International Spotlight: Mexico

In honor of Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) we have decided to spotlight Mexico. For those of you who do not know or have forgotten, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. Actually, it is the celebration of the Mexican army's victory against the fierce French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Although it is celebrated in Mexico it is not a Mexican holiday, but actually an American Civil War holiday and therefore we Americans join in on the festivities. So in honor of our Mexican pride, let's raise our Margarita glasses and get started!

Mexican cuisine is known for its bold, mouth watering flavors, colorful decorations and plentiful assortment of spices. It's great family and party food, so why not combine the two and go loco?!?

Guilt-Free Guacamole

  • Guacamole dates all the way back to the time of the Aztecs and was originally called ahuca-milli, which translates to avocado sauce or mixture. There are many variations to creating your own guacamole, but traditionally it only includes avocados, onions, chilies, tomatoes, and salt.
  • The avocado sits center stage in this recipe and is therefore essential and that is why choosing your avocados are very important. Hass avocados have the best taste and are actually the easiest to find, as they are produced year round. The darker colored fruit are usually the ripest, but it is not the best indicator. Get up close and personal with your bumpy, green friends. If your avocado is tender, but not squishy than that is your winner.
  • Serrano and jalapeno chilies are the Mexicans' preferred chilies and are most commonly used. Small chilies tend to be super hot, so be sure to chop them well and wash your hands after handling, as to avoid any accidents. Another than that, the choices are yours, amigo.
  • Serve immediately or chill for up to 3 hours.

Tangy Orange Margaritas

  • Margaritas are a Mexican cocktail consisting of tequila, triple sec, and lime, and often served with salt around the rim of the glass, but there are hundreds of variations to the drink.
  • It was be served as is, with ice, or blended.
  • Although thought of as a popular Mexican drink, its founder was an American from Texas named Margarita Sames, who created it in 1948 at her vacation home in Acapulco.
  • Margaritas are super easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time, and tons of fun to drink!

Tempeh Tacos

  • Tacos are the Mexican equivalent to our sandwich. Traditionally, the contents can vary depending on the region, but usually include some marinated meat served on two overlapped small tortillas and sometimes garnished with guacamole, salsa, onions, and cilantro.
  • Contrary to popular belief, tacos are actually eaten as an entree or a morning or midnight snack. However, tacos are perfect for parties because they can be served without utensils and can be prepared on the spot. Just serve up some salsa guacamole, cilantro, onions, and lettuce and you have yourself a festive taco bar!
  • If you want to keep tradition in mind, most taco stands accompany their tacos with whole or sliced red radishes, lime slices, salt, pickled or grilled chilies, and even grilled cambray onions.

Salud ("cheers" in Spanish) and Happy Cinco de Mayo! We'll see you next time when we spotlight another cultural favorite, Italy.

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