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Mexico, One Plate at a Time: Entrees

November 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the entrees chapter of Rick Bayless' Mexico One Plate at a Time here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed

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  1. Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic

    Eh. I was disappointed. I had really high hopes for this. But unless someone convinces me I did something wrong, which is entirely possible, I don’t think I’ll bother with it again. Not that it was any bother.

    I followed directions, but cooked the garlic ten minutes longer than the 30 recommended because they didn’t look “toasty” at 30. Truth to tell, they didn’t look very toasty at 40 either. I cooked the shrimp in a wok rather than in a skillet because he said they’d be crisper that way. I wonder. They weren’t very crisp. Maybe I should have cooked them longer; but they were definitely done—just not crisp. And my wok was really hot.

    The garlic was soft and sweet, but not toasty. And my finished dish didn’t look anything at all like the photo in the book. The recipe calls for you to scoop out all the garlic and chiles and scatter them over the shrimp. But there’s LOTS of garlic. And that’s not what the photo shows. The garlic in the photo, which is shown as a side not atop the shrimp as the directions specify, doesn’t look anything like what my garlic looked like. It’s dry and dark, almost crispy looking; mine was wet and golden.

    I saved the garlic oil as he suggests and am looking forward to using it to roast the cauliflower I have in the fridge. I’m guessing it will be terrific. But I’m not going to make this recipe again just for the resulting garlic oil. At least, I don’t think I will.

    I’ll be eager to read others’ experiences with this. But for now my go-to shrimp recipe for guests will continue to be the Cilantro Lime Shrimp from the new Gourmet Cookbook. Now that’s a great recipe.

    Sorry about the photo. It’s out of focus. My battery was dead and dinner was getting cold. This was the best I could do. Oh. And I served the shrimp in a rice ring. Thought it would be perfect with all that garlic sauce. Eh.


    3 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      At the risk of being hearlded a heretic(this is a legitimate question though) I looked at a recipe for this that called for 3/4 a cup of garlic. Is this too much? Seems like an awful lot, though I have never made anything like this.

      1. re: Spencer

        No, it only seems like a lot of garlic. As it slowly cooks it mellows out and becomes very mild, sweet and almost creamy. You'll still smell like garlic, but not that pungent, raw garlic aroma.

      2. re: JoanN

        Quick follow-up to say that I used the garlic oil from the Quck-Fried Shrimp recipe to roast cauliflower last night and it was outstanding! I may or may not make the shrimp again, but I'll definitely make the garlic oil. Heavenly thing to have on hand in the fridge.

      3. Joan, I've made this dish many times, in fact we often make it as part of a seafood feast on Xmas Eve, tho' we haven't made if for the last 2 or 3 because we haven't had seafood. We don't have a problem getting the garlic nice and toasty and mellow with a deep golden color. We do add a little more lime juice than the recipe calls for and the chipotle chiles really do add some smokey heat.

        You're right, this does make a TON of garlic; I'm pretty sure the photo in the book is probably the result of great food styling ;-). We've threaded the shrimps on two parallel bamboo skewers and grilled them brushed with oil, we've sir-fried them and we've simply just boiled them and used the garlic as a dip. We like the last option best.

        I was going to look through the book tonight and decide what I want to do next week. Let me take a look at this recipe again and see if I can remember if we did something different than what the directions say. Generally, his instructions are really good.

        1. JoanN, We've also had this dish a couple of times at our house, and it's always turned out well. But now that I think about it, I don't remember the garlic being toasty-- I remember it being soft and sweet, like you've described. We had this with his Mexican white rice, and it was a yummy meal. I think you might just be more discerning than we are at my house!

          2 Replies
          1. re: redwood2bay

            "I think you might just be more discerning than we are at my house!"

            I sincerely doubt that! I suspect, as with your experience with the braised cabbage, that expectation simply overshadowed the result.

            I must say, I liked the leftovers better the next night. Once the rice, garlic, and shrimp were all smooshed together and nuked, the flavors melded in a way I found much more pleasing.

            Maybe I will try it again. I was thinking all day yesterday that's there's got to be an easy way to get the shrimp crispier and the garlic nuttier. If I do try it again, I'll cook the shrimp in a single layer in a cast iron skillet and cook the garlic longer and at a higher temperature. I may even try "toasting" the cooked garlic a bit in the skillet once the shrimp are done.

            1. re: JoanN

              LOL high expectations are sometimes a problem, aren't they? I'd be curious to see, if you make the dish again, if the changes you make bring about a better dish. I think Bayless would be pleased, because you're making the dish your own, like a true Mexican family cook. Please let us know if you try it again!

          2. Tomatillo-Braised Port Loin
            Made this dish tonight. It was amazing! Recommend it. I haven't cooked with fresh tomatillo before. Used one jalapeno, I scraped seeds out after roasting (SO doesn't like too much heat). I used 8 small (2" diameter)red-skinned potatoes cut in four but I would have needed to pre-cook for 15 mins instead of 10 mins stated, they were a bit firm. Color contrast was nice. All in all excellent flavor, not hot, & tomatillo sauce complemented the pork. Will make again.

            14 Replies
            1. re: morebubbles

              Further thoughts on the tomatillo braised pork loin -
              Saved the leftovers this way: pork in one container & tomatillo sauce with potatoes in a different container. The potatoes soaked up some sauce so it was a bit dry. The pork was still great. Overall better served and eaten the same day. Instead of 6 servings, I'd say it makes 4 servings.

              1. re: morebubbles

                I regularly make something like this with a couple of adjustments...

                > Instead of Loin I use Baby Back Ribs

                > I cut out the potatoes & use Mexican Greens (Quelite, Verdolaga, Romeritos etc.,) if you can't find those than Spinach, Chard or Collards would be good choices. Depending on the characteristics of the greens you choose you can add in the last 5 to 10 minutes so that they melt into the sauce but aren't completely lost (especially with a good tasting green like Romerito or Verdolaga)

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Eat_Nopal, this sounds very good! My problem is getting Mexican goods, esp. fresh ones. But the spinach etc options are do-able. Thanks for the tip. I thought the potatoes called for were too many, I'd have no trouble replacing them or using half the amount, then adding a green. (Now I'm totally curious about the greens you mentioned.)

                  1. re: morebubbles

                    fyi verdolaga is also called purslane
                    it's a delicious weed that occasionally shows up at my farmer's market

                    1. re: pitu

                      Thanks Pitu! I love Verdolagas, I didn't realize it had an "american" name... I'll keep an eye out for it! :)


                      1. re: pitu

                        I had several containers of purslane in a planter in my front yard, loving the bright flowers, but definitely wouldn't have thought to cook with it.

                        It's a moot point now as (yes, really) one of our neighbors cows learned to jump the fence and preferred grazing in our yard... and completely stripped the purslane down to nubs on her first trip.

                        1. re: shanagain

                          A while back, I bought some verdolagas (purslane) in the Pátzcuaro mercado. (Despite warnings from other expats here.) I cooked it. It was pretty awful.

                          1. re: Anonimo

                            that's strange, anonimo
                            it's a pretty innocuous green with a pretty light flavor

                            awful how? maybe it was old, or you over-cooked it?

                            1. re: pitu

                              Agreed... if it was late in the growing season, you don't know how to trim them, & you just try to cook them like spinach they will be bad.

                              You only want the leaves... no steams, early in the season the leaves are smaller more tender (they can even be used as salad greens)... in either case even bigger, thicker, toughher leaves are great with Pork in Salsa Verde.

                              I like Baby Back Ribs so sear them on a grill, then I braise them in a cooked salsa verde (make sure to have plenty of roasted garlic, browned onions & Mexican oregano) in a clay pot for about 1 hour. Then I add the verdologas for about 10 maybe 15 minutes.

                              My wife hates cooked greens of all kinds (except for really creamed spinach & spanikopita)... so leave them in until they "melt" into the sauce. They will lend a pleasant lemony dimension to the overall dish.

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Yes, that was it: the stems were very stringy, and the taste was sort of unpleasantly sourish.

                  2. re: morebubbles

                    I also made this dish a few nights ago. I've made it twice before, and while I've liked the results, I wanted to improve on the past. Instead of using pork loins, I used cubed pork shoulder (trying for something like chili verde). The tomatillo sauce was wonderful -- I also increased the amount of tomatillos because I had extra-- and better the next day. Having made this before, I knew to store the potatoes separately from the pork/tomatillo mixture to prevent the potatoes from soaking up all the sauce. Also made his Classic Mexican White Rice on the side.

                    The pork was more tender this time. I have to admit that having learned more about braising from Molly Stevens, I applied some of those techniques to this recipe: I lowered the oven heat and used parchment paper. I think next time I might try braising the pork even longer to see if I can get it fork tender!

                    1. re: redwood2bay

                      parchment paper - do you mean you covered the pork with it before putting in the oven? Could you explain the procedure to me please? (didn't do the braising book with all of you...) Thanks!

                      1. re: morebubbles

                        The parchment paper (or heavy foil) helps to seal the pot. The paper itself doesn't touch the meat, but should come close to the meat. Press down on the paper so that it comes close to touching the meat and the ends of the paper will hang over the rim of the pot. Then put the lid on top. The theory behind this is that it will create a closer area for the steam to travel (only to the paper as opposed to the lid) causing a better baster for the food.

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          Thanks, good to know the technique. Will try it, with the heavy foil as you mentioned, next time. Although the meat was tender & delicious the way instructed, I may lower oven temp. a little bit and cover as mentioned & see if that makes it even better. I did find that the meat was well cooked all the way through & I like a bit less done.

                  3. Chicken and mushroom stuffed chiles with tomatoes and cream (p. 200)

                    This was enh. Not really worth the time or effort. Admittedly the effort was minimal and a lot of the time was waiting time, but, the end result was just ok. I served this with the tomato rice which was also enh.

                    I used 2 cans of San Marzano tomatoes, shredded rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods, frozen corn kernels, shiitake mushrooms, spinach and heavy cream. I haven't had a chance to make the crema yet.

                    Sauce and filling base - sautee onions until brown. Add the pureed tomatoes, cinnamon and black pepper and boild for about 25 minutes.

                    In a separate skillet, sautee the mushrooms until cooked, then add half the tomato sauce, the corn and cider vinegar. Stir until the suace thickens up and add the chicken and spinach.

                    In the leftover tomato sauce, add chicken broth and simmer for 45 minutes.

                    Roast the poblano chiles until blackened (I did mine under the broiler) and peel the skins. Slit the peppers and empty it of the seeds. Add the chicken, mushroom and corn stuffing and place it into a baking pan. Pour the tomato sauce on top until it covers the peppers and add the cream on top.

                    Bake for about 20 minutes.

                    The recipe was accurate in terms of time. My peppers looked pretty. I did have a couple of smaller peppers so I had leftover stuffing. But, it didn't have as much flavor to it as I thought it would. The sauce was quite nice, but I would liked it better if it had more bite. I did leave some seeds in the peppers so there was some heat. But, my preference is for more heat. The chicken was of good quality, was tender and had a really nice flavor. I love shiitakes and corn. I don't know if fresh corn would have made a difference because the frozen was quite sweet.

                    I don't think I did anything wrong, it just was ok.

                    Picture below.


                    1. Stuffed (with pork) chilies in Tomato broth

                      I made these yesterday (actually stuffed the chilies and froze them the day before, as recommended). They were good, but not outstanding (I don't think worth the effort).

                      I did a 3/4 recipe (6 peppers instead of 8) and even though I only used about 1 lb of pork instead of 1.5, I had about half the pork mixture left over after stuffing the chilies. Poblanos don't vary that much in size, so I don't think it's that my chilies were too small. Will have to figure out what to do with the filling; I may make enchiladas since I have some good tomatillo sauce frozen from a previous cooking adventure.

                      I didn't really make any changes to the recipe; used canned San Marzano tomatoes (there's a choice of canned or fresh). However since I was doing this the day before I didn't want to deep fry to blister the peppers and then hang onto the oil for a day, so I sprayed them with pam and blistered them under the broiler. That worked fine.

                      The tomato sauce that it's served in is nice; scented with cinnimon, I have some of that left over as well; maybe that will be my enchilada sauce....

                      Frying the batter dipped chilies took a while since I used a small pan (didn't want to use so much oil) and did them one at a time. Using a thermometer to keep an eye on the temp of the oil was *really* helpful, and his timings were just right in that case. They came out looking really pretty, just didn't seem worth the time it took (all told, not just the frying).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: DGresh

                        Nice report!

                        You can use the leftover tomato sauce for other dishes in the book. I actually made the tomato sauce yesterday in preparation for chilis rellenos tonight, and I notice that he uses it in a few other recipes too.

                        1. re: DGresh

                          In Mexican cuisine you really do want to work with fresh tomatoes as much as possible. The sauces just aren't as herbally & garlicky pungent to absorb the intensely sweet canned flavors like Italian sauces do. In Mexico no one uses canned for these types of sauces (only for soup bases)... but then again fresh tomatoes are insanely cheap & readily available year round there, so you have to do what you got to do.

                          1. re: Eat_Nopal

                            well, the sauce was fine in my opinion, it was the chilies that I didn't think were that special. And yes, I live in NY, so fresh tomatoes are simply not an option at this time of year.

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              Around Pátzcuaro, and as far as I know, Morelia, we seldom if ever find decent, flavorsome tomatoes. And they are only the Roma type, to boot.
                              We have started growing tomato plants and we shall see how they turn out.

                              1. re: Anonimo

                                That is a shocker... only a couple hundred miles away in the hotlands they have two growing seasons for tomatoes. In terms of varieties... yeah Romas (Tomate Guaje) are the most identified with Mexico... they are the best (by far) for use in Mexican Salsas & Sauces.

                          2. Over the weekend I made both the Pescado Veracruzana and the Arroz Blanco.

                            The Pescado Veracruzana was excellent. Not the best version I've ever made, but definitely right up there with the best. I blogged about it here, complete with pictorial of the entire process from raw ingredients to plate.


                            My Arroz Blanco came out fine as well. I did not have the problem with it being oily/greasy that other posters have reported. My white rice was not, however, white ;-). It was sort of a tan/ecru color. But each grain was dry and separate and the texture of the rice fluffy.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              Wonderful blog - and I especially love the step-by-step pictures. Coincidentally enough, I had also forgotten that my book was autographed, which totally surprises me. Maybe I have too many cookbooks ;). Boston used to do this wonderful annual "Dine-Around" where cookbook authors would cook up a feast using recipes from their current cookbooks at various restaurants, and you could eat different dishes they had prepared, meet them personally as they came to every table, and receive a copy of the new cookbook. What a great idea. Alas, they don't do it any longer. Anyways, again, nice pics!

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                Yes, wonderful blog, I have bookmarked it for furtive delvings while the boss's back is turned...

                                1. re: prunefeet

                                  I bookmarked it as well. I've met Rick several times in his rest. and would love to be able to take a class from him. He seems like the real deal and what a nice person. Enjoyed reading your blog!

                              2. Cheese Chiles Rellenos

                                E likes the cheese ones better, so I didn't do the picadillo filling. Grated the cheese, made the sauce, and roasted and peeled the chilis a day ahead. I used what cheese I happened to have on hand, which was mostly Colby and a little gruyere. Last night I stuffed the chilis with cheese, closed them with toothpicks, and put them in the freezer for about 1-1/2 - 2 hours. This is the chiles rellenos recipe I always use, so I've done this 10+ times, but somehow messed up a bit last night. The batter was really thick and it was hard to coat the peppers - after flouring, and then trying to dip and coat them, I almost had to 'frost' them with a spatula. The only change I made was to leave out the flour since he says this can make them "less airy". I wouldn't think that would make a difference, but they did come out 'extra' fluffy. The only other thing I could think of was that maybe I whipped the egg whites too stiff before adding the yolks. Then I misjudged the oil and thought it was hot enough, but it wasn't. I really have to get a thermometer. Anyways, thank goodness for his technique of heating them in a hot oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees before serving - that cured all evils, rendering out any extra oil and crisping up the batter. They did turn out delicious, but then again Chiles Rellenos are one my favorite dishes. I also liked the hint of cinnamon in the tomato sauce, though I like it a bit thicker (he says it should be like "brothy tomato soup"). I used pre-ground Ceylon cinnamon from Penzeys, i.e., Mexican cinnamon or canela. Served with refritos.


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Rubee

                                  Techniques for peeling peppers.

                                  Rick Bayless talks about two methods for peeling chiles - the open-flame or broiler roasting, and the oil blistering, so I thought it would be interesting to take a picture of both. The one on the left was under the broiler. I did those for the roasted poblano guacamole I plan on making. The one on the right is the oil-blistering method which he recommends for some recipes, including the chiles rellenos. Very easy - you already have oil ready to go anyways. He prefers this because it doesn't cook the flesh as much, making them easier to stuff, and also is more even with the peppers that have deep crevices.


                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    Rubee, great photos and those look like they were great poblanos!

                                    A common technique in Mexican restaurants doing large quantities of fresh chiles is to submerge them briefly in the deep fryer. It's a quick and effective way to skin a bunch of peppers really fast.

                                    I like the char over a flame method best since I tend to overcook peppers when I have do them under an electric broiler, and I only have electric in the kitchen right now <sigh>

                                2. Jalapenos en Escabeche - Pickled Jalapenos (p.244)
                                  Just opened one of two jars I made two weeks ago from this recipe. Delicious! (bits of spicy carrot and onion, hmm, tasty.) I pickled jalapenos & cayenne peppers from the garden. The recipe was very easy & I'll definitely make it again.

                                  1. Chicken in Easy Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce/Pipian Verde de Pollo (p. 218)

                                    Online version of the recipe:

                                    I usually am skeptical about recipes that have "easy" in the title, but on a Fri. night after a long and draining work week, easy was rather welcomed. I have been wanting to make a pumpkin seed sauce ever since an article in Saveur about 10 yrs. ago; thus, I chose this as my first recipe to try out of this cookbook.

                                    I modified the recipe slightly because I wanted one-stop shopping, so I got what I could find from my small neighborhood Mexican market. No marjoram and no fresh romaine heads. I also subbed in Penzeys dried epazote for the small amount of fresh. From a previous visit to Trader Joe's, I was happy to find Mexican pepitas (more long and tapered than the other type).

                                    The recipe was generally easy to follow, although I found myself missing some of the more descriptive sensory details I've come to appreciate from the Zuni or All About Braising books. Some details (like whether the skin should be left on) were flat out missing and needled at my OCD tendencies. The linked recipe does happen to specify skin-on. I did cook w/ skin-on but don't care for that soft, flabby texture so peeled off most parts for eating. I served w/ his classic Mexican white rice, which I would highly recommend since you will have reserved chicken broth from poaching the chicken.

                                    Overall, the pipian verde was wonderful! Not having made many Mexican sauces before, it was fascinating witnessing and tasting the transformation of this sauce from its grassy raw state to its mellow, suave conclusion. I was worried that the sauce might be flat or monotonous, but it had enough depth and vitality after the final salting that kept our mouths hungering for more. Husband didn't like the smell or taste of the sauce in its raw state, but he loved the final dish.

                                    A particularly exciting discovery for me is chayote!! I've certainly seen these odd-looking vegetables at the store, but I've never eaten them before til tonight. I didn't expect them to be so crisp-crunchy (like an unripe pear) raw, and I really enjoyed them cooked in this dish. Their firmness contrasted w/ the relative softness of the zucchini. Maybe I should start a thread on chayote recipes...

                                    I will be making this again for sure. My sauce turned out greener than I expected, so I may have used too much cilantro. I also didn't re-blend after the simmering period as suggested, so it looks a little "broken" and thin. Here's a photo:


                                    1. Corn flake crusted fish fillets with roasted tomatillo sauce and fried corn (pg. 271)

                                      This was fabulous. It was labor intensive, but the beauty is that a lot of it could be pre-prepped. It was a rainy day here in New England, so first thing this am, I roasted the tomatillos and hot peppers. I later made the tomatillo sauce and roasted corn in the afternoon. In the late afternoon, I prepped the fish.

                                      Some minor changes, I had halibut steaks v. fillets. I de-boned and de-skinned. Since my pieces of fish were a little thicker, I fried for about 4 minutes a side. It looked beautiful and smelled great. I served this with the mexican white rice.

                                      Pic of fish frying


                                      Pic of finished dish


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        This was the first recipe I made from the book, many years ago when my mom picked it up despite never cooking. I think it was just after the book came out and I hadn't really gotten into cooking yet. We had a great time making the food, and it turned out GREAT! Now that I've appropriated the book, I'm going to have to do it again.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          I'm pulling up this old thread because this dish (cornflake-crusted fish w/roasted tomatillo/corn sauce) was so great!!!

                                          I used the trader joe's frozen roasted corn kernels instead of frying fresh corn so making this was not difficult and took maybe 1.5 hours total.

                                          The fish was moist with a slightly sweet super-crunchy crust that pairs perfectly with the tart/spicy sauce. We all ate twice the amount we usually do (me, my husband, and my 3-yr-old - he didn't eat the sauce but loved the fish).

                                          I have little time to cook these days and I was so pleased that I spent my few precious hours alone last weekend to make this. YUM!

                                          1. re: jvozoff

                                            Thanks for posting. It's so nice to see these older COTM threads pulled up. I forgot about this dish until your reminder.

                                        2. Roast Duck with Red Chile Adobo Sauce and Jicama Relish (pato en adobo con salsa de jicama) - p. 230

                                          Oh yes, this one is definitely a keeper. It was delicious. An adobo marinade is made with toasted and rehydrated anchos, garlic, oregano, ground cloves, black pepper, cumin, salt and a little sugar and vinegar. I didn't use fresh ground spices as he recommended, but did use Mexican oregano. Process into a smooth puree and then strain. The duck (we did a single duck as it's just the two of us) is then smeared with some of the puree and marinated overnight. Today I finished the sauce by taking the remaining puree, frying to thicken it into a paste, adding chicken broth and simmering, and then finishing with a little sugar and salt. You could do this a day ahead also. Final step is to roast the duck (I used a thermometer and it took almost exactly the 2 hours he says).





                                          I thought the simple jicama relish (jicama, red onion, dried cranberries, and cilantro tossed with cider vinegar and some salt) was also great with this dish - I found myself making sure I had some relish with every bite, and even eating it plain with a spoon. It would be great with other dishes - crunchy and sweet and tangy at the same time. I have lots of sauce and relish left over since I made the full amount, and think it would go with so many other dishes. I will definitely be making this again - probably with a roast chicken next time.

                                          Served with relish and adobo sauce:


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. Beetlebug, I'm glad to hear that the cornflake encrusted fish turns out well, that's on my short list to do this month.

                                            I made the Flank Steak with Roasted Pobalno and Tomato Salsa. Good but not great. No "wow" factor. Once the tomato/poblano salsa is made half of it is scooped back into the food processor and pureed along with some oil, balsalmic vinegar, salt and sugar. I really didn't particularly care for the flavor of the puree; it seemed to be too sweet for my taste. (And this is my primary complaint with many of his recipes, they sometimes seem too sweet) The puree was smeared over the steak and then broiled. This helped and it did taste better cooked than raw.

                                            I had quite a bit of the puree and the salsa left over. I've combined them and will use the leftover later this week with either pork or chicken. There are so many other ways to prepare flank steak that I think are better than this recipe, I probably would not be inclined to make it again, though I might be inclined to make just the tomato/poblano salsa again.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                              Funny, I did notice that the corn flake crust was a little sweet. But, I decided that the tomatillo sauce off set that ok. Upon reflection, I would make it with the corn flakes again, if anything, to use up the box of corn flakes that I bought for this meal. Plus, I think it gives the fish an interesting look. But, after that, I want to try this recipe with panko. I think the panko would crisp up beautifully upon frying.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                On second thought, even though the poblano/tomato salsa is a better match with pork, I still didn't care for it. I simmered a couple of pork tenderloins in the leftover sauce a couple days ago. Liked the pork, but not so much the sauce.

                                                Here's the pictoral on the original recipe with beef

                                              2. I posted another message about my cooking with Rick adventure - can't remember the whole title, but it's something like "Ay, Mamacita..." In that message, I talked about my difficulties in preparing the chiles on the Weber and my allergies.

                                                Here is the rest of the story. I decided to make the Picadillo (chiles rellanos with pork in a broth). As usual with chiles rel. it's a real chore. Bayless' methods, however, helped a good deal. I always have pulled out the stems and seeds through the top, making the chiles harder to stuff and harder to batter cause there's no place to grab onto. I usually partially battered them and dropped extra batter on them once they were in the frying pan.

                                                His using the stem to dip and lift out the chiles was great.
                                                I ended up with lots more ground pork/sauce than it looked like I needed so I decided to stuff the chiles and then put the rest of the ground pork in the sauce/broth and pour it all over the chiles when they were cooked.

                                                I added lots of garlic which isn't in the recipe, and I used canned chicken broth with the addition of half a chicken bouillon cube. The addition of toasted slivered almonds, raisins and especially the cider vinegar was stellar!

                                                I also did a BitLaybread today, but that was hardly any work at all. Can't say the same about the Picadillo.

                                                My husband loved them even more than my usual chiles rellanos (which is saying a lot) and I had to work fast to take a photo before he wolfed all of them down. I also loved them and will use this recipe again after my month-long recovery at a spa in Hawaii, or is it at a mental institution in Bakersfield?

                                                I took a photo which I hope works. Sorry the sauce covered up all the golden brown of the battered chiles.


                                                1. Quick-Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic--Revisited

                                                  Anyone else out there as compulsive as I am? My first attempt at this recipe resulted in an Eh and I thought I wouldn’t do it again. But it got so many good reviews, both here and elsewhere on the Web, I figured I was missing something and would give it another go.

                                                  This time, making half the Mojo de Ajo recipe, I cut the garlic by hand rather than running it through the food processor, to try for the 1/8-inch dice specified. And I cooked the garlic to really toasty (half the recipe took only 20 minutes).


                                                  The garlic was indeed toasty and crunchy and I thought, Great! This is it. But I got interrupted. By the time I returned to cook the shrimp and finish the dish, about an hour-and-a-half later, the garlic had turned soft and sort of mushy again and I couldn’t get it to crisp up. Next time I’m going to remove the garlic at the crispy stage and spread it out on paper towels to drain before adding the chipotles.

                                                  Instead of cooking the shrimp in a wok, this time I heated the garlic oil in a large cast-iron skillet, placed the shrimp in the pan, cooked them about three minutes without stirring (as directed in the recipe), flipped them over and cooked about three minutes more. This was definitely the way to go. The shrimp were more browned around the edges without being overcooked and with more of a grilled flavor. Very pleasing.


                                                  I served them over the Classic Mexican Rice, which previous posters thought a bit oily but mine wasn’t at all. I often have problems with rice being a bit under- or overcooked, but the timing here, at least for me, was spot-on.

                                                  I will give this recipe just one more try. Not any time soon, I assure you. But the holy grail of crispy garlic seems almost within reach and I need to pursue the quest until it’s on my plate.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    good for you for redoing it according to the recipe!
                                                    I personally can't be reminded enough not to wing it when I'm trying out new things . . .

                                                    1. re: pitu

                                                      Uh, I guess I phrased that poorly. I *didn't* do it according to the recipe. The recipe says put the shrimp in the pan and stir. I put the shrimp in the pan and and let them cook until done on one side before flipping them over. Thought it came out a lot better than either of the techniques he suggested for cooking the shrimp. But I did try it his way first.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        That's what I thought you meant. I reread your original post on this (the first in this thread for those interested) and am glad you figured out ways to modify to suit your taste. This time, everything looks more charred and deeper in flavor, although I noticed that you didn't use any green herb (cilantro?) this time.

                                                        That classic white rice is really good. Timing is accurate and flavor is wonderful.

                                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                                          That's almost frighteningly observant, Carb Lover! I thought I had cliantro in the fridge, but when I took it out it had started to go moldy so I ditched it. I love cilantro and would have preferred to use it.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            JoanN, Thanks for reporting back on your next go-round with this dish. When you have perfected it-- as I'm sure you will-- you must post your modified recipe here! Then other hounds can prepare your version and compare. I'm glad the shrimp turned out better-- the dish certainly looks scrumptious in your photo.

                                                  2. I made the pork loin braised with tomatillos this past weekend. It turned out well with the pork nicely moist and flavorful, nice contrast with the tanginess of the tomatillos. Instead of potatoes I used chopped kale. I "nestled" the kale into the pot as Bayless says to do with potatoes. The kale melted into the sauce making it thicker and obviously changing the flavor. But the flavor combination of the pork, kale and tomatillos was terrific so I'd use kale again, just not cooked in the sauce.

                                                    This was a far more successful dish than the guajillo-spiced pork shoulder I made from Mexican Everyday. So far this braised pork dish is the only recipe I might make again from the 3 Bayless books I've been using (Mexican Kitchen, Mexican Everyday and OPAAT) this month.

                                                    I still plan to try the pepian sauce which he uses with chicken in Mexico OPAAT, only I'm thinking of using leftover smoked turkey with it. I expect to have a lot of turkey after Thursday. Is there any reason this shouldn't work?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: cheryl_h

                                                      I think the pipian sauce should work ok w/ smoked turkey, although something plain like poached chicken makes a better "blank canvas" for the unique sauce flavor. For use of leftover turkey, I might make enchiladas w/ pipian. I remember seeing a recipe for something like that in Saveur many years ago...

                                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                                        Thanks for the feedback CL. It was your post on the chicken in pepian sauce that made me think of doing it. I'll make the sauce and taste before putting it on anything. I have chicken breasts in the freezer so if the turkey doesn't work, I can make the chicken instead. Poached chicken just sounded so blah, but what do I know?

                                                    2. Red Chile-Marinated Chicken Roasted with Potatoes (pollo adobado con papas). p.227

                                                      This was easy and delicious too! Basically marinate a butterflied chicken, cover and roast in oven with red potatoes for a little over an hour, and then finish uncovered for 10 minutes.

                                                      I had frozen the remaining adobo sauce when I made the duck above (the recipe called for two ducks and I made one), and it defrosted great. I used this since it was the same marinade for the chicken. A 3 1/2 lb chicken is 'flattened' by cutting through the backbone and tucking the legs and wings in. I didn't take a picture, but I found one on the net I'll post below. Marinate overnight in the adobo sauce, drain, and reserve sauce. Put breast side up in a roasting pan. I used a large one since I doubled the amount of potatoes - 3 lbs instead of 1 1/2 - planning on homefries. Cut small red potatoes in half and toss with oil. Pour a little water in the pan, and add potatoes around chicken. So easy - simply cover with foil and cook at 375 for about 1-1/4 hours. Remove foil, spoon reserved marinade over chicken, and coat potatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes more. That's it. I don't know if it was because I used an organic chicken from D'Artagnan, butterflying the chicken and cooking covered, or a combination, but this was one of the juiciest, most tender chickens I've ever cooked. Really delicious. As I let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, I decided to put the potatoes back in the oven at about 400 to continue crisping up. Cut up the chicken and surround it with the potatoes. I also used the delicious pan drippings to drizzle over everything. Garnished with chopped cilantro and thin-sliced onions. Really a great meal, and I liked how the vinegared onions went with the whole dish. I'm going to make a batch of this adobo sauce and just keep some in the freezer. It has so much flavor, quick and easy to marinade and roast, and probably good on almost everything. Both this and the duck are definitely recipes I'll do again.



                                                      Out of the oven:




                                                      1. When I saw this was going to be our November book of the month I was so happy and had grand ambitions! I had started the experimenting with Mexican food, so I was looking forward to making Rick’s Pozole, Tamales, Cakes... but then my life kinda exploded and so although I managed to EEK out a little bit of time on that last week in November to actually cook from the book, I had to even scale that back to something simple and easy that could be done on a weekday and of course it had to be something we’d both want to eat. As I flipped through the book, I had almost lost all hope until I ran across the recipe for... Fish en Escabeche

                                                        I love anything in escabeche. The vingegary and herbal taste of the Escabeche really helps to highten flavors and yet make the dish seem lighter. Case in point, the only way I’ll eat Turkey during this particular time of year is in esacabeche. So I was eager to try Ricks version...

                                                        First you must make your Escabeche. I already knew some things about Rick’s recipes that I knew I would change. He prefers the lighter and fruitier tang of Apple Cider Vinegar. Me, I prefer the full body of a white vinegar (There is a reason they sell it in Jugs at the 99 cent store...). But I was shocked when I read the rest of the recipe and he called for a Cinnamon stick (Apple Cinnamon escabeche! BLEH!!) and for Majoram but not for Oregano, a key flavor in all escabeches I’ve ever tried..

                                                        Hrrm... Still I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and proceeded with the recipe...


                                                        Rick does allow you to choose which ever fish you like. I choose red snapper, not only because I like the taste and texture (Not too firm), but also because it cooks up really fast! I chose red snapper, one of my favorite fish. And since the Escabeche will be the dominant flavor of this dish, the fish is pan fried with just some S&P.


                                                        Typically you allow your cooked meat to kinda MELD with the Escabeche (Which is why left over Thanksgiving turkey left in Escabeche overnight is the BEST left-over ever!), but since fish should be eaten right away, you added the Escabeche short after the flip and when the filets are just about done.


                                                        This is when I realized that the flavors weren’t going to completely penetrate through. So I do recommend using a VERY mild fish. I don’t see how this could work with Salmon where the flavors might clash...

                                                        And served along side some Baby String Beans, we finally we had dinner...


                                                        As I had predicted the Escabeche served more as a garnish rather than a real marinade. And the cinnamon that was infused did kind of clash and the Marjoram was indeed TOO floral instead of herbal. Overall this recipe was what I wanted, quick, simple and light. But although it wasn’t terrible and SO liked it, next time I’m going with my gut...


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Dommy

                                                          I'm happy to see this thread have a life beyond November!

                                                          Dommy, they sell white vinegar so cheap because it's a cleaning product as well. That's what I wash my windows in, dilute!
                                                          But it's also the best thing for habanero salsa, and apparently escabeche. I don't like cider vinegar in Mexican preparations either.