A few weeks back, I did a belated birthday dinner for one of my closest friends. When I have friends over, it’s usually ALWAYS cook’s choice. Its my chance to try out new stuff, revisit old favorites, play with new techniques and flavors and, most especially, make those*big ticket* high yield dishes like stews and braises and baked pastas and so on that I normally don’t make just for myself. That pesty leftover issue, you know (plus the fact I don’t want to have dogs that weigh 300 pounds, because *THEY* would gladly relieve me of my leftover burden).
That changes for Birthday Dinners. If I’m cooking for you for your birthday, you get to choose the entire menu. Them’s the rules. It’s your day, it’s all about you, not me (for once, because usually it IS all about me, all the time, which probably explains a lot, actually…). Or, when it’s not all about me, it’s all about Rosie. That Princess thing she’s got goin’ on. Unless it's your birthday, then it's all about you. Clear?
So, when presented with the “what do you want me to cook for you for your birthday?” question, Lupe chose Mexican. Yes, Lupe. Yes, she’s Mexican. Talk about performance anxiety !
When I said, “anything in particular…” she said no, but Mexican was it. OK, so the rules bent a bit, since I still got to choose the particulars. We were all happy. I got to play; Lupe got what she wanted for her celebratory feast.
What shook out was pretty damned good, too, especially for a Polish girl from Chicago. We had carnitas, with two homemade salsas, homemade refried beans, red rice and homemade corn tortillas. For dessert, we veered away a bit (OK, a LOT) from Mexico, because I was looking for something light and tangy, since I figured the meal would be a bit on the, shall we say, rich side. The carnitas, salsas, beans and rice were new recipes (well, new for me to use, they actually came from an 8-year old "Bon Appétit" and have been waiting in the wings ever since….). The tortillas are my standard, and the dessert I’d made once before and loved.
WARNING: This is going to be a long, long, looooooooooong, picture intensive post. But I will give you the complete recipes for everything at the end. And just so's ya knows, one of the projects I’m working on, and trying to figure out how to accomplish, is to have a separate page with a sorted list of the recipes I’ve posted. The links will click you back to the original post with the recipe. I know how annoyed *I* get when I’m blog cruising, and find a great recipe, and have to cut and paste in 45 different steps to get it so I can print it and use it. But that’s in the Future Machine right now. So bear with me, there are a couple of gems in here.
Oh, and we had cilantro slaw too, but that won’t be covered here, since we’ve talked about it before. Basically, shredded cabbage, chopped cucumber, chopped onion and chopped cilantro, dressed with olive oil, lime juice and minced garlic. It’s good !
Onward to La Fiesta En La Cocina Pequeña!