Category: Cinco de Mayo

Get Your Taste Buds Ready for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the victory of Mexican forces over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

While celebrated only regionally in Mexico, this holiday is often observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States.

Why not bring the festivities into your kitchen as well with some south-of-the-border flavor? We’ve got plenty of great selections for the occasion, plus delicious video recipes and culinary DIY guides.

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Culinary Classic: Carnitas

One of the staples of Mexican cuisine is the slow-cooked pork dish that originated in the state of Michoacán, known as carnitas.

The traditional method of preparation calls for braising a pork shoulder in lard until tender, much in the same way the French make confit, in which duck or chicken is simmered in duck fat until tender.

The literal translation of the word carnitas is “little meats.” The preferred cut for authentic carnitas is well-marbled pork shoulder, or Boston butt, which is cut into largish chunks of about 2 inches.

Photo courtesy of Pork Checkoff. For more information about pork, visit pork.org.

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Culinary Classic: Tacos

October 4th is National Taco Day. Not only that, but National Taco Day also falls on a Tuesday this year, making it a Super Taco Tuesday! How much do you know about everyone’s favorite Tuesday-night, build-your-own, family dinner dish?

Taco

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Culinary DIY: Queso

Queso, which is Spanish for cheese, is an appetizer of melted cheeses and peppers. Queso is typically served as a sauce for nachos in Tex-Mex restaurants. Want to wow your guests with a homemade version of this restaurant-style appetizer? We’ll walk you through the steps for a seriously good queso!

Culinary DIY: Queso

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Culinary DIY: Salsa

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Salsa, which is literally translated as the Spanish word for “sauce,” can take many forms. Salsa roja uses cooked tomatoes, while salsa cruda, pico de gallo, and salsa fresca use all raw ingredients. Salsa verde calls for tomatillos and is a delightful green color. And these are just a few of the many variations.
Prepared salsas sold in jars in the United States are always cooked to lengthen their shelf life so they can be sold in grocery stores and markets.
However, once you’ve tried fresh, homemade salsa, practically no mass-produced, jarred variety can compare. Here we show you how to make a chunky pico de gallo.

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Culinary DIY: Guacamole

Guacamole is a Mexican side dish that can seem like a difficult task to take on at home. Following these steps will guide you on your way to making crowd-pleasing guacamole.

Culinary DIY: Guacamole

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From One Extreme to the Other: Chile Peppers

The most common way to organize peppers is by the degree of their heat, or pungency. The chemical that carries the heat in pepper is called capsaicin, and its concentration determines just how hot a given pepper is.

The common measuring unit is a Scoville heat unit (SHU) developed by Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist, in 1912. The heat ratings are assigned by the results of a panel of taste testers, not objective data.

Peppers-on-board

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