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The High-Tech Way to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Rick Bayless Mexican Essentials ($2.99) is an iPhone app with 35 recipes from south-of-the-border expert Rick Bayless for starters, "light meals" like tacos and tamales, dinners, "basics" (beans, rice, tortillas) and desserts. An alphabetized ingredient list explains items from achiote seasoning paste to vanilla (the Mexican variety, naturally), with audio pronunciations. The app's best feature, though is its 40 instructional videos, in which Bayless gives demonstrations of the stuff that great Mexican dinners are made of, like knowing where to press on an avocado to figure out if it's ripe, or how to know when to flip a tortilla to cook on the other side.
Then there's Hello, Cupcake! ($2.99), from Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, authors of the popular dessert decorating books. There are 10 projects from the duo's books Hello, Cupcake! and What's New, Cupcake?, and the stop-motion animations are worth the price of the app alone. For Cinco de Mayo, we'd go with the flower cupcakes--technically, they're mums, but their springy and festive look would be right at home among a table full of limes and tortilla chips. Each cupcake project has how-to videos showing, for instance, just how much a "generous dollop" of frosting is, and you can drag your finger along ve-e-e-ry slowly to watch as each cupcake gets covered in more and more mini marshmallow-and-pink-sugar petals.
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