A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to prepare Brazilian cuisine for our annual neighborhood wine tasting fundraiser. And though it was a lot of hard work (3 of us in the kitchen ALL day), the results were exceptional and the feedback we received supports that assessment. I most enjoyed standing back and watching guests enjoy our food. Overhearing their praise made all of the frustrations and stress of the day melt away. The most important lessons: preparing food for 75 people is hard work and I don’t want to make a habit of it, and Jon really knows how to choose recipes!
For the event, we were tasked with preparing at least three dishes for about 75 people. After much brainstorming and testing in the weeks leading up to the event, we settled on three seemingly simple, but flavor complex recipes:
- Brazilian Chicken with Rice and Olives (a dish that has been a long-time favorite in our house)
- Chilean Cheese Wanton Sticks with Mango Garlic Sauce
- Mango Mousse with Graham Cracker Crust and Blueberries
Brazilian Chicken with Rice and Olives
I’ve blogged this dish before, and you can view it HERE
. This is hands down my favorite recipe and complemented the other two dishes we prepared perfectly. The punch of citrus, coupled with the garlic and cilantro is phenomenal. The combination may sound strange, but trust me, it’s superb!
Chilean Cheese Wanton Sticks with Mango Garlic Sauce
The perfect, irresistible snack, and relatively easy to make once you get into a rhythm. I rolled about 150 of these bad boys for the party and we came home empty handed. The lime salt is what really steps these up, so don’t skimp!
- 1 lb queso chihuahua
- Wanton wrappers
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Mango Garlic Sauce:
- 1 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- Pinch of salt
Stir together zest, salt, and cayenne and set aside.
Cut cheese into strips about 1/2 inch square and 3 inches long, or the length to fit your wrappers. Wrap each strip of cheese with a wanton wrapper, using a little water to help seal the wrapper to itself. *Fry in 2 inches of oil at 360 degrees for a couple of minutes, or until golden. **Sprinkle with lime salt to taste while hot.
Place the chopped mango, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook sauce at a simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until it thickens and turns translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.
*We fried the wantons on the grill using a large aluminum pan. I recommend not frying in the house because of the “stinky factor.”
**Getting the salt to stick takes more than simply sprinkling, so we literally rubbed it on.
- 3 cups ripe mango, peeled & chopped
- 2-inches fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 pkt unflavored gelatin
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Graham crackers
Puree the mango and then place it in a medium saucepan, add the ginger, 2 tbsp sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, reduce heat to medium and allow it cook down until the mango softens (about 10-15 minutes).
Stir the water and gelatin together in a cup, and let soften (about 5 minutes). Add a third of the cream and the vanilla to the saucepan with the mango syrup. Stir in the dissolved gelatin and the rest of the sugar to dissolve. Remove the ginger pieces and the mango mixture to cool before running it through the blender or food processor to puree. Strain the puree, set aside to cool and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and thickened.
Whip the remaining cream and fold it into the chilled mango mixture. Chill at least 4 hours before serving. Spoon into individual serving dishes lined with crushed Graham crackers, top with remaining graham cracker crumbs and a blueberry.