Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cinco De Mayo But Hold The Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone! While not the largest south-of-the border celebration - that would probably be Dieciséis de Septiembre (Mexico's Independence Day) - Cinco de Mayo sure is a lot easier to pronounce if you happen to be a non-Spanish speaker. Especially after a few margaritas.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the outnumbered Mexican Militia over the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Brave Mexican warriors entered the fray shouting their three-fold battle cry “Viva Mexico!” (translated: Long live Mexico) while the French, sensing impending defeat responded with a battle cry of their own, “Oh non pas encore!” (translated: Oh no, not again).

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo is pretty much a regional holiday in Mexico and is primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla. In the United States, however, it has fast become a major holiday celebration throughout much of the country. Of course, Americans are always open to new ethnic expressions of celebration – especially if a lot of drinking is involved. Which is one reason why Congress just recently recognized Reddition Française (French Surrender Day), which may be celebrated any day when you have too much beer in the fridge.

But back to Cinco de Mayo. Festival Broadway is considered the primo Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. This event, held in an eleven block area of downtown Los Angeles, welcomes over half a million people where shouts of “Viva Mexico! (Long live Mexico), “Dios bendice México” (God bless Mexico), and “Averigüe los nuevos rines en mi Cívico!” (Check out the new rims on my Civic) fill the air.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, the Rawhide Wild West Town has celebrated Cinco de Mayo with an annual running of the bulls. However, this may be a dying tradition. According to spokesperson Gimpy Delgado, the rates for Goring by Bull insurance have skyrocketed since the unfortunate death in Pamplona last year when a 30-year-old tourist was gored in the throat. Especially so since the man was taking a shower in his hotel room at the time.

Not to be outdone by the event in Scottsdale, the town of Chandler hosts the Running of the Chihuahuas. This cultural classic features over 150 pint-sized dogs racing for the ultimate canine prize: a tasty biscuit and a pat on the head. While not as dangerous as her sister event in Scottsdale, the Running of the Chihuahuas does produce a number of nipped ankles and more than a few humped legs.

And in San Diego, you can down your share of margaritas at the Cinco de Mayo Zonkey Fest where the Zonkey – a small pony that looks like a donkey and is painted with zebra stripes – holds court. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me the idea of painting zebra stripes on a pony could only have been hatched during a previous margarita-soaked Cinco de Mayo celebration.

So…how are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo? Me? With a cooler full of Dos Equis, a pitcher of margaritas, and a platter of homemade fish tacos. Hold the mayo.

CLASSIC FISH TACOS

PREP: 10 minutes                    COOK: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 jalapeno pepper (or habernero for more heat), minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch white pepper
1/2 pound tilapia, cut into ½-inch strips
4 corn tortillas
1/4 head read cabbage, finely shredded
1 – 2 cups canola oil (enough to cover your pan by 1-inch)

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, beer and salt. Mix until smooth.

2. In another medium bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise and lime juice. Gradually stir in the peppers, oregano, cumin, dill, cayenne, and white pepper.

3. Add oil to medium skillet to a depth of 1-inch and heat over medium-high heat.

4. Dredge the fish pieces in the flour mixture and then into the batter. Add pieces to skillet a few at a time and fry until crisp and lightly brown, a couple of minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

5. Lightly fry the tortillas until just beginning to crisp. Remove to paper towel.

6. Slather sauce on each tortilla, add fish and top with shredded cabbage.

25 comments:

  1. Cinco de Worko ... sigh. Not a great celebration here. But, it's always nice to come by here for a good laugh .... no, no, not at your recipe, definitely not, don't ever think that. Haha! I like the Zonkey! A totally zonked out idea. Easier than painting a zebra out of its stripes, I suppose. Have a nice weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Ping. It's good to be back in the blogosphere again. Been busy doing some final edits for upcoming books. Glad that's over! Anyway, I think you have something there in regard to the zebra and its stripes. What say we get a couple of gallons of Wite-Out and go to town! :-D

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    2. Sounds good! Haven't had college-beer-induced-haze type fun in a looong time!

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    3. It's a deal! You bring the beer and I'll bring the Wite-Out. LOL

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  2. Running of the Chihuahuas? That's hilarious! LOL I'm going over to a Cinco de Mayo and Kentucky Derby party so that should be fun! Love your fish tacos!

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    1. That is a riot, isn't it MJ! Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to come back again after the party. I should have something new posted by then. :-)

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  3. I love fish tacos!!!!
    thanks for the recipe~~
    I can make it at home in the future~~~ yay~~

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    1. I think you'll enjoy this version. I tried a number of them (they are somewhat ubiquitous here in Florida) til I finally found one I really liked. Enjoy! :-)

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  4. Running of the Chihuahuas.. Now I would pay good money to watch that! Congrats on your book. Love your blog and your sense of humor.. : )

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    1. Yeah, Erika, I have to admit, the Running of the Chihuahuas paints a fun picture in your mind, doesn't it, lol. Thanks for stopping buy and offering the well-wishes!

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  5. Hey there, thanks for stopping by my blog today! I love fish tacos and I think it's brilliant that you add beer to the batter - makes a good thing even better! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jen. Of course the beer thing is a tip of the hat to the British who often add beer to the batter. And of course, as you mentioned, beer often makes a good thing better, lol. Have a great weekend!

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  6. Being from north of the border,I really appreciated the mini Mexican history lesson. If margaritas are involved I too would endorse a new holiday. Loved your taco recipe.

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    1. You're welcome, Anna! I like to dabble in history...but I'd much rather dabble in a margarita or two. Let's say we create a pitcher and announce a new holiday - Cuatro de Mayo. I'll pour. :-)

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  7. Giddy-up!! Fish tacos are always a big hit with my little muchachos and particularly with my little muchacha! I can't wait to try these, yogurt makes everything better. :) Great post, I'm glad we've connected, I look forward to reading more...Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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    1. Yee-ha, Missy! Make up a batch an let me know how the little ones like 'em. In the meantime, thanks for visiting. I try to post weekly so feel free to drop by often. There's always room around this table for you and the whole fam. :-D

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  8. I think we'll celebrate French Surrender Day this weekend. Very informative post -- especially given that I didn't know about Cinco de Mayo before this year!

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    1. Too funny! But hey, if you promise to combine French Surrender Day with one of your Wing Nights, I'll put some margaritas in the cooler, load up the fam, and we can celebrate Cinco de Mayo all at the same time. :-D

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  9. My claim to fame ? I have run with the bulls in Pamplona. I know! It was the craziest weekend ever. If you weren't wearing red and white, you were totally, but totally out of place. We had to buy neck scarves to blend in. The beer flowed like an absolute river - for 3 days. The bull run was each morning. It was A-MAZING. The place stunk like a hell hole and we slept in sleeping bags on the road side. I was 20 at the time, what can I say? I don't agree with the bull side of things any more, nor did I then really, but the atmosphere was electric, and it still goes down as one of my best weekends ever. The locals push the tourists forward so they can get a great view. The Spaniards are very proud of their traditions. It was amazing to be part of it that year. (Taking a little bow, as I step off my little soap box platform). ;o)

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    1. This made my weekend. I never met anyone who actually ran with the bulls. I'm so glad you posted this. Now I can say I "knew" someone. And hey, get back up on that soapbox. No one told you to step down. I want to hear more great stories! :-D

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  10. I totally forgot Cinco de Mayo this year until it was a little too late which is a shame because I love any good excuse to eat Mexican food!

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    1. Well, Jen. Now you have no excuse, lol. Enjoy!

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  11. This is officially on my menu this week. My husband, three boys and I love fish tacos! Great recipe.

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    1. Wonderful, Stephanie! This is an awesome Fish Taco recipe (and I tried a lot before I settled on this one, lol). Let me know how it came out! :-)

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  12. Sounds delicious Chef! It'll be for dinner tomorrow.
    BTW, I just nominated you for a Blog Award.
    Please check my blog for your nomination.
    Thanks!

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