On May 5, 1862 the Mexican Army had a surprise victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during their occupation after the Mexican-American War. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day like most Americans think. The holiday has minor significance in Mexico, mainly celebrated in the state of Puebla. It was first celebrated in the United States by Mexican immigrants in southern California as a way to celebrate their heritage.
The holiday is mostly celebrated by Americans because it’s an excuse to party during the week. I can hear the phrase “Cinco de Drinko” echoing all over college campuses now. The victory actually had great significance for America as well. France had been giving supplies to the Confederacy at the start of the Civil War. The loss stopped France from continuing aide to the South, who already was being crippled by lack of goods and supplies. So, might as well toast to Mexico for helping end slavery if you going to get totally wasted on Thursday.
Sadly, this college kid has very tough finals all next week and will be shutting herself up in the library studying for the week, so I will not be partaking in the festivities tomorrow. But today was the last day of class, so I thought I’d throw my self a little fiesta to celebrate surviving my first year in Hawaii.
As a West Coast girl, I grew up eating killer Mexican Food. I loved going to my Mexican friends’ houses, nothing like a homemade tortilla. And there is no shortage of awesome Mexican restaurants. Two of my favorites in the Portland area are Maztalan and Lupe’s Escape. And if you are in Eugene, you have to try Daniel’s or The Mission, spent some good May 5th’s in those places as an undergrad at University of Oregon. As for Hilo, there is only one Mexican place, Ruben’s. It’s good, but nothing special to be honest.
Mexican is my second favorite cuisine after Thai, so I had a hard time deciding what dish I wanted to make. After probably more thought than necessary, I decided on tostadas because I had not had one in awhile. This also works out well because they are gluten free and May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. But, I knew there would be margaritas. I love tequila, and there is nothing like a sweet and tangy margarita to refresh you after a long day. I will forever think of my friend Joely every time I have one. During my senior year at U of O, she and I would often go share a pitcher (or two) at The Mission and gossip for hours. I miss you terribly girl, please come visit me soon!
This recipe should feed 4 people, 2 tostadas each.
Pinto Bean Tostadas
2 cans pinto beans, drained
4 cloves garlic
1 cup water
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt to taste
1 large red bell pepper
1 large green bell pepper
1/2 medium white onion
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Anaheim pepper
8 Corn tortillas
Vegan sour cream
Sweet and Sour Mix
|The smoked paprika makes all the difference.|
Drain and rinse the pinto beans. I picked pinto because it is very common in Mexican cooking and I like the mild flavor. Mince the garlic cloves, and add along with the pinto beans to a sauce pan. Add the water, chili powder, smoked paprika and salt. I really suggest you used smoked paprika, it can be found in most stores and really gives the beans a great flavor.
|Similar to refried, but way less fat and sodium.|
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Coook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
|All organic, of course.|
While the beans cook, cut the bell peppers and onions into thin strips. I picked red and green for the colors of the Mexican flag.
|Love the smell of cooked bell peppers.|
Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the veggies to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are slightly golden and the peppers start to blacken a bit.
|All organic corn tortilla.|
Remove the peppers from the skillet and cover to keep warm. Spray the skillet again with cooking spray and keep it on medium heat. Depending on the size of the skillet, put 1 to 2 tortillas in at a time and heat until they crisp up and start to blacken slightly. Watch carefully, they tend to burn quickly.
|I leave a few seeds because I like it hot.|
Lastly, chop up the Anaheim peppers. You can use any hot pepper you like. I strongly suggest doing this last so you don’t contaminate everything and make your food insanely hot. Cut the pepper down the middle. If you want less heat, clean out the membrane and seeds with a spoon. Chop into small pieces. WASH YOUR HANDS afterward, the juice will soak into your fingers and can get into your eyes.
|Green, white, and red like the Mexican flag.|
Now time to assemble. Plate one crisped tortilla and evenly spread about 1 to 2 tbs of beans on top. Next put on about 1/4 cup of veggies.
|Tofutti sour cream is so good.|
Then top with as much fresh salsa and sour cream as you like. Then sprinkle on some of the Anaheim peppers and squirt some lime juice for kick. A little cilantro is wonderful too.
|Both on sale, score.|
Now, for the margaritas. I like mine on the rocks instead of blended. I am not the best bartender so I used sweet and sour mix. I don’t like triple sec and I don’t notice a different without it, so I don’t use it.
|The salt is red because it’s Hawaiian sea salt, tainted from algae|
I used a regular drinking glass since I used my margarita glasses for my Chocolate Chili Mousse yesterday. Wet the rim of your glass with lime juice. Pour some salt on a plate and roll the rim in the salt.
|Here’s to the end of my first year as a geology undergrad!|
Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass. The best ratio is 3 parts mix to 1 part tequila. Pour the liquids over the ice and stir gently. Squirt in a little lime juice and garnish with a wedge.
Yeah for Mexico’s victory over France that prevented aide to the Confederacy! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
|I am one happy gringa.|