Monday, 30 July 2012

Beautiful Food

Yesterday, we had some friends over for brunch. Normally, this isn't that big a deal for us, some eggs, some bagels, some lox, coffee, mimosas, etc.  Well, yesterday was different. These friends that we had over were none other than my food idol - The Crucian Contessa (check out her blog, you will see what I mean) - and her equally well versed foodie  husband. After I invited them over, I started sweating bullets... What was I going to make? Would this ultimate paragon of food excellence like it? Would I "f" it up? AARGH!! WHAT had I done???!!!?? So, after I picked myself up off the floor and grew a backbone again, I started planning.....

Chiles Moritas
I decided to make a dish that I love, but is way labor intensive. A dish that I have only discovered in the last 12 years, a dish that would highlight our Mexican roots and the influences that Mexico and its many native cultures have played in influencing my food palate.  Now, living here has it's challenges when it comes to meal planning, but somehow, there must have been divine approval on my plans because I found EVERYTHING I needed at my first two stops - AMAZING!

The Menu:

Roasted potatoes with onions, green, and red bell peppers
Bacon - more for the kids than anything
Mango Flan

Mamey fruit in a market in Mexico
So, I KNOW the Potatoes and the Bacon are just not typical Mexican food, but my Irish husband could NOT fathom a brunch without potatoes. Also, C could eat a side of bacon by himself and knew it was in the fridge and had been hounding us for Bacon for DAYS!!!

Pinto Beans
Anyway, I started prepping on Saturday by chopping, making my salsa for the Huevos Motulenos, and made the Mango Flan.  My house smelled like Mexico, the aromas that surrounded the bubbling pots, the oven and just the kitchen in general were memory invoking. When I was roasting and parboiling tomatoes and garlic it felt like I was in Merida in theYucatan. The scent of the cooking Flan took me to Christmas at home with my parents and making Pine Nut Flan. The dried Morita chiles that were reconstituting on the counter top filled the kitchen with a deep smokey chile flavor that rested on your tongue and made your mouth water.

homemade tortillas
that A helped make
On Sunday, I got up and finished cooking the beans, making corn tortillas(with the skilled help of Ms. A), and chopping ham and cheese. Once it was all done and the platters were prepped, it was time to wait for our guests.  We played with the kids, watched the Olympics, and just enjoyed our morning - especially when A and C decided to play with his toys in the living room and ACTUALLY played NICELY!!!  So once the Contessa and her Count got to our home,  I started frying tortillas and plating and explaining flavors as best I could as the Contessa's attention was divided between myself and C who has decided that he wants to be the Contessa's child and not mine.
Nopales or cactus paddles

I am very proud of myself for making such a fabulous meal with 2 kids, I am proud of my hubby who followed directions and made the potatoes, and the eggs as I just can NOT make sunny side up eggs to save my life, and I am super proud of my children who not only sat nicely during the meal but also spoke well and articulately and entertained themselves for most of the brunch.  I am especially proud that my Mango Flan earned a "Vicious" from the Contessa :) I love her, she made my day.

Thank you Contessa and Count for coming over, allowing us to entertain you, cementing our friendship, sharing stories, and eating our food.  Also a BIG thank you for dealing with the constant interruptions from C and for being such a good sport at eating some wildly crazy food.

So, if you haven't had friends over yet this summer, do it. Brave the heat and spend the morning in the kitchen, whip up some good food and have some friends over for good times. It's what life is about.

Huevos Motulenos - yum!

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