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Cinco de Mayo

Posted by Chef Perry P. Perkins on

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is celebrated nationwide in the US and in many areas of Mexico, predominately in the state of Puebla, to commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The holiday is known locally as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla.

Despite what you may have read, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day (that’s September 16, btw.) Cinco de Mayo celebrations traditionally include parades, mariachi music, regional folk dancing and, of course, lots and lots of great Mexican food. Carne Asada Tacos, Tamales, and Mole Poblano galore!

Sign me up!

~ Chef Perry

PS – For a proper Cinco de Mayo party, skip the American beer and stock some ice cold Cerveza. Modelo is my personal favorite.

Carne Asada Tacos

Carne Asada is a Mexican recipe for marinated, grilled beef served in in tortillas. This is not your run-of-the-mill taco. This is a flavorful and delicious meal that is great for any occasion, and, for my money, skirt steak is one of the best cuts of meat you can ever toss on the grill!

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Total Time: 42 minutes

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds skirt steak 12 flour tortillas
1/2 cup tequila 1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice 4 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium onion chopped 2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons cumin
1 cup fresh pepper pico (recipe below) 2 teaspoons hot sauce

Mix juices, garlic, onion, tequila, hot sauce, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add meat and marinate both sides. Cover and refrigerate, turning meat over occasionally. Let steak marinade for 6 to 8 hours.

Preheat grill. Place a few drops of water on each tortilla, stack and wrap in aluminum foil.

Place on grill. Remove meat from marinade, discarding marinade.

Place on grill. Turn steak and tortillas once during cooking. Cook to your liking (12 to 15 minutes for medium-rare). Cut into thin slices, across the grain. 

Place a few slices of steak on each tortilla with pico, a squirt of lime juice and guacamole and serve.

Fresh Pepper Pico

Some folks aren’t fans of the heat, like I am…so I developed this recipe to allow me to minimize the fire by cutting out the jalapeno and some of the white onion (yes, some folks find white onion to be “too hot”) but still retain the contrasting crunch of those crisp, raw veggies with the fresh tomatoes. (And it’s purty, too!)

This attempt got major kudos from the “Mild not Wild” portion of the family. To spice it up a bit, add one fresh jalepeno pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and finely diced.

5 fresh Roma tomatoes, chilled and diced 1/2 large white onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 large orange bell pepper, diced
2 Tbs fresh squeezed lime juice 2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Elote (Mexican grilled corn)

Street vendors all over Mexico sell Elote corn made this way, typically on a stick, or with the husk pulled back to form a handle. Cotija cheese can be found in most grocery stores."

4 ears corn, shucked 1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup grated cotija cheese

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder, plus more for serving. 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems. 4 wedges lime

Set you La Caja China Top Grills over hot coals and let warm 5 minutes.

Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill.

Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with spices, cotija cheese, cilantro and serve with a lime wedge.

Chef Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks.

As a third generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, and La Caja China Party, and he writes regularly on his own blog,

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