This week I threw a surprise birthday party for a good friend, Jennifer, that I know from the Denver Athletic Club. We are part of the water aerobics group and Len, my husband nick-named us the Mermaids and it has become our official name at the club! Jennifer is also my biking buddy once the weather starts to warm up. She and her husband love to travel all over Mexico so you guessed it, the theme for this little fiesta was Mexican. I had fun setting the table with all of my plates that I had bought years ago over in Dolores Hidalgo, a town devoted to ceramics that is a thirty minute drive from San Miguel de Allende.
The little nopal cacti held decorative strips of paper with Mexican proverbs and sayings (dichos) that I had made. Here are a few of my favorites ones:
"Si tomas para olividar, paga antes de tomar - If you drink to forget, pay first."
"Tomas tequila, quema la gallina - Too many shots spoil the cook."
"Cuando andes a medios chiles, buscante medias cebollas - When you are half-pickled, look for the barrel."
Pouring some Spanish Cava for my guests.
Clockwise: Silvia, Grace and Marilyn (non-mermaids), Jennifer (birthday girl), Beth, Ann and Annie. Prior to sitting down, we all had a little nip of Jose Cuervo Traditional with guacamole with granadas (pomegranate seeds). For that recipe, see my post dated 9/29/2010.
For the main entree, I made masa corn cakes with shredded pork and onions topped with a fresh tomatilla salsa and creme fraiche. (check back in a week or so for that recipe - it's a winner)
I served a mixed green salad with mangoes and pumpkin seeds dressed with a cilantro vinaigrette. I had bought this bowl a few years ago over in Patzcuaro at the Friday market. When back in Denver, I was at a little French restaurant that had a small gift shop. I could not believe my eyes, they had a set of dishes that was from a small town in Provence with the same exact pattern!
Beth made some sinfully delicious crab enchiladas with a truly decadent cheese sauce.
The big hit of the day was my Margarita souffle! This recipe is from the cookbook, Something New Under The Sun - a selection of favorite recipes collected from the Junior League of Phoenix. There is no publishing date in the book but I do know it is at least 40 years old and it sold back then for only $4.50 (that included postage and handling!) The mother, Wilma Bartholomay, of one of my best friends, submitted this recipe. Margaret would love that I made her mom's souffle. And would even love it more that 40 years later it still is a big hit and that everyone wanted the recipe.
MARGARITA SOUFFLE - Serves 12
10 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup lime juice
grated rind of 4 limes
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons plain gelatin
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup tequila
2 cups heavy cream
Beat egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually and beat until smooth and light in color. Add the lime juice, rind and salt. Mix until blended. Cook in a double boiler, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Soak gelatin in the triple sec and tequila and stir into hot custard. Cool.
Oil a 6-cup souffle dish and wrap an oiled parchment paper collar around the top. Beat egg whites until stiff. Whip cream until thick. Fold egg whites into the custard and then fold in the whipped cream. Pour mixture into the souffle dish and chill.
The souffle improves in flavor if made a day in advance and kept in refrigerator.
Freezes well too.
And finally, the birthday girl showing off some of her new treasures: scarves, tea towel, travel bag... It was decided that we should have birthday parties more often. I totally agree. Let's just forget the number part of the equation.