In this previous post, I told you about Chef Daisy Martinez and how I got to cook for her but I missed to share what exactly I cooked. So today’s Lunes Latino post will be filled with just that, tips, ideas and all the details of what my Latin Fusion menu consisted of and how I decided to put it together for a Latinas Unidas fundraising event where Chef Daisy was the guest host.
I am calling this a Latin Fusion menu as the appetizers were not traditional by itself but were prepared with a blend of Latin staple ingredients paired with other not so traditional flavors in a creative way. This Latin inspired menu was intended to wow Chef Daisy Martinez and although I don’t know if I achieved that, I was indeed over the moon excited to see her try my food and agree with others in their positive reaction.
Today I hope I get to wow you, make you drool over the screen and inspire you to get creative with flavors, ingredients and follow these tips when putting together a menu for your next party. Follow any of these tips and your menu will be a hit.
Tip no. 1 – When putting together a menu think of your character and what will truly represent you, your family, or your background… bring something that may tell a story with flavors. With that in mind I created this Cilantro and Panko Crusted Tilapia with Coconut Cream Sauce. I was transported to my beautiful Caribbean where coconut sauce is the perfect pairing for fish. I added Panko bread crumbs to create excitement and give this traditional combo a modern twist.
Tip no. 2 – Reinvent traditional items. The inspiration for these Sweet Plantains wrapped in Serrano ham and topped with Mango and Manchego cheese was the classic melon wrapped in prosciutto and sometimes accompanied by cheese too. I took that as the inspiration but switch the ingredients to give the final product a Spanish twist using serrano to substitute the prosciutto and manchego as the cheese. The mango and maduros were intended to be the fruity sweet element ussually given by the melon in the classic version.
Tip no. 3 – If you are expecting a special guest make sure you honor that person. In this case I tried to do so by cooking recipes from Chef Daisy Martinez cookbook, Daisy’s Holiday Cooking like this Ruby Grapefuit Ceviche which I served with root vegetable chips.
In honor of Chef Daisy I also did these Chipotle meatballs, which the original recipe can be found in her cookbook Daisy’s Holiday Cooking. These meatballs were my favorite from all the items served. The Chipotle in adobo gave the ground meat this unexpected smoky flavor that it was just surprisingly very very good. You can watch Daisy making these meatballs for eHow.com here. If you like cooking with Chipotle in Adobo make sure you try this wings recipe I shared in the past Lunes Latinos.
Tip no. 4 – Think outside the box. Think of something unique that might be a completely new combination or experience for your guests. Who would have thought of wrapping mashed yuca in phyllo? Well let me tell you that this is a genius crazy idea and if you want the recipe and step by step instructions simply read this previous post where I show you how. What made this item perfect besides being so incredibly different, is the fact that it contains no meat so it was vegetarian friendly. Having a vegetarian item is also always a plus and important consideration when creating your party menu.
Tip no. 5 - Lastly, not just think of how you can bring what you love to the table, also be mindful of your audience and what will appeal to their taste. I thought of this dessert after I read an interview where Chef Daisy mentioned that she really enjoyed a banana and dulce de leche dessert when she traveled to Argentina. So I decided to create a dessert with those flavors just for her.
Yummm I am drooling, did I make you drool too? or at least get hungry? At a minimum, I hope this post was helpful and gave you a tip or two on how to make your party menu extra special.
Now, tell me which of these would you have loved to try? If you were a guest in my party which one would call your attention first? I will share the recipe of the most popular item based on all of your comments below.