Living in Texas means we celebrate Cinco de Mayo- Spanish for the 5th of May. It is not a nationally recognized holiday in the US or in Mexico, but it should be. Cinco de Mayo is not the recognition of Mexican Independence (like most think), which is September 16th, but the commemoration of the Mexican army's defeat from the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
Because Texas is adjacent to Mexico, there is a lot of Mexican influence here. That also means we have access to a lot of good food, appropriately called Tex-Mex cooking. Think tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales, tostadas, rice, beans, homemade fresh salsas, pico de gallo, guacamole, homemade flour and corn tortillas, flan and lots of margaritas! (Oh, I'm getting hungry!) I grew up eating this great food, so it's nothing new to me. I was raised by my grandma and she made 3 square meals a day for her family. This kind of food is my comfort and I hope you make it yours.
A few years ago I managed a bridal boutique (before you all swoon and say "oooh, how fun!" know it was hell!) and I had a bride who was getting married on Cinco de Mayo, which I believe was a weekday. She got married on 5-05-05 and celebrated with a party of close friends and family, eating great casual food and drinking great Mexican beer--with lime of course. I think that's a great idea, though you don't have to get married to enjoy what the Mexicans have to offer.
These recipes are very simple, I hope you'll make one of them soon- like tomorrow!Tostadas
- corn tortillas
- vegetable oil for frying
- seasoned ground beef
- refried beans, canned or homemade
- grated Cheddar cheese
- sour cream or guacamole
Preheat oven to 350 F. Set a cookie sheet next to your stove to collect hot tortillas.
In a small frying pan, pour enough veg/canola oil to cover the bottom. Heat oil to med-high heat. Carefully slide tortilla into hot oil with tongs. When tortilla puffs up and turns golden, flip it. They don't take long. Place on cookie sheet and transfer to oven to keep warm while you're preparing the rest of your ingredients.
Take tostada shells from oven. Be careful, they're HOT! Apply a thin layer of refried beans to each tortilla, then top with seasoned ground beef. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven til cheese is melted.
Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, more cheese and maybe even a dollop of sour cream or homemade guacamole.
NOTE: You can buy tostada shells in your grocery store next to the taco shells. I seasoned my ground beef with diced onion, minced garlic, cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. You can use a packet of seasoning if you wish. I also used canned refried beans.My Mom's Tres Leches Cake
- 1 box white cake mix
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 1 cup milk
- sweetened whipped cream
- strawberries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, eggs, water, oil and vanilla until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cake from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk til well blended. Poke cake all over with a skewer and pour milk mixture all over cake, pressing lightly to make sure milk is completely absorbed. It may seem really full, but it will all get absorbed.
Refrigerate cake 1-2 hours til cool to the touch and the cake has absorbed all the milks. Top with sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
NOTE: My mom usually doubles this recipe and bakes it in a huge Pyrex. It's also really good with pineapple and chocolate cake mixes.