Viva La Fiesta!

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Viva La Fiesta... Long Live the Party!!

 I just love saying that!

We arrived back in Santa Barbara just in time to enjoy Old Spanish Days.

Fiesta brings thousands of people into town for this very festive and colorful annual celebration which has been going on since 1924.  I must admit, fighting crowds and traffic was definitely a little overwhelming after just getting back from the islands, but what a great way to jump right back into the Santa Barbara life!

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Fiesta or Old Spanish Days is a pretty cool tradition and is quite a big deal for our city.  It brings everyone together to celebrate the history of Santa Barbara and honor the Spanish and Mexican cultures.  What a fun way to get back together with friends and family.  For five straight days it really is "Viva La Fiesta" with lots of Mexican food, dancing, parades, live music and rodeos.

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The Fiesta Historical Parade is one of the largest equestrian parades in the nation.

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This sweet little girl dressed in a traditional fiesta costume for the Children's Parade.

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People make these confetti eggs all year long and sell them on the streets.  The clean-up after Fiesta is quite a mess due to this stuff.

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There are three El Mercados (The Market Place) in town where you can be entertained with traditional dance, entertainment, food booths and vendors.

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Flamenco Dancers

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Mariachi Band... the real deal!

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My favorite El Mercado, and I think the most authentic, is Our Lady of Guadalupe.  

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These lovely little dancers couldn't wait to pose for me and instantly flared out their skirts.

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After taking this little guy's picture...

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He got up on stage and performed with this group.  He and this little girl must have only been about 4 years old.  They were adorable!

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This was quite a production line of tamales these local ladies had going.  These pork and chicken tamales began with a dough made of masa and lard, then wrapped in corn husks and steamed in large pots until firm.  Tamale making is a wonderful family tradition for many families.

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How could you not want to buy a tamale from this face?

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Growing up in Santa Barbara, Mexican food has always been a staple for me.  I love it and consider it one of my comfort foods... of course, next to my mother's Sunday pot roasts.  It has really influenced a lot of the dishes I prepare.

I made up for lost time over Fiesta weekend and got my fill of Mexican food at the Mercados...

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Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

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Carnitas (pork) and Asada (beef) Tacos

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Torta de Adobada (Adobo Meat-Filled Torta)  

I get to indulge in Mexican food quite often when I'm home in Santa Barbara, but oh boy, do I miss it when I'm gone!  The only way I'm going to get good Mexican food in the BVI's is to make it myself.  This is one of my recipes I like to serve as a breakfast.  But really this could be eaten at any time.

I like to give alternatives to my recipes because, for instance, you may not be able to get Mexican cheese where you are.  In fact, I was lucky to have found Mexican cheese once in the BVI, but haven't seen it since.

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Spicy Chorizo and Egg Tostadas

Spicy Chorizo and Egg Tostadas

Recipe Type: Breakfast

Cuisine: Mexican

Serves: 4

My preference for this recipe is Spanish Chorizo. But Mexican will do as well. Also, if you can't find a Mexican cheese such a Cotija, you can use Jack cheese. I like to serve this as a breakfast but you can also serve it as a lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 8 6-inch Corn Tortillas
  • Canola Oil for frying Tortillas
  • Kosher Salt
  • 8 large Eggs
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 12 oz. fresh Mexican Chorizo or Spanish Chorizo Sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 T Butter
  • 2 medium Jalapeños, minced and a few cut in rounds for garnish
  • 1/2 C White Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 4 oz. Cotija cheese, Queso Fresco or Jack cheese
  • 1/4 C fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Fry Corn Tortillas in about 1/4 inch of Canola Oil and pat dry with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  2. Beat Eggs with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the Chorizo in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spatula until cooked through and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the Chorizo to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  4. Discard the fat in the skillet, add butter and swirl to coat. Add the Jalapeño and half of the Onion and cook, stirring over medium to low heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the eggs and cook stirring slowly and constantly with the spatula to break up the curds, until the Eggs are set but not dry, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Chorizo.
  5. Place 2 Tortillas on each of the 4 plates. Top with the Chorizo, Egg mixture distributing it evenly and garnish with the Tomato, Avocado, Cheese and remaining Onion. Garnish with fresh Cilantro and Jalapeño rounds. Serve immediately.

I try to keep my recipes simple and fresh using ingredients and tools we all have.  I figure if I can cook it in my small galley with limited tools and provisions, you can do it too, wherever you are!

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