Branden’s Birthday Dinner a.k.a. Mexican Fiesta Part I

This year for Branden’s birthday, we decided to stay in since we’ve been traveling a LOT during the month of April.  Between the two of us (sometimes together, sometimes apart) we’ve been to Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida.  Although we’ve enjoyed all the food adventures along the way, we liked the idea of not eating in a restaurant over the weekend.  Besides, Branden had found this awesome “Ultimate Mexican” cookbook/magazine thing on the magazine rack at the grocery store last week that we were dying to test out.

With the exception of the appetizer that I got out of one of my Latin cookbooks, the menu came entirely from Ultimate Mexican, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Publication.  I’ll be posting one of the recipes from the below menu over several posts this week because quite frankly, I have so much to say that I think it would be overwhelming in one post.  I also made Branden a birthday cake that is most definitely NOT Mexican, so I’ll address that later as well because its worth sharing!

Now for the menu:

  • Yellowfin Tuna & Coconut Poblano Ceviche
  • Roasted Red Pepper Guacamole
  • Enchiladas Suizas
  • Classic Margaritas on the Rocks

Today’s recipe comes from Fiesta Latina by Rafael Palomino.  My Mom gave me this cookbook years ago, but because of the “exotic” (a.k.a. not found in Wayne County) ingredients, I’ve often pushed it aside after drooling over the pictures.  Now that I’m no longer on a college student budget, I’m able to work a little harder to track down hard-to-find and high-end ingredients.  Thank goodness!

  • 12 oz. sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 TBS coarsely chopped cilantro
  • One 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 3 TBS cream of coconut
  • 1 TBS honey
  • Kosher sale and freshly ground pepper

Put the tuna in a large glass or ceramic bowl.  Add the citrus juices, mix well, and cover tightly.  Refridgerate until tuna is turning opaque on the outside but is still rare on the inside, about 15 minutes.  Combine the remaining ingredients with the tuna mixture.  Serve chilled.

Thoughts on the recipe: First of all, YUM!  I love ceviche and this recipe did not disappoint!  Branden and I both agreed that half of the called-for onion would be sufficient, especially because the raw onion becomes really potent the longer it sits.  I did double the honey as well, just for good measure.  I really loved the smoky flavors of the roasted poblano peppers combined with the sweet and sour of citrus and coconut.  One word of advice: do NOT use reduced fat or fat free coconut milk.  I didn’t make the mistake with this recipe, but I have with other recipes in the past and I just don’t even want to talk about the lack of flavor that resulted.  I know that its not as healthy to use “full fat,” but I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.  There are just some ingredients that weren’t meant to be messed with in my mind and coconut milk is one of them.  Trust me.

Don’t be overwhelmed by this recipe- I honestly think it would be hard to mess up, but I definitely understand why the thought of cooking raw fish in citrus juices is intimidating.  As long as you use sashimi or sushi-grade fish, you really have nothing to worry about.  And since the fish is will continue cooking since its still in the acid, leftovers can be kept for a day without fear.  Might I suggest treating it like salsa on day two?  Very yummy with tortilla chips!

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Categories: Appetizers, Latin, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Branden’s Birthday Dinner a.k.a. Mexican Fiesta Part I

  1. Pingback: Restaurant Review: Fresca, Fillmore Street, San Francisco « foodistherapy

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