If you know even a little bit of Spanish, you probably can figure out that Cinco de Mayo rolls around every May 5. Here in the U.S., many people celebrate this Mexican holiday with their favorite south-of-the-border food and music.

It’s great fun to invite friends over, stir up a batch of margaritas, fill a piñata with treats and light up the grill. Just in time for the holiday, I recently discovered one of McKinney’s local Hispanic stores, La Michoacana Meat Market (311 W. University Dr.). It’s a wonderful place to find fajita meats already marinated, buy freshly made guacamole and salsas, select from a variety of tortillas and even purchase a genuine piñata.

Steak Fajitas

2 pounds of marinated skirt steak
2 red or colored peppers – sliced
1 sliced onion
Tortillas – corn or flour
Oil and lime juice
Guacamole, salsa, cheese and beans – optional

The marinated fajita meat (and chicken) at La Michoacana is so good that it’s just not worth doing it yourself. Lightly oil your grill and cook steak for 3-4 minutes over a medium-high heat. After you turn your meat, place your peppers and onions in a grill pan with a tsp. Of oil and a tsp. Of lime juice. Cook just until limp. Thinly slice meat against the grain on the diagonal. Serve with warm tortillas, grilled peppers and onions, and guacamole.

Serves 4 - 6.

Mango Margaritas

1 15-oz. can of mangos in light syrup
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup tequila
¼ cup triple sec
¼ cup Grand Marnier (cordon rouge)
1 Tbsp. lime rimmer (recipe below)
2 limes
Sugar
Salt

In a blender, mix the mangoes until smooth. Add the lime juice, tequila, triple sec and Grand Marnier. At this point you can either pour the mixture over ice, or process ice in the blender until it is frozen enough for your liking.

With a micro-plane grater, grate just the green zest off two limes. Add 2 Tbsp. Fine sugar and 2 Tbsp. Salt. Mix together. Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of your glass. Dip in the rimmer mixture for added taste.

Makes four 4 oz. drinks.

Guacamole

2 large avocadoes
Juice of one lime, or two key limes
¼ red onion – finely diced
1 small tomato – finely diced
1 clove garlic – finely diced
½-1 jalapeno – finely diced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. cumin

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the seed.With a spoon, scoop out the flesh. Then mash the avocado with the tongs of a fork. (Mixing in a blender or food processor will leave you with guacamole that has no texture.)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Press plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate if not serving right away. Offer with tortilla chips or fajitas.

Serves 4.

 

 

Nopales (Cactus) Salad

1 cup of jarred nopale (rinse to remove brine) or 2 cups fresh sliced nopales, trimmed of barbs and boiled in water, then cooled
2 medium tomatoes - chopped 1 cup peeled and julienned jicama
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ chopped cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh cheese, queso fresco crumbled
4 - 5 cups torn lettuce leaves

Dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together:

¼ cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic
A few drops of hot sauce

Place lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Top with salad ingredients above and gently toss with enough dressing to coat the leaves.

Serves 4.

Coconut Flan

1 cup sugar for caramel
4 oz. cream cheese
1 ¼ cup whole milk, or half-and-half
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Place sugar in a saucepan over high heat. When the sugar begins to brown around the edges, stir the sugar. When the sugar turns to a dark liquid and begins to smoke, remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the liquid into four 1-cup ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator while making flan.

Make the flan filling by mixing the cream cheese, milks, eggs and vanilla in a blender. Pour mixture evenly into ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking dish with enough hot water to rise halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes. The flan is done when you jiggle a ramekin and the flan barely moves. To serve, invert onto a dessert plate and top with coconut.

Serves 4.

 

About the author: Debbie Denissen is a McKinney food connoisseur and caterer who travels the world with her husband learning about the latest culinary trends. Contact her at dldenissen@gmail.com.