Project food blog challenge #3

For this challenge, I have been asked to create a luxurious dinner party-and you, my readers decide (by voting) which they would like to “attend”.

For starters- I am going to take the word “luxurious” with a grain of salt..you see, what defines luxury to me is far from luxury to most.

I also didn’t want to present a dinner party I would never be able to afford. I want to show you how I  created a luxurious party with what I have. Fortunately, living near the coast in south Florida, my everyday (sometimes free) foods are luxurious to others. Going for a walk in my neighborhood there is an abundance of exotic tastes (tamarind,  avocados, starfruit, guava)

My husband, is not as familiar with a lot of these tastes, so it was nice to see him try them.  (He’s not a native Floridian-I am.)  So, with using what I have and basing the dinner on what I feel constitutes a “feasible” feast let me begin:

First- about your host: (me)

I grew up in south Florida without air conditioning.

I survived after a hurricane nearly a month without electricity or running water.

I wash my own dishes and hang my own laundry by hand. (still do)

Luxury to me-is far different than fine wines and caviar.

Luxury to me- is having good food, good company and being comfortable.

I don’t like parties that are too nice. (really, it’s okay if you spill your wine by accident, or can’t pronounce the appetizer.)

Do you still want to come hang out for dinner? It will be fun…and the food will be good.

It will be luxurious because we have running water and air-conditioning.

And, since I live in south Florida, and we fish a lot- there will be lots of fresh seafood and exotic flavors.

I won’t make you do dishes. Or hang laundry. Promise.

Are you in? Great. Welcome to a party of mine:

This party was a family affair- since I am a mama, I needed to include my little ones…who had an awesome lemonade stand the  following day:

Back to the party:

I want to hang out with my guests- so don’t expect me to be in the kitchen or at the grill. No- I’m going to be gabbing  in the backyard while the kids take turns riding Joey. Who’s Joey? Glad you asked.

turtle rodeo

We will most likely partake in some adult refreshments- south Florida style-do you like Mojitos?

a concoction of rum, simple syrup, lime juice, mint and club soda.

Some imported non-alcoholic drinks, also. Yep, the one that said “Boing” made me laugh, too…

I decided to make a lot of stuff easy and early for this party…

For appetizers:

Avocado sections stuffed with dill shrimp salad. I rubbed fresh lime juice on them so they wouldn’t turn brown.

I also made ceviche:

Ceviche is something that must be done in advance, because the lime juice “cooks” the seafood. This one is scallops,lime juice, cilantro, and onion and jicama. It is served on a bed of shredded daikon root, in a lettuce lined martini glass.

These are roasted green plantain slices encrusted in Parmesan cheese and chili, drizzled with a homemade ranch:

Usually, people wait until plantains are black before they cook them. When they are prepared while green, they are very starchy-like a potato. Slicing and roasting them with the spices worked out delicious.

For our entertainment, I will give you a tour:

We have  6 turtles, 3 tortoises, 3 dogs, 2 bearded dragons, 1 saltwater tank, 1 freshwater tank, and a parrot.

It’s just fun.

Now, it’s time to sit down to eat…

I made this for us seafood lovers:

A paella made with assorted shellfish and seafood, and fresh diced peppers and green peas…

On the side, we have arepas-corn patties filled with queso blanco

Starfruit are in season now:

I sliced these up, and drizzled them with a tamarind-soy glaze. Salty, sweet and tangy.

Now- my kids had something different in mind for “luxury” . You see, luxury to adults=fun. Luxury to kids should be the same. I am not going to force them to eat something they’re not “into” that would just ruin the ambiance, you know? So.. the kids had this:

At request, I may add… but I also have to say, I have fun making them. Let me give them a fancy name: “Seasoned German sausages served over a delicate noodle with fresh seasonal vegetables” Oh yes- that’s what they ate. Hot dogs and ramen. That’s kid luxury food. In their minds, at least..

Dessert is another story….

I kept up with the Latin theme

Tres Leches Cake.  A cake made with three milks. Mmmm, calcium. I made these in muffin tins. Portion control!

Guava-cheese pillows I made with frozen empanada dough.

This is mamey, a tropical fruit that has an avocado texture and melon taste…all I did was added some lime juice and toasted coconut.

And, to take home I made “goody bags”:

What’s in them? Imported Latin candies-goat milk lollipops, sour candy, chili candy, mango/chili lollipops, and condensed milk candy. (I apologize in advance to your dentist.)

All in all, this entire ensemble cost me about $42.70.  and made  4 adult meals. Most of the produce was from the bounty of my neighborhood, and the entertainment was provided by our animals. I had to buy the rum, plantains, lettuce, jicama, mamey, some of the seafood,candies and mint. I had a lot of the seasonings on hand… I tried to be thrifty using what I have.

Why did I decide on this meal?

I lived my whole life in south Florida.

Most of my neighborhood is Cuban.

I think I was Latino in a past life.

It’s excellent party food.

I hope you ha a nice time-if you wish you were really here…please give me an “RSVP” vote.

Heck, maybe one day I will be able to hold a contest and really meet some of  y’all. Now, that would be fun.

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