On the desert or in your dining room, an Arizona barbecue for 6 to 16 Essay

As the Arizona sun sets, candles and luminarias light the way to thisoutdoor dinner party. In the Southwest’s low desert, mild Marchnights are favorite times for such outdoor entertaining. Elsewhere inthe West, where fair March weather is less predictable, this picnic menuadapts easily for indoor dining.

This desert dinner party was desined by the Men’s League ofthe Scottsdale Culinary Festival, a fiesta held every February tosupport the Scottsdale Center for the arts. We’ve scaled it downto a party for 12 to 16, and also given you the choice of splitting themenu to make 2 separate parties, each to serve 6 to 8. The recipes havemany make-ahead steps, and directions for transporting foods, ifdesired.

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The flavors of this meal reflect Arizona’s Indian, Mexican,and Anglo culinary heritage. If you serve it as a picnic, choose a sitewith barbecue facilities or carry along your own gear. Since you willuse the barbecue to grill the birds, cook the rice, and reheat many ofthe other dishes, you will need a lot of grill space–3 grills of about22-inch diameter. Spring desert picnic for 12 to 16 Jicama Appetizer with Lime and Chili Beef and PorkPicado Grilled Birds with Jalapeno Jelly Glaze Black Bean s Maid’sRice Cilantro Slaw Pinon Fingers Bunuelos Baked Apples with Cowboy CreamWine Beer Sparkling Water If you serve the meal at home, you can grill the birds on thebarbecue on the patio or roast them in the oven. Recipes for beans,rice, slaw, and salad are on page 184.

Jicama Appetizer with Lime andChili To serve 6 to 8, use only 1-1/2 pounds jicama and 1/3 cup limejuice. 3 pounds jicama, peeled 2/3 cup lime juice Coarse (such askosher) or regular salt Chili powder or cayenne Cut jicama into 1/8-inch-thick slices or into sticks about 1/2 inchwide and 3 to 4 inches long. If done ahead, package airtight and chillas long as 1 day. To transport, pack jicama and lime juice in aninsulated chest to keep cold; bring along salt and chili powder. To serve, mix jicama in lime juice, then arrange jicama in a bowl,on a platter, or in a basket lined with plastic wrap. Pour remaininglime juice over jicama; sprinkle with salt and chili powder to taste.Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Beef and Pork Picado 2 pounds each boneless beef chuck and boneless pork butt or shoulder 2 medium-size onions, cutinto wedges 2 medium-size green bell peppers, seeded, cored, and cutinto large chunks 2 cups regular strength beef broth 4 medium-sizetomatoes, cored and cut into wedges 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 1fresh or pickled jalapeno chili, including seeds, minced 1/4 teaspoonpepper Salt Water Cut beef and pork, including fat, into about 1- by 1-1/2- by1-1/2-inch pieces; place in a 5- to 6-quart pan. Cover and cook overmedium-high heat to draw juices out of meat, about 10 minutes. Uncover meat and cook on high heat, boiling until liquid evaporatesand stirring occasionally. Add onion and bell pepper; cook meat andvegetables in the rendered fat, stirring frequently, until meat isfairly evenly browned. Add broth, tomato, garlic, chili, and pepper;stir to release browned bits from pan bottom.

Reduce heat to keep liquid at a simmer; cover and cook until meatis tender enough to shred easily when pulled apart with a fork, about2-1/2 hours. Uncover and boil over medium-high heat until juices are reducedjust below the top of the meat and slightly thickened, stirring morefrequently as mixture thickens; add salt to taste. Serve; or, if made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill as long as 1day. To transport, keep cold in an insulated chest. Reheat, covered,on low heat or on barbecue grill over medium-hot coals; stir often andadd water if needed to prevent sticking. Serve from pan or bowl. Makes12 to 16 servings in big party menu, 6 to 8 servings in small partymenu.

Grilled Birds with Jalapeno Jelly Glaze Barbecue or oven-roast birds. Order quail at your meat market;they are usually frozen but may be available fresh. 12 to 24 (3 to 4oz. each) quail, or 6 to 8 (about 1-1/2 lb. each) Rock Cornish game hensAbout 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.

) butter or margarine 2 tablespoons lime juice 1jar (about 7-1/2 oz.) jalapeno jelly Salt and pepper Cilantro slaw(optional; recipe on page 184) With poultry shears (or have your meatman do it), cut throughbackbone of quail, or cut game hens in half. Rinse birds; pat dry. Totransport, keep birds, butter, and lime juice cold in an insulatedchest. Bring jalapeno jelly, salt, and pepper. Also transport thecilantro slaw cold in an insulated chest.

Combine 1/4 cup of the butter and the jalapeno jelly in a 1- to2-quart pan; stir until melted on medium-high heat or on the barbecueover hot coals. Stir in lime juice; set aside. To barbecue quail or game hens, sprinkle them lightly with salt andpepper. Place quail (opened flat, bones down) or hen halves (bonesdown) on a grill about 6 inches above a solid bed of medium-hot to hotcoals.

(For quail, you should be able to hold your hand at grill levelfor about 3 seconds before it is uncomfortable; for hens, 8 seconds.Coals should extend beyond area covered by birds.) Barbecue quail until browned and breast is light pink at the bone(cut to test), 7 to 8 minutes; turn several times and baste frequentlythe last 5 minutes with jelly mixture, using all of it (coals mayflare). Barbecue hens until browned and breast is no longer pink at bone(cut to test), 30 to 40 minutes; turn several times and baste with jellymixture the last 15 minutes, using all of it. To oven-roast quail, melt 2 aditional tablespoons butter in a 12-to 14-inch nonstick frying pan on medium-high heat.

Open quail outflat, then add to pan, skin down and without crowding; cook until skinis lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from pan as browned andarrange, bones down and side by side, in 10- by 15-inch baking pans.Brown remaining quail in pan as space permits; if butter scorches, wipefrom pan with a paper towel and add more butter, 1 tablespoon at a time,as needed. (At this point, you can cover quail and chill as long asovernight. Bring to room temperature to continue.) Brush quail withjelly mixture and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in a 500[deg.] oven, uncovered, basting once or twice and using all the jellymixture, until breasts are light pink at bone (cut to test), 5 to 7minutes.

To oven-roast game hens, place birds, bones down and side by side,on racks in 10- by 15-inch baking pans. Brush with jelly mixture andsprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 [deg.] oven,uncovered, until breast is white at bone (cut to test), 30 to 40minutes, baste occasionally, using all the jelly mixture.

Line a platter with cilantro slaw, if desired, and arrange birds ontop. Makes 12 to 16 servings with big party menu, 6 to 8 servings withsmall party menu. Baked Apples with Cowboy Cream 4 medium-size RedDelicious apples 1/4 cup each melted butter or margarine, firmly packedbrown sugar, and coffee-flavored liqueur Cowboy cream (recipe follows) 2cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches, or ground cinnamon Core apples, then cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick wedges. Overlapwedges in a buttered shallow 9- to 10-inch round baking dish or pan.

Pour butter over apples; sprinkle with brown sugar and liqueur; sprinklewith brown sugar and liqueur. Bake, uncovered, in a 350[deg.] ovenuntil apples are tender when pierced, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve them warmor at room temperature.

If made ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 2 days. Transportwithout insulation. To reheat, cover and place in a 350[deg.

] oven or on the grill overmedium coals until warmed, about 20 minutes. Top with cream andcinnamon; spoon into bowls. Makes 12 to 16 servings with big partymenu, 6 to 8 with small party menu. Cowboy Cream. In a bowl, combine 1 cup whipping cream, 1tablespoon each powdered sugar and coffee-flavored liqueur, and 1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon. Whip until cream holds peaks.

Use, or chill,covered, up to 4 hours. To transport, keep cold in an insulated chest;stir to serve. Pinon Fingers Pinon is Spanish for pine nuts. 1 cup(1/2 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature 2-1/4 cups powderedsugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup pine nuts In a bowl, cream together butter, 1/4 cup of the sugar, andvanilla.

Stir in flour and pine nuts until well mixed. Pinch doughinto about 2-tablespoon portions; on a lightly floured board, roll eachportion into a rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rope into 2-inch lengths.

Place pieces of dough side by side about 1 inch apart on ungreased10- by 15-inch pans. Bake in a 275[deg.] oven until edges are tingedlight golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Switch pan positions halfwaythrough baking. While cookies are still warm and on the pans, evenly sift remaining2 cups of powdered sugar over them; let cool.

Serve; or, if made ahead,cover airtight and hold at room temperature up to 1 week (freeze forlonger storage). Transpor cookies in a rigid container. Makes 5 to 6dozen, enough for 12 to 16 servings with big party menu, or 6 to 8servings with small party menu. Bunuelos Make bunuelos from scratch or start with flour tortillas(directions follow). 1/4 cup lard or shortening 2 cups all-purposeflour 1/2 cup lukewarm water 1-1/2 cups sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons groundcinnamon Salad oil With two knives or a pastry blender, cut lard into flour until finecrumbs form. Sprinkle with water and stir with a fork until dough formsa ball.

Knead on a lightly floured board until smooth. Cover dough andlet rest at least 20 minutes. Dividde dough into 12ths; keep covered with plastic wrap as youwork; shape each piece into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ballon a lightly floured board to form a circule 7 to 8 inches across.Stack rounds, separating with waxed paper. Combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In a deep 2- to 3-quart pan or a wok, heat 1-1/2 inches oil to375[deg.] to 400[deg.] Cut each dough circle into quarters and slip one at a time intooil.

Cook without crowding, turning occasionally until golden brown,about 1-1/2 minutes. Lift from oil, draining briefly, then dust withsugar-cinnamon mixture. Repeat until all bunuelos are cooked. Serve; or, if made ahead, cover airtight and store at roomtemperature up to 1 day. Bunuelos are fragile; transport them in arigid container.

Makes 12 to 16 servings with large party menu, 6 to 8servings with small party menu. Quick bunuelos. Cut 12 flour tortillas (7- to 8-in. size) intoquarters.

Fry, dust with sugar-cinnamon mixture, and serve as directedabove.

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