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Putting together your own Santa Barbara fiesta.

Putting together your own Santa Barbara fiesta

Dinner for 150? No problem! Nine years' experience gives Jeanette Navarro and Becky and Bobby Betancourt of Santa Barbara plenty of savvy for hosting their big Mexican fiest every year.

We've scaled their recipes down to a party for 25. For a larger group, make several batches of each dish.

What are the Santa Barbaran's secrets? First, they keep records and lists from year to year. A few friends (not enough to cause a traffic jam) help with food preparation, decoration, service, and cleanup. Nearly all the food is makde in stages, weeks ahead, and froze.

The party dishes are all simple, good-tasting Mexican classics. Some start with purchased components (such as salsa) to which you add fresh ingredients and seasonings.

Two basic recipes--one for simmered beef and one for pork--become four when you divide the cooke meat and season it differently to make taquitos, beans, tamales, and chili verde.

You make one large batch of the doctored salsa. Use some with chips as an appetizer, some in the taco salad and guacamole, the rest with entrees.

Advance preparation makes it possible for just a few people to assemble this party. For help planning, refer to the time schedule at the end of this article.

To streamline efforts, do similar tasks--like frying taquitos and flautas, and simmering pork and beef--together.

You may need to line up some auxiliary refrigerator space at a friend's.

For 25 people, buy 3 large packages (16 oz. each) tortilla chips to offer with salsa, guacamole, and bean dip.

Red Salsa

Use about 6 cups salsa with chips, the rest with guacamole, salad and entrees. Most markets sell refrigerated salsa.

1 gallon (16 cups) purchased fresh red salsa, mild to hot 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 cup sliced green onions 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

In a 5- to 6-quart bowl, mix salsa, cilantro, onions, garlics. Use, or cover and chill up to 3 days. Makes 1 gallon.

Per tablespoon: 11 cal; 0.2 g protein; 0.9 g fat; 0.9 g carbo.; 1.2 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Guacamole

Use about 6 cups with chips, the rest with flautas, enchiladas, and taquitos.

7 pounds (14 large) ripe avocados, pitted and peeled 1 3/4 cups red salsa (recipe precedes) 1/2 cup lemon juice 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 4 to 6 fresh jalapene chilies, stemmed, seeded, and minced Salt

In a large bowl or (part at a time) a food processor, coarsely mash or puree avocados. Stir or whirl in salsa, juice, garlic; add chilies and salt to taste. If made ahead, smooth smooth plastic over guacamole; chill up to 1 day. Makes 13 cups.

Per tablespoon: 22 cal.; 0.3 g protein; 2 b fat; 1.1 g carbo.; 1.6 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Bean Dip

2 cans (2 1/4 oz. each) sliced black ripe olives, drained 3 cans (1 lb. each) chile with beans 1 large package (8 oz.) and 1 small package (3 oz.) cream cheese 4 to 6 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and minced Chopped onion (optional)

Set aside 2 tablespoons olives. Place remaining olives, chili, and cream cheese (in chunks) in a 3- to 4- quart pan. Stir often over medium heat until hot, about 20 minutes. Add chilies to taste. (If made ahead, chill up to 2 days. Reheat to simmering; thin with water.) Pour into 1 or more bowls.

Garnish bean dip with onion and reserved olives. Serve warm. Makes about 6 cups, 25 servings.

Per tablespoon: 30 cal.; 1.1 g protein; 2.1 g fat; 1.9 carbo.; 94 mg sodium; 6 mg chol.

Bite-size Chicken Flautas

3 medium-size onions, chopped 2 clovers garlic, minced or pressed 5 to 6 cups salad oil 2 large (about 1 lb. total) ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped 2 medium-size green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped 2 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded, and minced 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (coriander) 3 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (use meat from a 3 1/2-lb. chicken or from 2 1/2-lb. chicken breasts) Salt and pepper 25 to 30 flour tortillas (7- to 8-in. size) Red salsa and guacamole (recipes precede)

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil until limp, 12 to 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Stir often until bell pepper is limp, 10 to 15 minutes more. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, chicken, and salt and pepper to taste.

Stack 6 tortillas in a plastic bag; leave open. Heat in a microwave oven on full power (100 percent) until warm, about 1 minute. Repeat as needed. (Or stack all tortillas, wrap in foil, and put in a 350 [degrees] oven until warm, about 20 minutes.)

A few at a time, lay warm tortillas flat. Place 1/4 cup of chicken mixture in a band down a side of each tortilla, leaving about a 1-inch margin on each end. Fold ends over filling; roll to enclose. Fasten each flauta shut with 2 toothpicks. Repeat to use all filling.

Pour 1 inch salad oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan and set on medium-high heat. When oil reaches 350 [degrees], and about 5 flautas at a time. Cook, turning once, until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes total. Lift out and drain on paper towels. Remove toothpicks. If serving immediately, cut diagonally in half.

If made ahead, let whole flautas cool completely, then freeze airtight up to 1 month. To reheat, thaw flautas in refrigerator, cut diagonally in half, place slightly apart in 2 baking pans (each 10 by 15 in.), and bake in a 400 [degrees] oven until hot, about 20 minutes; turn over halfway through baking. Serve hot flautas with salsa and guacamole. Makes 50 to 60 pieces, 25 servings.

Per piece: 95 cal.; 3.8 g protein; 3.9 g fat; 11 g carbo.; 95 mg sodium; 7.3 mg chol.

Taco Salad

/4 pound ground lean beef 2 to 3 teaspoons ground dry New Mecico or California chilies, or chili powder Salt 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded 4 medium-size (about 1 1/2 lb. total) ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped 3 pounds (about 3 large heads) iceberg, butter, or romaine lettuce (or combination), rinsed and crisped 3 cans (2 1/4 oz. each) sliced black ripe olives, drained 1 package (12 oz.) corn tortilla chips, slightly crushed Fiesta dressing (recipe follows) Salt

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, stir beef often until browned, about 10 minutes. Spoon out and discard fat. Stir ground chilies and salt to taste into meat. Let cool completely. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days, or freeze airtight up to 1 month.

To serve, divide beef, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce (in bite-size pieces), olives, and chips between 2 large bowls (6- to 8-qt. size); add dressing equally and mix gently. Add salt to taste. Makes 25 servings.

Per serving: 293 cal.; 6.7 g protein; 24 g fat; 14 g carbo.; 229 mg sodium; 20 mg chol.

Fiesta dressing. Place 1 1/2 cups salad oil in a blender with 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoon ground dry New Mexico or California chilies (or use chili powder), and 1 1/2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves, gradually adding 3/4 cup red salsa (recipe precedes) and 3/4 cup white wine vinegar. If made ahead, chill, covered, up to 3 days.

Cheese Enchiladas

If you're making several batches of enchiladas, disposable 7- by 11-inch aluminum pans are handy as containers.

6 cans (10 oz. each) enchilada sauce 2 tablespoons dry oregano leaves 25 corn tortillas (about 7-in. size) 2 1/4 cups pounds cheddar cheese, shredded 2 1/2 cups sliced green onions Red salsa and guacamole (recipes precede)

Pour 2 cans enchilada sauce into a 10- to 12-inch frying oan over medium-high heat; add 2 teaspoons oregano. Stir often until simmering. Reduce heat to low. Dip 1 tortilla at a time in sauce just to soften, about 30 seconds; lift with tongs to 7- by 11-inch or 9- by 13-inch pans (you'll need 3 dishes of either size).

In a band down center of each tortilla, sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese and 1 tablespoon onions. Roll to enclose; place, seam side down, in dish. Repeat to make remaining enchiladas, placing side by side. As you use up sauce, heat 2 more cans at a time with 2 more teaspoons oregano. Pour remaining sauce evenly over filled tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days. Or wrap airtight in foil and freeze up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator).

Sprinkle enchiladas with remaining onions. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 [degrees] oven until hot in center, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with salsa and guacamole. Makes 25 enchiladas, 25 servings.

Per enchilada: 262 cal.; 13 g protein; 15 g fat; 21 g carbo.; 960 mg sodium; 43 mg chol.

Cecy's Tamales

For small husks, use a little masa to paste 2 together, overlapping slightly. Steam only 1 batch of tamales at a time.

3 pounds prepared masa, purchased or homemade (recipe follows) 1/3 cup pork broth (from simmered pork, recipe follows), if needed Soaked corn husks (directions follow) Pork filing (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, beat purchased masa with broth until smooth and easy to spread. (Omit this step with homemade masa.) If made ahead, cover and chill up to 24 hours.

For each tamale, lay a drained husk flat. Evenly spread about 3 tablespoons masa in a 3- by 5-inch rectangle on husk, with 3-inch side flush against 1 long edge of husk; leave a bare border at least 1 inch wide on opposite edge. Also leave at least 1 inch bare between masa and husk tip and 3 inches bare at base.

Spoon 2 tablespoons pork filling in the center of the masa. Fold husk lengthwise so masa on 1 side meets masa opposite to enclose filling; wrap plain edge of husk around tamale. Fold both ends of husk over filled portion, pressing lightly along creases to seal. Lay tamale folds down; cover with plastic wrap. Repeat to use up filling, stacking tamales as shaped.

You'll need an 8- to 12-quart pan with a rack for steaming. Set rack on supports at least 1 inch above bottom of pan. Pour 1 inch of water into pan. Stand tamales upright on rack with large folded edges down; arrange so stream can circulate.

Cover pan; bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat but maintain boil (replenish water as needed) until masa is firm to touch and no longer sticks to husk (open a tamale to test), about 1 hour. Serve, or keep in steamer over low heat up to 1 hour.

If made ahead, remove from steamer and let cool. Cover and chill up to 3 days. To freeze, lay tamales in a single layer on baking sheets, freeze solid, then store in freezer bags. To reheat, steam chilled or frozen tamales as directed, preceding, until hot in the center, 20 to 30 minutes. Makes 25 to 30 tamales, 25 servings.

Per tamale: 239 cal.; 8.1 g protein; 16 g fat; 15 g carbo.; 62 mg sodium; 35 mg chol.

Prepared homemade masa. Whip 1 1/4 cups lard or solid shortening and 1 teaspoon salt (optional) with an electric mixer until fluffy. Blend in 4 cups dehydrated masa flour (corn tortilla flour) and 3 cups pork broth (from simmered pork recipe, following) until evenly mixed. Use the masa at room temperature; if made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 5 3/4 cups (about 3 lb.), enough for 25 tamales.

Soaked corn husks. Place 1 package (about 8 oz.) dried corn husks in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand until pliable, at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight. You need 25 to 30 large outer husks; as ready to use, lift from water, discard silk and other debris, and pat dry. Discard remaining husks.

Pork filling. Let 2 1/3 cups simmered pork (recipe follows) stand until cool enough to handle. Shred with fingers and return to 5- to 6-quart pan; set aside.

In a blender or food processor, whirl smooth 6 cloves garlic; 1 small onion, in chunks; 2/3 cup purchased red chili sauce (Mexican-style, not type used for hamburgers); 1/2 cup water; and 1 tablespoon ground dry New Mexico or California chilies or chili powder. Stir into meat. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring often.

Remove from heat and stir in 2 cans (2 1/4 oz. each) drained sliced black ripe olives. Let stand until cool. If made ahead, chill, covered, up to 24 hours.

Simmered Pork

Cut 6 pounds boned pork butt or shoulder (fat trimmed) into 2-inch chunks. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, combine meat and 3/4 cup water. Cover and simmer on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Uncover; stir occasionally until liquid evaporates and juices turn a rich brown and stick to pan, about 30 minutes. Spoon off and discard fat. Add 1 quart water, scraping brown bits free. Add 6 cloves garlic and 2 medium-size onions, quartered. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover and simmer until meat is tender when pierced, 1 3/4 to 2 hours. Drain meat; reserve broth.

Skim any remaining fat from broth, then measure broth. You should have at least 3 cups; if not, add regular-strength beef broth to equal this amount. Use for tamales (recipe precedes).

Life 2 1/3 cups meat from pan and use to make pork filling for tamales. Use remaining meat for chili verde (recipe follows). Makes 7 to 8 cups.

Chili Verde

Use purchased salsa if you haven't already made the red salsa.

4 2/3 cups meat from simmered pork (recipe precedes) 1 large can (7 oz.) diced green chilies 1 large can (13 oz.) tomatillos 1 1/2 cups red salsa (recipe precedes) or purchased salsa 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves White and green onions (optional)

Put meat in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole. In a blender, puree chilies, tomatillos and liquid, salsa, cumin, and oregano until smooth. Stir into meat.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 [degrees] oven until bubbling, 30 minutes. If made ahead, let cook, then cover and chill up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator). Reheat, covered, in a 350 [degrees] oven until hot in center, 20 to 30 minutes. Top with onions. Makes 8 cups, 25 servings.

Per serving: 137 cal.; 13 g protein; 8.7 g fat; 1.3 carbo.; 102 mg sodium; 50 mg chol.

Simmered Beef

6 pounds boned beef chuck (fat trimmed), cut into 2-inch chunks 2 large onions, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons ground dry New Mexico or California chilies, or chili powder 1 tablespoon ground cumin

Put beef, onions, garlic, and 3/4 cup water in a 5- to 6-quart pan. Cover and simmer on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Uncover; stir occasionally until liquid evaporates and joices turn a rich brown and stick to pan, 30 to 45 minutes.

Add ground chilies and cumin; stir for about 30 seconds. Stir in 4 cups water, scrapping browned bits free.

Cover and simmer until meat is almost tender when pierced, about 1 hour. With a slotted spoon, lift 5 cups of meat from pan and reserve for use with beans (recipe follows). Simmer remaining meat, covered, until very tender when pierced, about 30 minutes longer. With a slotted spoon, lift meat from pan and set aside.

Boil juices over high heat, uncovered, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes; stir often. Remove from heat; skim and discard fat. With 2 forks, tear meat into long shreds. Return to pan and mix with juices. Measure mixture; you need 3 1/2 cups. If necessary, take from or add to meat saved for beans. Use shredded beef in beef taquitos (recipe follows). If made ahead, chill, covered, up to 1 day. Makes 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 cups.

Beans from the Pot

2 pounds (5 cups) dry pinto beans, sorted of debris and rinsed 4 large cloves garlic 2 medium-size onions, chopped 3 tablespoons ground dry New Mexico or California chilies, or chili powder 5 cups simmered beef (recipe precedes) Salt

In an 8- to 10-quart pan over high heat, bring beans, garlic, onions, chilies, and 3 quarts water to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer until beans are almost tender to bite, about 2 hours.

Break beef into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Add to beans and simmer, uncovered, until beans and meat are very tender to bite, about 30 minutes; stir often.

If made ahead, let cool; cover and chill up to 2 days. Or freeze airtight up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator). Reheat to simmering. If beans are stiff, thin with 1 to 1 1/2 cups water. Season to taste with salt. Makes about 16 cups, 25 servings.

Per serving: 205 cal.; 17 g protein; 5.4 g fat; 22 g carbo.; 54 mg sodium; 33 mg chol.

Beef Taquitos

3 1/2 cups shredded, simmered beef (recipe precedes) 2 teaspoons dry oregano leaves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon Salt About 5 cups salad oil 25 to 27 corn tortillas (7-in. size) Red salsa and guacamole (recipes precede)

Mix beef with oregana, cinnamon, and salt to taste.

Pour 1 inch oil into a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Heat oil to 35- [degrees]. Dip tortillas in oil, 1 at a time, until small blisters form on surface, about 5 seconds. Let drain on paper towels. Remove oil from heat.

For each taquito, spread about 2 tablespoons meat in a thin band about 1 inch from edge of a tortilla. Roll up tightly. Fasten with 2 toothpicks. Repeat to use up filling. Bring oil to 350 [degrees] on medium-high heat. Add taquitos, 5 or 6 at a time, turning once, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels; remove picks. Serve hot with salsa and guacamole.

If made ahead, let taquitos cool, then chill airtight up to 2 days; or freeze up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator). Place thawed taquitos in 2 pans, each about 10 by 15 inches. Bake in a 400 [degrees] ove until hot to touch, about 20 minutes. Makes 25 to 27 taquitos, 25 servings.

Per serving: 200 cal.; 9.9 g protein; 12 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 86 mg sodium; 26 mg chol.

Oranges and Plums

Slice 7 large unpeeled oranges crosswise and arrange on a platter with 25 small ripe plums (about 3 lb. total). You can chill, covered, up to 1 day. Serves 25.

Per serving: 54 cal.; 0.8 g protein; 0.4 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 0 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Assorted Cookies, Cakes,

and Mexican Pastries

Bake or purchase cookies, brownies, cakes, Mexican pastries and candies. Allow at least 1 cooky and 1 piece of cake, pastry, or candy per person. Cut cakes before setting them out.

Sparkling Water, Mexican Beer

For 25 people, you'll need 12 quarts of cold sparkling water and 10 large limes, sliced thin; allow 1 lime slice per glass. If you serve cold Mexican beer, allow 1 or 2 bottles per person, plus margaritas.

Margaritas or Citrus Sours

11 cans (12 oz. each) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed 5 1/2 quarts water 2 quarts tequila or orange juice 1 quart orange-flavor liqueur 15 pounds small ice cubes 1/2 cup lime juice (optional) Kosher or cocktail salt (optional) 10 large limes, sliced thin crosswise

Divide the limeade, water, tequila, and orange-flavor liqueur equally among 3 containers, each at least 1 gallon; stir. Chill up to 1 week.

To make margaritas, stir lime mixture, then put 2 1/2 cups of it and 2 cups ice at a time in a blender. Whirl until smooth. Dip rims of glasses in lime juice, then in salt. Add margarita mixture; place 1 lime slice in each glass. Makes 91 cups; 100 servings, about 1 cup each.

Per 1 cup: 135 cal.; 0.1 g protein; 0 g fat; 23 g carbo.; 0.3 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:The Good Foods of Summer; recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1991
Words:3432
Previous Article:Simple to flashy ... here are fresh fruit options.
Next Article:One-pot meals when cooking space is tight.
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