Fiesta reigns in San Antonio

Easter morning dawned with lots of fog, which got worse while I was in church, than it was on the way there. We came out with a fairly heavy fog, but it was burned off by 10:00 a.m. and we had a beautiful day afterward. The fog was gone, but the wind remained. I haven’t a clue as to the MPH, but it has been very windy all day. Each time you stepped outside, you got another hairdo!
My sister had invited me to her home and it was a fun day, as usual, with several of us bringing additions to the meal. We had grilled steaks, along with scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, a bowl of spinach salad and some Watergate salad, as well as a bowl of fruit salad. It was all really delicious, and we enjoyed every morsel.
There was only one child, and he is seven years old, the son of a niece, who with her husband was in from Austin. It was fun to watch him with the goodies he got. After the noon meal and dessert, several of us helped hide some eggs for him to find! He had a good time searching for them and found them fairly quickly. Since I have my favorite dog this weekend, I came home for a recipe for the niece and took the dog back with me. They enjoyed meeting him and my brother-in-law thought he was a pretty good dog and a perfect size! We visited outside for a short time and then came back home. A couple of deer were out, which surprised me, because it was just past the middle of the afternoon!
Well, it’s that time of the year again in San Antonio! What time is that, you ask? It’s time for carnivals, parties, parades and more parades! There are pet parades, The River Parade, sponsored by The Texas Cavaliers; a King Williams Parade, various other neighborhood parades, including the pet parades; the Battle of Flowers Parade and then to write finis to more than a week of celebrations is the very beautiful and brightly lit Fiesta Flambeau Parade.
The Oyster Fest at St. Mary’s University is always very well attended with thousands of pounds of oysters being served in various ways, mostly roasted over huge pits, with all sorts of other entertainments available.
In another area of San Antonio at LaVillita, there is the long-time standby of Fiesta in San Antonio “NIOSA” or Night in old San Antonio. Due to the fact that I no longer have access to the San Antonio paper on a regular basis, I am not able to tell you just when it starts and stops, but I know it will be there.
Night in Old San Antonio has been a staple of Fiesta for many years. They have food from many countries and cultures. One of the all time favorites at NIOSA is Anticuchos, a dish that originated in Peru. It is so much a favorite, that they sell over 20,000 of these steak-on-a-stick treats every year. I was able to find the recipe for NIOSA Anticuchos on an Internet search several years ago. There are actually two recipes. The main difference is that one uses wine vinegar and the other uses tarragon vinegar. Back when I was still at the paper on a daily basis, KK brought a small barbecue pit down to the office and we tried out the NIOSA recipe for Anticuchos. Everyone liked them. It was our main dish that day. It is a little spicy, but is still very good.
Night in Old San Antonio Anticuchos
1 cup red wine vinegar
3 cups water
2 to 3 Serrano chili peppers
salt and black peppercorns (whole black pepper)
½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
pinch each of oregano and cumin
1 to 2 pounds of beef round or sirloin, cut in half-inch cubes
Combine vinegar, water and serranos, salt and pepper, garlic, oregano and cumin in a blender; process well. Pour over meat cubes and marinate at least overnight (can be left up to three days.) String meat on wooden or metal skewers. (Wooden skewers should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before use.) Grill Anticuchos over a hot charcoal fire, basting frequently with leftover marinade to which bacon drippings can be added for extra flavor. Turn frequently. Cooking time should be no longer than 8 to 10 minutes.
One of the other entertainments that I really always enjoyed, either in person, or watching on TV, and still watch if possible, is the beautiful River Parade. The barges are decorated and lit so beautifully and it is a pleasure to watch them and see all the different organizations that are represented and the various things they do on board the barges. There is lots of music, dancing and singing to watch and listen to and you are entertained at all times.
The following recipe for Chicken Fajitas is not necessarily a recipe from Fiesta San Antonio, but it is always delicious and is fairly simple to make and quite possibly served during Fiesta.
Chicken Fajitas
2 pounds chicken cut into strips (or purchased, ready-to-use chicken fajitas)
1 onion, thinly sliced
juice of 2 limes
1 bottle dark beer
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
½ tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Cilantro, cut up
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper cut into julienne strips
1 yellow bell pepper cut into julienne strips (or use 2 green bell peppers)
Place chicken and all remaining ingredients except olive oil and peppers into a large plastic bag or glass bowl and marinate at least 18 to 24 hours in the fridge. Heat olive oil in large pan, drain meat and sear in hot oil until no longer pink. Add bell pepper and continue cooking for about 6 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve in hot tortillas with salsa and guacamole. (My personal favorite for chicken fajitas is to purchase the boneless thighs seasoned for fajitas, then place them on a lined baking sheet, sprinkle them lightly with a little liquid smoke, and bake in a 350ºF oven until done, then slice and use. They are great this way!
Tomatillo Guacamole
7 tomatillos, husks removed
3 or 4 unpeeled cloves garlic
3 lg. jalapeño peppers, halved, seeded
2 T. finely chopped red onion
½ tsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
2 large avocados
Remove the outer husks from the tomatillos and throw them away and then rinse the tomatillos before using.
Preheat your broiler. Place tomatillos, garlic, and jalapeños (skin side up) on a foil lined cookie sheet and roast for 7 minutes. Remove the garlic and jalapeño and turn the tomatillos over and roast until charred, about 5 minutes more. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool and then chop. Remove skins from garlic and mash with a fork in a bowl. Chop the jalapeños and add to the garlic. In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix the vinegar and onion, allow to stand 5 minutes and drain. Add the onion to the jalapeños and garlic, stir in the chopped tomatillos and then add the cilantro, salt and pepper and mix well. Peel and pit the avocados and add to mixture. Mash with potato masher until well mixed. Taste for seasonings, and serve at room temperature with chips.