Monday, September 28, 2009

Fist Full of Cocktails

We held our Fist Full of Cocktails fundraising party on Saturday, and everything went well. We had 53 guests who each paid $50 to attend, and I am pretty sure we had 53 satisfied customers. We painstakingly planned the menu down to every detail (I am joking about the painstaking—we had a great time getting together to work on the menu, since it usually also involved food).

We decorated Sandy and Brian’s backyard with a western/Mexican theme.

We set up the bar, and we were ready for our guests to arrive. Did I forget to mention we did a little cooking? Well, we did a lot of cooking! Lucky for us, everyone came with a good appetite, and no one said they were on a diet. I kept bringing food out, and guests kept eating. I love when that happens!
We started everything off by setting spiced nuts along with Paula’s black-eyed pea salsa on the cocktail tables (See how cute the nuts are in the margarita glass?). Once everyone started arriving, we passed jalapeno poppers, veggie empanadas, and chorizo quesadillas. We also passed crackers with pepper jack cheese cut into the shape of small cactus. The cactus shape with thanks to a cute cookie cutter Sandy bought.
I told you about the veggie quesadilla I tested for the party that didn’t make it to the menu, well it was because Sandy’s empanadas had almost the same filling. She used piecrust circles and filled them with corn, black beans, zucchini and red pepper. The empanadas were delicious. I needed to come up with another quesadilla idea, so I remembered the queso dip I made a few months back. I decided to deconstruct the dip and turn the ingredients into a quesadilla recipe. I loved these quesadillas, and my family including my son liked these quesadillas too. Our guests gobbled them up, so I assume they liked them too.

Chorizo Quesadillas
2 links of Mexican chorizo
1 poblano pepper
3-4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro
8 6-inch flour tortillas
vegetable oil

Broil the poblano pepper until the skin is black, and place the pepper in a paper bag for 10 minutes. Take the pepper out of the paper bag and peel the skin. Cut off the stem and remove the seeds, and chop the pepper in small pieces. Remove casings from chorizo and cook crumbling the sausage into small pieces until cooked through. Brush vegetable oil on a grill or skillet, and add one tortilla. Top the tortilla with ¼ of the cheese, chorizo, onions and cilantro, then place a second tortilla on top of the mixture. Once the bottom tortilla has browned, flip over and brown the other side. The quesadilla is done when both tortillas are browned and the cheese in the center is melted. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes 4 quesadillas.

I made 110 jalapeno poppers for Fist Full of Cocktails. I was worried we would be having jalapeno poppers for days, but they were gone by the end of the evening. I am finding it hard to give an exact recipe for these poppers. It is really more of a ratio. I used about two pounds of bacon, 55 jalapenos and 36 ounces of cream cheese.

Jalapeno Poppers
From Pioneer Woman
Bacon slices, cut into 1/3 pieces
Cream Cheese

Cut jalapenos in half and scrape out the seeds and the ribs with a spoon. Just a word of warning: If you don’t want your eyes and fingers to burn, wear safety glasses and gloves. Fill the jalapeno halves with cream cheese and wrap with bacon slice and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 375° oven for 20-25 minutes or until the bacon is browned. You don’t want the pepper to become soggy, so you can turn on the broiler if the bacon isn’t cooking fast enough. Just watch them carefully.

Fist Full of Cocktails to be continued…

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