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*March 2010 Cookbook of the Month: The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, Kennedy*

Our March Cookbook of the Month is The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, by Diana Kennedy, which integrates the recipes from her frist three books, The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, and Mexican Regional Cooking

How Cookbook of the Month works:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

Preliminary discussion of the book: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689269

Please use this thread for general discussion, menu planning questions, and linkd to online sources.

Please post your reviews in the threads linked below.

Appetizers, Soups, Soup Stews
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691335

Masa Fantasies, Tortillas and Tortilla Dishes, Tamales
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691336

Beans, Rice, and Pasta; Sauces and Relishes
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691340

Egg Dishes and Light Meals
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691341

Salads and Vegetables
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691342

Pork, Beef, Assorted Meats
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691343

Poultry and Seafood
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691344

Sweet Yeast Breads, Desserts, Drinks
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691345

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. There are a ton of recipes from the book available via the Google Books link:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=XPAL...

    1. Alot of her recipes call for lard, in most cases I can probably just substitute oil, but what about tamales? And are there other recipes for which the substitution isn't that easy? Would crisco be better?

      I do not eat pork, so lard is not an option, and I would rather not use animal fat at all - I keep kosher so for a lot of dishes I'd rather keep the dairy in it than use animal fat.

      Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated!

      4 Replies
      1. re: ElenaRose

        Yes, you can use Crisco.

        You can use corn or canola oil to sautee things she suggests cooking in lard

        1. re: DiningDiva

          Thanks Dining Diva! Would I use the same amount of crisco as she uses lard in the tamales?

          1. re: ElenaRose

            Yes, use the same amount, it's a one-to-one substitution

        2. re: ElenaRose

          For tamales, instead of lard I use unsalted butter -- delicious.

        3. May I use any of Kennedy's major books? I can't get the COTM but I know they have one of her books in the library.

          2 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            The COTM contains recipes from The Cuisines of Mexico, The Tortilla Book, and Mexican Regional Cooking, so recipes in any of those are part of it, if they're available. Also, if you are able to access the link in my first reply in this thread, there a lots of recipes from the book available there.

            1. re: luckyfatima

              In past months (like the Sahni/Jaffrey month), people have started supplementary threads to report on cooking from other books by the author than the ones voted in for COTM.

            2. Thought I'd post some of the dishes I hope to make this month in case others plan to also, and welcome any tips from our resident expert DiningDiva!

              For fillings/toppings, etc.

              Chilorio (Chile-Seasoned Pork), p.18
              Mochomos Sinaloenses (Sinaloan Shredded Beef), p. 19

              Salsa de Albañil, p. 22
              Enchiladas Verdes de San Luis Potosi (my husband's grandmother is from San Luis Potosi so I hope to make quite a few of the recipes from this region).
              Chilaquiles Veracruzanos, p. 71
              Menudo Colorado Norteño, p. 131
              Sopa Seca de Fideo, p. 166
              Albondigas in Chipotle Sauce, p. 306
              Frijoles Maneados Sonoresenses
              Mole Poblano, p. 325
              Orange Flan, p. 412

              I just made the sauce for Carne de Puerco en Chile Colorado (p 259) for later this week. Dinner tonight is Pechugos de Pollo con Rajas (p. 347). With margaritas or Tequila Sunrises (p. 446) to start ; )

              6 Replies
              1. re: Rubee

                Rubee, I'm coming to your house for dinner! MMM..mmm..MMM

                I've made the Sopa Seca de Fideos and posted something about that on the thread for that topic. This is one of my favs.

                Please post about how your pechugas come out, I've been eyeing that recipe as a possibility for this weekend :-)

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Will do! Though I picked that recipe so I wouldn't have to run the store (haven't made it to the Mexican market yet) and going to have to use sour cream, which she says will curdle.

                  A couple of questions:

                  I'm using 4 poblanos - charred, unpeeled - I had in the freezer. Her recipe (which I am going to halve) calls for 2-1/4 pounds. Any idea what 4 good-sized poblanos would be (a pound?).

                  Also, she says not to buy the Mexican crema in glass jars. Our local Mexican market, however, has many types in both jars and plastic containers, as well as in tubs available by weight at the 'dairy counter'. Have you found anything like these to be good quality?

                  Thanks!

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Rubee, I've never weighed poblanos but I'd be willing to bet that if you had 4 good sized ones you had a least a pound, maybe a little more, and probably more than enough for a half recipe. I'll be interested to know how the half recipes worked out. Her recipes are very easy to expand and still retain their integrity but I've not had so much luck shrinking her recipes.

                    DK is a real purist and stickler for tradition. Me? not so much. I buy crema in plastic jars. Here in SoCal I think the Cacique brand is quite servicable.We also have about a gazillion different varieites of crema and I'm not sure what or why they're different. Our big Mexican market here has a huge cheese counter with all kinds of interesting stuff including several varieties of crema. I haven't tried them yet, but my guess is they're just bulk versions of what's in the jars. I think the best advice is to probably just find a crema you like and stick with it.

                    1. re: DiningDiva

                      Thanks so much for your help!

                      The chicken with poblanos was delicious. My husband had thirds. I'll report on it when I can upload pics ; )

                      Making sopa seca de fideo for lunch - will have to check out your tips!

                      1. re: Rubee

                        Hope you've got a crowd for lunch :-). It makes a lot. The left overs are good but tend to get a little mushy when reheated

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Yeah, but as with leftover chiles rellanos, in my op., mushy is okay. So is room temp. ;+)

              2. Are there any pupusa recipes, or is a pupusa too specific to Honduras/ Guatemala?

                13 Replies
                1. re: Katie Nell

                  Right, pupusas aren't Mexican. As you mentioned, I associate them with Honduras/Guatemala and El Salvador. Mmm..now I want one, preferably with queso con loroco!

                  I'm thinking you could make them using a technique for thick, stuffed corn tortillas, and maybe use a tortilla press to flatten? I may have to try that.

                  1. re: Rubee

                    I'm obsessed with them! Had my first one on our family "taco" crawl last October! I've been looking for a Honduran/ Guatemalan specific cookbook, but haven't came up with anything yet.

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      My Guatemalan friends tell me that the most authentic Guatemalan and Mayan cookbook in English is "False Tongues and Sunday Bread" by Copeland Marks. I've had it for years, but truth to tell have never cooked from it. I do, however, look stuff up in it all the time after trying something new in Guatemala and then say, nah. Not gonna bother. I'll just go back to Guatemala. ;-)

                      Looked it up on Amazon so I could give you a link and nearly flipped out when I saw the prices! Geez! I may have to rewrite my will. Maybe you can find better prices elsewhere?

                      http://www.amazon.com/False-Tongues-S...

                      1. re: JoanN

                        I looked it up on Abebooks and Betterworldbooks and the lowest price was $43.00. Crikey!

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Eek! That is a lot, but I love the title! I did find a lot of recipes online though: http://recipes.wuzzle.org/index.php/58 But, no pupusas. Sorry, I've really taken over this thread. Oops!

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            Not at home; no access to the book for at least another couple of weeks. Will try to remember to see if it has a recipe for pupusas. If I forget, nudge me.

                            1. re: Katie Nell

                              Katie: There are lots of online recipes for pupusas. Check them out.

                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                Back home for a few days and “False Tongues and Sunday Bread” does indeed have a recipe for Salvadoran Pupusas. Here it is:

                                Mix 2 pounds masa harina with water according to package directions. Use two full tablespoons of masa to make tortillas about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Spoon a tablespoon of stuffing into the center of the tortilla, top it with another tortilla, and seal the edges with a fork. Bake in a skillet or on a hot griddle over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes until brown on both sides.

                                Stuffings:

                                Chicharrone Stuffing
                                1/2 pound chicharrones
                                1/4cup chopped sweet red pepper
                                2 cups sliced ripe tomatoes
                                3/4 cup sliced onion
                                1/2 teaspoon salt
                                Process in a food processor to make a paste. Refrigerate 24 hours before using.

                                Cheese Stuffing
                                3/4 cup farmer cheese
                                1/4cup feta cheese
                                Mix together and refrigerate for at least several hours before using.

                                Black Bean Stuffing
                                1 cup Frijoles Volteados (Black Bean Paste)

                                Recipe for Black Bean Paste

                                1 pound dried black beans
                                6 cups water
                                1/4 cup chopped onion
                                1 garlic clove, chopped
                                1 teaspoon salt
                                1/4 cup onion crisps (fry 1/2 cup finely chopped onions over low heat in 3 tablespoons corn oil until light brown; drain on paper towels)
                                1 tablespoon corn oil
                                Soak the beans overnight. Cook beans with onion, garlic, and salt until soft, about 1-1/2 hours. Puree and press through a sieve. Mix in onion crisps. Heat corn oil in a skillet over moderate to low heat, add the bean puree, and stir with a wooden spoon as the puree thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the skillet. It should be thick enough to be able to be formed into a roll and sliced.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Oh, I'm so thrilled to have this, thank you. Feta cheese is a surprise to me--is that typical?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    He doesn't say, but I'd guess that feta is a readily available substitute for what is usually a locally made queso blanco.

                                  2. re: JoanN

                                    JoanN- thank you so much! My personal favorite is bean and cheese, but I'm betting that my husband would really love the chicharrone stuffing! Thanks for posting the recipes!

                                2. re: JoanN

                                  Oooh! Another Guatamala fan! I haven't been there in years We took the train and bus from Calif/Mex border all the way to Tapachula and then the bus over El Tapon. I remember this trip more than any other. Fantastic. I'll have to look up this cookbook. Maybe the Berkeley library has it!

                              2. re: Rubee

                                Rubee's right, pupusas aren't Mexican. BUT...you could try sopes or groditas as an alternative.