Farewell Fiesta!

RoyaleChambordWarning! My longest and most food-filled entry ever!

As you know, I have been ecstatic about this sending off party for Verde. And after two late nights of prepping and slaving in the kitchen, it was a hit! Homemade guacamole, fire roasted salsa, carnitas, carne asada, pico de gallo, flan (courtesy me!), the works, complete with pinata and karaoking! For a bunch of Asian kids, we did a good job. And I came out slightly bibulous, but recovered enough to drive home after a calm hour of conversation over hot chrysanthemum tea. Yum. On the first night of prep, I also stopped by Jess and Em’s on the way home, only to be treated to fresh off the stove/ out of the oven eclairs! They were an absolute mess – and to my dismay, Em and Jess swore to never make them again. Despite the curdled cream and reluctant-to-puff pastries, I thought they tasted just fine. Ugly, especially after the mess I made with the pipe gun thing(?). The pictures tell it all. But the recipe was from Tartine – ridiculously difficult to follow from what I heard. But I will have Em explain when she’s not too busy (yeah right you 2nd semester senior!).


Pico de Gallo

PicoThis, which means”beak of a rooster”, is another one of those things that does not require a recipe. The basic ingredients are listed below. Just throw everything together and taste test until your tongue is happy. Seriously. Side note – to recreate all these dishes requires A LOT of pre-chopping.ChoppedCilantro So bring on out the cutting boards and knives because it’s going to be a while before you get to enjoy all these recipes – well, unless you have amazing sous chefs (ahem, myself and Linda – both of who do not cook and are the world’s biggest klutzes) at your side.

diced red and yellow onions
diced tomatoes
diced jalapeno (singular, unless you’re crazy)
diced mango (optional)
chopped green onion
minced cilantro
fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Fire Roasted Salsa

SalsaThis is a unique salsa in that it needs to prepped a day in advanced. All the ingredients need to be thrown on a grill (or in the oven), charred, and cooled. The next day, after removing only the worst burnt bits (leave some for flavor), roughly chop and throw each into a food processor, and combine. You can also remove the sees from the bell peppers, as they do nothing. GrilledTomatoesRemoving the seeds from the jalapenos is optional, as the “kick” is from the seeds. Add a little salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (just a dash), and apple cider vinegar to taste, and ta-da! Just remember to go easy with the seasoning and taste test before and after each addition. There is no rescuing an over-vinegared anything. Salsa is also great in large batches, so store well and you can enjoy any time you’re craving it.

1 red or yellow onionsOnionFoodProcessGrilledBellPepper
2 red and green bell peppers
7 tomatoes

3 jalapenos
2 bunches green onion (leave 1/2 bunch uncooked for garnish)
a dash cayenne pepper

start with 1 tbs apple cider vinegar (don’t go overboard, there is no turning back)
salt and pepper to taste


CevicheThe best thing about our fiesta was that all the dishes had basically the same ingredients. Ceviche is a citrus (usually lime) marinated seafood dish – the acid from the citrus cooks the raw seafood overnight and flavored with pico de gallo ingredients. It is light and fresh and delicious on a homemade tortilla chip. For our ceviche, we used a a white fish (cod I believe? Typically halibut) which we filleted into very thin slices. Raw shrimp, scallop, clams, crab and lobster works just as well. So allow the cut seafood to marinate in lots of lime juice. For extra flavor, you could always use grapefruit or orange. We ended up juicing another grapefruit to sweeten up the marinade a little bit. Prepare all the vegetables like you would pico de gallo and add to the lemon/seafood mixture.

3 lbs pork butt or pork shoulder
1 orange, quartered
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Pepsi, plus more Pepsi, as needed
3/4 cup oil or shortening
Fuego spice mix: (yields 1 cup use 1T)
1/4 cup paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons garlic granules
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons oregano
Agua Negra Marinade: (yields 3 1/4 cups use 1 cup)
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Fuego spice mix: Combine all ingredients, mixing well. This spice mix is also delicious on top of a freshly fried corn tortilla chip. Yum! Just sprinkle right over your chip and eat.
Agua Negra Marinade: combine all ingredients with a whisk.

  1. Stores in the refrigerator for 2 days.
  2. Carnitas: Trim away excess fat from pork and cut into 3 inch cubes.
  3. Dust meat with Fuego spice mix and press to adhere well.
  4. Squeeze juice from oranges into an airtight nonreactive container, add peels, garlic,pepper, pepsi and Aqua Negra marinade- mix to combine well.
  5. Add seasoned meat and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Remove meat from the marinade (reserve marinade) the next day when you are ready to cook.
  7. Heat oil/shortening in a large heavy skillet over high heat until fat is smoking; add pork and brown completely on all sides- about 15 minutes.
  8. Add reserved marinade and simmer for about 2 hours or until pork is tender and dark brown- add additional Pepsi as needed while cooking to keep meat covered.
  9. Remove meat and chop into 3/4 inch pieces.

Spanish Flan aka Caramel Custard

Flan1The most common “flan” is a rich caramel custard comprised primarily of egg and milk. The word “flan” is of French origin, but it is not to be mistaken with the French flan, which is a dry, dense torte/tart pastry thing. I made this initial blunder at Charles de Gaulle while hastily trying to experience my first Parisian flan. The kind we typically see is of the Spanish variety and is covered in a sweet and sticky caramel sauce. The flan for this fiesta can be credited to my mom whose recipe has never failed me. Decorating the flan with fruits is completely optional, especially if this is for personal enjoyment. But with your friends, scoring a few presentation points doesn’t hurt. This recipe yields 3-10″ pie tin flan cakes, and all three were devoured instantly.Caramel

14 eggs
1.5 cans sweetened condensed milk
6 cups whole milk
2 tbs sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar

In a large bowl, crack and gently whisk together all the eggs. Do NOT use an electric mixer as it will generate too many air bubbles which will result in a pock-marked flan. Not pretty. Add all the above ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In a pot, caramelize 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water until golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Do this on medium-high heat, just in case. Spoon enough caramel into each pan so that it coats the bottom. Tilt the pan a little so that caramel coats the sides as well.The left over caramel will be used as a sauce to cover the finished flan. Using a strainer first, divide the egg batter into each pan. Flan3This removes the placenta and other nasty egg bits that we don’t want ruining the taste and aroma of the delicate flan.

Place the pie tins into a water bath and bake at 350F for about 75 minutes or until the flan passes the toothpick test. In other words, use a toothpick to prick the center of the flan. If it comes out clean then the flan is done baking. If not, continue to bake but keep an eye on it as the caramel and eggs burn fast. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Enjoy the next day. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top. Or if you are plating the flan like I did, the left over caramel can act like a sauce for the flan. Yum. Serve chilled.

So yes, that was my food filled Thursday and Friday night. Saturday was a Viet Nam trip reunion, also food filled but no pictures, so I apologize. This has been a long enough entry, so farewell readers – oh, and good bye Verde! We will miss you!!

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4 Responses to Farewell Fiesta!

  1. Kari says:

    wow this was really good!
    we’re enjoying the salsas and have plans to make more pico

  2. sangeetha says:


    I’m loving the blog :]

    It’s very cute and “collegiate.” You know what I mean.

    That Spanish flan cake thing looks superb. I have a request for you and Kari. As you may (or may not) know, I have this crazy affection for a movie we’ll call Jurassic Park. This movie happens to feature a few cakes that I’ve lusted after ever since my first viewing eons ago.

    Fortunately, I’ve got screen shots of them now, so you and Kari must work together to recreate them for my eating pleasure.

    This must be done post haste.

    Keep updating :]

  3. Kari says:


  4. Pingback: Road to Recovery « Confessions from the Cookie Jar

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