Cinco de Mayo is one of those gratuitous holidays, and I use the term holiday very loosely.  It is the celebration of the Mexican army’s defeat of the French over something.  Here’s an article if you want the nitty gritty details… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinco_de_Mayo, the misconception is that it’s Mexican Independence day and misstating that gets some people’s panties in a wad, but I digress.

It’s a great reason to fire up the grill, drink some margaritas and enjoy the awesome weather, Latin style!

I posted over on 1winedude.com’s website the other day when he was having one of his giveaways and I won a cool Latin Dance CD.  So to get this party started I threw that bad boy in the Disco Player and jammed.  (Thanks again Joe, this music is way fun!)

My lovely bride found a killer recipe for tacos in Food & Wine magazine, there were actually 5 recipes in this article but here’s the one I chose.

Skirt Steak Tacos: recipe from Food&Wine.com

2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch strips
12 corn tortillas, warmed

Exited to get this marinade right, I stopped off at the local market, Oliver’s Cotati for the missing ingredients.  I picked up some skirt steak (which was on manager’s special, score!), missing spices from my cabinet, Ancho Chile Powder and ground coriander.  I also picked up some fresh veggies to make a fun succotash that I saw made on a food TV show.

I came home at lunch to get the marinade ready.  I placed the meat into a large (1 gallon) zip-lock and started dumping in the spices.  Wow!  I marinated about 3lbs of steak so I used about double what the recipe above called for.  It looked awesome so much chile powder in there…  Anyhow, once you get all the dry ingredients in I took about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and drizzled it in (recipe called for vegetable, I figure olives are vegetables right?) then I squeezed the juice out of 3 limes, then close up the bag and shake and roll and massage the spices around to ensure an even coating of spices and juice.  I put it into the fridge and headed back to work.  Total marinade time probably ended up closer to 6 hours.

Marinated Carne Asada

Grill the meat over high heat, char on both sides and remove from heat.

Let stand 10 Minutes

Let stand about 10 min, should make for a medium-rare Carne Asada.

Carne Asada Supremo

The side dish:

I can’t remember what show it was, but I was at the gym the other day and now all of the workout equipment has private TVs.  So the guys were doing a cinco-de-mayo thing, I couldn’t hear them (i was rocking out on my iPod) but had it on closed caption.  They cooked up this mix of corn and zucchini with some other stuff and simmered it in some cream.  I didn’t get the recipe exact but here’s what’s in it.

2 Ears of Corn (fresh sweet or white)
3 medium-small zucchini
1 Pasilla pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 large tomato
1 teaspoon Ancho Chile powder
1/2 cup Cream
dash of Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (EVOO)

Shuck and rinse the corn, cut the kernels from the cob and place in a large skillet.

Corn off the cob

Core the pasilla, removing the top and seeds, dice into about 1/2 inch bits, put those in the pan.

–Mambo Wine, and Margarita are mandatory–

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, these we will start cooking on the grill.

Zuccs!

I cooked mine, flesh side down for about 5-10 minutes over low heat on the gas grill, just so they get the little cooked lines in them, remove from grill then chop into bite size pieces, place those into the pan too.  Finely dice 1/2 of a yellow or white onion, into the pan it goes.  Dice up the tomato, set aside.

Drizzle the oil over the veggies and fire up the burner at medium heat.  Stir frequently to keep veggies from browning too much.  Once the veggies are close to ready pour cream into pan, reduce heat, add tomatoes.

Cooking up the veg.

Let this simmer a little to reduce down the cream.

Suffering Succotash!

I cooked up some black beans with this meal also,  I chopped up half a jalapeno and some onion and cooked that in with the beans.

I whipped up an avocado salsa to go with this, this was super simple and really yummy.

3 Haas Avocados
1/2 yellow onion
2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder
3 Limes

Put all of these ingredients together in the food processor, fire it up until the mixture is smooth.  Done!

I like my tacos in corn tortillas, but you can use whatever you like!

So the Food & Wine magazine has a wine pairing with each of its taco recipes, I was lucky to find the exact wine they recommended.  Hey Mambo, Sultry California Red Wine.  They friggin’ pegged this pairing.

Cheers!

Hey Mambo is a blend of Petite Syrah, Barbera, Malbec, Zin, and some other stuff I can’t remember.  It was 13.5% ABV and comes across the palate spicy and fruity.  It cost around $10 or $11 bucks and was worth every penny!

I have to say this is the best Carne Asada I have ever made.  I am always bummed out (prior to today) when I try and cook up some skirt steak and expect it to taste like it does at the local taqueria.  This one hits the mark and is perfection on a tortilla!

I got to eat off the “Celebrate” plate because I recently got a promotion at work, yeah me!  No está Mal para una Cena de Jueves!

Special Thanks to Joe Roberts for Providing the soundtrack to the evening, please visit him at http://1winedude.com he always has excellent wine reviews and information. (Latin Party CD image from 1winedude.com)