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Cinco de Mayo celebration is all about the food

POSTED: May 4, 2010 4:16 p.m.

A sure sign that Cinco de Mayo is upon us is May’s collection of food magazines featuring a plethora of Mexican fare. From tacos to tostadas to even making your own flour or corn tortillas, the recipe offerings make a terrific theme for entertaining at home.

Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food offers Quick Fish Tacos made with broiled tilapia. The Chicken Tostada Salad is also quick to make, using rotisserie chicken meat. In addition, you make your own tostada shells by brushing corn tortillas with oil and baking them until crisp. Or you can buy them premade.

Food & Wine shows you how to make your own tortillas for the more than half-dozen taco recipes it features. Offerings include Chile-Spice Skirt Steak Tacos and L.A. Gas Station Tacos — a take-off on ones from L.A.’s Kogi BBQ truck.

The May/June issue of Eating Well magazine also drives home the taco truck theme, revealing the secrets of what makes the best tacos. Recipes include Augustine’s Beer & Tequila Carnitas served with a side of Mexican rice along with ideas for your own taco bar and sides to serve with them.

And, of course, the celebration would not be complete without the ultimate margarita and a big bowl of guacamole. Both are musts for Cinco de Mayo, the holiday that celebrates the Mexican victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.



Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Lime
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

1 pound boneless, skinless tilapia fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
¼ cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
1 lime, half finely zested and juiced, half cut into wedges
Favorite hot sauce, such as Tabasco
12 corn tortillas
½ small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 small white onion, finely chopped

Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and gently coat with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is browned on top and flesh is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream, lime zest and juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Toast corn tortillas over a kitchen burner using tongs or wrap in parchment-lined foil and heat in oven 5 minutes. Divide fish evenly among tortillas and top with cabbage, cilantro and onion. Serve with lime sour cream and lime wedges.
From Everyday Food May 2010 issue.


Chicken Tostada Salad
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

4 corn tortillas
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese
½ small red onion, diced
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
Breast meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
½ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
½ head romaine, lettuce, shredded
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced small
Fresh cilantro for serving

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with 2 teaspoons oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Divide the cheese among the tortillas and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil over medium-high. Add half the red onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and ½ cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is warmed through and the water is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon lime juice and remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and remaining 3 teaspoons lime juice; season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat and divide among the tortillas. Top each tortilla with the chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining onion and cilantro.
From Everyday Food magazine, May 2010 issue.
Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.


Classic Margarita
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes

1 lime, cut into wedges, divided
Coarse salt
1 cup tequila
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup orange-flavored liqueur
2 teaspoons superfine sugar

Rub the rim of 4 rocks glasses with a wedge of lime; dip in coarse salt. Fill the glasses three-quarters of the way with ice.
In a cocktail shaker combine the tequila, lime juice, orange-flavored liqueur and sugar. Shake well, then pour into the glasses. Garnish with lime.
From Food Network magazines, May 2010 issue.



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