This entry is part 46 of 91 in the series Festive Fridays
It’s Festive Friday and that means it is time for a party! I know it isn’t Cinco de Mayo, but I was in the mood for a Mexican fiesta and thought you might be as well. I went to the Food Network’s site and pulled together one heck of a menu.
When I was a young single woman, I went to Puerto Vallarta with a group of friends for a vacation. It was the first time I had been out of the country without my parents handling everything, so it was a shock when I arrived at the hotel to find that they didn’t have a room for me. Here I was, standing in the lobby of a beautiful hotel with the cool winds blowing off the ocean, staring at a huge expansive beach with thatched umbrellas, but I had no place to stay! A little finagling, some tense moments of waiting and finally I had my room. Whew! Time to party!
We all went into town for one of the most memorable dinners of my life. Drinking margaritas, singing along with the mariachi band and eating incredibly fresh food that was by far the best I had ever had – it was an evening I can still recall with amazing clarity. That is the beauty of spending time with friends, sharing a meal and entirely new experiences together.
I wanted to share a little of the fun of that evening with you so I chose five recipes I hope you will enjoy. There is something for everyone. From a cooling Mexican drink and the best guacamole, to stuffed poblano peppers, black beans and finishing with an amazing flan made with Kahlua, it is a celebration of everything Mexico has to offer!
- When I was a young single woman, I went to Puerto Vallarta with a group of friends for a vacation. It was the first time I had been out of the country without my parents handling everything, so it was a shock when I arrived at the hotel to find that they didn’t have a room for me. Here I was, standing in the lobby of a beautiful hotel with the cool winds blowing off the ocean, staring at a huge expansive beach with thatched umbrellas, but I had no place to stay! A little finagling, some tense moments of waiting and finally I had my room. Whew! Time to party!
- If you have never cooked with poblano peppers, you are in for a treat. It is a mild pepper that gives you chile flavor without the heat. I use them in omelets, add them to sauces, saute with mixed vegetables and stuff them like today’s recipe. You can broil them until they are blistered all over and peel them if you prefer, but their skins are fairly tender and don’t really need this step unless you like the flavor it adds.
- Guy Fieri likes to stuff his poblano peppers with a combination of chorizo, shrimp and rice, but you could leave out the sausage and shrimp for a wonderful vegetarian entree. If you do that I would add some sauteed zucchini, yellow squash or tomatoes to add interest and dimension.
- Chorizo is a delightful Mexican or Spanish sausage that is spicy without usually being too hot – but it depends on who is making it and what mood they are in that day, LOL. If it is fresh, it must be cooked before eating, but it is often made in links and smoked or cured. Usually made with rich pork, it has a fair amount of fat which helps transfer the flavors to your palate.
- Refried beans are usually made with cooked pinto beans, but I prefer using black beans and they are popping up at Mexican restaurants across the nation. In addition to being tasty, black beans are also really good for us. They are high in antioxidants and fiber, rich in molybdenum (a trace mineral that helps breakdown sulfites found in foods), they may aid in weight loss and they are a great source of Folate (vitamin B6) which is extremely important for pregnant women because it aids in the development of the fetus’s brain and spinal cord. It may also help protect us against heart disease.
- Guacamole may seem like an indulgence, but it is actually good for us. In addition to being high in magnesium and monosaturated fats (the good kind), avocados help fight many forms of cancer including breast and prostate, and they improve skin tone. Some people smear avocado on their faces but I would rather eat guacamole with a pile of chip while sipping a margarita or glass of wine!
- Photo Credit: Food Network
- Horchata is a terrific way to cool off your mouth if you are sensitive to spicy foods. It is also dairy and gluten-free so it is an outstanding option for those suffering from intolerances. It may seem like a strange combination of flavors, but it is a little like a liquid rice pudding – and just as delicious!
- And finally, we all deserve a little dessert. Kahlua Flan is a fantastic option to traditional flan with a light added mocha flavor. While it is a sweet dessert, if you cook the caramel a little darker than normal it will take on a slight burnt flavor which offsets the sugar content.
- All in all I think this is a meal that you could serve for any party and everyone would go home fat and happy. Have a wonderful Festive Friday – or Fiesta Friday – and a sensational weekend! Ole my friends!
- Photo Credit: Food Network
- Jane’s Tips and Hints:
- You can prepare most of this meal completely in advance and reheat when your guests arrive. This gives you a chance to relax and enjoy your party instead of standing over a hot stove while everyone else is having fun!
- Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chorizo, Shrimp and Rice
- Guy Fieri, The Food Network
- Yield: 8 stuffed peppers
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 lb Mexican-style chorizo, or other spicy cured sausage, chopped finely
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 cup short-grain rice
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup water
- 8 large, fresh poblano chiles
- 1 lb shrimp, shelled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup Cheddar, shredded
- 3/4 cup Jack cheese, shredded