The day has finally come! I have been waiting to throw my Foodbuzz 24×24 party all month and it finally happened. The 24×24 is a special event where Foodbuzz picks 24 featured publishers to throw 24 over-the-top dinner parties in the same 24 hour period. My themed party was called Hot Summer Daze.
There is no denying it, this summer has been HOT. As my roomie Jordan would say, “Mind over matter.” I’m sorry, but I don’t know if I am capable of that this summer. Instead of mind over matter, I opted for distraction. What better way to distract yourself from the heat than by throwing a party; not just any kind of party, but an alcohol party! I know you are probably thinking, “Aren’t all parties alcohol parties?” But this party took it the extreme; we had an entire four course meal with alcohol in everything. Now that I am finally 21, I decided that I would show people gourmet food’s wild side.
Bananas Flambé w/ Vanilla Black Pepper Frozen Yogurt
NOTE: Click links for recipes.
We began by making an agave hibiscus simple syrup by boiling down hibiscus leaves with agave nectar. Once we had our syrup, it was time to make mojitos. We are lucky enough to have our own orange mint plant in our garden this year, but if you cannot find orange mint regular mint works as well. These mojitos are very unique, the hibiscus flowers give them a great pink color and a hint of floral flavor; very refreshing on a hot summer day.
Along with the mojitos, we made pineapple basil margaritas with fresh basil from our garden. These margaritas are sweeter than your average and don’t have that sour lime taste that sometimes comes with others. The basil adds a nice earthy kick to balance the sweetness. I can safely say that these margaritas are the best that I have ever had. I highly recommend you try both of these drink recipes and wow your company with them!
Once everybody was chilled out with their cold drinks, I brought out my homemade tequila-lime salsa. This salsa has a beautiful array of colors and a nice spicy kick at the end. I baked homemade tortilla chips seasoned with garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper; such a simple thing to make and so much healthier than fried chips from the store. I also like these homemade flour tortilla chips because they are softer and kind of crumble away in your mouth with the salsa. Usually salsa is hardly touched at parties, but this one got devoured by my guests along with every last chip. I think they might have liked it?
Along with the chips and salsa, I made beer battered veggies tempura. Beer batters are great because the carbonation in the beer makes the batter puff up more when frying, which gives the veggies a fuller crunch. For these, I chose to use Modelo beer to keep the Mexican-type theme for the party. I fried asparagus, green beans, poblano peppers and zucchini (one of the first from our garden!).
Once everybody had refilled their drinks, I brought out the salad. One of my friends exclaimed, “There is alcohol in the SALAD!?” The answer to that is yes of course! I made a tequila citrus dressing with orange and lime juice. It is important not to put too much tequila in the dressing, since it isn’t cooked, but it mellows out the strong citrus flavors in this tangy dressing.
While everybody was enjoying their drinks and salads in the shade on our back porch, I rushed inside to grab the tri-tip (which had been marinating for over 24 hours!) and the shrimp kebabs for the grill.
The tri-tip marinade was made of tequila, soy sauce, olive oil, cilantro and much more. Marinating it for a whole day made it nice and juicy for my guests. With this, I made an avocado cream sauce to serve over the top. It is similar to guacamole, but with sour cream and red wine vinegar to make it into more of a sauce.
Since most of my new roommates are vegetarians, I had to provide another option along with the beef. For them I chose to do tequila-lime marinated shrimp for kebabs. Shrimp only need to marinate for about 20 minutes, if you marinate them too long the acid in the marinade will begin to cook the shrimp.
Along with the protiens, I served an easy to make cilantro rice with a splash of lime. I cannot tell you how many limes we juiced yesterday for this party! I think I am going to invest in a juice for the future.
Once everybody thought they couldn’t eat any more, I made dessert. I was really excited about this dessert because I have never lit anything on fire in my kitchen (on purpose). Even though it was hot, and even hotter in the kitchen with the stove on, I sucked it up and got my rum and lighter ready for the bananas flambé .
This dessert is actually really simple, even though it may sound intimidating. The sugar is reduced into a dark syrup and coats the bananas. Adding the rum and igniting it gives a bit of a crisp texture to the bananas as well as a hint of rum flavor.
I served the bananas flambé with a homemade vanilla black pepper frozen yogurt. Man was that a task in my hot house! I had to put the ice cream maker in the basement because it was too hot in the kitchen for it to freeze, but of course it ended up being too hot down there too! I resorted to just sticking it in the freezer last minute to get it to solidify.
When all was said and done, I had a group of very happy friends and night time temperatures approaching, which was the perfect way to drift out of my hot summer daze. Thanks again to Foodbuzz from my friends and I for sponsoring this event!