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C MEXICAN Have yourself a fiesta!


inco de Mayo, or 5th of May, is a celebration of heritage and pride. Oſt en confused as a celebration of


Mexico’s Independence Day, the day actu- ally commemorates El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla—or T e Day of the Battle of Pueb- la—a celebration of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French.


In July 1861, nearly bankrupt following three wars, Mexican President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium of two years on foreign debt payments. Britain and


Spain negotiated the debt with Mexico, but France used the opportunity to occu- py Mexico with plans to establish a Latin empire that would favor French interests.


In late 1861, a well-armed French army stormed Veracruz, forcing President Juarez and his government to retreat. On their move from Veracruz to Mexico City, the French encountered strong resis- tance near Puebla led by General Ignacio Zaragoza. T e 8,000-soldier French army attacked the poorly-equipped Mexican


Traditionally a breakfast dish, Chilaquiles are great


any time of day. Add shredded, cooked chicken with the chorizo for a satisfying lunch or dinner.


Chilaquile (chee-la-KEE-le ) 6 plum tomatoes, cored 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled 1 jalapeno, seeded


1 small white onion, quartered


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying 1 to 2 canned chipotles in adobo


4 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, divided 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


10 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares Salt to taste


6 ounces chorizo, casing removed and chopped 6 ounces sour cream


2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled 4 radishes, thinly sliced


Heat oven to broil; place rack 6 inches from heat. In medium bowl, toss tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, onion, and oil. Transfer to foil-lined 9 x 13 baking dish and place under broiler for 10 minutes. Turn occasionally as tomato skins char and blister. Move roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender. Add chipotle(s), 2 tablespoons cilantro, sesame seeds, oregano, and 1/4 cup water; puree until smooth. Set aside. Pour vegetable oil into heavy skillet until it is one inch deep. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry tortilla pieces until crisp. Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Season with salt. Set aside. Heat deep, non-stick skillet on medium-high; add chorizo. Cook, breaking meat into small pieces while cooking through, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato mixture to skillet; season with salt and bring to a simmer. Add tortilla chips, turning to coat. Simmer just until chips begin to soften, approximately 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with remaining cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and radishes.


army of 4,500. General Zaragoza’s troops persevered and on May 5, 1862, delivered a crushing defeat.


T e victory was short-lived as 30,000 more French troops arrived in the follow- ing year; however, the pride and national unity gained, sustained the Mexicans for an eventual defeat of the French in 1867.


T ough there are no traditional dishes tied to Cinco de Mayo, these dishes will add to any celebration.


T e origins of both sweet potatoes and pineapples are set in Central and South America. It is only fi tting to include a popular candy using these native foods.


Dulce de Camote (Sweet Potato Candy) 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, undrained 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes 1/2 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 2 cups brown sugar 2/3 cups boiling water 1 cup chopped almonds


In large saucepan, combine pineapple, sweet potatoes, and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring continually for 5 min- utes. In bowl, dissolve cream of tartar and brown sugar in boiling water. Stir into potato mixture. Continue stirring and cooking over low heat until a soft ball forms when dropped in cold water. Remove from heat and beat with electric mixer until smooth and shiny. Mix in almonds. Drop by teaspoon onto parchment paper or buttered sur- face. Chill. Store in an air-tight container.


May 2013 - 11


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