Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Batalla de Puebla

Hello hello blogosphere. I'm here to deliver the much anticipated blog post about the most celebrated Mexican holiday in the United States--notice I didn't say America because I feel strongly against the definition of a country with the name of a continent. Ironically, it is also the least celebrated holiday in Mexico.

That's right folks, 5 de Mayo is not a work holiday in Mexico, it is not a lets-wear-sombreros-and-drink-margaritas day, and it most certainly not our 4th of July. What it is, is a day to commemorate the first battle in which Mexico defeated France; and a day of hope for the Mexican military forces. Go nuts with the Wikipedia article here.

That said, I have to admit that this holiday is a great opportunity to showcase Mexican gastronomy. It is great motivation for any passionate foodie--and even more for us Mexicans--to put together a gourmet meal. And this year was no exception: I'm proud to say (or write) that for the first time ever, I made a batch of traditional green salsa from scratch.

You may be laughing at the fact that my super proud moment consisted of throwing some ingredients into a blender and simmering the mixture for a while, but salsa is everywhere in Mexican cuisine. It is in enchiladas and chilaquiles, and huevos rancheros and enfrijoladas; atop tacos and molletes, and sopes and fajitas. It is a great dressing for meat and an even better dip for totopos (tortilla chips). If you have salsa, you're all set.

Here my is meal for my cinco de mayo: marinated fajitas, mango pico de gallo, loaded guacamole Enjoy!

Marinated Chicken Fajitas with Lime (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes + marinating.
Makes about 6 servings.

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 2 large bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
  • 1 large white onion, halved and sliced lengthwise

  1. In a large bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic salt and chili powder in a large bowl. Add chicken, bell peppers and onion. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place in a Ziploc bag and let stand in the refrigerator for at least one hour and up to four hours. 
  2. Heat remaining olive oil over medium high heat in a large saucepan or wok. Add chicken and vegetables and cook, flipping once or twice, until chicken is done, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with tortillas, guac and salsa.

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