It’s parade time in San Antonio

The weekend has been one of beautiful weather, and some wonderful guests to spend time with. After spending the week baking cakes for our Auxiliary bake sale, it was sort of nice to have time to do the things that were needed around my house to get ready for Easter company, which is how I spent the day on Friday! By the time the day ended, I had cleaned things up pretty well, including vacuuming the floors and mopping a couple of them. Also the Easter Egg tree had come out of storage and was decorated, the cascarones date back to 2014 and they still haven’t been cracked! Our only child here was one of my precious great granddaughters, and she isn’t even a year old yet. Saturday came in beautiful also with a mild day, some sunshine and great temperatures. There were about fifteen of us and our main dish was hamburgers. We all enjoyed them and the dishes that everyone brought in that included macaroni salad, a delicious guacamole that my daughter makes and plenty of desserts, including a wonderful strawberry pie, poppy seed bars and several other sweet treats. We did lots of visiting and playing with the baby and just having a good time in general. It was very quiet when everyone left last night to head back to their homes for services in their churches and going to their spouses families.
This morning was very nice, overcast, but not raining and not as much wind as usual in this area. My sister invited me to her home for our noon meal and we had a great time visiting also. I had not seen her daughters in quite a while so it was fun seeing them and her granddaughter again. I hope all of you had as great a weekend as I did!
It sounds to me as if Fiesta San Antonio has started with a bang! This past week, I’ve been catching the tail end of some ads talking about it. The River Parade has always been a favorite of mine and is usually on a Monday evening, and is always beautiful. The two main parades are usually on Friday afternoon and the wonderful Fiesta Flambeau parade is on Saturday night. (On Easter Sunday evening, as I am writing this, I am not sure of some of my information, especially since the San Antonio paper is no longer available to me!)
Times have really changed! When I was a youngster, you could stake out a spot on Houston Street, or out on Broadway near the newspaper office and watch the parade all afternoon. Now, you have to have a ticket to watch it, as they have bleachers set up here, there and yonder. In those by-gone days, the bleachers were down by the Alamo and that was it. The Fiesta Flambeau was the same way. I have watched it on TV most of the time during the last twenty plus years, but there was a time when the ones of us who worked and played together did not miss seeing the Flambeau. We either watched it on Broadway, down by Neisner’s, which was a store similar to Perry’s, or near the downtown post office, or maybe on Houston Street by Frost Brothers, which was atop of the line store, similar to Macy’s. You always had a pretty good place to stand and watch. Admittedly, some places were more crowded than others, but if you got there early enough, you could sit on the curb and see everything.
When my children were small, my sister and I, and sometimes a couple of friends would get together and take them. They were completely unnerved by the sound of the blanks fired by the various drill teams as they did their maneuvers. The kids did not particularly like this part of the parade. As a rule, I “people watched” as much as I parade watched. There was always something interesting going on.
My mother, brother, an uncle (who was on his first leave home after leaving for overseas for much of the duration of WWII), and I went to the first parade held after the war. It was absolutely beautiful! To see the trains of the gorgeous dresses hanging over the back of the floats with all their glitz and glitter was wonderful. It was such a change from the dull and drab colors of the war years.
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 the internet several years ago. There are actually two recipes. The main difference is that one uses wine vinegar and the other uses tarragon vinegar. Several years ago, we brought a small barbecue pit down to the office and 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.
If these are served for a main dish, they go well with the following onion salad and perhaps macaroni or potato salad for a side dish, and maybe some flour tortillas.
Onion Salad
3 large onions (1015 sweets, if possible)
3 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup green onion tops
¼ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Slice onions into ¼ inch slices, separate into rings. Toss with remaining ingredients. Allow to stand in refrigerator, several hours or overnight before serving. This also is very good with 2 or 3 medium cucumbers sliced into it.
Pasta Salad
1 package (8-oz) elbow macaroni or Rotini pasta, (the colored ones are great for this)
½ cup finely chopped pickles or pickle relish (you can use dill or sweet, whichever you prefer)
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ small can sliced black olives
¼ cup sliced green olives
1 or 2 finely sliced green onions (optional)
1 or 2 hard-cooked eggs (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain well, rinse in cool water, drain again and pour into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir together; add enough moisture to hold ingredients together, stir to combine and chill well before serving. If you want to make this into a main dish, add a can of cooked chicken or a can of tuna. Also, if desired, you can use 1 small bottle of Italian dressing, (the non-separating kind), a can of mushroom stems and pieces, and a couple of tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan cheese.
Easy Cheesecake Pie
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups Cool Whip (thawed)
1 graham cracker pie crust
Fresh fruit or topping (such as chocolate, caramel, etc.)
Beat Cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon mixture into crust.
Chill until set (about 4 hours). Before serving, add fruit or topping on top of pie.