Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Cinco de Mayo 2011: The Fiesta

What's a fiesta without food? The Cinco de Mayo 2011 party finally rolled around on Thursday, marking the end of my anxiety as to whether or not the flan (chronicled in my previous post) turned out correctly despite a burnt, first attempt of caramelising sugar, an unfamiliar pan, and an unevenly baked bottom flan surface. Keep reading for more on the party, with a specific focus on the flan.

In checking out the above photos and intricate design on the edges, perhaps you may begin to realise why I would be worried as to how I could successfully get the flan out of the pan. Carefully run a paring knife along, and as close to, the edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Meanwhile, get a small pot of water heating/boiling. After prepping the flan, add some of the hot water to a larger dish and allow the flan to sit in that dish for 3-5 minutes. This ensures the caramel melts and will aid in the release of the flan. In actuality, you may able to skip this step, as the moisture of the pan tends to keep the caramel in a liquid form while it was baking; on the other hand, your refrigerator may have been cold enough to harden the caramel. In any case, take the flan out of the larger dish, dry the dish itself, and prepare to flip the flan. I particularly loved using the larger dish mentioned in this post (I also used it for the water bath in the previous post) to serve the flan, as the edge was just high enough to contain the caramel.

Inverting the dried, larger dish over the flan pan and, with the aid of a dish towel if you are more comfortable, quickly flip the flan and larger dish together. If you see the caramel oozing below, you know it was successfully melted. And after all I have been through with this flan up to this point, I hope you can imagine my relief to see the caramel. The next satisfying sign was the slight thump at hearing the flan release out of the pan.

Et voilà ! In retrospect, the strange dip in the flan pan turned out to be very helpful in creating a barrier to contain the caramel on top.

Okay, and one more moment with the flan...

As for the rest of the food, our host provided a taco bar...

...and as guests came in, the potluck buffet table filled up. From homemade tomato salsa and guacamole to deviled eggs, there was certainly a lot of variety, including the addition of tequila lime chicken wings, bean salad, and additional desserts. (Notice the margarita... There was plenty to go around!)

Speaking of dessert...

...the number one food critic at the dinner table was Hadley, the daughter of one of my colleagues at the college. It turns out she was a definite fan.

As far as holiday parties go, this is one Cinco de Mayo gathering I shall never forget, and while I am fairly certain this was my first one, I know this will certainly not be my last. For other photos from the party, as well as of the flan from beginning to end, click here.

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