Monday, November 25, 2013

A Modern Mexican Fiesta!

These thirst-quenching and pretty little invitations arrived a few weeks before our party.  Love the fun bright colors!

Mandy and Emily put a fun, feminine, pretty twist on Fiesta for this gourmet club dinner.  We all love the colorful, festive atmosphere.

Place cards were tied onto the napkins with some jute and a pepper.

Emily put the menu in her picture frames on the wall--clever!

I think she might have even spray-painted her frames just for this event--love that blue.

The appetizers were delicious.  You really can't go wrong with mexican shrimp cocktails, chips & guacamole, and mahi mahi fish tacos with fresh pico and a lime cilantro crema slaw.  Plus more pretty soda!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktails

Fresh Guacamole and Chips

 Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with fresh Pico and Lime Cilantro Crema Slaw

Mandy and Emily--our hostesses for the evening! 

Tiny bit of trivia--Mandy recently opened her own Shine Hair Studio, and she cuts hair for lots of us in the group. She found out about the spot for her shop at our last Gourmet Club dinner, the Death by Chocolate dinner.  Carrie mentioned that they had an opening in their dental office building.  See, good things really do come of these dinners.  It's a good thing for women to put their heads together and solve the worlds' problems, one bite at a time.  For Mandy, November was a busy month for sure . . . opening her shop and hosting a gourmet dinner.  She did both with great style!

Emily's home was the perfect, beautiful, fun place for a dinner party, as always.

These two are charming gracious hosts who make it look so easy.

They served us family style, which was a fun change of pace.  All of the food was beautifully presented and tasty, too.
Marinated Grilled Carne Asada, Warm Tortillas, Pineapple Spears, Mexican Rice, Fresh Guacamole, Tomato and Corn Salad, Seasoned Black Beans, Fresh Pico

These little cactus plants were part of the table décor, and we got to take them home.  Mandy borrowed some of the other Cacti from her neighbor, who was very skeptical about letting his cactus babies out of his sight.  Luckily no harm was done. :)  Emily found the perfect Fiesta fabric in Boise Idaho.  Nothing like a little road-trip to get what's hard to find in our neck of the woods.
The other take home was delicious homemade salsa with chips.  (My lunch the next day.)
Dessert: Tres Leches Cake (YUM) and Mexican Hot Chocolate (YUM).
Back: Alyssa, Emily, Corinne, Brenda, Mandy
Front: Carrie, Brittany, Tanya, Katie, Holly, Alisha, and Tori
(we missed GG--she was off at the hospital having baby twin boys that day!)

*Marinated Carne Asada*
La Tapatia 2 (Hispanic market off Powell)

*Seasoned Black Beans*
1 Tbsp. oil
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 Tbsp. garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp. chicken bouillon powder
1 tsp. cumin
36-48 oz. canned black beans (drained) (or home cooked black beans)
1 C. water (only if using drained, canned beans)
salt & pepper to taste
Sauté onion and garlic in oil, until soft. Add seasoning, beans and water, simmer for 30 min.

*Corn & Tomato Salad*
1 large bag of frozen sweet corn (about 2lbs.)
2 C. cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2-3/4 C. cilantro (chopped)
1 tsp. garlic (minced)
1 jalapeno (minced)
1/2 red onion (minced)
1 Tbsp. olive oil (or grape seed oil)
1/2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. lime zest
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Queso Fresca
Mix all together. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, stir well to incorporate all flavors. Top with crumbled Queso Fresca.

*Mahi-Mahi Fish Tacos*
4-6 mahi-mahi fillets or steaks
taco seasoning, or other Latin spices
*Place fish on foil and grill
shredded cabbage
cilantro-lime crema (recipe below)
Pico de Gallo
corn tortillas

*Cilantro-Lime Crema*
1 C. mayo
1/2 C. cilantro (chopped)
1/2 jalapeno (minced)
1 tsp. lime juice
1/1 tsp. lime zest
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt & pepper to taste

*Tres Leches Cake* (for 9x13)
2 C. powdered sugar
10 egg whites
10 egg yolks
2/3 C. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1- 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2- 12oz. cans evaporated milk
1 recipe for stabilized whipped cream (below)
fruit or berries
Heat oven to 350
Beat yolks & 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar, until light in color and doubled. Stir in vanilla, milk, flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whip whites and 1/2 C. powdered sugar, until semi-stiff peaks. CAREFULLY FOLD whites into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into greased pan. Bake 35-40 min. Cool completely. Careful skin off very top layer of cake. Mix together sweetened milk and evaporated milk. Pour milk mixture over cooled cake, 1 cup at a time, letting each absorb, continue adding milk until the cake will no longer absorb any more. (it will hold a lot). Frost with stabilized whipped cream and fruit or berries of choice.

*Stabilized Whipped Cream* (Wilton’s)
4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1/4 C. cold water
4 C. heavy whipping cream
1/4 C. powdered sugar
Whip cream and sugar, until slightly thick, set aside. In a small saucepan mix together gelatin and water (with NO heat) until thick. Place over low heat and stir constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool (DO NOT LET HARDEN), once slightly cooled,  add to whipped cream and whip until very thick. 

Quick and Easy Blender Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This super simple blender salsa is a great alternative to fresh pico when tomatoes aren't at their best. I use this all winter long and it's my go to recipe for chips and salsa
  • 1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 10 oz can orginal Rotel
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends on how spicy you like it)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with chips or over tacos. 
Pico De Gallo

Roma tomatoes
Red Onion
Lime juice
Salt & Pepper

Dice the tomatoes, onion and jalapeno.  Chop cilantro and mix all together in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add lime juice to taste.  


Diced white or red onion
Cilantro, chopped
Lime Juice 
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mash avocados leaving some small chunks.  Add some diced onion, cilantro and lime juice to keep it from browning.  Don't add too much or you'll have a sloppy consistency.   Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

3 cups milk
3 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp vanila extract
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp chili powder
whipped cream for topping

In medium saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients except chili powder.  Simmer for 5 minutes stirring gently.  

Remove from heat.  Add chili powder for a little spice.  Pour into 3 cups to serve immediately, or set over low heat stirring occasionally.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail with Avocado Salsa
serves 12 

2 avocados, chopped
2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
6 cups V8 juice  (I used half regular V8 and half Hot & Spicy to give it more flavor)
2 limes, quartered as garnish
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined and steamed
1/2-1 tsp Tobasco sauce
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 red onion
salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a bog container.  Chill and serve with limes and tobasco sauce.

Mexican Rice

1 small yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp oil
1 1/2 cup long grain rice
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
enough water to make 3 cups total liquid when combined with tomato sauce
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon powder
Cilantro, chopped
Tomato, chopped

Using a large saute pan with lid, saute onion in butter and oil until clear.  Add rice and saute until just slightly golden.  In a large glass measuring cup add tomato sauce and water to make 3 cups.  Add chicken bouillon to liquid and pour into rice.  Stir and cover.  DO NOT open for 20 minutes.  fluff with fork.  Top with fresh chopped cilantro and diced tomato.