It's a Fiesta!

Invite your friends over for a festive and fun outdoor party

Photos by Luke Severson & Michael Smith

Photos by Luke Severson & Michael Smith

When the temperature soars, don't head indoors! Call, e-mail or text all your friends over for an easy, breezy afternoon fiesta. This type of party is all about simple, delicious foods, chilly drinks, colorful dishes and textiles, and conversations with friends in the sunshine. Pick a spot in your backyard or favorite park and get ready to add a little sizzle to your summer.

Food & Drink

Eldorado Grill executive chef Kevin Tubb helped with our Southwestern/Tex-Mex menu fixins' and drinks: pineapple pasillas, smoked chicken enchiladas, grilled stuffed jalapeños, plus a tangy sangria.

The best part is that each recipe requires fairly basic, easy-to-find ingredients (cheese, chicken, bacon, spices, et cetera) so you don't have to be a culinary mastermind to impress your party guests.

Yet each dish incorporates delightful textures and flavors: the pineapple pasillas have a hint of spiciness; the smoked chicken enchiladas have a pleasant crunch and the jalapeños add a little Wisconsin hominess with bacon and cheese rolled up in a little package.

Round out your selection with a pitcher of sangria or a Blazing Saddle (Kevin Tubb's version of a magarita) made with chile-infused tequila. (Both recipes available online.)

Pick up Mexican candies and sodas from Guanajuato, a Mexcian grocery store, for an authentic finishing touch.

Dishes & Décor

When you think "fun fiesta," think color. That's what we did when planning out our color palette of vibrant yellows, oranges, reds, blues, greens and a burst of hot pink here and there in the flowers and table linens. Don't be afraid to mix it up with a variety of dishes and glassware--matchy-matchy can sometimes look just that.

Add touches of shimmer with metallic dishware and tin stars. If your party goes into the nighttime hours, hang some twinkling lights from the trees and add some tealights inside tin luminaries.

Shayna Miller and Katie Vaughn are associate editors of Madison Magazine.

Fiesta Recipes

From Eldorado Grill's executive chef Kevin Tubb

Guacamole

8 avocados
1½ tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper, finely ground

Pit and scoop avocados into bowl; add remaining ingredients. Begin by mashing avocados coarsely with slotted spoon. Finish until mixture reaches smooth consistency, mashing gently with a whisk.

(Serves 12)

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

1 pound grated Wisconsin cheddar
16 pickled jalapenos, seeded and stemmed
16 small cooked shrimp (51--60 per pound size)
16 slices apple smoked bacon

Par-cook bacon until lightly brown. Remove from heat, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside. Stuff jalapeno with 1 ounce cheese and 1 shrimp; wrap with one slice of bacon and skewer. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Grill on your backyard grill until golden brown and until cheese begins to melt. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo and fresh lime.

Pineapple Pasillas

Two pineapples
Chile pasilla flakes
Wooden skewers

Stem and seed chiles. Place chiles on baking sheet and toast lightly in broiler for ten minutes at 325 degrees. Chiles are done when crumbly.

Using one pineapple, cut off the stalk and the bottom. Stand the pineapple on its side and cut off the skin in strips. Continue cutting pineapple into strips lengthwise.

Sprinkle pasilla flakes on fresh pineapple. Stick wooden skewers through pineapple pieces.

Cut off bottom of second pineapple and place in dish. Stick wooden skewers into the whole pineapple randomly.

Smoked Chicken Enchiladas

1¾ pounds smoked chicken meat
½ tablespoon garlic, chopped
½ tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon cumin, ground
1 tablespoon salt, kosher
½ bunch green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chipotle puree
¾ pound queso Monterey jack
½ pound cream cheese

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in large bowl. Pass yellow corn tortillas through hot oil for about 30 seconds until soft; stack on a plate, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Fill with two ounces chicken mixture and roll into a tube. Refrigerate for up to 2 days. Cook on the backyard grill until a little crispy and hot throughout. Serve with salsa and sour cream, or whatever you like for dipping.

(Serves 12–16)

Sangria

2 quart Burgundy wine
1 cup lime juice
1 cup pineapple Juice
1 orange, sliced
½ lemon, sliced
½ pineapple, sliced
½ cup sugar
1 Ancho chile
1 Cascable chile
1 whole nutmeg

Combine and serve over ice. Add in sliced fruit and chiles for garnish.

(Makes about 2 quarts)

Blazing Saddle

1½ ounces chile-infused tequila (see recipe, below)
¾ ounce Triple Sec
1½ ounces lime juice (fresh-squeezed)
¾ ounce sugar water

Add ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake, strain and pour into glass.

Chile Infused Tequila (used in Blazing Saddle recipe)

One liter tequila (Tubb recommends any 100 percent agave reposado)
Two New Mexico red chiles
Two pasilla negro chiles
Four casobel chiles

Stem and seed chiles. Push through the top of the bottle and let sit for at least three days before consuming.

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