Saturday, 23 April 2011

Mexican Dinner Party - The Sequel

Our internet situation seems to have stablised somewhat, D is back playing WoW and we haven't been disconnected since... (*goes to check, realised that we were disconnected on 22 April 2011*) ... well, before that we were connected for 43 hours!!!  Go back to the beginning of the month when we were struggling to stay connected for more than 5 minutes, this is awesome. 

We did some research and worked out that we could get cable internet at our house and we even applied, however since the ADSL reconnected itself we haven't been in any hurry to shell out the $400 connection fee.  That will be the next step if we start having problems again.

Internet problems aside, I had been working pretty long hours recently and I'd been getting behind in my blogging so I have an incredible number of posts to share with you.  Lucky it's a super long weekend, right?

This post is about the sequel to our Mexican dinner party, although I did mix it up a little.  The dishes served at Part II were inspired by Reeni's Mexican Inspired Dinner Party, which she posted as part of Project Food Blog.  I started seriously craving Mexican just reading Reeni's post and I couldn't wait to make it myself.

While it wasn't particularly necessary, I did spend some time tracking down the perfect cut of meat.  I finally sound skirt steak at Woolworths and bought all they had.  We now have a tray of leftover skirt steak chilling in our freezer.  I was scared I wouldn't be able to find it again.  Previously I've used rump, chuck and gravy beef however none of them were really suited for shredding.  The difference between these cuts of beef and the skirt steak was incredible.  The steak almost shredded itself!

Reeni's Spicy Shredded Flank Steak was a little more work that my previous go-to recipe, but it was definitely worth it.  Reeni's recipe still utilised the slow cooker, which I loved, but first the meat was rubbed in a fragrant spice mix and seared over a high heat.  The spice rub added a new flavour dimension to the meat. After searing the meat is added to the slow cooker along with a sauce made from onions, spices, garlic, tomato paste, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and lime juice and then cooked for 7 hours.  Halfway through the cooking you are meant to shred the meat but I didn't notice any problems with shredding at the end and then tossing in the sauce.

It was fantastic.  We have made this recipe a few times now and we never have any leftover, it's that good.  I won't make shredded beef any other way ever again.  Wonderful.

The side dishes were pico de gallo, grilled corn with chilli lime butter and Mexican rice.  I also wanted to do something with black beans.  I looked at a number of different recipes before I settled on this recipes for Frijoles Negros from Epicurious.  It was so simple, except I used my pressure cooker instead of simmering for hours.  The beans were done in 15 minutes!!!  I've since made the recipe using a saucepan on the stove and canned beans and this is a quick easy recipe.

I have to admit, they don't look that pretty, but this was the first time I've ever made black beans and only the second time I've tried them so I was slightly apprehensive.  Once I tasted it though I was a black bean convert.  They are so tasty. 

To top off the meal, I made Reeni's Mexican Crema with heavy cream and buttermilk.  I loved the crema.  D didn't understand why I'd make my own when we could just buy sour cream, but everyone else loved it too.

It was a great night with good food and good friends.  Can't wait for the next one.


  1. I learned a lot from the article and this information may come in handy to me in the future. Thanks

  2. Yay! So great to see you posting again, and you've got me hankering for Mexican food. Luckily this continent has a lot more available than we ever found in Australia (though very much looking forward to trying Guzman in the valley when we get back - seems a bit like Chipotle here). I'll definatley be trying this recipe one day when I get a crock pot. For now, im off to farmers markets to try to find Ontario lamb - I refuse to buy NZ lamb while living in Canada. It just seems wrong! xxx E

  3. Phew, it was a stressful few weeks/months. I had never thought about just how reliant on the internet we are. I also hadn't realised just how useless service providers can be.

    What's Chipotle like? I really am loving learning about Mexican and Tex-Mex food. To think I used to think Old El Paso was Mexican food!!! (Not that there's anything wrong with Old El Paso in some situations).

    PS: I owe you a long, much overdue email.