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Party Time

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 October 2015 at 09:48
It’s been some time since I last posted a themed dinner. Various reasons for that: work pressures, a low-carb diet plan, family draws on my time, etc. These distractions aren’t going to stop any time soon. But, from time to time, I’ll still present themed dinners based on my research into world cuisine.

Coming up is a joint venture between us and another couple. We’re going to host a Mexican party. A couple of factors led to this decision. First, my new-found appreciation of authentic Mexican cuisine, far removed from the Tex/Mex food most often found in the U.S. Next, the discovery of a full-scale Mexican supermarket in Lexington; which means all the necessary ingredients are available. And, not at all last, is the simple fact that once you delve into the varied foods of Mexico, there no way to limit a themed meal to just five dishes.

What we’ve decided on is a sort of buffet/small plates dinner, so our guests can sample as many different tastes as they like. This will not affect the recipes; we’ll merely adapt them to a small plate presentation. Take Veracruz style fish, as an example. Instead of serving full sized portions running 6-8 ounces, we’ll start with 8-ounce filets, and cut each one into three equal pieces. Other major ingredients will be handled in a similar manner.

Certainly we’ll put out bowls and platters of the necessary staples; rice, and refried black beans, and guacamole, and tortillas. There also will be some less familiar “sides,” such as pickled red onions, and chayote salad.

We’ve put together a tentative menu for this party. But I wanted to float it passed y’all to get your impressions and comments before proceeding.

1 Chilies Relleno. Yeah, it’s a chestnut. But I want to include them because I love ‘em. And besides, how can you not?
2 Tomatillo-braised pork loin
3 Spicy grilled shrimp stew.
4. Salmon Veracuz style
5. Chicken in pumpkin seed sauce.
6. Adobo marinated skirt steak.
7. Nopales in chipotle sauce.

For sweets we’ll put out a selection of fresh tropical fruits, rice pudding, and orange flan.

So, waddayathink, guys? Does this sound like the sort of party you’d like to attend? Are there dishes you’d like to see added? Any you might drop?

Meanwhile, if anyone want the recipes for any of these, just let me know and I’ll be happy to post them.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Chef's Apprentice
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2015 at 12:59
Please expand on 7, is it nopal or nopalitos, are they cooked, pickled or something else?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2015 at 17:17
Looking great, Brook - I can't think of anything that I would add, and am indeed looking forward to seeing the recipes!
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2015 at 12:33
Drinks, according to “International Cuisine,” published by the International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes, nopal means cactus in Spanish and nopales is the term for “cactus stem.” The term “nopalitos” refers to the pads once they are cut and prepared for eating.

While I’m sure there are regional differences, I’ve never seen any form but “nopales” used in a recipe title.

At the local Mexican supermarket, the bin holding the de-spined pads also identifies them as "nopales."

In the above recipe, the nopales are parboiled first, then combined in an adobo puree and cooked a little longer.

BTW, if you're not familiar with the ICS, it ranks right up there with CIA and Johnson & Wales in terms of quality culinary education.

Soon as I have time I'll post the complete recipe.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drinks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2015 at 13:28
In South Texas, nopal is used to refer to the whole pads, nopalitos to the dethorned and thinly sliced pads.
They are used in stir frys, as salad items, usually after being marinated in vinegar, even mealed and crispy fried.
They are very slick, even more so than okra and the flavor is not that good, the reason for plenty of seasoning.
An acquired taste, for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2015 at 14:56
    Looks great Brook!

    Your parties must be amazing! I think I may look to add a couple of vibrant dishes to the small entree menu.  Maybe some light and vibrant fish tacos, or perhaps a type of ceviche with citrus and jicama base.  I've no doubt that your sides would brighten things up...but I think a couple of vibrant small entrees may fit in well too.

   I'm not sure what the tomato braised pork loin will look like.  But I know that wrapping a dish like this in banana leaves offers a very lovely flavor and big aroma to a dish like this.  In a party setting I could see opening this dish as everyone crowds around and all the steam and flavors loft up from the braising pot and the banana leaves are opened to reveal the pot roast, poblano chili, tomatillos, etc inside.  

  Also, if you're using anything with brown sugar...I would think getting some piloncillo would be in order.  Heck, it's even good when it's broken up into small pieces and put on a small plate to nipple on.

  http://www.rickbayless.com/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/122_FG_DINNER_2015.PDF

http://www.rickbayless.com/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/11_TOPOLOBAMPO_MENU_PDF_2015.PDF

http://www.rickbayless.com/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/137_XOCOAUTUMNFIESTA.PDF


  just a few thoughts...I can't wait to hear how it comes together
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 October 2015 at 08:08
An interesting coincidence, Drinks: Yesterday, in Walmart’s Mexican section, I noticed jars of julienned cactus. They’re identified as “nopales.” Yet, that’s precisely where I’d have thought “nopalitos” a better choice. Ah, well……

Anyway, here is the recipe for

Nopales en Chipotle Adobado

2 cups nopales paddles, cleaned and ½-inch diced
1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husked and roasted on a dry griddle
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tbls vegetable oil
1 cup white onions, sliced very thin
Sat to taste

To prepare the nopales remove the thorns and the “eyes” with a vegetable peeler or small paring knife. Wash the pads well with cool water and peel or trim off any blemished or discolored areas.

Combine nopales with enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.*

Combine tomatillos, garlic, and chipotles in a blender and blend until smooth.

Heat oil and sauté onions over low heat until transparent. Add puree and nopales, stir and cook over low heat 10-15 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve hot with rice and warm tortillas.

*It’s better to err on the side of caution, so far as timing goes. Sliminess is a sure sign of overcooking cactus.
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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