Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mexican Fiesta

A couple times a year members of my family and my younger brother C get together here and spend a Saturday preparing a delicious meal. This past Saturday my two brothers and sister and one of her son’s came to visit and along with my sons C and J and son in-law K spent the day preparing a Mexican Fiesta meal.

These weekends don’t just happen spontaneously; they take a long time to come together. We start by first deciding what the theme of the next weekend get together will be. Then once we have decided on a weekend we start planning the meal, which often requires hundreds of emails, and having my younger brother and son J look at each other’s recipe ideas. For this past weekend with the Mexican Fiesta theme we set a late January date, but decided that was to soon after all the business of the holiday season. I then thought we could get together toward the end of March, however, my nephew had to work that weekend, and my brother was moving to a different house. We finally settled on this past weekend and started putting together the menu.

Friday April 23, 2010 was the day when my family members from Iowa and my son and grandson from Madison would arrive. My younger brother C arrived late Friday afternoon, and after he carried two coolers and lots and lots of bags of groceries he and I had supper together. After supper, as C was just beginning some prep work, my younger sister, brother in-law and nephew arrived. Shortly after my wife P arrived home from work, my son walked in carrying our grandson, who has fallen asleep in the car, downstairs to a bedroom and put him to bed. Finally just before midnight my older brother and sister in-law arrive.

Saturday morning son C and grandson L made us guys a breakfast of Gingerbread waffles served with either honeyed butter or whipped cream. While the guys enjoyed the breakfast of waffles, my wife P, daughter K, sister M and sister in-law N drove to Chicago to meet with our daughter in-law C and go out for breakfast. The ladies spend most of the day touring our kid’s condos in Chicago and our daughter’s home in a suburb close to us. They also managed to stop at a block long garage sale arriving home mid afternoon.

Once the kitchen was cleaned and the breakfast item put away brother C, son J and son in-law K started preparing the Mexican Fiesta. My brother had some homemade prosciutto which he needed to slice extremely thin so he asked if my son in-law would be able to borrow the deli style meat slicer from his uncle. We don’t like to borrow this meat slicer unless we are going to slice a lot of meat, so the boys and I decided that this would be a great time to purchase meat to use for making beef jerky later this year. This way we wouldn’t have to bother K’s uncle when we make the beef jerky later this year. After doing a lot of research we decided to let my brother C pick up the 20 lbs of the meat we would use to make the jerky. He was able to purchase it for $1.00 less per pound then any place we were able to buy it locally.

So Saturday morning the guys sliced my brother’s prosciutto and the 20 lbs of beef. Because we were going to freeze all this sliced beef and didn’t want it to get freezer burn, my son in-law K and nephew J went shopping for a vacuum sealer. I am always amazed how I continue to accumulate items that I don’t use because of my illness. I now have a turkey fryer, a dehydrator, a smoker and now a vacuum sealer. I admit that I don’t own all of these; I own part of these items, while other members of my family own the other half of the item. However, I enjoy being able to help with the purchase of these items so the other can make use of them. And often they use these things here, so I get to enjoy watching them use them.

The guys spent the rest of Saturday preparing the Mexican Fiesta. If I remember correctly, they made the following:
Son J made:
Red Snapper Ceviche with Jalapeno and Red Onion
Octopus Salad
Pico de Gallo

Nephew J made:
Albondingas soup

Brother C made:
Chicken Empanada with Chorizo, Raisins, and Olives
Using this recipe for the dough
Smothered Mexican lasagna
Pickled Mexican vegetables

Wife P made:
Brazilian Flan

One of the things I really like about these weekends is the opportunity they give everyone to visit. The conversations are free and wide ranging.


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