Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Two-fer: A Fiesta!

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!

  • corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • seasoned ground beef
  • refried beans, canned or homemade
  • grated Cheddar cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • 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.

(My mom concentrating and my crazy(!) teenage brother whipping the cream. It's a family effort.)

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.

Don't forget the pinata! Ole'


Selba said...

I'm going to try to make the tostadas if I can find the tortilla :)

Wow! Your mom's Tres Leches Cake looks so beautiful and yummy!

Hehehe... your little brother looks cute :D

Kristen said...

We love Tex-Mex at our house and yet again, one more year that I've forgotten to cook it on Cinco De Mayo - everything looks absolutely delicious (much better than the horrible copycat stuff we ate at the local Mexican place a couple of weeks ago)

Terry & Dennis Macri said...

I will be making the Tostadas for my Husband...not on Cinco De Mayo, but very soon.
The cake looks yummy and I just bought a load of strawberries.

Your mom doesn't really look angry to me, she looks like she is concentrating and wishing you would get that X/O?>#< camera off mom was the same way. LOL

Donna-FFW said...

LOVE yourtostadas.. they look fantastic, and your mms cake will be hitting my recipe book... Tell her it looks and sounds absolutely delicious.. Your brother looks so happy to help, he's a cutie.

Jeanine said...

Oh my, oh my, oh my...Alright, I'm off to the store to buy some goodies to make a mexican inspired supper. I don't care that it is only the 4th today. Your picture looked so fantastic, I must have that today! thanks! :)

Kathy said...

Yumm!!! It all looks sooo great!!! That's too funny about your mom. My daughter asked me the other day, "Mom is that your concentration face or are you just mad?" LOL!!!! Sometimes it might just be a little bit of both!!! ;) lol...

rachescakes said...

They both look great. I can't wait to try them.

Hennifer said...

My, oh my! You and I have something wonderful in common. I can't get enough of Mexican food in all varieties.

A dear friend of mine grew up in Texas and always talks about all the wonderful food they ate.

I'm so hungry! Thanks for the trivia about yourself too.

Lissaloo said...

I love to get tostadas at our fav. Mexican restaurant, I might have to give it a go & make my own :)

Ingrid said...

Monica another beautiful strawberry topped cake! I've been wanting to make a tres leche's cake!

Thanks for the other recipe as well! I was at Em's blog earlier and she had how to make floured tortillas. Pretty neat.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Look's awesome! I love the family pics.

Debbie said...

The cake looks absolutely fantastic! I want to try your recipe. I've made this before but yours sounds great....

Sara said...

Happy Cinco de Mayo - what a festive looking meal! The cake sounds delicious.

Juliana said...

Happy Cinco de Mayo...both the taco and the cake look great. I love tres leche. Yummie! In spite of the light, the pictures are very good...really yummie.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Horrible photos? I think not. Me, being half Mexican, cannot resist a tostada. Yummy! But the cake... pant, pant, pant...with strawberries... swoon, swoon, swoon.

I'm trying to resist baking for a while. It's not easy, but swim season is coming and I have a goal to make. Then again... Mother's Day is Sunday and I do love cake!

Lovely job!

Elissa said...

I actually think the lighting on the cake is lovely! I really love Mexican food and wish there was some better Mexican food in my area... Maybe I'll have to make this at home! :)

Maria said...

Great meal to celebrate! I really wish I could have a piece of that cake. YUM!

jenn@slim-shoppin said...

That tostada looks awesome! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

And I would love a piece of that cake!

Ingrid said...

Monicaaaaaaaaaa! I made this tonight for Devon's fave teacher and his class. Do you know the sad part about this? I really want it for myself!

Sophie said...

Your grandma sounds a lot like my grandma. I totally miss her food...and now you've got me missing Texas too. We go back for the summer next weekend! I can't wait!

Tres leches cake is one of my favs, pure comfort food in a dessert.

Anna said...

Wow, I've missed way too much good stuff lately--I have some catching up to do here!
Those tostadas look divine. I can get fabulous fresh tostadas (just the rounds) down the street so I'm looking forward to making this meal a regular weekly thing.

Amber said...

I have never seen a tres leches cake with strawberries on top...when you think it can't get any does! Thanks!

Amber said...

I made this today and posted on my blog. :-) Tell your mom its AWESOME!!!!

baker said...

What a delicious cake! We absolutely loved it and cannot wait to make it again! Your blog is fantastic!

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