gourmet dinner club: mexican

31 Mar

It’s funny to me that we’ve had so many gatherings of the Gourmet Dinner Club and this our first Mexican theme. We were definitely due to tackle the very popular Mexican cuisine. Rick Bayless – watch out! Lee, our host, did a great job of creating a Mexican evening that we all enjoyed. This time around, we let everyone know what we were bringing so that we knew all bases were covered. And boy were they covered.

This particular evening happened to fall during vegan lent and since I’m trying to do this right, this night was not an exception. So, even though I didn’t sample every dish (so hard!), I am doing a thorough write-up and made sure to get everyone’s thoughts.

The appetizers

Liza’s mom was our special guest for the evening and she brought one of my all-time favorite foods, securing her on my favorite people list forever, guacamole.

We won’t talk about how much of that bowl I ate. it was fantastic. Did you know that you should leave the avocado pit in the guacamole because it keeps it from browning? I always learn something new at the GDC.

Also on the appetizer table were sopes – made by Kari.

Aren’t they beautiful? They got rave reviews too. Some had shrimp on top and others had a black bean mixture along with Mexican cheese of course.

Lee had quite the array of beverages to help us wash down the guac and sopes, inlcuding Mexican Beer,water, juice and a  Mexican sangria that was super tasty. She served them in very small glasses which made it completely acceptable to have three.

After we were finished with our apps and I was finished telling my story about cooking at the Corner Table, it was time to move to the table.

The Main Meal

First up – vegan tortilla soup! Amanda is such a sweetheart and found a vegan version of this Mexican favorite. I found it to be super tasty and I didn’t miss the chicken at all.

I never knew that tortilla soup had pureed tortillas IN the soup. Is this a well known fact that I just was not privy to? The crunchy strips on top were my favorite part.

Mike, who always wins for presentation, had another home run with his Mexican Rice topped with edible flowers. He created his own recipe because he’s cool like that and it included  garlic, cumin, chili powder, mint (common in the Oaxaca region), tomatoes, stock and a good grating of cotjia cheese. What’s not to like?

I took the vegan route of course and made potato and kale enchiladas from Veganomicon. They were a bit time consuming to make, as I need to roast peppers, make two different sauces, cook the potato and kale and then assemble. I’m pretty sure I dirtied every dish in my house. It looked like a bomb went off. I served them with extra sauce, cilantro “cream” (tofu), and pumpkin seeds. I would definitely make them again, but on a weekend. They keep well and I think they would freeze well too.

Here’s a look at it all put together. You can also see the black beans that Lee was kind enough to make for me. Thanks Lee!

For the main course, Lee tackled Rick Bayless’s carne asada. It looked delicious.I had some of the sauce on my beans and it was tangy and sweet. Why was it sweet? Because it had prunes in it! Fun, right?


I love sweets so this was the hardest thing for me not to eat. Liza made tres leches cake using this recipe. There were lots of moans and groans of happiness around the table as people ate. It was an absolute hit. I think Mike tried to actually steal the leftovers at some point. Amanda who doesn’t normally like tres leches was smitten. I think she’s a convert.

No one ever leaves the GDC hungry and this evening was no exception. Despite not being able to eat many of the dishes, I was still stuffed when I left. I blame the guacamole.

As we were prepping dessert, Amanda and Mike were trying to figure out if they are related. I think the mystery is not yet solved, but how cool would that be? I can see the headline: Gourmet Dinner Club brings together long lost cousins.

It was another great evening of the GDC.

Do you have a favorite Mexican Recipe? Are there any above you’d like more detail on?


7 Responses to “gourmet dinner club: mexican”

  1. Amanda March 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Love the post! LOVED all the yummy food! …And the mystery is solved…Mike and my husband ARE related! I’m not going to get this right, but it’s something like Mike’s great grandfather is Dave’s great-great uncle. Or maybe it’s just Mike’s grandfather… I heart GDC.

    • megzp March 31, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

      Amanda-that is TOTS ridic!

      Jen-did you make your tortilla’s?

      Tres Leches is my favorite desert on the planet next to Tiramisu-that would have been painful for me!

      • jen April 1, 2011 at 11:01 am #

        No, I didn’t make them. To be honest, I didn’t even think about. That would have been very badass of me!

  2. Laurie Jesch-Kulseth March 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Oh my goodness! You are one lucky girl to belong to a dinner club like that. Everything looked delicious…and now I’m hungry.

  3. Mike April 1, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    omg, Jen you are so witty!

    I love how accurately, concisely and cleverly you always capture the menu, mood and conversation of GDC!

    • jen April 1, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      I’m so glad you think so! it’s fun to write about something I love. :)

  4. Sista Joan's BFF Diane April 4, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I am going to have to quit reading your blog. Every time I do I add more recipes to try. (And I need to cook more like I need a hole in the head-just ask my thighs). Whoever said the dessert recipe was right up there next to tiramisu as their favorite – well don’t ‘ya know now I gotta try that too.

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