Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Today Mexicans celebrated their victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla on this date in 1862. It is *not* their Fourth of July, as I once believed; their Independence Day is on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is more like our Veteran's Day, with military parades, speeches by political leaders, and not many people really observing the holiday, and those that do, celebrate in a more subdued manner than we do here in the US. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is only an official holiday in the state of Puebla, although in other parts of the country there is some recognition.

Here in the US, however, Cinco de Mayo has taken on the same significance of other holidays like St. Patrick's Day, Oktoberfest, and Chinese New Year, which are celebrated to honor the Irish, German, and Chinese cultures. We immerse ourselves in their music, their food, their games, their way of life... and maybe learn a little bit about their history. It's a reason for a party! And here at Faerie Gardens, we'll take any little reason to celebrate, and Cinco de Mayo usually means a big Mexican feast for dinner. Tonight we had one of my favorite Mexican dishes:
Taco Salad!

Now I know, it's not *really* a Mexican dish, but it's got great Mexican flavor, and that's enough for me. So how did I make it? It's easy. I started by making this awesome dressing:
  • 2 parts bottled ranch dressing
  • 1 part lime juice
  • cumin to taste
  • just enough sour cream to thicken it back up some

Then I set that aside and tore some iceberg lettuce into a bowl to which I added a few spoonfuls each of:
  • fresh diced tomato
  • avocado (tossed in lime juice for flavor and to keep the green color)
  • black olives (halved)
  • black beans
  • seasoned ground beef (you can use a taco seasoning packet or add spices like chili powder, cumin, black powder... Or if you're vegan you can use meatless crumbles or leave this out altogether...)
  • you might want to add some chopped onions, but I didn't want any tonight...

After adding all that to a bowl big enough for mixing in, I added my special dressing and mixed thoroughly. But WAIT! There's more!

We were having some Mexican seasoned chicken breast (same seasonings as the ground beef) on top of our salads and I love BBQ flavor with my chicken, so I created a BBQ salsa! OMG YUM!
  • 1/4 c salsa
  • 1/4 c Memphis- or Texas-style (thin, tomato-based, not too sweet) BBQ sauce (we used the legendary sauce from our local Dinosaur Barbecue)
  • 1 T Kansas City-style (thick, tomato-based, sweet) BBQ sauce

I finished my salad by adding 3 dollops of this delicious BBQ salsa, 1 dollop of sour cream, a small handful of crushed corn chips, the chicken (still steaming hot from the frying pan), and some shredded Mexican blend cheese. On the side, I had a small dish of my favorite Lime flavored tortillia chips! (And yes, I know I spelled it wrong, but that's how we say it here in the Gardens: tor-TILL-ee-ah. We like to play with language! It's more funner! ~_^)

I even had a bottle of Lime-melon wine cooler to wash it all down. Not as fun as a margarita maybe, but pretty tasty! ^-^ So, feliz Cinco de Mayo to you! Did you celebrate at all? Have you ever? Any favorite recipes you prepare?

Many thanks to Google and to Wikipedia for helping find out more about Cinco de Mayo!

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