Monday, January 17, 2011

Good Start to the New Year!

We have had houseguests for the last week as well as family staying in town in a condo. It has been an ongoing party since I became unemployed.  Actually I threw a party for one of our good friend's birthday which means 30 of our closest friends showed up. This is a small town so it is hard not to invite everyone we socialize with at Schooner's Wharf, the local bar-restaurant with a view. The local jeweler/musician came and brought a saxophone player with so we had a little combo playing music. I decorated with little flip flop lights around the window as well as some goofy tropical stuff I had stashed away for just such an occasion. Sunglasses with parrots and little cocktail umbrellas, coconut, shell and flower bikini top things and, of course, fake leis. My collection of serving platters and dishes have beachy theme anyway so they were perfect. Knowing how this crowd can eat, I went to the Farmer's Market in the next town and ordered various meaty things from the weekly Barbecue put on by Linn's restaurant. A couple of roasted chickens rounded out the protein.  I made the infamous local "Santa Maria pinquito beans" and peanut coleslaw.  My girlfriends offered to bring other salads, vegetable dishes as well two birthday cakes.  Everyone brought an appetizer, wine or beer and we had plenty of bubbly and vodka for a really fun party. The mixers were taken out of their bottles and poured into little pitchers. I hate having bottles of cranberry juice or sweet & sour or other mixes sitting on the bar.
It was a little tricky trying to get the hot food out of the ovens when about 15 people were huddled around the kitchen island. Luckily I didn't burn anyone.

 The ribs were the first to be gobbled up with tri-tip close second. I was surprised how much chicken you get off 2 three pounders!  I sauced it with a molasses bbq grill sauce and heated it up in my warming drawer.
One friend who I hadn't seen in awhile brought her 2 1/2 year old daughter, Ruby. She had a blast dancing to the music and playing with the tropical party favors. Lots of pictures were snapped!

When the last guests left after polishing off  vodka they mixed with the sparkling wine (really?!), my husband and our neighbor announced that they hadn't eaten. I couldn't believe it but I made them little sandwiches on dinner rolls and we loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up spilled, melted ice cream off the bamboo floor.
No one goes home hungry from one of my bashes even it if was midnight.

Santa Maria Pinquito Beans

1 lb. pinquito beans which are small pink beans. You can substitute pinto beans or a local heirloom dried bean.
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. hot smoked paprika ( if you don't have this use regular paprika and add 1/2 tsp. hot chili powder or chipotle chile pepper chopped up)
1 tsp.chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 can diced tomatoes or peel,seed and dice fresh tomatoes=1 1/2 c.
1/4 c. ketchup
Rinse the beans and put into a pot. Cover the beans with water to about 2 inches above them. Simmer uncovered 1 1/2-2 hrs depending on how old the beans are. They should be tender but not mushy.
Drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Actually I save the cooking liquid for soup. 

Combine minced garlic with tomatoes and dry seasonings. Add this mixture to the beans along with the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, cover pan and cook about 20 min. until everything is blended.

Santa Maria Pinquito beans

Peanut Slaw, Raspberry walnut salad, chicken and tri tip