Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May,
is a Mexican holiday that commemorates Mexico's victory over the French army in 1862. In the city of Puebla, where the momentous battle took place, the celebration has a grand fair replete with music, games and great food. For Mexican food-lovers everywhere, Cinco de Mayo is a terrific excuse for a party featuring Mexican-inspired fare. From traditional dishes to tacos to enchiladas and everything in between, these Cinco de Mayo recipes are flavorful, festive and full of fun. Why not honor this great holiday with a spirited get-together of your own?

La Comida de Fiesta
Lime Toasted Pepitas
Queso Fundito
Seviche de Vieras
Ensalada de Merida
Sopa de Elote
Bistec de Ranchero
Ejotes con Limon
Rajas con Papas

Now, what's a Fiesta without margaritas? Get the best ingredients, mix up the best, share with everyone, and don't have too many!
Recipe for 1 margarita
Prep.Time: 5 minutes
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1/2 egg white
Coarse Salt
1 lime wedge
Ice cubes
Cracked ice
Pour margarita or other coarse-ground salt on a small plate. Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime wedge and dip the rim of the glass until it is coated with salt. Fill the cocktail glass with ice cubes.
Fill a mixing glass with cracked ice. Add the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, egg white, and powdered sugar. Shake and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.
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These are from the Two Hot Tamales, featured daily on the Food TV Network. These little yummies might make you want too many Margaritas or cerveza (beer)---watch out!
Yields about 1-1/2 cups
Prep.Time: 15 minutes
1 1/2 cups pepitas (raw hulled green pumpkin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (or 4 to taste)
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepita seeds and toss frequently until seeds begin to turn light golden and expand. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine lime juice, cayenne, salt and pepper; stir until dissolved. Add seasoned lime juice all at once to pepita seeds and stir well to coat all seeds. Remove from heat and cool in the pan. Serve at room temperature. Yields about 1-1/2 cups
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(Melted Cheese with Chorizo)
This dish is popular all over Mexico. A freshly made salsa should accompany this dish, which is great with margaritas or beer. (From the "365 Easy Mexican Recipes" cookbook)
Serves: 6
Prep.Time 30
1/2 pound chorizo -- removed from casings
3/4 pound shredded Montery Jack cheese
12 flour tortillas (7-inch)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium skillet, cook chorizo over medium heat, until cooked through, about 5 minutes; drain off fat and set aside to keep warm. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof plate or gratin dish; warm in oven 3-4 minutes. Spread cheese evenly in hot dish; bake 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and warm in microwave until soft; place in covered basket to keep warm. Remove cheese from oven; scatter hot chorizo (reheat until sizzling if needed) over surface and serve at once with warm tortillas. Diners scoop up some cheese and chorizo onto a tortilla, roll it up, and eat it with their hands.
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(Seviche with Scallops)
Seviche is popular on both coasts of Mexico where fresh seafood is plentiful. This version uses fresh sea scallops----from the Sunset Mexican Cookbook
Serves: 6
Prep.Time: 20 minutes
1/2 pound sea scallops, rinsed -- cut in 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 cup diced white onion
2 jalapeno chiles -- seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
Coarse salt
Fresh lime wedges
Fresh herb sprigs (oregano, parsley, etc)
1 head endive, separated into leaves
In a non-metal bowl, combine scallops, lime or lemon juice, onion, chiles, oil and dried oregano. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in red pepper and cilantro; season with salt to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs; serve with fresh lime wedges and endive leaves for scooping. Serve cold (place bowl into a larger bowl of crushed ice to keep chilled).
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(Merida Salad)
This light, tart salad is from the town of Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula. Great to accent spicy dishes of all types----from the Sunset Mexican Cookbook
Serves: 8
Prep.Time: 30 minues
2 large oranges (blood oranges preferred--any are OK)
2 tangerines
2 large ruby red grapefruit
2 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Coarse salt
Fresh cilantro sprigs to garnish
1 head romaine lettuce
Use a sharp knife to carefully cut off peel and white membrane from oranges, tangerines and grapefruit; separate into segments and place into a medium bowl. Core and thinly slice apples; add to citrus fruits. Add lime juice and sprinkle with salt to taste. (Can be refrigerated up to 1 hour at this point.) To serve, arrange romaine leaves on serving plates; top with spoonfuls of fruit and garnish with fresh cilantro.
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(Corn Soup)
This is a really yummy creamy soup perfect for your Fiesta.
Serves: 8-10
Prep.Time: 20 minutes
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn -- thawed if frozen
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add chili powder and diced bell peppers. Cook and stir 3 minutes. Add corn and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whip cream with salt until stiff. Pour soup into a tureen; add whipped cream and stir lightly.
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(Chorizo Wrapped in Corn Husks)
Another perfect dish for your Fiesta---these can also be served as a main course with refried beans and a salad.
Prep.Time: 30 minutes + steaming time
8 or more Dried Corn Husks
1/2 pound Homemade, or commercial Chorizo with casings removed
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1/2 cup Dry Bread crumbs
1 Egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon Salt
Select full-size (4" x 8") corn husks and place into a very large bowl; completely cover with cold water and soak 3-6 hours (it's good to place a heavy kitchen utensil on top to hold husks under water).
In a small skillet, cook chorizo over medium-low heat until no longer pink; spoon into a medium bowl with a slotted spoon to drain off fat. Add onion and bread crumbs; mix well. Add egg; mix well. Stir in cumin and salt until well-blended.
Remove 1 cornhusk from water; dry with a kitchen towel; tear small strips with the grain, about 1/4" wide and set aside. Working with one husk at a time, remove from water and dry with towel; place about 2 heaping tablespoonfuls along one side, about 3" long. From the long side, roll tightly to form a log; tie each end with a strip and set aside. Repeat until all corn husks or filling are used. (Up to this point, these can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.)
Put 1" water into a steamer kettle and bring to a boil; place warpped sausages into steamer basket, but do not crowd. Cover; steam about 20-25 miutes or until heated through and firm to touch. Serve immediately with some smoky Chipotle or other salsa if desired.
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(Mexican Ranchers' Grilled Steak)
This is a delicacy on the cattle ranches of northern Mexico. The orange juice lends a lively flavor, and it's simple and quick to prepare.
Serves: 6-8
Prep.Time: 15 minutes
3 pounds beef top round steak -- 2 inches thick
1/4 cup cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Trim fat from steak; make diagonal cuts about 1/2-inch thick on both sides. Rub pepper into meat on both sides; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Grill 4-5 inches above a solid bed of medium-hot coals until desired doneness (7-8 minutes per side for medium rare). Transfer meat to carving board; drizzle orange juice evenly over meat. Slice meat thinly on diagonal; moisten with accumulated juices and serve immediately.
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(Lemon Green Beans)
This is a simple vegetable dish often prepared by the cooks of Guadalajara, finished with a typical Mexican flourish of lemon juice.
Serves: 6
Prep.Time: 15 minutes
1 1/2 pounds green beans -- cut in 1-1/2" pieces
3 tablespoons butter or margarine -- melted
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to taste to boil; add beans and cook uncovered 7-8 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and transfer to serving dish. In a small bowl, mix butter, pepper, parsley and lemon juice; pour over beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
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(Chile Strips and Potatoes)
Here is a great side dish to go with everything for your Fiesta. It isn't intended to be "hot" (as in hot chiles), but with just enough "bite" to it. Poblano and Anaheim chiles are not "hot"---only about a 3 on a scale of 10.
Serves: 4
Prep.Time: 35 minutes
1 pound red potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 poblano or Anaheim chiles
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Place potatoes into a large saucepan; cover with water, add salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and cook partially covered until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks, and set aside.
Meanwhile, arrange chiles on a baking sheet and broil 3 inches below heat, turning often, until charred, about 6 minutes. Seal in plastic bag and let sit 10-15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Peel chiles; remove stem and seeds, and cut lengthwise into strips. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add potatoes, chile strips and onions; cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
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(Mexican Hard Rolls)
These rolls closely resemble French bread, crusty on the outside and soft inside. They were developed during the 19th century when Mexicao was briefly under French domination. Serve with dinner, with jam for breakfast, or split and filled as a torta or sandwich.
Yields about 16 rolls
Prep.Time: 1 hour + rising and baking times
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 package active dry yeast
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
In a small saucepan, combine the 2 cups water, sugar, salt and butter; heat over low heat to 110 degrees. Pour into a large mixing bowl; stir in yeast and let stand until softened and bubbling, arount 5-7 minutes. With mixer on low spead, gradually beat in 5 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, until incorporated.
Turn dough out onto a floured board; knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), adding more flour as needed. Place in a greased bowl; turn dough to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
Punch down dough; knead briefly on lightly floured board. Divide into 16 pieces; form each piece into a smooth ball and gradually roll into an oblong shape about 4 inches long (center should be a little thicker that ends). Place rolls 2 inches apart on greased baking pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 35 minutes.
In a pan, bring cornstarch and water to a boil; let cool slightly. Brush each roll with mixture. With a razor or sharp knife, cut a lengthwise slash about 3/4-inch deep and 2 inches long into top of each roll. Bake 35-40 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on a rack; wrap airtight to store.
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(Mexican Dessert Bread)
An old Mexican fiesta tradition, these airy pillows of fried bread have become an institution all over the US and in many countries of the world.
Yields about 24 Sopaipillas
Prep.Time: About 1 hour
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 ci warm water, about 110 degrees
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying
Confectioner's sugar
In a large mixing bowl, stir yeast into warm water and let stand until softened and bubbling, about 5-7 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, shortening, salt and sugar; heat over low heat to 110 degrees and stir into yeast mixture. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in whole wheat flour and 3 cups of the all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time, until just incorporated. Turn dough out onto a floured board; knead until smooth and satiny, adding more all-purpose flour as needed. Place into greaed bowl; turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough; knead briefly. On a lightly floured board, roll dough 1/4 at a time into rectangles about 1/8-inch thick. Cut each rectangle into 6 equal pieces; place in lightly floured pans and cover with plastic wrap.
Pour oil into a deep 3-4 quart saucepan to a depth of 2 inches; heat to 350 degrees. Add dough, 2-3 pieces at a time; cook, turning and gently pushing bubbly portion into hot oil to help puff the dough evenly, until golden (aout 1-2 minutes). Drain on paper towels; dust with confectionwer's sugar. Serve warm with honey.
If made ahead, let cool, cover, and refrigerate up to 2 days; freeze for longer storage. To reheat, thaw and arrange on baking sheets and bake in 300-degree oven, turning once, until warm, about 5-8 minutes.
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Copyright 2008 Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved