Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Andrew's Mexican Feast...

Last night Andrew came in my room. Here is the gist of the conversation: "Mom, would you mind if I made dinner tomorrow night?" Trying to sound calm, I said, "Well, we have a really busy, crazy day tomorrow. Could you do it a different night? Why do you want to make dinner anyway?"

Andrew got that really worried look on his face...the one where he is figuring out what exactly to say next. That look like he needs to word everything just the right way, in a way that would convince me not to give him up for adoption. "It's for a project in English...and it's due Thursday, so I have to do it tomorrow." I didn't think that sounded too bad.

"Sure, that is fine, what do you want to make?" This is when the real story came out..."Well, it actually needs to be a dinner party...we can invite people if we want. It needs to be centered around a different country and I have to make at least two courses of authentic food. I need to have decorations and take pictures. Then I need to write a report about what I did, who came, and how they liked it. I need to include the pictures and recipes."

It's at this point that a mom needs to just take a deep breath (or a Xanax, but unfortunately I didn't have one, so the deep breath had to do).

It all worked out, and much better than I had imagined last night. After school Andrew looked up some recipes on the internet...he decided on Mexican. I had made these yummy chicken & tomatillo tacos last summer and he wanted to do those. He also wanted chips and salsa and something for dessert...I suggested Mexican wedding cookies. He printed out the recipes (which were so good that I included them below) and I told him what ingredients I already had.

I dropped him off at the store with the list he made, while I took the other three kids to the dentist. When I picked him up, I was so hoping that he got everything on his own. I was a bit worried about him finding serrano chilies and fresh tomatillos, but he did a great job. He even got decorations and Sangria sodas to drink.
When we got home, I helped him a little with the recipes. He chopped everything (am I evil that I found pleasure when he cried over the chopped onions?) and he did most of the cooking. He decorated everything by himself and set the table. Grandpa Cozzens will be happy to know that he used his straw work hat for decoration. He wanted to put chips in, but I talked him into putting the bowl of salsa instead (Grandpa works him pretty hard in the hot Moab sun...there is a lot of sweat in that hat).

Elizabeth & Janessa had just finished passing around their fliers for summer camp, so we invited Elizabeth to stay for the Mexican feast.

It ended up being a great evening and the food was terrific. They even finished with plenty of time to make it to mutual.

What's that? Where am I in these photos? Well, first of all, I am taking the photos. But, there were two that somehow had me in them, but they accidentally got deleted...I have no idea what happened, sometimes that happens with photos of me.

It is probably just as well though, as I never had time in this crazy day to get into the shower! There was way too much driving today...dropping off at school, pilates, forgotten lunches, grocery shopping, working, forgotten lunch money, picking up from school, more grocery shopping, dentist...well, you get the time for a shower today! And, you won't see me in a picture until I have taken one!

The report is finally done and the pictures are printed out. They turned out so cute, I couldn't resist posting them. Now I am going to bed and I hope I am almost done with surprise reports for this year!

Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco...
6 tomatillos, husked, washed, and grilled until blackened
1 serrano, grilled until blackened, seeds removed (only use half if your family is as wimpy as mine)
1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 corn tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Place the tomatillos, serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the tomatillo mixture in a large saute pan and place on the stove. Bring the mixture to a simmer, add the chicken, and heat through.

Place the tortillas on the grill (or a saute pan), and grill for 20 seconds on each side. Spoon the chicken mixture into the tortillas and top with a few tablespoons of queso fresco. Fold the tortillas in half and serve immediately.

Fresh Tomato Salsa...
3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeno or serrano, stemmed and minced without seeds
1⁄2 medium red onion, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled & chopped
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, divided

Mix together and enjoy with some great chips!

Mexican Wedding Cookies...
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands
1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the pecans with a spatula. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.


leslie j said...

I'm a little ticked off that I wasn't invited to the feast (or festival!) looks awesome!

Chelle said...

Looks like it was a great feast! Those recipes look so good, I'm going to have to try some!

Mark, Lindsay, Bennett, and James said...

I guess it runs in the family--being hard core that is. That taco recipe looks too hard for me to do it, so it proves that the entire James' family is hard core!