3 Family-Pleasing Recipes to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

I was born, raised, and went to college in Texas. Since then, I’ve lived in San Francisco, London, Geneva, and now Boston, and as much as I’ve loved the unique experience of each of these places, the longer I’m away from Texas, the more I find myself yearning to connect with my Texan roots.

Part of what makes the Lone Star State so great is the spirited, vibrant Mexican culture that spills over the border and is embraced by Mexican-Americans and non-Mexicans alike. Mexican music, art, and food have a heavy influence in Texas, and it’s one of the things I miss most about “home.”

Cinco de Mayo offers an opportunity to talk with my kids about the importance of Mexican history as it relates to America and to share some cultural traditions of our neighbors to the south. It makes for a really delicious and fun history lesson. Important to remember: Cinco de Mayo is often misunderstood to be Mexican Independence Day (it’s not). Rather, it celebrates an important and unlikely Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla over French forces. Mostly, today, it’s a day to celebrate Mexican fortitude and enduring spirit.

Without further ado, I give you three easy, delicious, and decidedly Mexican dishes (plus one adults-only beverage!) to serve up on May 5. Salud!

Tacos de Arrachera al Carbón con Rajas (Grilled Skirt Steak Tacos)

Tip 1: See how to reheat corn tortillas.

Tip 2: This includes an overnight marinade, but day-of prep is really easy and perfect for spring outdoor grilling.

credit: Flickr (bionicgrrrl)
Photo credit: Flickr (bionicgrrrl)

Tostadas con Huevos, Frijoles Negras, y Chorizo (Sausage, Egg, and Black Bean Tostadas)

Tip 1: To keep it all warm until everyone is ready to eat, I like to put the oven on extremely low heat and keep the tostadas in a round cake tin until I’m ready to serve.

Tip 2: For kids, it may be easiest to serve these on “pizza slices” instead of on one big tostada. You can break it up for them in advance so they can pick it up and eat it, or you can serve all the toppings on or in a regular flour tortilla for the little ones.

credit: Flickr (T.Tseng)
Photo credit: Flickr (T.Tseng)


Tip 1: You can get fancy and make your own tomatillo salsa, but to keep things quick and easy, just go out and buy some.

Tip 2: This recipe is for very basic chilaquiles. I prefer mine completely loaded with other stuff, like black beans, fresh-cut purple onion, avocado, shredded chicken, and a fried egg on top. It’s a terrific brunch dish.

credit: Flickr (Alyse & Remi)
Photo credit: Flickr (Alyse & Remi)

Mexican Martini

OK, so this one’s not exactly family friendly (sorry, kids!). But to make it all a lot more fun for the adults, top off your meal with an authentic Mexican martini like the original (and still the best) from Trudy’s in Austin, Texas. It’s a refreshing change from the standard margarita.