Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

...And a little history.

I never understood why the US celebrated Cinco de Mayo, and Mexico didn't.  I did a little research, and found that after the city of Puebla defeated the French army on 5 de Mayo, 1862 it had a large impact the US Civil War.  It may also be credited as one of the ways the Union defeated the Confederate army.

The French was a large supplier of weapons, food, and clothing for the Confederate army.  When the French military, with Napolean III as commander, invaded Mexico, they were unable to keep up with their commitments to the US.

This is not Mexico's Independence Day as some people believe.  That day is the most important holiday in Mexico and celebrated on September 16.

Now, on to some of my favorite Mexican recipes!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Vegetable or corn oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons -- 2 turns of the pot in a slow stream
  • 3 ears corn on the cob or 2 ears fresh-frozen cobs, defrosted
  • 1 red bell pepper, split and seeded
  • 1 pound chicken breast tenders
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1/3 palm full
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/3 palm full
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small to medium zucchini, small dice
  • 1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 chipotle in adobo peppers (medium to hot heat level), chopped -- available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, 28 ounces
  • 1 can tomato sauce, 8 ounces
  • 3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable paper containers on soup aisle
  • 4 cups blue corn tortilla chips, broken up into large pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Optional garnishes:
  • 1/4 red raw onion, chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced and dressed with the juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat a grill pan to high and a soup pot to medium high. Drizzle oil on corn and place on grill. Add red pepper to grill with corn. Char vegetables 10 minutes, total, turning occasionally. Remove to cool, 5 minutes. Remove charred skin from the pepper.
While vegetables cook, dice chicken. Add 2 tablespoons oil to hot soup pot. Add chicken to pot. Season with poultry seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper. Lightly brown chicken on each side. Add zucchini, onions and garlic and chipotle peppers. Cook vegetables with chicken 5 to 7 minutes to soften. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring soup to a bubble, reduce heat to medium low.
Scrape corn off cob and add to soup. Chop grilled red pepper and stir into soup. Add chips to soup in handfuls and fold in. Serve soup immediately with scatter of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Top with any or all of the suggested garnishes.

Makes a HUGE pot.  

Skinny Margaritas


  • 2 ounces clear tequila
  • splash fresh lime juice
  • splash Cointreau liqueur or Grand Marnier or triple sec
  • ice
  • salt (optional)
  • lime wedge 

  • Rub lime wedge around the edge of the glass and dip in salt if preferred.  Place desired amount of ice in a glass and pour all ingredients over ice.  Garnish with a lime.
    Makes one margarita

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