Make a Fabulous Fiesta Buffet for Six!
The minute I cross the border and head south, visions of what I call, "Street Tacos" start dancing in my head. Street tacos?! Are you asking yourself, "What in the world are street tacos?!" Well, I'll let you in on a secret. They are the best! I could eat Mexican street tacos at least every other day.
Okay. Imagine this if you will-you're walking down the street in Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada-or anywhere south of the border. You smell that distinctive aroma that tells you someone nearby is barbecuing steak. Your olfactories are instantly electrified, your mouth waters and you turn your head to see where the wondrous smell is coming from. Two stores away is an outdoor counter jammed with people sitting on stools, hunched over plates of food.
You move in for a closer look. They're scarfing plates full of tacos. The lady behind the counter tosses a few slabs of carne asada onto a grill behind the counter, cooks them, removes the meat to a wooden board and quickly chops it into tiny pieces with a meat cleaver. Meanwhile, she's heated up corn tortillas and she heaps grilled meat on top of each tortilla. She hands a plate and motions for him to add cilantro, roasted chiles, cheese, onions, tomatoes, any of several types of salsa, cabbage, huge radishes and sour cream sauce to his tacos. He reaches out and piles on the goodies.
You see a couple paying their bill ("La cuenta, por favor," is how it's said in Mexico). They start to get up. Before they're all the way off their stools, you and your companion have slid onto them. You're ready. Order up. And don't forget an ice cold, frosty bottle of Coca Cola or a cerveza.
So - are your taste buds are all revved up yet? Are you ready to go for it and make these yourself at home? I promise you … they're easy. They're delicious. And they make a perfect entrée for a crowd. Get into fiesta mode! Invite some folks over! Start off with chips and salsa as an appetizer and beans and fideo (similar to spaghetti) pasta as your side dishes, and you will be ever-so-traditional. For dessert, try Flan. Recipe serves six.
3 pounds flank or round steak, tenderized (if possible by the butcher) and sliced very thin
1/3 cup fresh lemon or Mexican lime juice (freshly squeezed is best)
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp finely ground oregano
seasoned salt and pepper to taste
1 dozen each, corn and flour tortillas
½ cup milk
1 tsp garlic powder
more seasoned salt and pepper to taste
Serve on the side, buffet style:
12 guero (yellow) chiles, sprinkled with vinegar and baked or roasted on the
grill until soft and slightly browned (optional, for those who love chiles)
1 cup sour cream
1 can sliced olives (optional)
2 cups Chihuahua or Jack cheese, grated
1 white onion, diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed and diced
½ cabbage, shredded
one bunch radishes, tops removed
1 cup salsa fresca
1 cup Salsa Verde
Fiesta Mode Trimmings:
1 colorful plastic table cloth
1 package colorful paper plates
1 package colorful paper napkins
Paper flowers or a festive live arrangement to decorate table
Latin Music (Mariachi music, Julio Iglesias or Ricky Martin perhaps?)
Cerveza (Mexican beer), Margaritas or Soda
12 paper bags-lunch size
12 small votive candles
1. About one day prior to the fiesta, place steak in a 9 x 14" pan. Sprinkle seasoned salt, pepper, oregano and garlic evenly over the meat. Pour lemon or lime juice over everything. Top with sliced onions. Seal the pan with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator to marinate.
2. About an hour before you're ready to begin cooking, it's time to make the guacamole sauce. First, first peel and seed the avocados. Put in blender with about half the milk, garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. If your mixture seems too thick, add some more milk, until the consistency is similar to a creamy salad dressing. Set aside in refrigerator.
3. Prepare a buffet with chiles, sour cream, olives, cheese, onion, avocado slices or avocado sauce, cilantro, cabbage, radishes, salsa fresca and Salsa Verde in separate dishes.
4. Get into Fiesta Mode! Spread your table with a colorful table cloth (plastic is perfect and you can find these at any party store or Smart and Final). Stack up colorful paper plates, add some equally festive napkins and utensils. Decorate your table. Crank up the tunes. Light up the walkway to your front door with authentic Mexican "luminarios"-paper bags open, folded over twice on top with a little sand or dirt inside and a candle.
5. When you're ready to cook, remove meat from marinade and grill on a very hot barbecue until cooked to desired doneness.
6. Heat tortillas in the microwave. Serve wrapped in a towel so they stay warm.
7. Remove from grill, slice into bite-sized, thin strips and serve immediately. Have your guests grab a plate, a tortilla, some meat and invite them to pile on the goodies.....
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Recipe and tips provided by Ann Hazard.
Join author Ann Hazard, as she leads you through four generations of historic Baja culinary adventure. She shares not only her family's favorite travel tales, but also the delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes she has collected and created. By the time you've cooked a meal or two and finished reading the book, you're guaranteed a lasting dose of Baja Magic. The book may even turn your perspective slightly to the South, lighten your heart and forever transform your outlook on life!
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8.4 fl oz