Friday, April 24, 2009

Mexican Fiesta! April 2009 - Holly& Kimberlee

Thank you to Holly & Kimberlee for throwing one fabulous Mexican fiesta!  The food was excellent and the decorations were so fun.  I can't wait to steal some of their ideas and make the recipes.  Arriba!

Mexican Fiesta

April 2009 


Brie Quesadillas with Fresh Fruit Salsa

Avacado Salsa

Cumin-Dusted Tortilla Chips

Lola’s Horchata

Chipotle Hummus


Kiwi Lime Margarita


Mexican Chop Salad with Cream Tomatillo Salad Dressing


Southwest Corn & Chicken Soup

 Main Course:

Tomatillo Pork Fajitas

Lime-Cilantro Rice

Mexican Fruit Medley


Faux Fried Ice Cream with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Dulce De Leche Bars




Brie Quesadillas with Fresh Fruit Salsa


1 pound brie cheese, well chilled
12 5- or 6-inch flour tortillas
1 small bunch cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup candied walnuts (recipe follows)
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit salsa (recipe follows)

Candied Walnuts/Pecans
(Makes about 1 cup)
1 cup walnut/pecans pieces
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Fresh Fruit Salsa
(Makes about 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup diced mango (about 1 medium mango)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1//4 pepper)
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 serrano chile, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, seasoned or plain, or to taste
Juice of one lime
Sprinkle of salt, or to taste



Cut the rind off the sides of the Brie and cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay 6 of the tortillas out on a clean work surface. Divide the Brie and Candied Walnuts evenly among the tortillas and place 4 to 6 sprigs of cilantro on each. Place the remaining tortillas on top to enclose the filling. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Heat a flat griddle over medium-high heat. Spray the griddle lightly with nonstick cooking spray and cook the quesadillas, turning once, until they are slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Place them on a cutting board and allow them to set up for a minute or two before cutting each into 8 wedges. Serve with Fresh Fruit Salsa.

Candied Walnuts/Pecans: In a bowl, toss the nuts with the maple syrup to coat. Place the nuts on a foil-lined sheet and bake them at 300°F for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring several times, until they are lightly browned and the syrup has reduced to a glaze. Allow them to cool slightly, then remove them from the foil and store them in an airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 2 weeks.

Fresh Fruit Salsa
In a nonreactive mixing bowl, gently mix all salsa ingredients. Check the seasoning, adding sugar, vinegar, or salt to taste. Chill for no more than 1 hour and serve with Brie Quesadillas.  (FYI, I always double the salsa recipe)

It is important to chop all the salsa ingredients the same size-about 1/2 inch square-so that each bite will have the right balance of flavors. Ingredients for the salsa may be prepped ahead, but don't mix them together more than an hour before serving, or the acid in the pineapple will soften the deli

cate mango. The recipe for Candied Walnuts will make more than you need, but the extras are great to have on hand to sprinkle on salads and desserts. Serves 6

Cumin-Dusted Tortilla Chips

Cut corn tortillas into wedges and arrange them on cookie sheets.  Brush with a 2:1 ratio of lime juice to olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin and a little chili powder.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 15 minutes or until done.

Avocado Salsa


2 tomatoes chopped

2 avocados chopped

¼ red onion chopped finely

½ tsp garlic paste

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp light olive oil/vegetable oil

1 tsp basil chopped

1 tsp parsley chopped

Top with: 1 package tomato basil feta cheese crumbled.  Mix all ingredients.  Top with feta cheese, to taste, just before serving

Chipotle Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Tahini (sesame seed paste)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 roasted red pepper (from a jar)

1 - 2 sun-dried tomatoes

1 chipotle pepper in Adobo sauce

1 clove garlic crushed

1 teaspoon cumin 

1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Place all ingredients in food processor and blend well.  Serve with tortilla chip, pita chips or fresh veggies (cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, etc…). 

Lola’s Horchata:

Serves 6


1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

5 cups water

½ cup milk

½ tablespoon vanilla extract

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar


Pour the rice and water into a blender and blend until the rice just begins to break up, about 1 minute.  Let rice and water stand at room temperature for a minimum of 3 hours.  Strain the rice water into a pitcher and discard the rice.  Stir the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar into the rice water.  Chill and stir well before serving over ice.

Kiwi Lime Margarita

2 cans limeade concentrate

1 cup sugar

1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple

4 kiwi, peeled and smashed

2 Liters 7-up

Directions: Reconstitute the 2 cans of limeade concentrate with 1 cup of sugar, then add enough water to make two quarts.  In a blender mix the limeade and crushed pineapple.  Add kiwi, Put in Ziploc gallon bag and freeze for several days.  Just before serving combine frozen mixture with 2 liter bottle of 7-Up until slushy. 

Mexican Chop Chicken Salad with Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing

3 chicken breast halves, or about 4 cups cooked chicken

8-10 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

1  15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 tomatoes, chopped or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 red onion, sliced

2-3 avocados, sliced

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (or to taste)

Cheddar or Jack cheese, grated

1/2 lime


Pumpkin seedsor pistachios

Tortilla chips

Season chicken with salt and pepper, squeeze juice from lime onto chicken.  Cook in oven (or grill) under broiler for about 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of meat. Remove, and let cool, then slice and set aside.   Combine salad ingredients into large bowl.  Toss with cooled chicken.  Add desired amount of seeds, cheese and tortilla chips.  

Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing:

1 c. mayo

1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch mix

½ c. buttermilk

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 c. cilantro, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tomatillos, quartered

Blend in blender.

Southwest Corn and Chicken Soup


3 fresh cobs of corn (or 2 ½ cups)

1 chicken breast

3 green onions

1 red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

3 T. Semolina Flour or regular flour

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup half & half

1/4 cup cilantro

1 avocado, cut into small chunks




Roast the chicken in a little olive oil and salt in a hot oven.  Meanwhile shuck the corn and then slice the corn from the husks. Cut the pepper & green onions into a few pieces. Place all into a food processor. Add the garlic and flour. Blend altogether for a minute or two, until ground to a nice paste. Pour into a saucepan and add the stock and cream. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-20 minutes.  Cut or shred chicken and add it to the soup at any point. Add the cilantro.  In the mean time, lay some corn chips out onto a cookie sheet. Top with cheese and broil in the oven until toasted and melted -being careful not to burn.

Garnish with chips, avocado & cilantro.

Main Course:

Tomatillo Pork Fajitas

1 recipe tomatillo salsa

½ cup tightly packed, fresh cilantro leaves

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

½ tsp coarse salt, divided

1 ¾ Lb pork tenderloin, trimmed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup finely chopped tomato

2 green onions, thinly sliced

4-6 8-inch flour tortillas 

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

10 tomatillos husks removed and quartered                                                                                                                

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large onion, peeled and quartered                                                                                                                             

1 Serrano pepper, cored, halved, and seeded, divided

½ tsp salt

Place tomatillos, garlic, onion & pepper on a cookie sheet covered with foil in oven.  Broil on medium until roasted, and charred.  Remove from oven and scrape into blender. (The tomatillos should have burst and be soft.)  Add 1/3 cup water.  Puree and add salt.  Add cilantro and lime juice to tomatillo mixture.  Cover and let stand at room temp up to one hour.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high.  Cut Pork into 4 diagonal slices and pound to ¼ inch thickness.  In small bowl, combine cumin, oregano, and coarse salt and pepper.  Rub mixture on both sides of pork slices.  Grill or broil, about 4 minutes per side, until browned and thoroughly cooked.  Transfer to plate or cutting board and cover with foil to keep warm.  Warm tortillas.

Slice pork against the grain into 1/2 inch strips and divide among warmed tortillas.  Add tomato and green onions to reserved tomatillo mixture.  Spoon over pork and roll up tortillas.  Serve with sour cream.

Lime-Cilantro Rice

2 Tbsp olive oil 
2 1/4 cups long grain rice
4 cloves of garlic

½ bunch of cilantro

4 cups of water or chicken broth
juice of 2 limes

Toasted pinenuts

Chop garlic and cilantro.  Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a skillet.  Add rice, garlic & cilantro.  Sauté 3-5 min., stirring frequently.  Combine rice, water and lime juice in a 3 qt. pot and bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
  Rice Cooker instructions:  Put 4 cups of water (or broth) and lime juice in a rice cooker.  Add rice mixture to the rice cooker and cook according to the cooker's directions.  Garnish with toasted pinenuts.

Mexican Fruit Medley 

Slice your favorite fruits (pineapple, mango, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, grapes, etc…) and drizzle with a little lime & honey.  Sprinkle with coconut.  If you like a little spice, you can also sprinkle with chili powder. 

 Faux Fried Ice Cream with Homemade Hot Fudge

Crush cornflakes and mix with desired amount of cinnamon & sugar.  Fry cornflake mix in oil and dry on paper towels.  Works best if you roll out vanilla ice cream balls ahead of time and refreeze them for a minimum of 1 hour.  Pull them out 10-15 minutes before serving and roll scoops of ice cream in cornflake mix.  Drizzle with chocolate sauce.                                                             

Homemade Hot Fudge

1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. margarine
2 c. powdered
1 c. evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Melt chips and margarine together.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Boil 6 minutes or until thick.

Take Home Gift:
They sent us home with these cute boxes and inside were the yummy Dulce De Leche Bars.

Dulce De Leche Bars

*Read the entire recipe before attempting to make, as there are many ingredients and steps. 


Homemade Sugar Cookie Dough (*see below)

Homemade Caramel recipe (*see below)

1 3/4

cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats


cup packed brown sugar


teaspoons vanilla


tablespoons caramel topping

*Homemade Sugar Cookie Dough
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together until fluffy

1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. milk
2 1/2 c. flour
Mix well and chill

*Homemade Caramel
Mix together and bring to a boil:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups of brown sugar
3/4 cups corn syrup

When boiling, add:
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Boil on medium , stirring constantly, for 15-20 minutes or until the caramel forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Make sure not to cook too long!
  Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla.



Heat oven to 350°F. Make sugar cookie dough.  In large bowl, take half of the sugar cookie dough and stir or knead in 3/4 cup of the oats, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla until well blended. With floured fingers, press mixture evenly in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan to form crust.


Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown.

Meanwhile, in same bowl, break up remaining half of sugar cookie dough. Stir or knead in remaining 1 cup oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. In large heavy saucepan, make *Homemade caramel recipe (see above*), stirring frequently. 


Spread caramel mixture evenly over crust. Crumble remaining dough mixture evenly over caramel. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bars. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.


With small spoon, drizzle caramel topping over bars. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

 The Recipes

All The Extras!  (They did such a great job.  Isn't it fun to just look at these bright colors?)