10 minutes. Remove, brush with egg white mixture, and return to the oven. Bake about 10 minutes more, until golden brown.

13. Serve warm or at room temperature.

In honor of: Alex Solis, who's riding Ravello's Boy

Have some: Panamanian Carimanolas, a.k.a. meat-stuffed fried yucca (recipe courtesy of Food Network)

3 pounds yucca root, peeled and cubed
3 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onions
2 large jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
8 ounces ground beef
4 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
6 teaspoons Essence, plus more for dusting, recipe here
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1. In a large saucepan combine the yucca and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash with the butter. Add 2 of the eggs one at a time, stirring well with a large wooden spoon after the addition of each until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and stir well to incorporate into a somewhat stiff dough. (If the dough is too soft, add slightly more flour 1 teaspoon at a time.) Let sit until cool enough to handle.

2. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, thyme, and chili powder, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add ground beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Simmer, stirring until thick. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

3. Roll the yucca mixture into balls, about 1/4 cup each. Using a finger, press a deep hole into the center of each. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each ball and gently work the yucca dough around it to completely enclose.

4. Heat the oil to 330 to 340 degrees F.

5. In a bowl, make an egg wash by beating the remaining 3 eggs with 3 tablespoons of water. In another bowl, combine the remaining cup of flour with 3 teaspoons of the Essence. In a third bowl, place the bread crumbs and remaining 3 teaspoons of Essence.

6. One at a time, dip the "caraminolas" into the flour, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs to completely coat, shaking to remove any excess. Add to the hot oil in batches and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with Essence.

7. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Will you be watching the Belmont Stakes, hoping for Mario Gutierrez to win the Triple Crown? Are you going to make one of these Latin appetizers for the event (or just for fun this summer!)? Share with us in the comments below!

Images via Getty Images, joannova a/k/a foodalogue/flickr, newwavegurly/flickr, Nucho/flickr

Topics: mexican food  venezuelan food  panamanian food  array