Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Winter - Time to Host a PARTY - FIESTA Style

It may be cold outside, but don't hibernate!! It's the perfect time to invite your friends over for a casual get together.

Motivation and Theme: Mexican Medley Menu:
• Sangria - my new mix is delicious and simple!! No need for multiple liquors that can break the bank! Use one bottle of inexpensive wine!
• Sante Fe Dip and Chips & Pico de Gallo with Serrano Peppers
• Tossed Salad with Guacamole Dressing
• Enchilada Casserole
• Smoked Shrimp Quesadillas with Guacamole

Party Strategy:
• Go south-of-the-border with this party, from the drinks to the appetizers to the main course and the dessert.
• For world travelers (actual or armchair) and friends with adventuresome palates, a hot and spicy menu can be a real treat.
• If one of your guests plays the guitar, ask him or her to bring it along to accompany a folk-song fest.
• Guacamole, sangria, santa fe dip, and enchilada casserole can be made up to two days ahead.

Table Tips:
• Use the colors of the Mexican flag, red, bright green and white as your base. Add other bright colors as well.
• Feature a big basket of Mexican paper flowers as decoration. Make them easily by using sheets of red, pink and orange tissue paper folded lengthwise to a width of about 2 inches - Then roll
them loosely, snail fashion. Pin them at the bottom and fluff out into petals. This is a fun way to get your kids involved... let them help!
• You can get lots of inexpensive Mexican accompaniments to sprinkle your table with at local dollar stores and party shops. Sombreros make fun baskets to hold chips or paper products. Wrap paper napkins around plastic silverware... tie up with some raffia!

Pico de Gallo with Serrano Peppers
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3 Serrano peppers, finely chopped
1 lb. tomatoes, diced
3 limes, juice only
½ tsp. chopped garlic
Salt, pepper and cumin to taste
1. Mix all ingredients together. Set for one hour and then re-season to taste.
2. Serve with tortilla chips Serves 6-8

Tossed Salad with Guacamole Dressing
2 heads lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 oranges, pared and sectioned
1 C sliced radishes
½ C chopped green pepper


2 avocados, peeled and pitted
1 medium onion and 1 green chili pepper, diced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. coarsely grated black pepper
Mayonnaise to get correct consistency
1. Beat avocados, onion, chili pepper, lemon juice, salt and pepper until creamy. Spoon into dish. Spread top with thin layer of mayonnaise. Cover and chill. Stir gently just before tossing with salad.

Enchilada Casserole
1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (15 ½ oz) refried beans
1 C extra virgin olive oil
12 fresh or frozen tortillas
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper

Cheese Sauce:
¼ C butter
¼ C flour
¾ C sliced pitted
ripe olives
¼ tsp. paprika
2 C. whole milk
1 can (15 oz) enchilada sauce
½ tsp. salt
4 drops hot sauce
1 ½ C shredded natural cheddar cheese
1. Cook and stir ground beef and onion until done. Stir in beans, salt and pepper. In another skillet, heat oil; quickly dip each tortilla in oil just until softened.
2. Place 1/3 C meat mixture into each tortilla; top with chopped tomato and roll tightly.
3. Arrange tortillas seam side down in Gramercy Casserole Dish. Pour cheese sauce over tortillas.
4. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes. Garnish with olives.
5. For cheese sauce, melt butter over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in milk and enchilada sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Add olives, hot sauce and cheese. Heat until melted and blended.

Smoked Shrimp Quesadillas with Guacamole

6 flour tortillas
2 tbsp. sundried tomatoes
3 tbsp. roasted, diced poblano peppers
6 tbsp. goat cheese
12 smoked shrimp
2 tbsp. minced herbs (coriander, Italian parsley)
6 tbsp. shredded mozzarella
1. Spread 1 tbsp. of goat cheese over each tortilla.
2. Sprinkle 1 ½ tbsp. of mozzarella over half of each tortilla.
3. Add peppers, shrimp (two on each), sundried tomatoes, and herbs (one tsp. per tortilla).
4. Add the remaining mozzarella (1 ½ tbsp. on each tortilla).
5. Fold each in half. Grill until the inside is hot and outside is lightly browned and crisp. Serve
with Guacamole.

6 avocados
2 jalapeno peppers
1 red onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs. cilantro
1 red bell pepper
3 limes
1 tsp. garlic
Cumin to taste
1. Finely chop jalapeno, onions, tomato, bell peppers and cilantro. Add ripe avocados and mash with potato masher.
2. Add lime juice and seasonings. Let sit one hour. Serves 6

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