Stacey recently had a birthday so I invited her and Frank over to have dinner with us. We sat in the backyard eating and talking and I tried really hard not to get sleepy after drinking one beer. Here’s what I made to celebrate another year in my friend’s life!
Originally I wanted these to be mini toastadas, but the corn tortilla didn’t quite crisp up enough (I just pan fried them instead of deep fry) so these were more like mini tacos instead! No matter!
I bought wheat corn tortillas from Trader Joe’s and cut out smaller tortillas using a biscuit cutter. Inside it’s filled with pan seared pork belly. I found already cooked pork belly (also at Trader Joe’s!) and so this was super easy to prepare. It’s topped with sweet chili sauce and cilantro. I made more tacos the next day for Jake and I and found that a little touch of sour cream made these extra yummy. The pork belly was pretty good for an already made one!
Gah, this photo is so blurry! I was trying to just snap photos quickly so we could all eat and wasn’t really bothering with making everything look pretty. We were just here to eat!
I made jalapeno poppers on the grill (my dad has made these a few times, so I was just copying him) that were filled with cream cheese and Parmesan (and another soft cheese I don’t remember the name of). These suckers are hard to get off the grill since they were slippery, so they were not pretty at all. Luckily, looks don’t count that much since they were still really yummy (mmm, cheese).
For the chicken thighs, I basted them in a mayo-garlic-sriracha sauce that was tangy and slightly sweet. It was called “Alabama Style” chicken (or “Alabama White Sauce”). You baste the sauce on multiple times as the chicken is grilling and it makes the chicken so juicy and incredibly flavorful. The sauce really gets into the meat! I used the same sauce for grilling a whole cut up fryer chicken and all of the pieces turned out beautiful. Even the chicken breast (which is easily overcooked) retained it’s moisture. I was so impressed!
The corn is fresh off of the cob (it’s summer, you must use fresh corn while you still can!) and sauteed in the pork belly fat (what) and has a sprinkle of fresh basil on it. It was crunchy, sweet and had a background note of that pork belly… mmmm.
The crackers are sort of like a bruschetta, but not really. I used Salty Date and Almond Rainforest Crisps topped with goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes from my dad’s garden, a bit of basil, and fleur de sel salt. A couple have no tomatoes for Jake’s sake. The rainforest crisps provide a lovely base, but they are some expensive crackers! They’re $7.99 at Whole Foods and on Amazon they’re even more ($10-$11 range). The crackers are good, don’t get me wrong, but definitely pricey. I think I’d use them again for another party but not really just for a “whatever” snack.
Here’s a whole plate of goodness! It ain’t pretty, but who cares. Everyone enjoyed the food and the company!
For dessert, I made a quick and easy Coconut Icebox Cake. I used thin coconut cookies from Trader Joe’s plus I made whipped cream in the Vitamix. Stuck it in the freezer and then topped it with coconut flakes and crumbled cookies. We polished this off as we sat outside drinking beer and talking.
A lovely night that makes me want to have more outdoor dinners.