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Whip up a Cinco de Mayo fiesta

Much like everyone becomes Irish on St. Patty’s Day, we all want to bring out our inner Latina or Latino to party on Cinco de Mayo.

This is a fun, non-religious holiday that is not an observance of Mexican independence but rather a day celebrating a military victory of 4,000 Mexican soldiers over 8,000 armed French troops in 1862. The decisive battle, known as La Batalla de Puebla (The Battle of Puebla) occurred on, as you have probably already guessed, May 5.

In keeping with celebrating a holiday with food that is slightly different, below are my gifts to anyone wanting a Cinco de Mayo festive feast.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

2 cans (15 1/4 ounces each) corn, drained

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

8 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

3/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of hot sauce, optional

Tortilla chips

In a very large glass bowl, combine the corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, peppers, lime juice and salt, along with hot sauce if using. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the seasoning to meld. Serve with chips. Serves 6 to 8.

Margarita with an Orange Twist

Salt, for rimming the glass (optional)


1 1/2 ounces tequila

1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 ounce orange liqueur

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Orange slices to garnish

If using salt, place it in a shallow plate. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with a wet paper towel, then dip in salt. Fill the glass with ice; add tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and orange juice and stir a few times until chilled. Serve immediately with an orange slice.

Tex Mex Chicken Soup

6 to 8 cups chicken broth

1 cup chunky salsa

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (only use fresh)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (leftovers work great)

3 cups cooked rice (I like brown rice in this but white and wild work just fine)

Monterey Jack shredded (optional)

Sour cream

1 avocado, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

1 lime cut into pieces

In stock pot, combine the broth, salsa, celery, carrots and lime juice. Bring the mixture to boil. Divide chicken and rice among four to six bowls. Fill each bowl with hot broth. Top with cheese, sour cream, avocado and parsley if using. Serve with squeeze of lime. Serves 4 to 6.

Crab Guacamole

4 medium, ripe avocados

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup salsa

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 to 1 1/2 cups mock crab meat

Lime juice

Corn chips or pita chips

In a glass bowl combine the avocado and cream cheese. Mash to combine. Add the sour cream and mix together. Add the salsa, lime juice, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Add the crab and gently mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Squeeze some of the lime juice over the top to prevent the avocado from turning brown. Serve with corn chips. Serves 6 to 8.

– Submitted by Randi Markasan of Queens, New York Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.