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Feb 28, 2010 08:14 PM

*March 2010 COTM--Kennedy: Salads and Vegetables

Please post reports in this thread on recipes from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico chapters SALADS and VEGETABLES

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  1. Elote Con Crema (Corn with Cream, Chiles, and Cheese), p. 225

    I was looking for a vegetable side dish I could make without running to the store, had frozen corn (which she says is fine), and made this to serve with Enchiladas Verdes de San Luis Potosi. Onion and garlic is sauteed in butter, green chile strips, corn, and salt added, and then it is covered and baked at 350 for about 20 minues. A few minutes before it's ready, add cubed cheese (I used domestic Muenster). Serve hot with crema/sour cream.

    I didn't have poblanos so - blasphemy! - used a small can of whole green chilies which I cut into strips. Also, using the frozen corn, it took longer than the 20 minutes.

    2 Replies
      1. re: jackiecat

        Very good - though next time I would use fresh corn (frozen was a bit watery).

    1. Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo (poblano chiles stuffed with meat) p.216

      This is a pretty time consuming recipe involving multiple components, but oh boy, was it delicious.

      You begin by simmering pork cubes in water with onion and garlic until tender. The pork is shredded and fried with more onion and garlic, along with warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns. Pureed tomatoes are added and cooked down so that the mixture is moist and flavourful. There are raisins, slivered almonds, and acitron (which I omitted) in with the meat, which gives the picadillo a wonderful crunchy sweetness in every bite. The raisins especially were a welcome addition.
      For the tomato sauce, onions, garlic and tomatoes are pureed, then fried until reduced along with more cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, cinnamon, and thyme. The reserved pork broth dilutes the sauce, which is then cooked down until it is thicker, but still broth-like.
      Roasted and peeled poblanos are then stuffed with the picadillo mix, coated in flour, and dipped in a whipped egg batter, then deep fried. The chiles are then warmed up in the tomato broth and served.

      As it turned out, my 'seasonal refrigerator', aka the front entrance of my home, had been changed into a freezer with the frigid temperatures, and most of my chiles had frozen. After cutting out what I could salvage, I had to deconstruct the dish for a few of the chiles, since they were merely strips at that point. I used a few other unscathed peppers for the remainder of the dish; a few anaheims, jalapenos, and some plain ole' green bell peppers. So with the options that were available, I decided to forgo the deep frying, and just pan fry dollops of the batter with the chiles nestled in the middle, a la Rick Bayless. That worked out fine, though I would like to attempt deep frying one day.

      The verdict? I would definitely make this again! The tomato sauce was very similar to the sauce I use in cabbage rolls. It was quite lovely, sweet and mildly spiced, and really was a necessary part of the dish.
      The picadillo was the star of this show. I was pretty stingy when stuffing the peppers, and have a pile of leftover filling that I will be using in a myriad of ways: pupusas, burritos, tacos, who knows what else. It was fantastic with the subtle spicing of cinnamon and the tomato-y undertones. I found myself picking at the filling throughout the evening....eventually, I had to put it away if I wanted any leftovers. If nothing else, I will be making the meat portion of this recipe again. And again......

      Served with arroz blanco, fresh tortillas, and salsa fresca.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Allegra_K

        That does sound delicious. I find chiles rellenos (even when they're not great) irresistible. Your picadillo sounds great.

        1. re: Allegra_K

          I have this book, but for some reason I've never gotten into it -- something about the purist tone and lack of pictures (not that there's anything wrong with that...). But I love, love, love chile rellenos no matter how they come and your write-up is just the thing to push me over the edge to actually use this book -- thanks!

          1. re: mebby

            I also have never gotten into it, mebby, for precisely the reasons you cite; this book has always intimidated me. (And I'm such a fan of the early Rick Bayless books that I usually turn to them if I'm going to venture into any serious Mexican cooking.)

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              Thanks, NCW, knowing that you share my odd feeling comforts me, particularly knowing what an accomplished cook you are. And Rubee has made so many fantastic dishes out of that book that I know it must be great. Somehow, though, Allegra's post is making the book feel less intimidating...or maybe just making me hungry enough to overcome it.

              My kids' old nanny made the simplest but the best chile rellenos -- oh how I miss those! Her mexican cooking was OK on all other things, but those were a tribute to simplicity and humble ingredients.

            2. re: mebby

              DK *is* a purists. If you can get past that her recipes are extremely good and rarely fail. I've been using her cookbooks for nealry 30 years and have to say almost everything works.

              1. re: mebby

                That's how I usually feel about her book as well. I often pick it up with the best of intentions, telling myself that I will make use of it this time........then do the same as nomadchowwoman and turn to Mr. Bayless instead. I just need to plan ahead and make the dish in stages. It's not difficult at all, just........time consuming. That recipe (well, with the sides) took up the better part of an afternoon.

              2. re: Allegra_K

                FYI for future reference...

                A good substitute for acitron is dried and candied pineapple.

                Picadillo is one of my favorite things and there are millions of recipes for it. Sliced stuffed olives are also a nice addition, tho' I'm not sure they'd go so well in a chile relleno :-)

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Great, thanks for the tip! I've never come across acitron before, so this is excellent.

                  I can see the picadillo with the olives as an empanada in my not-so-distant future! Yum!

                2. re: Allegra_K

                  I feel the same way as a lot of you all about the Kennedy book, not helped by the fact that I am not very familiar with proper Mexican food as it's hard to find in the UK.

                  Allegra - I have a seasonal fridge as well, aka the old coal hole under my front steps!