Jenna Gabrial Gallagher is a writer, editor, and content director. Her blog, The Beaspora, was created to connect, inspire, and support the talent of smaller cities, such as her current home of Omaha, Nebraska. Here she shares a favorite family recipe and other tips for celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
My dad was famous for his margaritas. He and my mom liked them frozen, so there was always a big tub of mix in the freezer (where other dads keep their ice cream). Almost every night, he would fill two glasses, and he and my mom would adjourn to their “nacho room” (yes, they had one – doesn’t everyone?) for a little, private fiesta.
By that time, my siblings and I had all grown up and moved away. I can’t remember a time, however, when my parents picked us up from the airport without a pitcher of margaritas and a pan of nachos waiting for us at home.
I am not a retiree and still have young children, so nightly margaritas and nachos aren’t exactly an option for me. But weekly taco nights are.
In the summer, this means street tacos. My family sets out a big tray of veggies and fixin’s, such as pickled onions and radishes and chile-lime spiked crema, and cooks up the protein and tortillas on the grill. It’s the most leisurely, self-service, and sociable way to eat, and it makes even weeknights feel like a bit of a party.
Cinco de Mayo officially marks the opening of street taco season at our house, and this year we’ll be celebrating with spicy lime-thyme shrimp, toasted stuffed jalapenos, and grilled pineapple with dulce de leche for desert. And, of course, a big pitcher of my dad’s margaritas.
- 12 ounces tequila
- 6 ounces Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
- 12 ounces diet lemon-lime soda
- 12-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
- Pour all ingredients, plus ice if desired, into a blender (44-ounce capacity or larger).
- Cover tightly and pulse intermittently until blended.
- Store in the freezer in a plastic container until the mixture has reached desired slushiness.
Chili Lime-Thyme Shrimp
- 1 pound tail-on shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed chili pepper
- 2/3 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Whisk together all the ingredients except the shrimp.
- Place shrimp in the marinade and let sit, refrigerated, one hour to overnight.
- Grill in a grill basket or on skewers and serve on tacos.
Grilled Pineapple with Dulce de Leche
- Whole pineapple
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- Core the pineapple and slice into rings, then cook directly on the grill.
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk into an ovenproof dish and cover tightly with foil.
- Place the dish in a larger pan filled halfway to the top with water.
- Cook for one hour.
- Replenish water and cook for another hour until the dulce de leche is golden brown.
- Serve with pineapple on its own, over ice cream,or with biscuits, shortcake, or waffles.
Toasted Stuffed Jalapeños
- Cheddar cheese (or another easy-melting cheese of your choice)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Oil for frying (optional)
- Cut the tops off the jalapenos and scoop out the seeds.
- Fill each jalapeno with cheese and dunk in the beaten egg, then flour, then cornmeal.
- Pan fry or grill until the cheese melts and the coating is nice and crispy.
– Jenna Gabrial Gallagher, The Beaspora