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*March 2010 COTM--Kennedy: Beans, Rice, and Pasta; Sauces and Relishes

Please post reports in this thread on recipes from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico chapters BEANS, RICE, AND PASTA and SAUCES AND RELISHES

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  1. Salsa de Chile Cascabel

    Cascabels are one of my favorite chiles. They're round, fat, shake like a rattle when dried (cascabel means rattle in Spanish) and have a nice nutty flavor with just the right amount of heat. This is not a super hot dried chile, but neither is it mild or bland.

    I grew cascabels this past summer and had a nice stash of them for this recipe, which has long been one of my favorites from DK. Not the easiest chile to find in the U.S., order them from MexGrocer if they're not available locally.

    This salsa has a deep, robust, roasty, nutty flavor and an intense, dark brick red color. It's super simple to put toghether and lasts longer than the 3 days in the fridge as indicated in the recipe. It's a great table sauce and can be used to enhance just about everything. I've used it as follows:
    - on eggs
    - tossed it into the pan while sauteeing chicken
    - added some sour cream and fininshed shrimp with the sauce
    - as a pasta sauce
    - a sauce for pork, cutlets or shredded
    - spooned a little on some plain white rice
    - sauteed off some onions, garlic and mushrooms, added some sauce and serve it with pork or over a steak. Makes a great taco filling too.

    It does not work very well as a dip for chips.
    I've kept it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks with no discernible problems.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      I agree this is one of my favorites too! Its really interesting to me that the seeds are toasted separately and incorporated in the sauce. Very Sexy flavor in this salsa. I really like the pasta idea - that sounds perfect DD.

    2. Salsa de Tomate Verde, p. 236

      Super simple, but a great salsa. I did not cook the tomatillos first because I prefer them fresh. And I'm lazy. Recipe calls for blending tomatillos, onions, garlic, serranos, and cilantro with a little salt, how easy is that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yamalam

        I just made this tonight. I didn't have serranos so (gently) substituted Tahi chiles. It's great, isn't it? I did cook the tomatillos, in water for about 15 minutes.

      2. Sopa Seca de Fideo - pg 166

        I've made this recipe for nearly 15 years and it's easy, yields a lot and goes with almost everything (except fish/seafood). I like it with chicken. It also makes a great vegetarian option when topped with (or without) grilled vegetable kebobs.

        This is one of Mexico's (in)famous "sopa secas" or dry soups. These are usually rice or pasta based and aren't soups at all. Sopa secas are usually served as the second course during comida and usually served alone. I use it as a starch replacement rather than potatoes or rice.

        Use coiled pasta and saute over as high heat as you can without burning them to toast them and bring out the nutty flavor. The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of oil which some people think is quite a bit. You can do this recipe with less oil, but it will take the fideos (pasta coils) longer to brown as you need to use lower heat and they tend to want to burn. I tend to use the full amount of oil then drain the cooked pasta coils really well on paper towels and then pour off most of the remaining oil though there does need to be a film of oil let to cook the sauce. If you do remove the fideos to drain them be sure to put them back in the pan before proceeding.

        The rest of the dish is a snap to make. The whole dish start to finish usually takes me less than 45 mintues. The only other caveat I would mention is that if the dish looks too dry when it's put into the baking dish, don't be afraid to sprinkle extra liquid over the top before it goes into the oven.

        I can strongly recommend this dish. It's different, it's flavorful (I use fewer chipotles than called for 3 vs. 4) and it's a very forgiving recipe. Even if your technique isn't great, or you don't measure precisely, you'll come out with a good dish.

        Buen Provecho

        2 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          Sopa Seca de Fideo - pg 166

          Great recipe. I've always liked this dish (though E prefers sopa de fideo), especially with the texture from frying the pasta and then baking. I'm also a big fan of Spanish fideo/fideuà and make that often, but this was the first time I've made this Mexican dish.

          My package of fideo coils was only about 6 ounces so I adjusted the ingredients. I used a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes (about 2 cups) blended with a garlic clove and a little chopped onion, the full 1/2 cup of chicken broth, two large chipotle peppers, and MJ for the cheese. E thought it was plenty spicy though I wish I had used three chipotles.

          Just a great, satisfying dish. I served it for lunch, garnished with sour cream, and alongside a simple salad. Leftovers were delicious in a frittata.

          Thanks for the tips DiningDiva, especially re: adding more liquid before baking, which I did since it looked dry.

          (will post pics when I can get my camera to upload)

          1. re: Rubee

            Posting pictures:

             
             
             
             
        2. I notice nearly all of Kennedy's bean recipes include (delicious, I'm sure) lard, though one or two suggests vegetable oil. I was hoping to sub a more heart-healthy oil for the lard. I'm assuming olive oil would be a poor choice, but would Canola be okay? I assume I can just use a 1 for 1 substitution, oil for the lard? I need to make some adjustments to my diet to include more legumes and I thought, what better book to turn to than the current COTM? Maybe I can still squeeze in some participation this month--we're not even half-way through the month!

          Thanks in advance!

          ~TDQ

          1 Reply
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Yes, you can use canola oil. Plain old generic vegetable oil can be used as can corn oil. Spectrum Naturals makes a corn oil that is vibrantly orangish with a rich corn flavor. I've used it for Mexican cooking in the past quite satisfactorily, though the flavor tends to be stronger than most other corn oils on the market. The substitution is one-to-one. Very few of the dishes are affected by using oil instead of lard. However, many of the bean dishes are better if the lard is used...rounder. lusher mouth feel and flavor.

            There have been a number of studies over the last 10 years that have shown moderate amounts of lard in the diet are not detrimental, that it is not as bad healthwise as originally thought. By moderate the studeis mean a little bit now and then, not gobs every day.

          2. Rajas de Chiles Jalapeños Frescos (Durango), p. 238

            I'm making a nice Mexican feast tonight so made this fresh chile relish last night. Quick and easy too - slice jalapenos and marinate in oil and "mild vinegar" (I used diluted apple cider vinegar - a Bayless tip) with garlic, Mexican oregano, white onion, and salt.

            Recipe:
            http://tinyurl.com/ydangeu