Full of vibrant color, lively flavors, and spirited music — there's little wonder that more and more of us (no matter our heritage) are celebrating the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo! The day commemorates the 1862 victory of Mexican peasants over the French army. While you may not want to reenact the battle (as the people of Puebla, Mexico do), go ahead and celebrate Mexican culture with a party, big or small.
Here are some tips for sharing the excitement on May 5th:
The colors of the Mexican flag make for lively décor. Choose green, red, and white flowers, streamers, napkins, etc. Take your color scheme to your platters, too, with a tray of tomatoes, red and green peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and jicama. Cactus plants make great centerpieces, as do streams of dried chilies running down the center of the table.
Turn up the Music!
Find some Mariachi music or Mexican folk songs to play in the background today. Of course, traditional Mexican tunes (La Bamba, La Cucaracha, and the Mexican Hat Dance) are party naturals!
Cook with Mexican Flair!
No matter if you're an experienced chef or a novice cook, you can whip up Mexican fare in honor of the day. Sprinkle some chili powder or Mexican Seasoning on your deviled egg or quiche recipe. Or choose one new, authentic Mexican recipe to try for the occasion. Plan Mexican party snacks, an entire Mexican buffet or a sit-down meal! Here are some Cinco de Mayo food ideas.
Sangria, Mexican beers and wines suit the occasion. Margaritas are always a sure-fire way to get the party started. For non-alcoholic options, turn to fresh lemonade or chamomile tea. Or add cinnamon or cayenne as well as chocolate to cocoa for an authentic treat like our Oaxacan Hot Chocolate.
Appetizers and Snacks
Easy — and successful — party fixings always include chips and/or veggies and dips. For dips, consider those that highlight Mexican seasonings, such as Green Pepper, Cilantro and Tomatillo Salsa, Cherry Bomb Salsa, Grilled Corn Salsa, Citrus Avocado Taco Salad Dressing or Corn, Red Pepper and Black Bean Salsa. Choose a couple of special, Mexican-inspired appetizers for added punch. Huevos Rancheros with Colorado Sauce, Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Refried Beans and Spirulina Green Guacamole are sure to elicit an Ole!
Main and Side Dishes
Main and side dishes needn't be labor intensive. Top a baked potato or taco salad with salsa or homemade guacamole. Other good options include Baked Chicken Empanadas,Taco Salad, Black Bean and Salsa Soup, Grilled Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas (as seen in photo) and Chipotle Shrimp Tacos.
It's always a relief when you can prep the food for a party ahead of time. Use this recipe for Homemade Taco Seasoning to sprinkle or rub on meats and other Mexican fare before your party.Or round up local, organic ingredients for a taco or tosada bar using our Mexican Pulled Pork Taco Filling as inspiration.
Making your own chorizo sausage is simple with this spicy one-pan recipe. Seasoning with robust spices like garlic, paprika, chili powder, oregano, black pepper and cumin add the fieriness that one would expect from a spicy Mexican chorizo. Serve chorizo with tacos, burritos, nachos or eggs.
Fruit and cheese are often served for dessert after a Mexican dinner. Present yours on a colorful dish, or cut up the fruit and toss it into a salad. Be sure to include an array of choices, such as oranges, pineapple, papayas, strawberries, prickly pears, guava and manioc. Sprinkle everything with a little coconut and cinnamon, too.
Flan is a delicious, custardy Mexican cake that you can make in individual ramekins for added fun. Ice cream also makes a wonderful accompaniment to pastries and tortas. Give our twist on Tres Leches Cupcakes a whirl.
At the end of the day, you may have a new Mexican recipe -- or spice -- or two to add to your everyday cooking repertoire. Good thing, too, because, most likely, you'll have enjoyed the celebration so much that you won't want to wait until next year to dip into Mexican fare again.