I love to entertain and I obviously love to cook. Combine the two and I’m happier than a pig in mud. Given the fact I started this blog recently I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to host a launch party and introduce my recipes to a live audience. I mentioned the idea to my friend Steve, a fellow chef, and within minutes we were party planning (on a yacht of all places, pinch me). We decided on upscale Mexican– flank steak fajitas, shrimp and avocado ceviche, guacamole from scratch, and black bean and corn salad. Don’t worry we didn’t forget the booze. I made my fresh, key lime margaritas with agave nectar and sauvignon blanc sangria.
My apartment was eliminated because it’s 900 square feet and I have an incredibly angry downstairs neighbor. Whenever I decide to move out of this place I am throwing an all-night rager just to spite him. And buying pogo sticks for all my guests. Anyway, Steve’s house is definitely bigger than mine but with the guest list growing, we were in need of a much bigger space. Luckily, Steve’s friend Chip graciously agreed to let us use his beautiful Georgetown home for our guests and let me tell you, this place was made for entertaining. Soaring ceilings, atrium that leads to an outdoor patio, rooftop deck, the list goes on. Totally chic and sophisticated, yet still has that warm and historic Georgetown feel.
I’m definitely a planner. Everything has to be organized, the menu has to be perfect, guest list finalized and the food prepped ahead of time. Planning a party for a large amount of people is all about the time leading up to the event. I would have an absolute panic attack if I did all my grocery shopping the day of and didn’t prep my food until the doorbell rang. As a hostess, it’s best to be calm, cool and collected when your guests arrive so that you don’t look like a chicken with your head cut off. Wellllllll…we ended up getting a late start. We made the mistake of buying frozen shrimp that were not peeled or de-veined–do you know how long it takes to peel and devein 4 pounds of shrimp? I delegated that task along with some others– like juicing 8 oranges, 8 limes and 8 lemons. Oh and seeding and chopping tomatoes (thanks Gordon).
Here’s me trying to look calm
Luckily most guests arrived fashionably late, about an hour after we told them to come. Phew! I put out some apps, tortilla chips and of course the sangria to keep everyone happy while we started the fajitas. When the party really started hoppin’ the meat was just about ready to come off the grill and the onions and peppers were done– perfect timing. We ended up having a great turnout, about 50 guests, and everyone seemed very pleased with the food. Hooray! Success. I can’t wait to try this again. Below you can find all my recipes (ceviche was from a previous post that you can find here) Oh and don’t worry, I scaled all the recipes down from 50 to 4 servings.
Flank Steak Fajitas
- 1 pound flank steak ($8.00)
- 1/2 cup olive oil ($2.00)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce ($.10)
- 1 garlic clove ($.02)
- 2 scallions, cut in 1/2 ($.05)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice ($.05)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes ($.05)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin ($.05)
- 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar ($.03)
- Salt and Pepper to season steak
- 2 bell peppers (green or orange) and 1 large white onion, cut into strips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for the peppers and onions)
Trim fat from flank steak and season generously with salt and pepper. Combine the rest of the ingredients in pyrex baking dish large enough for the steak. Marinate steak for 6-8 hours in refrigerator. Pull steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you are ready to grill. Grill on medium-high heat until steak reaches desired temperature.
While you’re grilling the steak start your peppers and onions in cast iron skillet with vegetable oil. They will take about 12 minutes to cook. Put steak on a platter and let it REST at least 10 minutes. Carve steak against the grain and serve with sauteed peppers and onions on flour tortillas. Top with your favorites– cheese, sour cream, salsa, guac, etc.
- 3 ripe avocados (cut them in half, pop out the seed and scoop out the green part) ($3.50)
- Juice of 1 lime ($.20)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin ($.05)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper ($.05)
- 1/2 medium onion, diced finely ($.25)
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced finely ($.10)
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced($.50)
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped ($.10)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($.05)
Mash avocado with the black of fork, squeeze lime juice over avocado and combine all ingredients. Mash to your desired consistency– I like to keep mine a bit chunky. Pro-tip: Keep the seed in the bowl you are serving in while it’s in the fridge. Also cover tightly with saran wrap. This will keep the guac from browning before you serve! Remove the seed when ready to dig in and serve with tortilla chips.
Black Bean and Corn Salad
- 1 (8 oz) can Rotel tomatoes & chilies ($1.00)
- 1 (8 oz) can yellow corn ($.85)
- 1/2 (8 oz) can black beans ($.85)
- 1/2 (4 oz) can green chilies ($1.00)
- 1/2 cup diced white onion ($.50)
- garlic powder, to taste
- chili powder, to taste
- cumin, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro ($.50)
- Juice of 1 lime ($.20)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir and refrigerate for 1 hour. Yes, it’s that easy.
- 1/2 cup hot water (free)
- 1/2 cup sugar ($.20)
- 750 ml Sauvignon Blanc ($3.99– use the cheap stuff)
- 3/4 cup brandy ($6.00)
- 1 lime, sliced into rounds ($.20)
- 1 orange, sliced into rounds ($.50)
- 1/2 pineapple cut into chunks ($2.00)
- 2 cups club soda ($1.00)
- 1 cup raspberries ($2.00)
In large pitcher or other container combine the hot water and sugar. Stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add in the wine, brandy, lime, orange and pineapple. Put in the fridge at least 3 hours. Before serving, add in 2 cups of club soda and raspberries.
Key Lime Margaritas
- 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice (I use Nellie and Joe’s) ($.50)
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar ($.25)
- 3 tablespoons silver tequila ($.50)
- 1 tablespoon Triple Sec ($.20)
Combine all ingredients in shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Serve on the rocks with salt on the rim.