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
- 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
- 1 cup chopped mango, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cloves garlic
- Pinch of salt
- 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.