Event 3 - Fajitas, Mexican Rice and Catfish Ceviche

by Dave MichelFebruary 11, 2015

The South of the Border event was with the Olsons (Kris's mom's side of the family). Maggie was the first to really work the reservation system as I envisioned it, identifying who would be coming to a meal and coordinating with other family members.

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This was a sabbatical event where much of the menu was familiar to me. It was great to be able to relax a bit with dishes that I knew would work well. The four new recipes for this dinner were Pico de Gallo (which is really very simple), Mexican Rice, Tres Leches Cake, and Alton Brown's Catfish Ceviche. I've made fajitas and guacamole numerous times before. Much of this meal was make-ahead, so I could save my wild-eye, hair-on-fire look for subsequent events.

On the day of the event, I started with the ceviche, which takes around eight hours to marinate. The fajitas also needed to marinate, so they were next. I had to work fast because I had not made Tres Leches Cake before, and it needed to refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.

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I started on the cake around 1:30. The light, fluffy batter filled about 3/4 of the 9 inch pan we had. I popped it in the oven and continued with prepping vegetables. After about 15 minutes, I smelled a bit of a burnt smell from the oven. It looked like the cake was erupting and a slow lava flow was crawling out of the pan and dripping onto the floor of the oven (sorry, I don't have photos [an audio recording would be even more entertaining - Ed.]). I turned off the oven, removed the cake pan, and while things were cooling I read the recipe as carefully as I should have before I started. I guess I missed that it needs a 10 inch round cake pan. Then I got a tape measure and found that the pan I was using was actually an 8 inch pan. And I should have used all-purpose flour, not cake flour. Oops - never assume, right?

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After a quick trip to get the right pan and some more sugar, the cake came out fine (I'll work on presentation next time). Roger liked it enough that I sent some back with him.

Everything else went without a hitch. I was particularly pleased with the Mexican Rice, which had a great flavor and texture. Even though nothing in this meal was terribly spicy, I was surprised how many jalapenos I went through. I was glad I had frozen a quart ziplock's worth last summer with peppers from our CSA share.


About the author


Dave is a recording engineer, musician and software developer in Minneapolis. He's found that a cooking sabbatical is more work than normal life.

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