Fiesta Mexicana en España

Let’s rewind a month or so. It was the first few weeks that I was with my new host family, and one day they brough out guacamole (the stuff from the package) as a snack. I happened to mention that I make a killer guacamole, so they decided to test me out on that. That weekend, I made them guacamole, margaritas, and fajitas… and they absolutely fell in love with the homemade deliciousness that is legit guacamole. How could they not?

If you’re interested in closer up pictures of the food, or their recipes, scroll down! They’ll be at the end of this post.

They liked it so much, in fact, that they decided to invite all of their friends over to try it. 12 of them, to be exact. The pressure was on… I’ve never cooked for that many people before! Let alone people I don’t know. What if they hated it?

I tried to think positive and brainstormed which recipes I should make. I finally decided on guacamole (duh), black bean salsa, Mexican rice, enchiladas, fajitas, and margaritas (strawberry or mango). We spent hours at the grocery store trying to find everything we needed, which is surprisingly difficult in Spain. For instance, it was impossible to find jalepeños. We had to go to numerous different grocery stores to find limes. Enchilada sauce is nonexistant. It’s crazy. Our first hitch came when we got to the avocados and realized they were all rock hard… it was the night before the party and that just wouldn’t do. I started to panic a little, when my host mother taught me the new idiom “Que no cunda el panico.” In the end, we finally got everything we needed to make this Mexican fiesta a success.

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DSCN2991We ended up cooking for 4.5 hours straight. It was insane. I don’t think either of us (the host mother or I) imagined it would take just that much work. We probably should have simplified it quite a bit, but oh well. At least we had this beautiful sunset to watch as we cooked.

DSCN2992It all worked out in the end. After rushing a bit towards the end, we got everything transported to the location and onto the table. I quickly learned that Spanish/Catalan people can NOT handle their tequila or spicy food… like at all. The enchiladas turned out slightly spicy, which they’re supposed to be… but only slightly. I could’ve done with me. But many of the people constantly repeated “Pica! Pica!” or “Spicyyy!!!!”. It took everything I had not to shake my head in shame. I seriously miss Mexican food and all of the delicious salsas I used to take for granted back in California.

 

DSCN2995DSCN3003DSCN3007After everyone was finished eating, my students (the children of all of the adults at the party) surprised me with a small gift and card to thank me for everything I had done for them this year. It nearly brought me to tears!

DSCN3009 DSCN3008Now… RECIPE TIME!

Unbeatable Guacamole

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  • Avocados (well, duh), mashed with a fork
  • Tomato, chopped
  • Red Onion (yes, red- not white or yellow!), chopped into small pieces
  • Garlic, minced (or garlic powder)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Lime and Lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Jalepeño (optional)

I used to work at Chipotle and another small mexican restaurant, I know my stuff… I promise! I didn’t give measurements because it really is to preference. A general rule of thumb is to use 1 avocado per person that will be eating it. You can add as much or as little tomato and onion as you like, according to your preference. The spices, as well, can be added to your preference. Just mix it all together and voila… deliciousness on a chip!

Black Bean SalsaDSCN2999

  • 1 can corn, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Red Onion, chopped
  • Garlic, minced (or garlic powder)
  • Tomatoes
  • Lime juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Jalepeño (optional)

Mix all of the above together to your preference! I add tomato until it looks like the mixture is about evenly distributed between corn, beans, and tomato. I first tried this at a restaurant and fell in love! I looked up some recipes and then modified it to my liking. Enjoy!

Grandma’s Mexican Rice

DSCN2998et the recipe here. I wasn’t able to get my grandma’s mexican rice recipe quick enough, but from what I can see this is exactly like it minus the cilantro (I think it is better without). If you can, try using bacon grease instead of vegetable oil and you will see a huge improvement in the taste! Also, this is a different way of cooking rice… don’t get scared, just follow the directions! It is amazing.

Amazing Homemade Enchiladas (a crowd-pleaser)

    DSCN3002My family has been obsessed with enchiladas as long as I can remember. We make two types: red (with ground beef) and green (with chicken and sour cream). I personally prefer green enchiladas, but I thought it might be easier to make the red this time around. Here in Barcelona, it was impossible for me to find enchilada sauce in a can… which is what we always used back home (shameful, I know). So, for this party I was forced to make my own sauce. I ended up choosing a recipe at Damn Delicious, and I highly recommend you try it out if you’re a fellow enchilada lover! But please, don’t make the mistake I did… I kind of have a bad habit of eye-balling my measurements (especially here since there’s no such thing as teaspoons and tablespoons) and I ended up putting too much cayenne pepper in the sauce. My host family went to try it and nearly died of how spicy it was (the Spanish, I repeat, cannot handle spicy food). I ended up panicking and adding some more tomato sauce and sugar to take away the heat, which thankfully worked. Just follow the directions to the T!

For the actual enchiladas themselves, here’s my tried and true recipe:

  • Black Olives, chopped
  • White Onion, chopped
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Ground beef, cooked (add a little taco seasoning if feeling adventurous)
  • Corn Tortillas, lightly fried

After lightly frying the tortillas (I’m serious, VERY lightly- just enough to cook it through a little, but not enough to make them crispy), dip them in the enchilada sauce to coat them. For a casserole, cover the bottom of a baking dish with a layer of these tortillas. For a more traditional rolled style, stuff each tortille with equal amounts of the other ingredients and then roll the tortilla into a little burrito, seam side down. For the casserole, add a layer of the olives, onions, cheese, and beef to the tortillas. Then add another layer of enchilada sauce-coated tortilla, and repeat. For the casserole, I find that 2 layers of stuffed filling is best. Finish it off with one last layer of tortillas, cheese, olives, and onion, then baked (covered) for about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5-10 minutes more to melt the cheese. Yum!

Fajitas

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I mean… fajitas are kind of self-explanatory, aren’t they? Grill up some onions and colorful peppers, add in either chicken or steak, and voila! Easy entree. Add in some spices for some nice flavors. Good with corn or flour tortillas.

Margaritas for a Crowd

I didn’t get any pictures of this, unfortunately, but I found a recipe for large batches of margaritas here. They turned out very good but also very strong, so if you have people who aren’t used to the taste of tequila, don’t put as much in (the Spanish, as I mentioned, can’t handle their tequila). Also, we pureed some mangos and strawberries and mixed it all up in a shaker to give some more flavoring to the margaritas. They turned out pretty tasty!

On a random side note, one rare Catalan guy at the party is obsessed with hot and spicy food, and brought me some of his prized sauce to try. It was super spicy! The host mom in my family just lightly dipped her fork in it to taste, and she nearly died. Super fun to try!

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