How to Plan a Three Course Dinner Party: TexMex Edition

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Home made tortilla chips.

Last week, I wrote about how to plan a three course dinner party, and tried to convince you that it was actually the easy option when it comes to entertaining.

Yesterday, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and serve up a three course dinner party for six. Well, five and a toddler.

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Okra from the garden, ready to be crumbed in cornmeal and pan fried.

The guests: MJ’s aunt and uncle, and their adult daughter who is lactose intolerant. All three of them love Mexican food as much as MJ. That is, a lot.

The protein: A huge packet of beef ribs from the farmer’s Market that have been malingering in the freezer for a month.

The main course: Sticky Tex Mex ribs, marinated all day and cooked all afternoon

The side dish: Choosing seasonal options (it’s late summer here in Melbourne), I went for creamy mashed sweet potato, and pan fried okra dusted in cornmeal and spices.

The appetizer: The ribs are sticky and tender, so I needed an appetizer that was crunchy and tart. Home-made tortilla chips and salsa fit the bill, and can be made ahead of time.

The desert: Because it’s summer, I went for a light dessert. I couldn’t go past Diana Kennedy’s classic The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, which includes a recipe for a Mexican street food snack of fruit salad sprinkled with chili and salt.

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Salsa made with heirloom tomatoes – oddly coloured but full of flavour.

The verdict: As always, there’s a gap between theory and practice. While I could have made most of this ahead of time, having a toddler isn’t exactly conducive to organized kitchen prep. While I didn’t get to reap the benefits of pre-cooking part of the meal, I loved cooking dishes that I knew inside out. Cooking familiar dishes for guests will definitely be on the menu when I entertain from now on.

Have you tried using the three course menu plan yet? Did it work for you?

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