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Posts Tagged ‘Cinco de Mayo’

I love to celebrate any holiday, I really do….my ideal is to always have a party or dinner significant to the holiday or event.  We’ve had Mardi Gras parties, Oscar parties, Martini parties, Super Bowl Sunday dinners with dishes from the team’s home states, Valentine cookies and cakes, Easter brunches, July 4th picnics…you name it and we’ve had it at one time or another.

Some holidays are about a lot more than the food and fun.  I understand the importance of the religious aspect of Christmas and Easter, the historical significance of July 4th and other national holidays.  So in that vein, and before we start to down those Magaritas and eat chips and salsa and dine on Mexican food tonight, I thought I would re-post a blog from a couple of years ago.  It’s the story of Cinco de Mayo.

May 5th, battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, celebration, Mexico, French forces

This is Why We Celebrate Victory

If you’ve noticed a sudden dearth of avocados, limes, Corona Extras and Jose Cuervo at your local grocery store over the past couple of days, don’t panic — no one is conspiring against you. Instead, your neighbors are simply stocking up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and all over the United States with delicious Mexican cuisine, far too much alcohol and plenty of fanfare.

But Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is much more than an entertaining way to forget an entire day’s worth of events. The holiday owes its origins to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat invading French forces from conquering the state of Puebla. The victory remains a cause for commemoration nearly 150 years later.

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated in Mexico nearly as much as it is in the United States, as the country’s most widely recognized national patriotic holiday is actually the Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo gets plenty of attention in the U.S. not just from Mexican-Americans, but also from anybody interested in seeking out new forms of cultural exposure — largely due to the efforts of liquor companies and Mexican restaurants.

Last year, MTV Tr3s sent comedian Cristela Alonzo to Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street to report on the community’s deep understanding of Cinco del Mayo. While the holiday has historic roots, Alonzo acknowledged that many participants view Cinco de Mayo as “an excuse to get drunk and party.” But as Alonzo learned, enjoying the rowdier aspects of Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to come at the expense of forgetting the holiday’s cultural significance.

“What’s important is to remember the meaning behind the holiday,” she reported of her findings. “It’s about freedom and to celebrate those who had the courage to defend it.”

So as you immerse yourself in today’s festivities, make sure to put your ice cold cerveza down for long enough to acknowledge the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday built on the foundation of freedom. ** This article is from the MTV website

And today!  

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas

Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas
Cha Cha Cha It’s Fiesta Time!
You know what they say: Drink responsibly, Drive safely – OH WAIT, we live in New York City, we can be totally irresponsible – BUT then again there is May 6th to think about!

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Gosh, I don’t know what to celebrate first!
I guess I could wear a sombrero to the races or eat quesadillas while placing a bet. Or wear a fabulous floral creation like the ones in one of my previous http://wp.me/pNyWj-2SH, which featured Kentucky Derby hats by Dee, to a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
As it turns out, I’m opting to cook a Cinco de Mayo meal tonight and invited some friends over.

The menu for tonight is Mexican beer ( they all opted out for Magaritas) with chips and salsa and quesadillas.
I’m serving Arroz con pollo et frijoles, steamed asparagus and dessert from a Mexican bakery.

Well I started this post Saturday afternoon, then in the midst of prepping, I had to stop and watch the Derby.  I love watching that race!  I didn’t have any favorites and apparently the favorite to win, Urban Rags, didn’t even place.  It was so exciting to see “I’ll Have Another” come from behind.  There really is something thrilling about horse racing.

So onto the meal….

I had never made Arroz con Pollo so I researched a few recipes online and came up with three that I liked or at least part of each so I did what any good cook does, I combined them and created my own.  AND I will be the first to admit, that I don’t often do that.  If you read this blog regularly then you know that I find a recipe I like, make it and if I post it, I always credit the source.

Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, saffron, Viga rice, chicken dinner, one-pot meal, arroz con pollo, black beans,

Arroz con Pollo*

* This is NOT a photo of my dish. Note there are no black beans! But it is similar and gives you an idea of what it should look like when done.

Arroz con Pollo con Frijoles Negros

2 1/2 -3 lb. chicken; I used skinless boneless thighs

1/2 cup flour for dredging

Salt, ground pepper, paprika and chili powder (optional)

2 cups long grain rice (I used a package of Viga yellow rice)**

1 medium onion chopped

3 -4 garlic cloves minced

1 green bell pepper chopped ( I used an orange pepper)

1 14.5 oz can diced  or stewed tomatoes.  I used a can of Del Monte petite cut tomatoes with jalapeno – was not too  hot.

4 cups chicken broth* The Viga rice called for 4 cups water – substitute broth

black olives (handful – I used what was leftover from making quesadillas

1 cup frozen peas (optional) ( I had a half pkg in the freezer)

** Follow directions for whatever rice you are using and substitute broth for the water.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in large skillet ( I used a braising pan). Rinse chicken, pat dry and dredge through flour.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika  and chili powder. Brown the chicken about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, pepper and garlic to the pan, scraping up brown bits. Cook about 5 minutes till onion and pepper are softened.

Add the rice and cook till rice becomes slightly opaque and browns. Stir a bit, then let it brown  and then stir some more.  If you use the Viga rice, you won’t see it turn opaque, just lightly browned. Lower heat if rice begins to stick to pan.  Add the broth and bring to boil.  Lower to simmer, cover pot, cook for about 10 minutes.

Layer the chicken on top of the rice mixture, pour tomatoes over the chicken, add the black beans.  Cover pot and cook till chicken and rice are done.  About 15 minutes before done, toss in olives and peas.

Recipe by Lori-adapted from Simplyrecipes.com, allrecipes.com, weheartfood.com

One of the best parts of this dish for me was that I made it slightly ahead of time and just before serving , I heated it up.  It’s not so often that I actually sit with my dinner guests for drinks and hors d’ouevres  and Saturday night I did!

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Burning Chametz in Ofra, Passover eve

Burning Chametz in Ofra, Passover eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know what chametz is?  I’m not even sure myself – my sister-in-law, Stacey told me it is the stuff you rid your house of before Passover.  She mentioned something about food stuffs that are not part of the Passover meal or week-long celebration, are thrown out.

Well today was ONE of those days! It’s the day when you open the refrigerator and with newly-opened eyes (in my case I had on glasses) and you SEE!  I mean you really see-the crud in the grooves of the bottom shelf, the jar of mustard that is for all intents and purposes empty and you discover not one, not two but at least 3 jars of capers.  Capers, for God’s sake!!!  Delving deeper into the recesses of the Frigidaire, I found a small container of dried-up cream cheese, a jar of jam that had grown a furry winter coat (it must be really cold in there).  Out with it all!  I threw out a jar of some mysterious brown sauce, I threw out salsa before it had a birthday on Cinco de Mayo and some expired bottles of indeterminate substance!  Out with it all!!

When I had filled up my recycle bin and my trash can, I sprayed the shelves with Simple Green.  I LOVE Simple Green, it cleans everything which means it probably shouldn’t be used in a refrigerator.  Now onto the next project.  Hey this is beginning to sound like Spring Cleaning,

I put the summer slipcover on the antique stuffed chair, changed the pillow covers to colorful awning-stripes and had Peter switch the foyer rug from the dark wine-red Oriental to our seasonal beige patterned rug.  He even took down the winter drapes in our bedroom and put up very light-weight airy beige curtains.  Out with the winter dark colors and in with the spring pastels.

I think what really got me going this morning was the fact that by some inner-maniacal drive force, I completed my income taxes early today.  I was up till 2AM working on the world’s most heinous task – assembling a year’s worth of information, collating it, copying it and preparing a statement for the accountant.  I had almost finished last night, uh, rather early this morning and then got up and finished it up.  I HATE doing the taxes!  BUT, when it’s done, I feel so good!

Spring is the time of renewal and rebirth; what was gray, brown and barren bursts forth into bright green life.  Flowers re-appear out of virtually nowhere since the ground looked like just ground to me and along with new tufts of grass, I noticed the lawn was also sprouting bunches of wild onions and even a few dandelions.  AND I get the urge to clean.  My mother always did spring cleaning and so do I.  My mother changed the carpets, drapes and slipcovers to reflect the new season and so do I.  Old habits or genetic programming?  The windows will be washed inside and out-here in NYC, we hire a man to do them but at the cottage, we’ll do them.  This year the carpeting and the couches in the apartment need steam-cleaning.  OUT with it ALL; dirt, dust, grime and most of all, the Chametz!

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May 5th, battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, celebration, Mexico, French forces

This is Why We Celebrate Victory

If you’ve noticed a sudden dearth of avocados, limes, Corona Extras and Jose Cuervo at your local grocery store over the past couple of days, don’t panic — no one is conspiring against you. Instead, your neighbors are simply stocking up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and all over the United States with delicious Mexican cuisine, far too much alcohol and plenty of fanfare.

But Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is much more than an entertaining way to forget an entire day’s worth of events. The holiday owes its origins to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat invading French forces from conquering the state of Puebla. The victory remains a cause for commemoration nearly 150 years later.

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated in Mexico nearly as much as it is in the United States, as the country’s most widely recognized national patriotic holiday is actually the Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo gets plenty of attention in the U.S. not just from Mexican-Americans, but also from anybody interested in seeking out new forms of cultural exposure — largely due to the efforts of liquor companies and Mexican restaurants.

Last year, MTV Tr3s sent comedian Cristela Alonzo to Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street to report on the community’s deep understanding of Cinco del Mayo. While the holiday has historic roots, Alonzo acknowledged that many participants view Cinco de Mayo as “an excuse to get drunk and party.” But as Alonzo learned, enjoying the rowdier aspects of Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to come at the expense of forgetting the holiday’s cultural significance.

“What’s important is to remember the meaning behind the holiday,” she reported of her findings. “It’s about freedom and to celebrate those who had the courage to defend it.”

So as you immerse yourself in today’s festivities, make sure to put your ice cold cerveza down for long enough to acknowledge the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday built on the foundation of freedom. ** This article is from the MTV website

And today!

Corona, Dos Equis, beer, fiesta, Mexico, Battle of Puebla, cinco de mayo, jose cuervo, tequila, limes, margharitas

Cha Cha Cha It's Fiesta Time

You know what they say: Drink responsibly, Drive safely –  OH WAIT, we live in New York City, we can be totally irresponsible – BUT then again  here is May 6th to think about!

Read Full Post »