(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

i must be crazy.

I'm cooking a mexican dinner for 10 or more Saturday night. My friend Marjo is donating her kitchen! and some guests. Sunday is my birthday so it will be a fitting remembrance of my first one in France.

I'm up to my ears in shrimp and chicken and fish and tortilla makings. I'm starting today, roasting tomatoes and peppers and onions and such, simmering chicken for deboning and perfecting my tortilla making skills for fresh tortillas.

Le menu? Entrée of shrimp ceviche and quesadilla points, Main course of fish tacos with lime cilantro cream sauce and a cassoulet of chicken enchiladas with chorizo. Rice and refried beans on the side (homemade, of course). Fresh roasted tomato salsa. Sangria.

Someone else is doing the dessert.

hmmm. am I forgetting anything? (my sanity is already on the list.)

wish me luck and bon courage. have to stay away from the sangria. or at least too much rum.

32 comments:

Michelle said...

Wow, that sounds like quite a feast. Have a wonderful birthday celebration.

Going to do that taggy thing tonight after all the family stuff is out of the way. Got sidetracked on a waffley post today.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

cool-I'll be over soon to read your waffle!

FrogBlogger said...

De-licious! After so long away from France, and with spicy Thai cuisine on the menu every day, a few Mexican dishes would help me acclimatise before going back to 'bland' French cooking on my return mid-Dec! Am I invited ;-)

Mrs C said...

Um... You live several hundred km from Paris, right?

Damn.

HAVE A LURVELY FIRST FRENCH BIRTHDAY!

Kiss.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Quelle dommage! you are all invited but ... maybe we'll do a 'redux' when MY kitchen is complete. Of course you'll all have to camp out too....maybe in the spring?! merci bien !

Our Juicy Life said...

what about chips and homemade guac? So, where do you get refried beans? And...tell me more about the receipe for tortillas...BECAUSE next Saturday we are doing a mexican feast for our thanksgiving dinner, our french friends want mexican and i don't care about a turkey and stuffing, mexican sounds fun...so fill me in.
Sounds delish!

microdot said...

A fellow Perigordine cooking Mexican....????
I thought I was the only one who did that.
I grow jalepenos in my potager.
I have perfected the art of hay smoking ripe jalepenos to make my own
chipotles.
I have tried growing polblanos from seed, but so far no luck...though I have grown some pretty nasty habaneros. I have made the very volatile salsa de veracruz with them which no man can use more than a drop or two....
I have to bribe my American visitors to bring me dried chiles.

Did you know that duck was very popular in Mexican cuisine? I buy manchons de canard...very cheap, rub them with chipotle, salt and thyme and put them in a baking dish and let them slowly cook in the oven in the fat they render, sort of like Mexican confit.
You take the meat off the bone and make duck enchiladas.

We make Dulce de Leche quite often and are always looking for new ways to exploit it...just buy a can of sweetened cndensed milk and put in a pot of barely simmering water for three hours.

hmmm, you have given me the idea for my next food post.

microdot said...

I also was quite eleted recently when I discovered that the Champion chain of markets is now selling their own brand of pretty cheap corn tortillas!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

OJL-as far as I'm concerned the chips you buy here are crap. I did (per your suggestion) check out the BIO store yesterday and the chips there looked maybe a step up, but the bag was an individual serving and for 10+ people, I decided to yet again try my own. I've made a couple of mexican dinners here involving homemade corn tortillas. But the farine de mais here isn't the same as masa in the states so they turn out more like sopas, not bendable.

I've been searching for a masa vendor here in France...Or I'll have to get my own ingredients (lime) to make my own. I picked up another brand of farine de mais at BIO, we'll see how that works. And then I'm going to attempt frying my own. Marjo is making the guacamole (I planning on giving input cos she didn't plan on using cilantro!!) lol

As far as tortillas, I'm also going to do flour which are typically easier. Basically flour, shortening (or oil or butter), a little baking powder. mix it into a dough, pinch off a golf ball piece, roll it and cook it on a cast iron pan. You know you've done it right if the tortilla puffs out. Corn tortillas should be easy, just the flour and hot water, let the dough rest a bit and have at it. I'm also bringing back a tortilla press from the US.

Micro-I'd hurt someone for some jalapenos. and I'd love to get in on that smoking action. Your duck recipe sounds akin to duck carnitas which I also love. I wanted to make flan for dessert, but then I thought this was getting TOO crazy with everything else - so who knows what dessert will be. Your dulce de leche recipe is ancient! used to do that a lot when I was younger, we thought we were SO clever!! lol

I'll have to inspect your Champion tip. I'm a bit of a bitchy nitpicker when it comes to Mexican I'm afraid. sigh.

Mrs C said...

I know that you can buy pickled jalepenos in Tang Frère stores (huge chinese supermarket chain here), but I don't know if you can find them out where you are...

But I've seen 'fresh' "poivre vert" in a lot of local grocery stores. Don't they have them down your way?...

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

pickled jalapenos will never do for mexican - pas de vinaigre! tsk tsk (lol) and occasionally I've seen piment peppers which have a little bite...either at the market or grocer but not lately. grrr.

I'm jealous of OJL, she says she can buy fresh jalapenos at her market.

Mrs C said...

piment vert. that's what I meant.

does this just go to show that Canadians know nothing about Mexican food. :-)

Mrs C said...

BTW: http://www.cinesnap.com/

Not Netflix and I don't know if they do your area. Just an FYI.

J

La Framéricaine said...

NJNRR,

Ask Elisabeth at As My World Turns about the various ways to get good cinema chez soi. She has a system and, I think Jonnifer is using AlloCiné.

Pre-Happy Birthday and two thumbs up on the Mexican Fiesta that you are planning to celebrate it! The menu sounds divine. Wish I was going to be there, although I will soon be in Mexico City for a 6 days and Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico for 2.5 weeks. Thus, I will satisfy my own craving for delicious Mexican food!

You know, of course, that I'm trying to imagine a way to get Wahoo Fish Tacos to expand into France. They would make millions--well, thousands, after taxes;>).

Bises et bon courage!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

mrs c-ermm...somehow when I think Canadian I don't think tacos ... lol

LaF-who knows, maybe I'll beat wahoo to the punch! and I would adore a trip to Mexico City - just beware the green vw's madame, promise?! xx

La Belette Rouge said...

Perhaps after you make the tortillas you could make a pinata, Ms. Martha.;-)

Mrs C said...

I looked at Allociné and it looked expensive AND late fees. Cinésnap has a "forfait" and the dvd rental looks reasonable (degressive depending on how many you rent) with no limit to how long you keep a dvd.

I think I'm going to try it out.

And my sincere apologies for diverting this post to something else. Sorry. That's sort of rude.

Anyhoo.... So Mexican and Canadians. Um. You are probably right.

Randal Graves said...

i must be crazy

You are.

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Lbr~lol. yep and I might even emroider a huipl to wear and bedazzle them. le sigh. wtf was I thinking. I just spent hours fire roasting veggies and making enchilada sauce and refried beans and roasted salsa from scratch. oh and boiling and deboning chickens. i even plucked fresh bay leaves from the tree in my yard. tomorrow i tackle tortillas, clean shrimp, and decide if i have the cojones left for fried fish vs. sauteed fish tacos. yeah and assemble a chicken cassoulet with whichever tortillas turn out the best.

then pack and haul it all over there! and finish off all the dishes ...

nigella and martha - EAT MY .... ummmm.... CAKE! yeah CAKE!!!

(that last part was for RG's jollies plus to prove yes I AM CAHRAZZY!!!

mrs c-you are making want to go buy a tv- i mean one of those fancy integrated tv/dvd flat screen monitor thingamabobs! (wonder if bob comes with...? lol)

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

lbr-PS / this is for people who buy el paso fajita kits at le shopi and think its mexican!!! olé!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

--who is on a mission to introduce mexican cuisine to my french friends--

chicamericaine said...

So jealous! Mexican food is what I miss most living here. And you're right -- the chips here are crap (I've done the testing and can tell you the least crappy brand if you're interested). You will have friends for life with this meal. :)

I've found the French to have very long food memories. My daughter's godparents, who are French, asked me to make a dish I had made years ago when they were in the States for her baptism. I had no idea of what it might have been. Finally figured out based on their description that it was jambalaya. Luckily I was able to find a source for the sausage in Paris.

Good luck with your feast. And joyeux anniversaire !

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

chic-it isn't easy ... trying to find suitable cheese... can't find a pepper to save my life...crap chips! but there are also lots of good substitutes so I think it will come together fairly well.

Hopefully, anyway since now I know the French have these long food memories!!! no pressure there! ha, j/k.

thanks for the well wishes!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fantastic, it will be worth all the effort and happy birthday tomorrow. Have you seen masdudiable.com. She's english like me so probably knows nothing about 'proper' mexican food :) but she's great for recipes for things like tortilla chips with stuff you can get here and growing chillis. Felicity

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

dear felicity-welcome and thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, did they go for the spicy food???? Felicity

Mrs C said...

Happy Bday!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Felicity-dinner came off very well. There 11 of us, 5 men who cleaned their plates and a couple of the women were a little more wimpy ... *too spicy* but it really wasn't spicy at all in 'merican terms. good to know for future reference. Shrimp ceviche was a big hit too! all in all, was fine!

mrs c-merci madame! vingt-neuf ans ... lol, who am I kidding!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

micro-also, don't know if you ever get down to Perigueux but if you do .... on the way to Trelissac via the main road from Brantome to Perigueux...as you are going through Perigueux there is an international food store on the right and they have dried peppers in a big bag, as well as frozen tiny green peppers and spices from all over the world. plus other international foods. sadly, no jalapenos - fresh or canned, that I have seen. Also have a good selection of grains, beans, herbs, etc.

amy said...

Happy birthday! It sounds memorable, and festive. Now when are you going to open a little taco stand down Brantome way?

microdot said...

Le Grand Frais?
There is one in Brive also...
I end up shopping in Brive and in the Correze. I grow the jalepenos and cilantro and (horrors) freeze the excess bounty each season.

Duck Carnitas? Yes that's it exactly!

I learned of Mexican cuisine when I was young in the Midwest. I had quite a few Mexican friends and as I got older, the stuff they sold in Mexican Restaurants, just wouldn't do!
Then I discovered Diane Kennedy...

I see you are going back to the states...
I may go back in Febuary for some family matters for 2 weeks.
Now, I need aged horse manure and lots of it!

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

microdot-Diane Kennedy is amazing! how bad are the peppers and cilantro after freezing?

also, I have to whine that I drove 30 km to Thiviers to buy the Champion brand tortillas, but the Champion carried naught! so then I drove to Perigueux and bought some at Champion. I just couldn't get the farine de mais to work ... and I couldn't find shortening for the flour tortillas (grr) but now I have learned the word for shortening and to look by the butter and also that it is hard to find. Quelle surprise! lol... I may have to start an internet business for mexican supplies to France... I think there is a budding market for it.