Mexican Hold’em was a great time. People started arriving at 1:00 and some were still here at 11:00. Deb, Erika, Janet and Bob chopped the pot for the tournament. We also played some cash games at 25/50 cents. It was a lot of fun and everyone seem to have a good time.
Now on to the food. We started the day off with some chips and dip and a veggie tray. The Veggie Tray had grape tomatoes, cucumbers, celery sticks, carrots, broccoli and red pepper. Poker Bob and I had a bet which veggie would go first and which one would have the most left over at the end of the night. The cucumbers were the surprising winner of the most popular and the least popular were the grape tomatoes. I thought the grape tomatoes were just tough to dip, although they very fresh and popped when you bit into them. We bought a large container of spinach dip at the store but when Facebook Friend and poker but Grace showed up with her homemade spinach dip in a sour dough bread bowl, people switched to her dip. Shout out to Grace.
I had never made Guacamole before but since the theme was Mexican I thought I would give it a try. I searched the internet and found a recipe at the Haas site that sounded good so I did that recipe. I used four ripe avocados, tablespoon of cilantro 1/2 sweet onion, 1 jalapeño pepper, 1 diced tomato, juice of 2 limes and kosher salt to season. It turned out great. We coupled it some tortilla chips, Donna likes the Scoops brand the best. Facebook Friend and tournament winner Erika said it was the best she ever had. I think she was just being sweet but I’ll take it as being very good. I liked it. It was simple to make and chunks of the avocado in the lime soaked salsa with a little heat from the peppers was very nice.
Poker buddy Tony brought 200 of the best tasting Chicken Wings I have had in a long time. Normally I would have nominated these for the Best in Bucks – Wings, but alas Tony’s family restaurant Stella’s is in West Trenton, New Jersey. These were breaded wings, medium and size but moist and tasty when you bit into them.
Tony also brought along hot sauce and blue cheese dressing on the side. The hot sauce on the side allow the poker players to adjust the heat of their wings. This was a flavourful sauce not the burn your head off fire brews some restaurants give you. The Blue Cheese dressing was creamy with nice chunks of cheese in the mayo dressing. Nothing goes better than blue cheese and hot chicken wings. Since it was a Mexican theme party we took Tony’s Italian wings and sprinkled cilantro over them to christen them Mexican. LOL
The Mexican Buffet started at 4:00 with Mexican Chili, Mexican Mac’n Cheese and do-it-yourself tacos and Fajitas. For the Mexican Chili, I cooked up 3 pounds of hamburger, 1 pound of chorizo sausages, onions, red peppers, mushrooms, jalapeños and garlic. I seasoned the mixture with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes and cumin. Once the veggies were heated thru I added red kidney and black beans some red sauce and a lot of chili powder. It was my pretty standard chili kicked up with some extra heat, chorizo sausages and jalapeños. It made the theme ingredient.
For the do-it-yourself Taco and Fajitas Bar, we sauteed some chicken and beef strips in taco spices and some extra cumin. For the taco meat, we took regualr ground beef and cooked it with some finely chopped onions and garlic, we added salt, pepper, cumin, taco seasoning and red chili flakes. We also sauteed sweet onions and red peppers with onions and garlic. For sides we chopped up fresh romaine lettuce, jalapeños and tomatoes. We put out a bowl of sour cream as well.
For the Mexican Mac’n Cheese, we boiled the elbow macaroni as directed on the package. While that was happening, Donna made a bechamel sauce with flour, butter, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. To the sauce she added pepper-jack cheese. The drained pasta and cheese sauce were combined and then we added red pepper flakes and diced chorizo sausage to match the theme. We spread the Mac’n Cheese out in a lasagna pan and topped the mixture with moistened bread crumbs, pepper-jack cheese and some more red pepper flakes. Donna baked the dish at 350 degree F for 45 minutes to get the nice brown coating you can see in the photo. Mac’n Cheese is normally a comfort food classic (shameless plug inserted here for the survey on Favourite Food Types – do the poll if haven’t already) but with the addition of the spicy cheese and chorizo sausage this dish becomes very festive.
I didn’t think to take pictures of the desserts that folks brought but they were all delicious. JoJo, from the Church Ham post, made Chocolate Mexican cake and a Coconut Custard pie. JoJo brought the recipe for the chocolate cake and we didn’t see anything in the recipe that would make it especially Mexican so we figured it must be the chocolate that made it Mexican so from then on all desserts with chocolate met the theme ingredient. JoJo’a pie was creamy with great flecks of coconut. Shout out to JoJo for the pie and cake.
Poker buddies Pete and Stella made her famous Brownies and these are to die for. Moist and chocolaty. Facebook Friend and poker buddy Polina came with homemade chocolate covered strawberries. Tournament winners Deb, Bob and Janet brought a pies.
All in all it was a great Mexican Buffet and dessert contibution were well appreciated. Donna and I had a great time preparing the food and spending time with our friends and poker buddies. I hope they had a great time too.