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Cookbook of the Month May 2013: MEXICAN EVERYDAY Quick Meals from the Grill, Soft Tacos, Enchiladas, Tostadas and Tortas, Seafood, Poultry and Meat, Desserts

Welcome once again to Cookbook of the Month. May's selection is MEXICAN EVERYDAY by Rick Bayless.

This is the reporting thread for the final four chapters of the book, as follows:

Quick Meals from the Grill: Seasonings, Salsas and Skills, p 134-182

Soft Tacos, Enchiladas, Tostadas and Tortas, p 186-230

Seafood, Poultry and Meat Main Dishes, p 232-294

Desserts, p 298-312

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

Arriba! Etc.

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  1. Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms, p. 215

    Bayless has really streamlined enchilada-making in this recipe, without doing anything to sacrifice flavor or texture.

    For the sauce, you simply put garlic, tomatillos, serrano or jalapeño peppers (I used serrano), and cilantro into a blender and process until smooth. Heat some oil or bacon grease in a saucepan, then add the puree from the blender and simmer until reduced to "the consistency of thick tomato sauce". He says this should take about 7 minutes. I'm not sure mine got as thick as that. He then has you add 2 cups chicken broth. I felt this was going to make too thin a sauce, so I only used one cup. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Right before assembling the enchiladas, he has your stir some crema (I used creme fraiche) into the sauce and adjust the salt to taste.

    For the filling, you heat some oil or bacon grease in a skillet, and sauté mushrooms, until they start to brown. Then you add some sliced red onion, cook that, and finally the spinach, and cook until just wilted (there is the option of also adding some cooked chicken or ham, which I did not do). Season with salt.

    To soften the tortillas, he does something a bit different. Instead of passing them through hot oil, he has you brush them with oil (or bacon grease), and bake them in the oven for about 3 minutes at 350 degrees.

    To assemble, he has you dip the tortilla in the sauce, lay on a plate, top with the filling, and roll. The instructions have you assembly 3 enchiladas on each plate (although the photos only show 2), then sauce. Garnish with crumbled queso fresco, some more sliced red onion (I omitted this), and some cilantro.

    This is extremely similar to enchiladas I have made in the past, right down to the filling, so I knew from the get go that I would like these, and sure enough I did. The differences in Bayless' preparation are the crema in the tomatillo sauce and the method for softening the tortillas. I don't have strong feelings one way or the other about the crema. I might use it again, but I wouldn't hesitate to omit it if I didn't have it around. I thought the tortilla method was excellent, and really streamlined the preparation because it is hands-off. All in all, this is great enchilada recipe, which can easily be adapted to be vegetarian, if you use oil instead of pork fat water or veg stock instead of chicken broth, and even vegan if you omit the cheese (which would be fine to do, as it is not a big part of the dish).

    I served this with refried beans (his recipe, on p. 84), and red rice (my own recipe).

    29 Replies
    1. re: MelMM

      These sound great and are on my list for next week. I was planning to streamline even further by making the sauce ahead - do you think it would hold up?

      1. re: Westminstress

        Yes, it will certainly hold. If you wanted to be extra careful, you could withhold the crema until you reheat.

        1. re: Westminstress

          Tomatillo sauces in general hold up really well if made ahead, with the added bonus that their flavor improves as well.

          It also has a tendency to thicken when held. Heat it up and if it's too thick add some extra liquid. I've had it go both ways with tomatillo sauce I've had in the fridge. Sometimes it's been just fine once heated, other times I've had to add some extra liquid.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Yep, tomatillos have a lot of pectin in them, so they can set up just like a jam.

            1. re: MelMM

              If you do jam, try the recipe for Tomatillo Jam on the Pati's Table web site, it's really, really good.

        2. re: MelMM

          I made this recipe several years ago for a college going away dinner for my niece, along with Robb Walsh's classic cheese enchiladas. Both were received very well--the huge dish of cheese enchiladas disappeared as did the Bayliss recipe. ITA about making this one vegetarian--or adding chicken to go in a different direction.

          1. re: tvchick

            When you mention Robb Walsh, do you mean from his Tex-Mex book? There are a few different cheese enchiladas in there. Whichever, that is a very well-done book on Tex-Mex.

            1. re: MelMM

              Yes, it's his Tex-Mex Cookbook and the recipe is Larry's Cheese Enchiladas. I loved the way that they complemented the very different dish from Bayless. I made them again for a group of co-workers, who very quietly devoured them--I guess that they liked them!

          2. re: MelMM

            I found your notes to be very helpful. I have added this to my list to try. I especially like the idea of brushing the tortillas instead of passing them through hot oil.

            Would you mind sharing your red rice recipe?

            1. re: BigSal

              Well, there isn't a recipe, I just make it. It's one of those things, you know?

              The basic method for one cup of rice is something like this: In a heavy saucepan (I usually use cast iron), I heat some oil, and sauté some finely chopped onion. Then I add the rice, and cook it in the oil, stirring here and there, until it just starts to change color a bit. By change color, I mean it will get some opaque spots, and just a few brown spots. Then I add in some tomato paste. Not a lot, maybe 2 tsp at most. I stir that in with the rice until completely mixed in. And I might add a tiny bit of ground chiles. Not "chili powder", which has cumin and garlic powder and other things you don't want in your rice. Just straight ground New Mexican, Guajillo, or other chile, depending upon my mood. We are talking a small amount, maybe 1/4 tsp, at most 1/2. You don't want a big dried chile flavor in this. That gets stirred around a bit, then I add chicken stock (about 1 3/4 cups) and salt. I'm generally using unsalted stock, so I add quite a bit of salt. If you are using canned broth, you would use much less. That gets a quick stir, and then is brought to a simmer. Lid goes on, heat gets turned down to med-low, and it cooks for about 15 minutes, depending upon the type of rice. The final texture should be fairly dry, with the grains separate. You don't want a paella texture here.

              1. re: MelMM

                Thank you. I'm looking forward to trying this.

                1. re: MelMM

                  Thanks Mel, I'm going to try this. I often want to make red rice but all my recipes call for baking ... this is much faster. Also, I like to cook 1 cup of rice at a time, so the proportions are perfect for me.

              2. re: MelMM

                I also made this today! I agree with you on the crema; I did use "mexican" crema but I don't know if I would have missed it. I also hesitated before adding the full two cups of broth but I went ahead and did. Next time I will cut down on the amount, as you did, because I think it did dilute the flavor of the "base" more than I would have liked (after I cooked the tomatillo base to what I thought was the perfect consistency & flavor..). I did add a cup of shredded chicken breast, which gave it texture, and used shiitake mushrooms. It was wonderful!

                1. re: lesliej

                  The "crema" which I find in groceries around here is heavily processed stuff, with thickeners like xanthan gum in it. That's why I don't buy it, and use creme fraiche instead. I thin it with some cream or half-and-half if needed.

                  1. re: MelMM

                    MMM, where are you located? I'm in SoCal and have found a brand of crema that doesn't have a bunch of fillers. It's clearly labeled as "table cream" but in very small font. I want to say it's Mexicano, but I'm not 100% sure on that. It's got the consistency, but I do find it somewhat bland, blander for sure than the crema in Mex.

                      1. re: MelMM

                        Then I can see why your choices may not be as diverse as mine! ;-)

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          You'd probably be surprised what I can get. There is a pretty large Mexican population here due to jobs in agriculture and construction, and even in my town, which is not large, there is a big supermarket aimed at the hispanic population. So I can get fresh hoja santa leaves, for example. But for some reason, even though I can get about 20 different brands of crema, they are all crappy. Maybe, in one of the smaller markets, I could find a better one, but I haven't come across it yet.

                          Now, I can get something called "table cream", but it is in a shelf-stable can, not fresh in the dairy case.

                          1. re: MelMM

                            I hear you on the variety of crema. We've got so many choices it's sometimes hard to figure out which one to use.

                            Mexican, Salvadoreño, Guatameteco, Central Americano, crema, crema agria, por la mesa...argh, too many choices, then compounded by jarred or from the bulk bins in the deli <sigh>. It's never simple is it.

                            1. re: MelMM

                              Re: Crema - I stumbled upon "Lala" Crema Mexicana today when I ventured out to a small Mexican market to look for Mexican oregano. THIS is what I should have used for the tomatillo sauce...there were 2-3 different varieties of crema in the dairy case but the proprietor recommended this brand for the best flavor (the fine print on the container says "The #1 Brand in Mexico", for what it's worth). Anyway, it has a lovely taste & texture - a milder version of our sour cream.

                              1. re: lesliej

                                I was back at my supermarket today, double checking the selection. They have Lala brand, and I got some, but it still has a lot of additives, particularly gums. They also had Fud brand, which is similar. Then there were about a half dozen brands that came in plastic jars (also full of additives), plus some Salvadoran and Honduran cremas in jars. Then there were the cremas in bags. I think I counted about 15 different ones, some Mexican, some Salvadoran, some Honduran. I also bought a bag of "El Vaquero", which is Mexican. Ingredients are "Pasturized Cream, Milk Solids (Non Fat), Stabilizer, Culture, Salt." They don't say what the stabilizer(s) is(are), so this still is not ideal. I can get creme fraiche at the natural foods market, obviously for a much higher price, and the ingredients are cream and culture. Anyway, right now I have the two cremas and the creme fraiche in the fridge, so I'll report back after some tasting.

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  Have you tried ripening your own? I'm having great success with it thus far--tho it is more out of necessity than anything else. The only brand of crema I ever have available is Cacique, which I can only get if I cross the border, so I guess I can't really compare with all of those varieties you have at your fingertips...but the stuff I've been setting up on my counter is pretty tasty!

                      2. re: MelMM

                        Thanks, MelMM...I'll remember that for next time (or just leave it out), as well as reducing the chicken broth. Too many things diluting my perfectly reduced tomatillo sauce!

                        1. re: MelMM

                          Following up on this a year later (hey, better late than never, right?) to say that I have found a brand without the thickeners. The brand is Supremo Crema Chihuaha, and the ingredients are pasteurized cream and lactic culture. Comes in the standard tall plastic jar with a red cap.

                          At the time of last year's post, I didn't really want to make my own, because I rarely bought milk (I don't like to drink it, and I don't eat cereal), so I didn't want to buy more milk than I needed just for this purpose. Since then, I've taken up cheesemaking, so now I am buying large quantities of raw milk and cream from a local dairy. So now, it makes more sense to culture my own, and I probably will do so. But in the meantime, I'm happy to have a brand I can buy that tastes good, and doesn't have that slimy texture that the gums give.

                        2. re: lesliej

                          Leslie your plate looks picture-perfect...even better than the photo in the book. Bravo!!

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            Oh my goodness, how nice of you to say that! I'm certainly having a good time with COTM (a first-timer, here).

                            1. re: lesliej

                              Well welcome Leslie, it's great to have you cooking with us!!

                        3. re: MelMM

                          Mel, big thanks for your great write-up on this. I'm serving it tomorrow though I did puree the tomatillo mixture today and will cook it tomorrow. Your review made me crave these!!

                          1. re: MelMM


                            These were a big hit at our house too! Mel and Leslie have done such a remarkable job of detailing how this comes together that all I’m left to do is report on the choices I made.

                            I used 2 serranos and even though they had some bite when sliced, the dish itself was not hot…not even medium heat so next time I’d add more serranos.

                            I reduced the tomatillo mixture considerably before adding the chx stock. RB indicates that more time you spend reducing the mixture, the sweeter and richer it will become. Despite being quite thick, my mixture was a little bitter after 15 mins. That said, I used the full 2 cups of chx stock and then reduced the tomatillo mixture by half. I tasted at that point and it was still a little bitter tasting so I decided I would add the crema. In my case it was a necessity as it served to balance the sauce perfectly and left it with the perfect amount of tang and richness. I added shredded roast chicken to the filling mixture.

                            I did not use RB’s method of heating the tortilla. Instead I warmed them on my Comal. Since they were only 6”, I decided to simply fold them over the filling vs roll.

                            As soon as the tomatillo mixture hit the pan and the incredible garlicky aromas started wafting through the house we knew we were in for a treat. Nevertheless, these still managed to exceed our expectations. This would make a perfect vegetarian dish as I wouldn’t have missed the chicken at all.

                            I found this recipe online and it also has a video of Rick making these w Martha if folks are interested:


                            One final note on these...we found them incredibly filling. We ate 3 each but should have only eaten 2 as we were stuffed!!

                            ETA: I used blue corn tortillas

                          2. Puerco (Pork Tenderloin) a la Mexicana, pg. 282.

                            I had a pork tenderloin and I needed to do something simple and quick with it - this fit the bill!

                            First you flame-roast some poblano peppers, then set them aside, covered. Meanwhile, cut the meat into 1" chunks, pat dry, season well and brown on all sides in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil. Remove the pork from the skillet and set everything aside while you peel and cut the poblanos into strips.

                            Put the skillet back on the heat and add a sliced white onion. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until golden but still crisp. Add some chopped garlic and your poblanos, saute a moment, then add a (drained) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes in juice, some broth and epazote (if using - cilantro is a suggested substitute but it waits until later). Bring it to a boil and let it cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan (and the cilantro, if using) and simmer another 5 mins or until the meat is cooked to your liking. Season with salt (remove epazote, if using) and serve.

                            I served this with black refried beans (which I had cooked in the slow-cooker - they were WONDERFUL and I will always use the slow-cooker for beans in the future!) and tortillas. Unfortunately, the beans were really the highlight of the meal - the pork was just meh, which I sort of expected given the ingredients, but I was hoping for one of those "greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts" experiences. I added hot sauce to my serving, which helped a lot, but basically this tasted like lean pork in tomato sauce with poblano peppers. Boring.

                            I found the pork chunks to be an inconvenient size, too - too large for a single mouthful, yet given the saucy quality of the dish, I wanted just to scoop it up with tortillas, instead of having to cut meat with a knife and fork. I might use the basic idea of the recipe again, but I'd cut the meat smaller and add some type of seasonings to perk it up - hot chiles, to be sure, but also cumin and maybe ancho chile powder as well.

                            One additional thing to note: there was a LOT of sauce for a relatively small amount of meat in this recipe. In reading the book, I notice this to be the case with many recipes. While I understand that eating smaller portions of meat is one of Rick Bayless' little diet tricks, anyone who eats a low-carb diet may want to double the meat (or halve the sauce) in many of these recipes, to get a more protein-heavy balance.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: biondanonima

                              Thanks Bio, this recipe is on my list and your notes have given me cause to reconsider. I like that pork tenderloin is a lean meat, but I rarely enjoy the results when I use it in a recipe. I was hoping this one would be different, but it looks like that might not be the case.

                              1. re: delys77

                                I actually like pork tenderloin pretty well, but I prefer it with assertive sauces or marinades because it is naturally a bit bland. This one just didn't have enough oomph for me. Just as an off-topic suggestion, you might try slicing the raw tenderloin into rounds and then pounding them into thin paillards, then marinating and grilling (hot and fast). I love pork tenderloin this way and I find it is a great alternative to chicken breasts - it cooks even quicker since it can stay pink in the middle, and is usually juicier and more tender.

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  Thanks very much, that sounds like a great suggestion. I grew up with pork medallions with a pan gravy and sometimes repeat my mother's dish for nostalgia, but I usually find it ho hum. A good marinate on a pounded paillards and a quick searing would likely yield a much better result.

                                  1. re: delys77

                                    Some of the rubs from the book would be great on pork tenderloin :)

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      Very true, I love the sound of the garlicky ancho chile rub.

                              2. re: biondanonima

                                I made this dish last week and was also underwhelmed. I felt like the pork should have cooked longer to soften up a bit. The chunks were cooked through but still kind of tough which created a strange texture. I liked the flavors of the sauce. If I didn't need to get dinner on the table immediately, I probably would have let it keep simmering on the stove or put it in a crock pot on low the next day to break down the pork a bit.

                                It was easy enough to prepare. I would probably make it again (maybe add some spices to the sauce) with chicken. I am always looking for new things to do with chicken because I dislike it so much.

                              3. Chipotle Shrimp Pg. 251

                                I must admit I first made this from the online recipe link I found in EYB, and it has since become a house favourite. In our quest to add more seafood to our diet Shrimp are often a great addition to the menu at our house.

                                This dish is definitely a weeknight winner as it involves very few ingredients and comes together very quickly. Essentially you blitz some chipotles along with their sauce and some canned tomatoes before adding them to a skillet in which you have sauteed some garlic. You simmer this for about 5 minutes then add some water to thin to a regular tomato sauce consistency. Taste for salt, he calls for a full tsp, but I went with about 3/4 of a tsp and we were good. Lastly, toss in the shrimp and simmer till done, about 3 minutes in my case.

                                The resulting dish has a good punch of heat, but not so much that you can't still taste the tangy smokey sauce. The shrimp paired perfectly with the other flavours and the whole things looks very nice. I served with just some steamed rice and a green salad and we were good to go.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: delys77

                                  Thanks for the review -- I was planning on making this tomorrow. Good to hear that it's good enough to be a standard!

                                  I have more shrimp than we'll eat and was thinking about just cooking all of it. Reheating shrimp can be touchy, though I could pull it out of the sauce, I guess, and heat them separately. Still, since uou're familiar with it, I was wondering if you thought this might be good cold, sort of like a cocktail.

                                  1. re: juster

                                    Hi Juster
                                    We had some left overs and I did reheat very gently in the mircrowave. I usually do shrimp in 20-30 second spurts and stir in between. Temperature wise, I didn't try it cold, that said the sauce is flavourful enough that it will likely translate well at room temperature or slightly chilled. Best of luck.

                                  2. re: delys77

                                    I haven't got the book, so made this from the link and it was absolutely delicious. I thought I had masa to make a few tortillas, but I didn't, so I ended up making a pot of polenta and serving the shrimp atop that and it was perfect. Thanks for the heads-up on this one!

                                    1. re: delys77

                                      Chipotle Shrimp (Camarones Enchipotlados) p. 251


                                      Thanks to delys77 for highlighting this recipe. This made for an easy and healthy dinner tonight. The only change I made was to add diced zucchini after sautéing the garlic (the zucchini needed to be used up before it went bad).

                                      This dish was flavorful and really packed a punch with so few ingredients. My mouth is still reveling in the slow burn from the smoky, spicy chipotle sauce.

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        I made this last night and while there was nothing wrong with it at all, it didn't bowl us over. Maybe because this was our third dinner in a row from this book and we may just have OD'd on chipotles in adobo. Served it with the rice which I really did like and leftover swiss chard taco filling. I think I may head over to Italian tonight :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          The shrimp were pretty large so we had a few leftover. I just made a shrimp salad with them and IT'S quite tasty. I wiped off a good bit of the sauce, chopped the shrimp, added s&p, lime juice and mayo. I also had a snack of the very last of the rice with some of the sauce and some crema. Also good.

                                      2. re: delys77

                                        CHIPOTLE SHRIMP, p. 252.

                                        As everyone says above, a healthy and quick shrimp dinner with no fuss but lots of flavor. The only change I made was to use a can of whole fire-roasted Muir Glen tomatoes (all I had on hand) instead of the recommended diced ones suggested in the recipe. Though I drained them before processing until smooth, they still exuded a lot of juice and I didn't think the resultant sauce needed any thinning out with chicken broth or water. In fact, I liked the flavor a lot--just tomatoes, canned chipotles and their sauce, garlic and s & p.
                                        Two canned chipotles en adobo (Goya brand) provided a satisfactory if not incendiary amount of heat. Served with the recommended white rice pilaf, which sopped up everything nicely.

                                        1. re: delys77

                                          Chipotle Shrimp - p. 252

                                          I made this last night. Process has already been described, so I won't go into details. What could be easier? Like Goblin, I didn't think it needed added liquid. I added just a bit of fish stock, but nowhere near the amount called for. I served this as tacos, so I ended up with a lot of leftover sauce. This morning, I used the sauce, with a little more fish stock added to poach my morning eggs, and put the eggs plus sauce over grits. The sauce being so easy to make, it might be worthwhile to make it just for that purpose. Kind of a mexican riff on eggs in purgatory.

                                        2. Chipotle Meatballs, page 287

                                          The dish was successful, and was happily consumed by the household. I don't usually use the food processor when I make meatballs, but it's necessary to incorporate the bacon into the mix for this recipe. I liked the light texture of the meatballs that resulted from using the processor.

                                          I picked this recipe because I had some ground turkey in the fridge that needed to be used and I was looking for something different than a spaghetti and meatballs type dish. This delivered on flavor. I used two chipotle peppers, plus 2 tbls of the can sauce as per the recipe for the sauce. Next time I might just use one, it was quite spicy.

                                          The mint seemed like an odd herb to use, and I may have used a bit less than the 1/2 cup called for, but it's flavor was not really noticeable in the finished dish.

                                          One of the things that I like about this book, is the "riffs" or variations on many of the recipes. Bayless does mention that other herbs can be substituted for the mint. Also that other ground meats can be used, rather than the ground pork that is in the main recipe. So, I went with turkey because that's what I had, but I would like to try the recipe with pork sometime. I also used mint because it grows like a weed here and I always have some in the backyard. I could see using parsley just as easily.

                                          Also, I switched the preparation steps. I mixed the sauce ingredients in the processor first and then set them aside in a bowl. Then with just a quick rinse of the processor I mixed the meatball ingredients. If you do it the way it is set out in the book, you would have to completely wash the processor after mixing the meat, before you did the sauce.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: pamf

                                            Ooo I'm glad to see these turned out good with turkey. I have them on my menu plan for next week with turkey. Good tip on switching the sauce/meatball mixing, I'll be sure to keep that in mind. Might do the parsley too since it's considerably cheaper to buy than mint is.

                                            Did you just serve them by themselves? I was thinking of just throwing them in a tortilla, sorta like a meatball taco sorta thing, and having a salad on the side.

                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              I made these Sunday evening as part of a grazing dinner. Where we had cheese and bread and a few other things to nibble on. So they were actually more of an appetizer, but I would probably serve them on soft rolls (bolillos) as tortas if they were the main focus of dinner. Maybe with onion/cilantro or pickeled onion garnish.

                                              1. re: pamf

                                                This sounds kind of crazy, but I was almost thinking of making naan to go with them. My favorite mexican place where my folks live makes their own tortillas, and they do them "gordita" style... so they're nice and fat, very much like the naan that I make is.... and I love them. I always get the chile colorado there (which I'm also making from this book) and I just love to dip the fat tortilla in the sauce, or tear off pieces and make little mini wraps with the meat.

                                                But I don't know, the calories are pretty high in stuff like that so I might just have to stick to the regular flour tortillas I buy at the store...they're locally made and only 110 calories each.

                                            2. re: pamf

                                              I made these last night too, and did just as you did, mixing the sauce ingredients in the food processor first and then the meat mixture. I find that cookbook recipes give instructions like that frequently - they clearly test their recipes in kitchens with multiple food processors or where someone else does the dishes for them!

                                              Anyway, this recipe has you first grind some bacon in the food processor, then add garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs and finally mint and ground pork. Shape this mixture into meatballs and put them in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes while you prep the sauce.

                                              To make the sauce, you buzz canned tomatoes, garlic, chipotles and their liquid and some salt and mexican oregano in the food processor. Easy peasy. After the meatballs have been in the oven 10 mins, you pour the sauce over them and cook another 15-20 mins, until the sauce is reduced to "tomato paste consistency." Remove the meatballs, then stir some warmed broth into the sauce until you get a consistency you like.

                                              I made a few changes and would make a few more next time, but overall we LOVED this - my husband ate like 10 meatballs. I used beef instead of pork and subbed pork rinds for the breadcrumbs for low-carb purposes. I also skipped the broth step entirely, as my sauce was a perfectly spoonable consistency after being in the oven and I didn't want to cook the meatballs any further - they were a tad dry as it was, although the sauce fixed that. I used two chipotles, and the sauce tasted quite spicy when cold, but after cooking the heat had faded, so I would use more next time (I have a pretty high tolerance for heat, though).

                                              Next time, I will again make the sauce first, but I'll either put it in the oven right away or let it start reducing on the stovetop while I make the meatballs. I like the oven method for those, but I'll reduce the heat or shorten the cooking time (or both) - maybe 10 mins at 400 to let them release some of their fat, then another 5-10 minutes in the already-reduced sauce to finish cooking through.

                                              Super delicious - destined to become a standard chez moi. I served them with a fennel-orange salad in a Rick Bayless-inspired vinaigrette made of a rehydrated pasilla chile, OJ, mayo, cider vinegar and salt - a refreshing counterpoint.

                                              1. re: pamf

                                                Love these meatballs. I've made them several times, and often serve with just rice and a salad. I usually decrease the chipotle a little.

                                                1. re: pamf

                                                  My turn with this recipe, which I made for a Seis de Mayo potluck at work today. I don't have the book and worked from several inconsistent recipes I found on the Web, but they came out great and everyone loved them -- which is saying something as they were up against some stiff competition, we have some very talented cooks around here! Thanks to the guidance here I did the sauce first in the FP and let it simmer stovetop in a large Dutch oven to thicken while I made the meatballs. I am temporarily oven-less so I used my grill as an oven, wrapping a couple of sheet pans in foil and doing 2 batches for a total of 4 dozen walnut or slightly larger sized meatballs. Worked like a charm. Then I finished them in the sauce. I will definitely make these again! In a small batch they would come together very fast.

                                                  1. re: pamf

                                                    Chipotle Meatballs p. 287

                                                    These were great! Most has been covered already. I used 93% lean turkey. Also I just used 1 chipotle pepper and just a bit of the sauce since my dinner guest informed me he doesn't like anything too spicy. They weren't very spicy at all, but still had great flavor. Also I thought the mint was a great and unexpected addition. My dinner guest said that if he had these in a restaurant he would sit there wondering what "that flavor" was, in a good way.

                                                    I didn't make my meatballs large enough, I ended up with 20 instead of the listed 16. Also, I totally forgot the broth step at the end, but honestly, I didn't think it needed it. My sauce was thick, but I liked it that way. Also I used 4 slices of center cut bacon since it's a bit smaller and thinner than regular bacon. If anybody cares, each serving of 5 meatballs was 370 calories and was super super filling. I'm excited to eat more for my lunch tomorrow, and I sent home the rest with my dinner guest. I served with the green bean salad from page 73.

                                                    Side note about chipotles... I purchased La Costena brand at my regular store and I don't really like them. The peppers themselves are fine but the adobo sauce has larger pieces of onion in it, so it makes it hard to mix in with other things without having the chunks of onion. But that's all my store has. I've purchased other brands (that I now can't remember) in the past that had a smooth adobo sauce. I'm going to the mexican market this weekend so we'll see if they have something else.

                                                    1. re: pamf

                                                      Little update to these meatballs - I made them again, with a shorter cook time and a stovetop reduction of the sauce. Those changes were good and I'd do them that way again. However, I also subbed cilantro for the mint this time, since I didn't have any mint in the house, and that was a mistake. Even though I didn't really taste "mint" the first time I made them, the flavor was MUCH more interesting with the mint than with the cilantro, IMO.

                                                      1. re: pamf

                                                        I made these last night. I was glad to find the suggestion to make the sauce first in the food processor and then mix the meat.

                                                        I used just pork for the meatballs (had ground beef too but decided to save that for something else) and followed the ingredients listing pretty faithfully. I cooked them in the oven as directed but decided to finish them off in the sauce as it reduced. I can't help it. I'm Italian and meatballs are supposed to be cooked in sauce in my mind.

                                                        I didn't like the idea of just pouring over the sauce as it seemed too liquid-y so I reduced it down quite a bit and then put the meatballs in to cook further.

                                                        I thought that these were easy enough to make but I felt like the actual meatballs themselves needed some more flavor. I would add some cumin and chile powder or steak seasoning or something next time. I used 2 chipotles in the sauce which, for me, was one too many. My husband loved it but he has a better tolerance for heat than I do.

                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                          Chipotle Meatballs - p. 287

                                                          Made these last night. I used all pork, and made them pretty much as written, except that I had more meat than called for, so made a slightly larger batch. I also ground the pork myself, which I often do when making meatballs. Even though I made a somewhat larger batch of meatballs, I made the quantity of sauce called for in the recipe, without scaling up. I also used 3 chipotles instead of two.

                                                          I normally mix my meatballs with my hands, but this time I did the food processor as directed, because of the bacon. I felt that this did not give as good a texture as what I normally get in a meatball, so in the future, I would mince the bacon by hand, and mix the meatballs with my grubby fingers just like I always do. The meatballs come out lighter that way.

                                                          I liked the mint in these very much. It is not overwhelming but adds a nice flavor that compliments the chipotle surprisingly well. Like others, I did not add broth to the sauce.

                                                          We liked these, and I would make them again, but I would not use the food processor again, and I would probably make a few other tweaks.

                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                            If you're grinding the meat for the meatballs anyway, just grind the bacon with it. Saves cleaning a cutting board, a knife and your time to mince it up. It also incorporates into the meat a little better I think.

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              Agree. I have a Batali sausage recipe that calls for pork shoulder and pancetta. I sub bacon...cause I'm cheap! I feed some pork through and then some bacon. Repeat. Works great.

                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                Yes, that is what I should have done. I don't know why I didn't think of it.

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  Not enough tequila while you were prepping...

                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                    That is absolutely the problem. I won't make that mistake again!!!

                                                            2. re: pamf

                                                              Chipotle Meatballs

                                                              I made these last night, inspired by the COTM weeknight thread. They came together easily and were pretty tasty. I liked the mint. I made them with turkey in an effort to be healthy and I'm sure I would have liked them much better with pork. I didn't love the sauce. I kept it on the mild side for my kids, maybe that's why it fell flat for me.

                                                            3. Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipian - p 235

                                                              Puree 2 cups tomatillo salsa (store-bought, or make your own from p 154 - I opted to do this) then heat some oil in a large skillet and pour the salsa puree in. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes, then add 1c chicken broth & 3 tbsp tahini paste. Simmer this mixture for 10 min, and season with salt and a bit of sugar (I omitted the sugar). At this point you can slip your salmon fillets or steaks - about 1.25 lbs total - into the skillet, covering them completely with the sauce and continuing to simmer to cook the fish. Cook 1 heaping cup of fresh or frozen peas while the sauce is simmering - RB suggests microwaving these. Once the salmon is flaky, serve it out with a generous amount of sauce, sprinkled with the peas, some sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

                                                              Served as part of a meal which included a simple green salad, homemade corn tortillas and the sweet potato salad on p 75, this was our first introduction to this cookbook, and we were truly delighted with the results. The sauce really is luxuriant - it's tart, rich and flavourful and it goes wonderfully with the salmon. Our only complaint was that there wasn't more of it -- my fish took longer to cook than it should have, because my daughter turned on the fan above the stove while she was cooking the tortillas, and it didn't occur to me to put a cover on the fish pan (duh!!) so the sauce reduced down quite a bit. Oops. I'll know better next time!

                                                              I can't wait to make this again. It was so yummy! I especially like how, similar to many other recipes in this book, there are alternative suggestions after the recipe with other ideas for how to cook the dish. I'd love to try it with chicken, or grilled vegetables.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                Just made this last night, it was terrific! I too made my own salsa, which is pretty easy. And no peas - I'm not a fan. But we served it with rice, which is great for that delicious sauce.

                                                                1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                  I'm so glad someone else tried this -- it's really yummy and it seemed the dish might have been overlooked. I have been thinking that asparagus might go very nicely in place of the peas.

                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                    I don't think you need any extra veg in it, honestly. A green salad on the side, and it's good. Still thinking about how tasty this was, and how soon I can make it again!

                                                                    1. re: Splendid Spatula

                                                                      You're right, of course - what it really needed was MORE SAUCE :-)

                                                                2. re: geekmom

                                                                  Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipian, p. 235

                                                                  I made this tonight, using the roasted tomatillo salsa on p. 154, which I made yesterday. It would have been impossible to cover the salmon fillets in the sauce in the wide skillet - it came only halfway up their thickest part - so I just flipped them after a while. I also skipped the peas.

                                                                  I liked it very, very much, too. My salsa was super-mild (on account of serving a heat-averse friend), but the sauce was very flavorful, and there was plenty for us to enjoy. I served it with the Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf and salad of arugula and roasted asparagus.

                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                    Salmon in Luxurious Green Sesame Pipian - p 235

                                                                    I made this salmon last night and was a bit underwhelmed. It could have been because I used commercially prepared salsa as the base instead of homemade. It could have been that I completely forgot the garnishes in the heat of the moment. Or it could have been the fact that dinner was late and rushed which led to everyone being somewhat cranky. Not really sure. I did think the sauce was tasty enough but it could have used some tinkering and I didn't have time for that. I wasn't wowed about the combination with the salmon. I had wonderful copper river salmon, which I generally prefer in a simpler preparation that really allows the flavor of the salmon to shine. I do have quite a bit of pipian sauce leftover as it was too spicy for my kids. I plan to add a bit more tahini and serve it with pan-fried tofu, which I actually think I will prefer as a match.

                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                      I dipped back into this book to make this dish - I kept meaning to last month, but never got around to it. Anyway, I just made the sauce, sans peas, and served it with roasted pork tenderloin. Delicious and unique - I would never have thought to combine tomatillos with tahini but it really worked well. I omitted the cilantro both from the salsa and the garnish because my stepdaughter is one of those unfortunate souls who get the "soap" taste, but it was just fine without. I also omitted the sugar as I thought it unnecessary. I served sauteed Brussels sprouts with it, and their slight bitterness actually went really well with the tangy sauce. Full of win!

                                                                    2. YUCATAN-STYLE SHRIMP IN ACHIOTE – p. 253


                                                                      Big thanks to Delys for covering the Chipotle Shrimp recipe up-thread here:


                                                                      I say this because the Yucatan shrimp recipe is a riff on the chipotle shrimp dish and is prepared in the exact fashion Delys so aptly describes above w the following exceptions: instead of chipotle and adobo, you add achiote to the blender and, a little lime juice to the broth. I opted for chicken broth since that’s all I had on hand and I think it’s that spritz of lime juice that really “makes” this dish. That little bit of citrus combines perfectly with the earthiness of the achiote really draws out the wonderful briny flavour of the shrimp and brightens the flavours of the tomato sauce. We loved this. I served the shrimp atop the Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf which I’ve also reviewed on the other COTM thread here:


                                                                      Don’t pass this one up if you’re a shrimp lover. I actually think this would be great w fish poached in this lovely sauce as well…and I wouldn’t have said the same thing about the chipotle version which is a house favourite btw.

                                                                      1. Spicy Cilantro Scrambled Eggs, p.153

                                                                        Made this bright and tangy version of eggs to have for lunch today with a side of beans and some fresh bolillos. Tomatillo salsa (recipe preceding page-tomatillos, garlic, chile, cilantro and salt pulsed in a blender) is cooked to thicken and mixed with eggs in a pan to gently scramble. Because I didn't have to roast the tomatillos ahead of time, the salsa was a snap. For some reason however, the eggs didn't want to form into the large soft mounds that I love, but instead almost curdled in tiny clumps.

                                                                        Presentation aside, this was nice enough. I thought there was too much cilantro in the blend--a little can go a long way--but I find that I am exercising restraint lately with the pungent herb, so maybe my tastes are just changing. I used to use copious amounts of it in everything. In the end this was just eggs cooked with salsa. I'll probably opt to spoon it over the cooked eggs for next time.

                                                                        1. Crusty Black Bean-Chorizo Subs (Tortas) p.225

                                                                          This is an excellent base for a hearty torta. I made this as written for dinner, but there are so many delicious variations out there that the possibilities stretch for miles.

                                                                          Cooked chorizo released from its casing is mixed with home-cooked beans (canned beans are listed as an alternative, tho I used home-cooked red beans) and coarsely mashed while frying to a thick puree. This is slathered on toasted buns that have been slightly hollowed out, and topped with slices of avocado, queso fresco, and roasted tomatillo salsa or hot sauce. May I recommend a heaping side of napkins.

                                                                          Loved these sandwiches. I tried a feeble attempt at making my own bolillos, and next time will just stick to crusty baguettes or portuguese rolls....baking isn't a strong point of mine and I should probably leave it to the professionals! I liked these with the queso fresco, but I think that a more assertive cheese is best-maybe a feta or queso añejo. While I liked the chorizo with the beans, I couldn't taste them too much so would add plenty extra or omit entirely. This recipe is open to interpretations of all kinds and it's always a pleasure to experiment with food between bread.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                            Crusty Black Bean-Chorizo Subs (Tortas), Pg. 225

                                                                            Made these yesterday, threw everything but the kitchen sink into them, and sat down to a chuck full sandwich like I've never had before. It reminded me of the Italian cold cut subs I love but don't have very often because of the sky high calorie count. But these tortas are another matter all together.

                                                                            I followed the recipe just as Allegra descibed it using sliced avocado, queso fresco, hot sauce, leftover pork Veracruzana (w/o the potatoes), pickled chiles, pickled onions, a few leaves of arugula, salsa, and the wonderful bean and chorizo mixture.

                                                                            I used soy chorizo from Trader Joe's and black beans for the mixture. The soy chorizo was quite tasty and full of spicy flavor. There wasn't much oil to deal with from the chorizo and I like that so would use it again. As a side salad I tossed peas with baby arugula, baby spinach and pickled onions with more of the Roughhouse Vinagretta. Absolutely delicious... everything!

                                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                              I made these Black-Bean Chorizo Subs tonight - DH and I LOVED them. Kind of like a Mexican Sloppy Joe. I doubled the chorizo, and I might use even more next time, as I felt the bean flavor took over a bit (although that may have been due to the fact that I used Premio brand chorizo, which doesn't have a very assertive flavor). Anyway, I had mine with goat cheese and avocado, which was delicious, but next time I think I would omit the cheese and add a sweet element, such as caramelized onions, instead. I also made the roasted tomatillo salsa he calls for - it was excellent and a nice counterpoint to the richness of the sandwiches. Delicious!

                                                                            2. Classic Salsa, Pg. 144 and One of My Favorite Shrimp Dishes, Pg. 145

                                                                              This salsa is used in the shrimp recipe on the next page but makes quite a flavorful stand-alone salsa as well. All the usual ingredients are present: Garlic, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, green onion, lime juice. Each is pulsed individually then removed to a bowl then the next is chopped. Season with lime juice and salt. RB says this ought to be used within the hour but will keep a couple of hours in the fridge. We both like the immediate freshness of it and because it's so very easy to make I'm going to rethink buying commercial salsa at least for this month. (Our fave is Green Mountain Gringo medium hot)

                                                                              One of My Favorite Shrimp Dishes:

                                                                              He uses a wok for this and although it's perfect I'm sure a skillet would do just as well. Heat a little olive oil then add a pound or so of peeled and deveined shrimp. I peeled but didn't bother deveining as I usually do. (I read somewhere recently that deveining really isn't necessary unless the shrimp is going to be butterflied and stuffed.) Stir-fry the shrimp about 2 minutes then "douse" with the salsa. I used about half of the salsa. Stir-fry another couple of minutes till the shrimp is just cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice and chopped cilantro. I served the shrimp in a pocket pita with extra salsa and sour cream, and a simple slaw on the side. This was probably the most unfussy but tastiest meal we've had in a long time.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Thanks Gio, in addition to being flavourful this dish sounds very healthy!

                                                                              2. Swiss Chard Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Fresh Cheese, and Red Chile Pg. 205

                                                                                We had this for dinner last night along with the gulf coast pilaf that I mentioned in the appropriate thread. I'm not sure it was the best pairing, but I was at a bit of a loss as I am not super familiar with Mexican cuisine and I'm not always sure what to pair with what.

                                                                                That said, I thought this dish was good, not great mind you, but definitely good. Essentially you saute some sliced onion in a bit of a oil in a large pan (I used a large dutch oven as the greens weren't going to fit in any of my pans), and then add a bit of chile flakes and garlic, and finally a bit of stock. Toss in your chopped greens and braise/steam covered for however long it takes to soften your greens. The chard at the market was unappealing but they had some lovely kale so I substituted about 9 oz of chopped kale for the chard and cooked for about 13 minutes. Uncover and cook the remaining liquid off then season.

                                                                                At this point I must admit to availing myself of the convenience of jarred salsa and the suggested feta alternative to the queso fresco. Essentially you prep your tortilla using his microwave method (which worked very well) and then you simply top the tortilla with some of the greens, a bit of cheese, and a dollop of salsa. I did jazz up my salsa with some cilantro, pickled jalapenos and a bit of hot sauce, and I would say the resulting salsa wasn't bad.

                                                                                Now for the tasting notes. The greens offer a bit of vegetal tang, especially when combined with the cheese, which when eaten together almost have a bit of a meaty texture. The salsa does help to round things out but I found the overall flavour to be a little one dimensional. Too much acid and not enough of anything else. That said, this could be the result of my jarred salsa or feta being too acidic. I would however recommend a touch more garlic, and quite a bit more onion, sauteed for closer to 20 minutes so that it contributes more flavour to the dish.

                                                                                I think the recipe works, and might be perfect as is for someone who loves braised greens, but for us we likely wouldn't repeat.

                                                                                PS forgive the very bad photo. The sun is actually out here in Vancouver which means for once I didn't need the light on in the dining room, but there wasn't enough light for the photo.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: delys77

                                                                                  I have this recipe with the spinach variation on my list to make sometime soon. I chose the spinach because it's just coming into season at a farm near us. After reading your report, Delys, I know just what I'm going to do: exactly as I braise any greens I want to cook. Lots of garlic, onion, evoo, red pepper flakes, chicken stock. Then carry on with the written recipe directions. In fact I think many other greens would suit the recipe as well.

                                                                                  We buy Israeli feta from Trader Joe's and like it better than any others. Mild, slightly salty, lovely texture. Thanks very much for the report!

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Thanks for the heads up Gio, I really hope Trader Joe's comes to Canada some day. I always here good things about their products. I think you are right in terms of the braised greens, go heavy on the other components to diversify the flavour profile.

                                                                                  2. re: delys77

                                                                                    Spinach Tacos with Caramelized Onion, Fresh Cheese, and Red Chile, Pg. 205

                                                                                    Pretty much following Delys's lead we made the soft tacos last night and without realizing it paired it with the Gulf Coast - Pilaf, which I thought went together very well. The spinach and combination of EVOO, red onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and chicken broth is very popular here and we one we make frequently. Not so much though, with feta (Israeli feta from Trader Joe's), spicy salsa (Green Mountain Gringo medium hot), and soft tacos. I did like the cheese with the greens and will do that again.

                                                                                    To be honest I have to say I enjoyed this more than did my husband but I don't think I'll be making it any time soon if ever. A Romaine salad with the Chipotle Dressing on page 58 was served along side.

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      I'm going to be odd woman out here and say we loved this. And just to make sure, I just MWd a tiny bit to retaste and still love it. Bob said afterwards he was prepared to hate it but that was AFTER he had a second taco :) I do have access to all the Mexican cheeses so used queso fresco. And I also made the Smoky Chipotle Salsa p.149 which is monstrously good. I'll definitely make it again. Actually though I made a half recipe we still have enough left for a couple more tacos. Oh, yeah, and we weren't impressed the other night with his method for heating tortillas. So we went back to our (non) healthy version of a little lard in a skillet and fry til it's just starting to brown.. Blot well with paper towels.

                                                                                      We had the Jicama Salad with Watercress, Romain and Lime-Cilantro Dressing. Definitely got our vegetables.

                                                                                  3. Quick Seared Poblano Beef Tips Pg. 292

                                                                                    I was quite excited to try this dish as I love beef tenderloin but I find I always want some other punchy flavours with it to offset the relative lean flavour of the filet.

                                                                                    Essentially you are meant to roast off some poblanos, de-skin, then reserve the sliced poblanos to be added to the dish midway through cooking. RB then has you quickly sear the beef (4 minutes), then reserve and add an onion and cubed potatoes (1 inch dice). These get sauteed for about about 8 to 9 minutes over medium high heat till they start to brown. In goes 1/2 a cup of broth/beer and a few tb of worcestershire, with a dash more salt. This is meant to cook uncovered over medium low heat for about 10 more minutes, at which point the sauce should be syrupy and the potatoes done. Mix in the beef, peppers, and some cilantro and heat through. Serve hot.

                                                                                    My challenge with the recipe was the timing. I recognize that everyone's tools will be different, but for me the onions (despite frequent stirring) were sticking and burning at about 6 minutes on a medium high heat. I ended up dropping the heat and adding the liquid after about 7 minutes. Next time I would go with a slightly lower heat and add a touch more oil to the ban before the onions and potatoes went in. Next they were meant to simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. I had a distinct feeling this wouldn't be enough to cook my potatoes so I covered for the full 10 minutes thinking I would uncover and reduce for a few minutes at the end. When I checked them they were still not done. In total I sauteed my potatoes for 7 minutes, cooked covered for about 20 minutes, and uncovered for another 7 minutes. This was just enough, they could have done with another minute or so.

                                                                                    Not to doubt Rick's directions I think his timing is way off on this one. A 1 inch diced potato will be hard pressed to cook through with an 8 minute saute and a low simmer for 10 minutes in an uncovered pan with just a half cup of liquid in it (the potatoes were far from submerged with a half cup of liquid in a 12 inch pan).

                                                                                    That said, this is a problem that is easily remedied with a bit of kitchen intuition, and my dinner was still on the table quickly and efficiently. Plus the flavours were great. The poblanos add a very slight warmth to the dish, and the combination of worcestershire, beef, and potatoes is always a winner for me. I would say the dish tasted great, and what's more it is a one pan meal.

                                                                                    Overall I would serve this again with a slightly finer dice on the potato, a tiny bit more oil for the sauté, a covered simmer for about 10 and hopefully an uncovered simmer for another 5-7.

                                                                                    I took a picture but it didn't turn out so well. I am finding so far that the brown hue's of most of thing I have made are not particularly photogenic. That isn't to say it isn't tasty though.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                                                      This recipe is on my short list to try. Thanks for the heads-up on the timing issue. I'll pay attention to how long it takes when I make it.

                                                                                      My only other comment is that a 12" skillet is pretty wide, I wonder if you'd have had better luck using a 9 or 10" skillet, or was the volume of the finished dish too much for the smaller skillet?

                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                        My bad DiningDiva, I meant 10 inch.

                                                                                    2. Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos with Avocado & Fresh Cheese (Tacos de Tinga Poblana) p.191

                                                                                      According to RB's notes, he first encountered this filling inside a torta in Puebla, but claims it is equally delicious as a taco filling. I'm going to have to agree with him on this one; it made for a most delightful meal folded up in a tortilla.

                                                                                      A blend of fire-roasted tomatoes, tinned chipotles w/some of the adobo sauce, worcestershire, oregano, garlic, and sliced onion (this was optional)are mixed in a bowl and poured over trimmed and cubed pork shoulder and small cubes of potato, and cooked until tender, which in my case was about 2 hours. An optional addition, which I didn't take, involves frying up some chorizo and stirring it into the pork when it is finished. Fat is skimmed, liquid is reduced if necessary, the pork is broken up into smaller bits and served atop warm corn tortillas, sprinkled with queso fresco and avocado.I made a half recipe using a dutch oven instead of the slow cooker. In a moment of distraction, I tossed in the full amount of salt instead of the reduced portion (of course just realizing this as my hand released the grains in slow motion into the pot), but it ended up being perfectly seasoned. I have noticed that I needed more salt in several of the recipes I've tried...

                                                                                      This was hearty and spicy and full of smoky flavours from the chipotle and the tomatoes, and I was surprised at how much I liked potatoes in a taco-this was a new one for me. I have a minor beef with the recipe (or should it be pork?!)--I think that the meat pieces should have been browned first, and I ignored that inner voice again. Whenever I found a large chunk of pork I thought it was lacking in depth. Sure enough, upon consulting Authentic Mexican, RB has you brown the meat and the onion first in what is essentially the same recipe. The potatoes also were overcooked and falling apart by the time the pork was tender, so perhaps next time I would be cutting the meat into much smaller pieces and skipping that step at the end.

                                                                                      While I thought these were very good as written, I do think there is room for improvement, and I'd like to try his method from Authentic Mexican to compare. My husband, however, who usually isn't a big pork lover, thought these were just fantastic. In fact, I was hard pressed to take a photo of the finished product because he kept stealing my subjects out from under the lens!

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                        Potatoes in tacos are pretty common in tacos in Mexico.

                                                                                        They are really common in taquitos/tacos dorados/rolled tacos (the name changes depending upon where you are <gg>). Mashed potato taquitos with some fresh salsa verde, sour cream and guac are decadently wonderful :-)

                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                          That sounds marvelous! After this eye-opening filling, I will most certainly be giving all those other potato taco recipes another glance.

                                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                          Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos with Avocado and Fresh Cheese, Pg. 191

                                                                                          Made this in a slow-cooker which is an option as Allegra mentioned, however I agree with her recommendation of browning the meat first. Although everything was cooked to a tender stage after 6 hours on high, there was not that extra something that comes from a piece of meat that has been seared first.

                                                                                          Instead of filling tacos with the meat and potatoes I served the tinga in a bowl, which is another option. Along side I served the Green Bean Salad with grilled bread so the meal was quite satisfying and filling.

                                                                                          My husband Loved this tinga. I wasn't all that thrilled. In my opinion the only thing a slow cooker is good for is making stock over night... There are certainly a lot of distinct and umami-laden flavors in this dish, I just think it all gets muddled in the slow cooker. There's quite a large container full in the fridge so I have a chance to give it another try. with a few tweaks here and there.

                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                            Fixed this yesterday and we thought/think they were great! I didn't brown the meat first and while that always improves anything done in the slow cooker, to me it was so flavorful that the extra effort and mess wouldn't have increased it enough to make it worthwhile. For us anyway. I adored the potatoes and that was something new for us also. I liked it better than rice but, of course, rice is so much easier. When it was sitting on low, I made a little well in the center and started spooning off fat. That worked quite well. And NOW this morning, we had it for breakfast! I fried up a decent portion in butter til nice and crispy and topped with a runny egg. And a buttered tortilla. This is definitely a keeper.

                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                              Almost a year later to the day, I made this for only the second time :) And still loved it. I made it this time with some boneless pork ribs cause they were 30% off%. I also didn't remove the seeds from the chipotles as we like more heat than many do. Had half an avocado lying about and some grated cheddar. LOTS for leftovers.

                                                                                          2. Guacamole Three Ways: Simple, Herby, or Luxurious p. 160

                                                                                            Pretty straightforward way to make guacamole. The "simple" recipe involves just mashing 2 avocados with a fork or potato masher and stirring in 1 finely chopped garlic clove and salt. That's it.

                                                                                            To make it "herby" you also mix in 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.

                                                                                            To make it "luxurious" you also mix in chopped hot chile to taste (he suggests 1 serrano or jalapeno), 1/4 small white onion (chopped), and 1/2 of a medium tomato (diced).

                                                                                            I've been making guacamole for years but decided to follow this recipe to see how mine stacks up... and both the recipe and final results were pretty much the same. I went only to the "herby" stage with cilantro and lime juice because I was busy trying to do 10 things at once and didn't have time to mess around with busting out gloves and chopping up a jalapeno. I liked the suggestion to use a potato masher. That made the process of mushing up the avocado much easier.

                                                                                            The guac itself was delicious. We enjoyed it as a starter with tortilla chips and on top of the fajitas we had for dinner. The next day I put it and some sliced turkey into a tortilla for a quick wrap to bring for lunch.

                                                                                            I didn't particularly need a recipe for guacamole but it would definitely be useful for someone who has never attempted it before.

                                                                                            1. Grilled Fish in Tangy Yucatecan Achiote w/ Green Beans and Roasted Tomato Salsa, pg. 175

                                                                                              It was all thumbs on deck the evening I made this. Despite my klutziness we really enjoyed the resulting dish.

                                                                                              I used a whole small bluefish rather than fillets, but otherwise followed the recipe. Well that is until I realized that my package of achiote paste was about 2 oz rather than 3.5, and so I reduced the lime juice proprtionally--the fish marinade is simple; achiote paste with fresh lime juice mixed in. Smear on the fish and set aside, easy enough.

                                                                                              The next component is string beans, blanched, drained, tossed in oil and salt, set aside to finish on the grill. Easy enough except the beans in the market that day were dreadful, I managed to pick a handful of passable ones out of the pile just to get the idea, and then went for a grilled squash as the balance of our veg. They were both fine with the dish, but for sure the grilled green beans were the better with the flavors.

                                                                                              And then there is the rustic roasted tomato salsa, reviewed below, but having decided to grill roast my ingredients for that, my timing on the charcoal fire got all kerfluey, and the upshot was having added some coals to my dwindling fire, it was to hot when I grilled the fish and we had pretty well charred fish skin. But let me say this marinade does its job, because despite the hot fire, and the fact that I'm still not sure how one spreads oil over a wet marinade as RB directs, the fish itself was delicious--moist and with a very wonderful subtle flavoring from the marinade. Achiote paste is a new ingredient for us, and we both loved it. This one is going to make multiple appearances around here this summer.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                Not that it is pretty, but here's the picture...

                                                                                              2. Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa, pg. 146

                                                                                                This really should be a snap, but not able to find a tin of fire roasted tomatoes, I went for grilling my own, and since I was grilling them why not roast the garlic and peppers (one serrano and one jalapeno in my case) too. Well, the tomato roasting went well, ditto the garlic, but darned if the serrano didn't explode. Thank goodness I was cooking outdoors. After that it was all easy--chop some onion, rinse and place in a serving bowl, pulse the roasted garlic and chile in a food processor, add the tomato, add this mixture to the onion, mix in some cilantro, add salt and lime juice to taste.

                                                                                                So, perhaps my exploding serrano was a good thing, because boy did this salsa have kick--maybe I bought the world's hottest jalapeno? Anyhoo, we loved the smokey flavors of this salsa, and it went very well with the grilled bluefish. Once good local tomatoes are in this will be a definite repeat.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  I made this salsa this afternoon and, once again, was surprised at how hot it was. I used only 1 jalapeno instead of the 2 suggested and it was still hot enough that I added a bunch of extra salt and lime juice... and my husband commented on how hot it was and he is someone who loves heat.

                                                                                                  I don't know what's up with the jalapenos in the store lately but it seems that they are much hotter than they have been in the past.

                                                                                                  In any case, my husband ate some of it with chips before he had to tap out. I will probably try to use the rest as a marinade for chicken or something along with more lime juice, salt, and lots of olive oil.

                                                                                                  1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                    I've been taking at least some of the seeds out since I've been having the same hot jalapeno problem.

                                                                                                2. Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens, p. 284

                                                                                                  I like to make an Italian style of beans and greens to have with pasta, so it stands to reason I'd like a Mexican version as well. In this recipe, you just cook up some chorizo, add some cooked or canned beans, some diced chipotle en adobo, and a little water. Bayless has you add steamed spinach or chard near the end of cooking. I changed this up a bit, and used collards, thinly sliced, which I sautéed along with the chorizo. The recipe calls for black beans, but I used the pinto beans I already had made (in the variations at the end, he says you can use any kind of bean). I intended to use the chipotle, but forgot to add it. It was fine anyway.

                                                                                                  A very humble, homey dish. Not something I'd serve company, but something I would eat often, especially on a weeknight. Great with cornbread, or corn tortillas.

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                    Mexican Beans with (Beef) and Greens - p 284

                                                                                                    I made a riff on this dish for lunch yesterday, where I followed the vegetarian instructions at the bottom of p 285, then added some diced leftover roast beef along with the beans and chiles. I omitted the cheese because I'm avoiding dairy at the moment. I think it came out just a little too watery for me, so I would reduce the liquid level somewhat next time around. Otherwise, it was a very yummy, simple lunch dish which was a great use for the extra beef in my fridge. I'd love to try this again with chorizo; I'm sure the flavours in the sausage would only make it more tasty.

                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                      I have to admit, there is water called for in the recipe that I either did not add, or added much less. I can't recall, but I forgot to mention it in my review above. I think I skipped it altogether. It has beed a trend for me cooking through this book, that most of the recipes call for more liquid than I want. It may be that the cooking/reducing times are too short, or that the added liquid is too much, but it seems that every time I opt to go easy on the water or broth.

                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                        Yes! I've noticed that, too - the liquid level in a lot of these recipes is too high for me. I'm also finding that there isn't enough spice. I don't like to change a recipe before I've tried it as written at least once, though...

                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                          You can see on my post about the Guajillo-Spiced Pork and Potatoes, below, that when I compared the weight of chiles called for and the number called for, you had to use twice the number to get the right weight. So I went for the weight (twice the number) and was glad I did. Given that experience, I get your point about spice. If I had used half the chiles (the number called for), I don't think I would have liked the dish nearly as much. Also, I am finding when I taste for seasoning, I need to add quite a bit more salt to the dishes. So, from what I've seen so far, I'd tend to agree with you on the food being a bit underseasoned.

                                                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                      Mexican Beans with Chorizo and Greens Pg. 284

                                                                                                      I tried my hand at this last night and we quite liked it. I had recently made some bulk chorizo from the home sausage making book so I thought this would be a good opportunity to use some of it up. I followed the recipe pretty closely except that I too simply cooked the spinach in the pot, but I tossed it in at the very end. I also cut the water back to about 1 cup and went with about 14 oz of chorizo. I found this struck a very good balance.

                                                                                                      The resulting dish is toothsome with little curds of ground chorizo contrasting the soft beans and greens. I used feta and it added a slightly creamy component, that went very well with the rice I served the dish with. Easy, healthy, weeknight ready meal that satisfies a hankering for starch and for meat with a healthy serving of greens.

                                                                                                      Very much enjoyed this.

                                                                                                    3. Jalapeno-Baked Fish with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes, p. 239.

                                                                                                      Made this last night for a family dinner, and it was indeed simple, tasty, and likely to be made again! It's almost a one-pot meal, with your fish filets resting on top of a layer of sliced potatoes, plus a top layer of fire-roasted canned tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and canned sliced pickled jalapeno peppers (with a TB of their juice) which have been whirled together in a FP or blender. That's pretty much it. Bake the dish at 400 F for 15-20 minutes until done, sprinkle with more chopped cilantro, and spoon each fish-potato-sauce portion onto the plates. (To make it truly a one-pot meal, Bayless suggests adding some steamed peas to the finished recipe.)

                                                                                                      Flavorful and attractive with the red sauce, white potatoes, white fish, and green cilantro. As Bayless suggested, I also added some dried Mexican oregano to the sauce before baking. Next time I think I will up the flavors even more by stirring in the suggested classic Veracruzana additions of some chopped olives and capers.

                                                                                                      I'm liking Bayless' cheerful tone and acceptance of shortcuts like using the microwave: the potato slices are first nuked for 4-5 minutes to tenderize them and shorten the oven-baking time. (You could accomplish the same thing, of course, by briefly boiling them on the stove.) He also allows for using bottled tomato salsa to streamline the recipe even more, but honestly, it takes next to no time to open up a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic), toss in the
                                                                                                      other ingredients and puree away.

                                                                                                      All manner of 3/4 - 1 inch fish filets or steaks could be baked this way. I used the two varieties that I had: cod filets and yellowtail flounder, which last I folded in half to make them as thick as my cod filets and balance out the baking time.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                        Jalapeño-Baked Fish with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes (Pescado Horneado al Jalapeño) p. 239


                                                                                                        Healthy, quick, one-pot cooking…this dish held a lot of promise, but it was underwhelming for us. We made ours with striped bass.

                                                                                                        I do like Goblin's suggestion of adding capers and olives. Maybe even adding some sort of heat or more jalapeños to add some more punch. I would also salt and pepper the fish before baking. As is, not a repeater for us.

                                                                                                      2. Adobo Marinade (Adobo de Chile Ancho) p. 140


                                                                                                        Chopped garlic is cooked in olive oil until fragrant, then ancho puree (ancho chiles are toasted then soaked in water and pureed), water, cider vinegar, salt and Mexican oregano. The original recipe calls for ancho chile powder, but Bayless suggests the ancho puree for a more “harmonious flavor.”

                                                                                                        We marinaded chicken thighs overnight. We then grilled the bone-in, skin on chicken. They were moist with deliciously crispy skin and had an enticing lacquered look. The taste was slightly sweet and smoky and it subtlety seasoned the chicken.

                                                                                                        We served them as tacos inside corn tortillas with roasted tomatillo salsa.

                                                                                                        I’ve seen a couple different versions of this marinade that use guajillo chiles or a combination of guajillo and anchos. Some even have cumin and chiles de arbol (for some heat). I’ll have to experiment and see which version we like best.

                                                                                                        1. Snapper with Zucchini and Toasty Garlic Mojo (Huachinango al Mojo de Ajo con Calabacitas) p. 245


                                                                                                          A roasted garlic oil is created by lightly toasting garlic in olive oil. The garlic is removed and processed with chicken broth, salt and pepper to make a sauce.

                                                                                                          The fish (cobia was what I found in the freezer) is cooked in the garlic oil and kept warm in the oven. Then zucchini cubes are cooked in the same oil until lightly browned. Finish with chopped cilantro and the garlic puree. Spoon this over the fish. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

                                                                                                          A very pleasant dinner. The taste of the gently roasted garlic was delicious as it flavored both the zucchini and fish. Both of us enjoyed this and would make again. The zucchini was so delicious, I might even make that alone if I wasn’t in the mood for fish.

                                                                                                          Because we enjoyed this lighter version, when I’m in the mood to splurge, I’ll have to try the original version of mojo de ajo.

                                                                                                          1. Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans pg. 267
                                                                                                            I thought this turned out pretty well. It wasn't very spicy, but it was flavorful. I used cilantro not green onions. Next time I will make a salsa to go with it. I added a little bit of sour cream. The leftovers were pretty tasty too.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Lihinggummybear

                                                                                                              Oh good was planning on making this and thought a little crema would be nice with it. I'm a spice wimp so it appealed for that very reason. Got my ancho chile powder at Penzeys today, smells wonderful.

                                                                                                              1. re: Lihinggummybear

                                                                                                                I made this awhile back, and used chipotle chile powder instead of ancho... Didnt think it would matter much. If you want lots of heat that's the way to go. My SO asked if I was trying to kill him.

                                                                                                                1. re: Lihinggummybear

                                                                                                                  Red Chile Chicken and Rice with(out) Black Beans p 267

                                                                                                                  As I mentioned above, I made this before awhile back, but used chipotle chile powder, which made it unbearably hot. So I was excited to try it again because this kind of thing is my ultimate comfort food.

                                                                                                                  You start by rubbing some of the chile powder on some chicken breasts. The book calls for 4 breasts, or 1.25-1.5lbs. Since I have Frankenchicken breasts I only had 2 that were about 20oz. Then you brown them for a couple minutes on each side in a large pot/dutch oven. After that you remove them from the pot and add in the onions and rice and stir around until translucent. I only used 1tbsp of oil for the browning, and added in 2 more tsp of oil to do the rice/onion part, so I didn't need the full 2 tbsp. Then, you add in the garlic and the rest of the ancho chile powder, cook for a minute, then add in the chicken broth. You bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and cover the pot and let it cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you cut the chicken (which is still raw on the inside) into cubes and add it after the 10 minutes is up. You would also add the beans at this point, but I don't like beans so I didn't add them. I did add a bit more broth because I'm learning that liquid seems to evaporate faster here, maybe due to the altitude. Anyway, then you cover and cook it for 12 more minutes. After that you test the rice and cook for another 5 minutes if needed, otherwise you take it off the heat let it sit for 5-10 more to let it finish cooking in its own steam. You can also add green onions or herbs at this point, but I didn't have either, my green onions went bad before I could use them.

                                                                                                                  I really enjoyed this despite it not being the prettiest dish, and I will like having the leftovers too. It is a bit on the hot side, I thought, so it probably just depends on your ancho chile powder and its heat level. He suggests you can serve with salsa, but I also didn't have any or the ingredients to make some so I just ate alone. Tomorrow for my lunch I'm going to make it into a wrap sort of thing with a flour tortilla. Last time I made this I also added some frozen corn towards the end of the cooking and it was nice to have that bit of sweetness added in.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Lihinggummybear

                                                                                                                    Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans, p. 267

                                                                                                                    Folks, we have a runaway hit on our hands. This dish was good, far better than expected actually. Juliejulez describes the technique so I will just report on my "riffs." I used boneless skinless thighs instead of breasts, and was glad I did and would make that change again as the thighs were nice and juicy in this preparation. For the chile, I used half ancho and half smoked paprika, which is an option mentioned in the riffs. The smoked paprika added so much great flavor, I would do this again as well. For the rice, I used calasparra, a Spanish paella rice that has been sitting unused in my cupboard since Spanish month last year! I was really happy with this delicious rice and certainly will be looking for more easy ways to use it. I garnished with both spring onion greens and chopped cilantro, used extra of each, and that was good since I didn't have any salsa to go with it. This dish was gutsy and robust from the garlic, onion and chiles, though not at all spicy. I would have liked some salsa to add heat, but even without it, this was a very flavorful dish. I worried that the texture would be too dry, but this dish had a great paella-type texture, which was most welcome. I was a bit surprised how much my family LOVED this dish, especially my kids! It is going on the "do again" list for sure. It always warms my heart when they eat all their dinner and ask for seconds!

                                                                                                                  2. Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, p. 154

                                                                                                                    I had plenty of tomatillos left over after making Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas and came upon this recipe when looking for something to use them in. At first we just used it as a dip for chips, but I noticed his variation using it for a pasta salad. (Before I forget, I did add a dash of Worcestershire to the basic recipe, per the "riffs", which I believe did add a depth of flavor. It was, as he writes, a richer version of raw tomatillo salsa). But it was even better in the pasta salad, to which I added cooked chicken, crumbled Mexican queso fresco (again, left-over from the Enchiladas), and chopped cilantro (just add the salsa & pasta water to taste, depending on how much of the other ingredients you are using). I do have to warn that even though I used a non-stick skillet to brown the tomatillos, they still stuck a little. So he's not kidding when he suggests laying foil down in a pan that's not non-stick. Fantastic served at room-temperature, which he suggests.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                      Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, p. 154, Mexican Everyday

                                                                                                                      A good version of Tomatillo Salsa. Easy to make and a necessary component for several dishes in this book. I roasted the onions and the serrano before adding them to the mixture.

                                                                                                                      Served it alongside Bacon Wrapped Shrimp off the website one night and Achiote Roasted Pork Tacos with Pickled Red Onions, p. 170 Mexican Kitchen another night.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                        I'll remember to roast the onions & peppers next time - great idea! And those pairings sound wonderful.

                                                                                                                      2. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                        I've made this salsa a few times over the past week and I agree, those tomatillos are very sticky and it's like kryptonite in the pan. The ONLY thing I've ever had trouble getting off my wonderful, meticulously cared-for Calphalon nonstick pans is that blackened tomatillo juice. Next time I am going to try putting them under the broiler on top of some foil on a cookie sheet.

                                                                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                          Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, p. 154

                                                                                                                          I made this to use in the Salmon with Luxurious Green Pipian. I was going to be serving a heat-averse friend, so I originally decided to go with one of the options he mentions in the riffs, making it with a roasted and peeled poblano. Unfortunately, my poblano lacked not only heat (expected), but flavor. So I ended up also adding a jalapeño, minus most of its seeds and ribs. I coarsely chopped the onion and chucked it in the food processor with the rest, because the recipe it was destined for has you puree the salsa until smooth. I didn't have any trouble with the tomatillos sticking to the pan, but perhaps they were less juicy than others'.

                                                                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                            I made the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa tonight to go with the Black Bean and Chorizo Subs - it was quite good. I used one jalapeno and found it spicy but not too hot. I may add a squeeze of lime or dash of worcestershire sauce to the leftovers, but it's delicious as is.

                                                                                                                          2. Achiote Roasted Pork Tacos with Pickled Red Onions, p. 170 Mexican Kitchen

                                                                                                                            This is a great weeknight recipe because the meat can be braised the night before and then served then next day. It would also be a great dish to make ahead to freeze. This recipe calls for making your own achiote paste, then using that paste to marinade and slow cook pork shoulder. The meat is then shredded and used as taco filling. My go to recipe is from Border Grill but I think this one is easier. Achiote, the key ingredient in this recipe, imparts a sour tangy flavor that is hard to describe but very delicious to eat. As I said, it calls for making your own paste, but if you are not inclined you could easily substitute achiote paste sold at most good Mexican markets. The Pickled Red Onions accompany this recipe, (p. 172), and contrast nicely with the richness of this dish.

                                                                                                                            ETA: Oops! Should have posted this one in the adjunct thread. Adding it there as well.

                                                                                                                            1. Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos, p. 198, Mexican Everyday

                                                                                                                              This is to my mind, a non-recipe, as it really just is a quick version of fajitas. But, if you are looking for a quick weeknight taco filling, look no further. These tacos were very flavorful, the lime juice and garlic added at the end really tied everything together. Would also make a killer filing for quesadillas. I used sweet red peppers and poblanos, Served Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, p. 154, alongside.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                I see what you mean about it being a bit of a "non-recipe" dk. Though I'd put it on the menu for the week ahead, I hadn't read through the recipe yet. Essentially:

                                                                                                                                Roast & skin Poblanos, combine w some sauteed onion slices and finally add the seasoned (S&P, lime) cooked chicken strips.

                                                                                                                                Glad you pointed this out as I think I'll make the Yucatecan Garlic-Spice Marinade RB mentions in the head note and let my chx breasts marinade in that before preparing this.

                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                  Green chile chicken (and tofu) soft tacos - p. 198

                                                                                                                                  This was snap to throw together at the end of a very long day out. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, and had a separate pan going with some herbed tofu for the vegetarians. The lime and garlic flavours added a lovely zing to the chicken, which would otherwise be a bit boring IMO. I couldn't find poblanos, so I used one anaheim chile and really couldn't taste it at all, especially since I made the mistake of following RB's instructions not to use the seeds. Next time I'll use more peppers, and more onions too... because really, you can't go wrong with caramelized onions.

                                                                                                                                  It was so easy to get this going, heat some corn tortillas in the oven, smash together a quick batch of guacamole and microwave some green beans to serve with leftover green bean salad dressing to get a top-notch meal on the table in 30 minutes. A total win for a starving horde of six people.

                                                                                                                                2. Puntas de Filete al Chile Poblano (Riff with Pork Tenderloin)
                                                                                                                                  Pag 292-93

                                                                                                                                  I made this recipe using the riff suggesting pork tenderloin. Since most of the tenderloins we get here are 2 each to a package, I used one and froze the other. Also, mindful of the timing issues Delys77 had I paid closer attention than I might have otherwise. I also took photos of what the dish looked like as it was cooking.

                                                                                                                                  Pork and poblanos is a great combinations, so the recommendation to use it is a good one. I was going to use dark beer but when I opened the bottle I had gotten for the recipe I thought it was too strong and too heavy for the dish so I used beef stock. Otherwise I made the recipe exactly as written with no other alterations.

                                                                                                                                  My 93 year old mother love the dish. I liked it, but it didn't knock my socks off. Will I make it again? Probably.

                                                                                                                                  RB calls out a 12" skillet for preparing the recipe. Based on Delys77 experience using the 12" skillet, I opted to use a 10" one. Good call, I could still sear the meat in one layer and it held the whole dish when finished. I was getting a good sear but a lot of splattering so I put a splatter screen over the pan, which unforutnately, caused some steaming to occur so I didn't end up with as much sear as I would have liked, but it had not affect on the final product. Since pork tendloin doesn't have a lot of fat, I was careful not to overcook it and did 4-5 minutes before taking it out of the pan

                                                                                                                                  I used Yukon gold potatoes and tried to get them cubed evenly so they've cook evenly. The potato cooking time was pretty close to the time RB recommends. I think I only went 1-2 minutes over the 8-10 he recommends in the recipe. I did add a scant 1/4 of extra liquid for the last couple of minutes. Even though they were still a smidge on the al dente side when I added everything back into the pan, but the time it was all heated through the potatoes had finished cooking.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                    Looks great DD. your potatoes look very well diced. In my case I ay have simply cut them to big.

                                                                                                                                  2. Seafood Salad Tacos with Tomato, Radish, and Habanero, p. 203

                                                                                                                                    I started making this thinking I had everything I needed already on hand. You know how that goes.

                                                                                                                                    The recipe calls for small, cooked shrimp. I had large raw shrimp in the freezer, so I thawed them, cut each one into three pieces, and gave them a quick sauté. The shrimp are mixed with lime juice, onion, radishes, diced habanero, tomatoes and cilantro. Season to taste with salt, and you're done. I discovered at the last minute that the habaneros I thought I had in the fridge had gone bad, and Mr. MM had eaten all the radishes (he does that a lot). So the radishes got omitted, and a serrano got substituted for the habanero. I did serve some habanero hot sauce alongside.

                                                                                                                                    These were good. Given the ingredients, how could they not be? As much as I like a taco of almost any sort, I felt that I liked this better sans tortilla. It was a lot like a ceviche, or maybe something that couldn't decide if it wanted to be a ceviche, a salad, or a shrimp cocktail. I found myself really wishing it had avocado in it. It was good, but the thing is, I can make a ceviche, salad, or shrimp cocktail that I like better.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                      This one is a keeper in our house. We both loved the tart/spicy/fresh flavor profile. I made this tonight, along with the green bean and onion salad. Perfect for the really hot weather we're having in Boston. I also had only jumbo shrimp, so I cut those up, used two Thai bird chiles instead of habanero (we both could have used more heat), and halved grape tomatoes. B had a small bowl of it after we ate our tacos, so also liked it as a ceviche-esque dish. We had some leftover, so I'll be adding more tomato, chile, radish, and cilantro for tomorrow. Hope it tastes as good as it did tonight!

                                                                                                                                    2. Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa p. 158

                                                                                                                                      Bayless says that "you can think of this salsa as a not-too-smooth fresh green version of your typical bottled rusty-orange hot sauce." I should have paid more attention to that description, but it was suggested as a side to the chicken dish I'm making tonight so I made this salsa.

                                                                                                                                      You slice 4 ounces of fresh hot green chiles (jalapenos, serranos, Hungarian wax, habaneros) in half and put cut side down on a baking sheet along with 4 garlic cloves. Broil on the highest rack of the oven for a minute or two until peppers are softened and black.

                                                                                                                                      You then put the roasted chiles and garlic into a blender or food processor and blend it up with 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup of water. Bayless states that you should taste it "cautiously" and add salt as needed.

                                                                                                                                      It was fast and easy to make. I was lulled into a false sense of security, though, when he described jalapenos as "not too hot" and as having a "natural juicy sweetness". When I first tried this salsa straight out of the blender, the top of my head nearly blew off and the taste buds on my tongue just about died. Even after adding lots more fresh lime juice, salt, and a bit of olive oil, this salsa is seriously hot for normal people who don't eat raw jalapenos or habaneros as a snack.

                                                                                                                                      I like the idea of a roasted jalapeno salsa but next time I will totally have to come up with something on my own. Half as many chiles, twice as much lime juice, etc. I'm happy to have learned the method of making such a salsa but this recipe is way too hot for me and I'm pretty sure that it will be too hot for my hot-sauce-loving husband as well.

                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                        Perfect timing for your review Njchica! I was just getting ready to start this (I'm making the chicken tomorrow), so I think I'll do 2 jalapenos instead of 3. 3 was going to be about 5oz of jalapenos so that would probably be too much! I figure you can always make something more hot but it's pretty hard to "un heat" something.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                          You may also want to take some of the seeds out of the jalapenos as well. This stuff is seriously hot.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                            I definitely will. I like hot and it's just me eating it, but I don't want it so hot that I'm not going to enjoy eating more than a little bit.

                                                                                                                                            One time I made a tomatillo jalapeno salsa that was so hot that my eyes watered when I opened the container.. that's not good!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                              I just finished it... I used 2 jalapenos that were 3.7 ounces together, so almost what it called for. I did take out over half the seeds though, so that helped. It still had a very pleasant heat... not so much that I had to drink water right after, but enough so you know it's there. I'm excited to eat it tomorrow w/ the chicken and I think it's something my SO will like eating when he comes home this weekend, it's not too hot for him I don't think. He loves green salsas.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                            It's so bizarre that hot peppers vary so greatly in that capsaicin bite for each one--I made a salsa using 3 jalapenos the other day, and they were so mild that I may as well just have used green bells. Then I roasted a single poblano for something else, and it left the skin on my hands burning for hours--not to mention my eyeballs after removing my contacts later that evening!
                                                                                                                                            I've started testing out every single chile I use before deciding how much to add.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                I planted jalapenos today, and posted about it on facebook, and a friend of mine told me that because of the drought last year, that the capsaicin in many peppers was magnified... a friend of hers got actual burns on her hands from the seeds from her jalapenos.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. I don't use fresh Mexican chile all that often, but finding the Jalapenos and Serrano that I bought for these dishes way hotter than I expected them to be.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                I made this last night and since this is all about the cookbook, I followed the directions, which made no mention of deseeding the chiles (which I know is often done). I used jalapenos, which are usually pretty weak in stores where I am, but with the seeds in it was really too spicy (even spicier than some of the habanero salsa I had in Mexico in March), and I am strongly spice-tolerant. I could only use about 1/2 teaspoon with a chicken breast. There is some nice flavor in there, but I will certainly deseed next time, and I recommend that to anyone unless their jalapenos are really mild, or they want super-hot salsa.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                  We quite liked this, but I have to admit that we used it very very sparingly as it was very fiery. Much like the other users, I was a bit surprised by how intense the jalapeños were. I think in future I might add a bit more garlic and de-seed some or all of the peppers. As is we really liked it, but I think we would be able to enjoy it more if we could be a little less judicious in our slathering of the salsa.

                                                                                                                                                2. Slow-Cooked Chicken with Tomatillos, Potatoes, Jalapenos, and Fresh Herbs, pp. 261-263

                                                                                                                                                  I made this for my SO tonight for our Cinco de Mayo dinner. Since my slow cooker tends to dry out meat, I made the quicker oven version, and I used sweet potatoes rather than potatoes as suggested in the Riff. We really enjoyed this recipe- the chicken was very flavorful and the roasted tomatillos were delicious. My only quibble is that the sliced sweet potatoes were not quite done enough, even though I baked it for 10 minutes longer than the suggested time. Next time, I'll cube them up very small.

                                                                                                                                                  This has the feel of a peasant dish- very simple, but hearty and with good flavors.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Red Chile Steak with(out) Beans (Puntas en Chile Colorado con Frijoles) p 278-281

                                                                                                                                                    OK so Chile Colorado is pretty much my favorite Mexican dish. There's a restaurant in Clovis, CA, where my folks live, that makes a great one. So this had a lot to live up to. It didn't disappoint, it was very good and had the flavors I was in search of. It lacked the "depth" of the one I get in California, but theirs is a slow cooked version, done over hours, so for a dish that takes under an hour, this one is great! Oh, I left out the beans because I don't like beans.

                                                                                                                                                    First you start by cubing up some beef. It calls for NY steak or tenderloin. I only had sirloin in the freezer so that's what I used. Turns out I didn't quite have 20ounces either, once the fat was cut off and it cooked, I only had 15 ounces of meat. So, this was only 3 servings for me.

                                                                                                                                                    You brown the meat in bacon fat, and then take the beef off the pan, and then you brown/soften some onions that have been sliced 1/4" thick. Then you remove those. I opted to make this with the powders as written, but there is a riff to do with dried chile pods. You combine more bacon grease, flour, garlic, and the chile powders (both ancho and chipotle). Then add in beef broth and whisk until a thicker sauce was formed. Then you add in a small can of fire roasted tomatoes, mexican oregano, and cumin. Then you bring to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You taste after that, and add salt and a bit of sugar if needed, mine needed it. Add the meat and onions back in and let it bubble away for a few more minutes.

                                                                                                                                                    Overall this was a very easy dish to do and it had amazing flavor for it taking less than an hour. It had a decent amount of heat too. If you don't want the heat, the book says you can just use ancho chile powder in place of the chipotle chile powder.

                                                                                                                                                    I served with some flour tortillas to sop up the sauce, and a salad on the side with a tomatillo and jalapeno dressing (not from the book). I sort of used his method on p214 to warm up the tortillas... wrap them in wet paper towels then put in a plastic bag and zap in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I only had 2 so it didn't take as long as he says in the instructions.

                                                                                                                                                    This will be my lunch for the next 2 days so hopefully it will be good reheated... I'm thinking it'll be even better, much like chili is. Oh, and calories for the dish itself was 420, so not bad whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                      Just wanted to report back that this was even better when eaten for lunch today, as I suspected it might be. The flavors were deeper. I reheated on a plate wrapped in paper towels for 2 minutes, and it didn't dry out the beef at all like it sometimes can. Very good.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                        Red Chile Steak with Beans - p 279

                                                                                                                                                        My take on this dish would probably be more accurately named "Red Chile Beans with Steak". I had a couple of vegetarians at the table and wanted them to be able to eat this dish, so I grilled the steaks whole on the BBQ and cooked up the sauce/bean part on its own. Then those who wanted it with steak could simply mix them together on the plate. This worked out extremely well. Three out of five of us thought it was too spicy, though, even though I used the "lower-heat" option of only including ancho chile powder since I have no chipotle powder. Personally I thought it could have been spicier, like just about every other dish I've made in this cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                        This was a very simple and tasty dish, and added a nice splash of colour to the plate. However, although I've never eaten it before, I think I understand what you mean, juliejulez, about it lacking a certain depth of flavour. I'd be interested in trying a slower-cooked version of this recipe sometime, just to see if I could achieve an even tastier result, but in the meantime I'll be quite happy to make this one again and to reheat it with some of the leftover roast beef I have sitting in my fridge.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                          geekmom, I have this recipe for Chile Colorado that I've been saving for awhile, it seems to have pretty good reviews http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chile-co... It's definitely a slow cooked dish... goes for 3 hours.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks! I'll let you know when I try it.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                          Red Chile Steak with Beans, page 279-281
                                                                                                                                                          Puntas en Chile Colorado con Frijoles

                                                                                                                                                          In a fit of enthusiasm, I bought a package of flap meat at Costco yesterday. And as with everything "warehouse" this was a lot of meat. Tonight's dinner was NOT done in under an hour but I will have enough leftovers to feed us many times.

                                                                                                                                                          I started by making the ancho puree [page 141] which is easy enough to do. Toast the anchos [I did half the recipe or 2oz] and then cover with hot water for thirty minutes. Drain the peppers and put them in a blender with 1 cup of water and let it rip.

                                                                                                                                                          Obviously, I used flap steak, not NY strip or tenderloin. I cut the meat into 1 x 1/2 inch cubes since I know that we will want tacos and/or burritos later on. The meat is browned which took forever with 3 1/2 lbs of meat. I used a combination of bacon fat and olive oil and was able to use a bit less than the amount in the recipe. The meat is reserved while you cook sliced onions until browned but still firm. The pantry fairy forgot to mention that we were almost out of onions, so I might have been a little short on the amount of onion. This is reserved with the meat.

                                                                                                                                                          A little more oil in the pan and you fry the ancho puree, garlic and in my case, homemade chipolte in adobe purree for a minute before adding some beef stock. I took the "liquidy" cautions to heart and only added 2 cups of stock, not 4 1/2 called for. This is cooked into a sauce, whisking to prevent burning before adding the tomato , oregano and cumin. I didn't need the sugar and only used 2/3 of the tomato amount. The meat and onions is thrown back in and simmered.

                                                                                                                                                          I simmered for about 40 minutes. I had made some black beans in the pressure cooker and served them on the side. They were fairly plain, just cooked with some onion and bay leaf. We found the chile sauce was delicious as it mingled with the beans on the plate.

                                                                                                                                                          A simple avocado salad was our only other side dish.

                                                                                                                                                          We both thought that this dish was wonderful. Not a hot spicy dish, but nicely balanced. I might add some hotter peppers to some of the leftovers if I need something with a bit more kick.

                                                                                                                                                        3. Guajillo-Spiced Pork and Potatoes, p. 276

                                                                                                                                                          This would be a very easy slow-cooked dish, if you don't do what I did. I asked the butcher for some pork shoulder, and he gave me a blade roast (bone-in), and I took it without looking at it, and only discovered once I was home that I would have to do a little extra work on this one. The blade roast not only has the bone in, but also is untrimmed, with large areas of fat that you don't want in a stew, so there was a lot of trimming to do. I ended up with 2 1/2 lbs of cubed meat, and used it all, so I had a little bit more meat in my stew than called for.

                                                                                                                                                          I've noticed in some recipes in this book that the weights and volume measures don't seem very well aligned. This recipe was no exception. I used 1.5 lbs of potatoes, as called for, which turned out to be 3 Yukon Golds, not 6, as stated. And 2 oz of guajillo chiles turned out to be about 16, twice the 8 called for (I used 16, and would do so again).

                                                                                                                                                          The preparation itself is incredibly simple. Cubed pork shoulder and potatoes are piled into a slow cooker or a large pot (I used the oven method, so a pot, in my case). The chiles are deseeded, toasted, and pureed in a blender with canned tomatoes, garlic, Mexican oregano, worcestershire sauce, salt, and water. This sauce is poured over the meat and potatoes, and it goes into a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 - 3 hours (I used the longer time).

                                                                                                                                                          When it comes out of the oven, you are instructed to stir the stew, and if the sauce is too thick, to thin it with some water. I think Mr. Bayless and I have a difference of opinion on how thick a sauce should be. I took the meat and potatoes out of the pot, and simmered it until it reduced by about 25%, then returned them to the pot. This gave me a thick, rich, deep red sauce, which was what I had in mind for this dish. I tasted for seasoning and added a bit more salt. This is supposed to be served garnished with some cilantro and onion, but I simply forgot to do the garnish and served plain, with black beans and rice on the side.

                                                                                                                                                          This dish offers a lot of reward for very little work (assuming you start out with boneless pork). It is delicious and hearty. This will definitely be repeated at casa MM. There is no picture on the book, so I don't know how far my extra-thickened sauce was from what Bayless intended, but I will continue to do it my way.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                            This sounds fabulous, and yay, found a recipe online! (My copy is still on hold at the library-hope it comes in before the month is up).


                                                                                                                                                          2. Pollo Veracruzana (with modifications) - pg. 265 I think.

                                                                                                                                                            I love almost anything Veracruzana style. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers and pickled jalapeños. What's not to love. For me a Veracruzana is the perfect combination of old world Spanish/Moorish traditions with new world ingredients, not to mention it's almost always a really simple dish to make. I have a standard Veracruzana sauce that I usually make, but when I come across a new recipe I will almost always try it.

                                                                                                                                                            The RB version in this book is for chicken and is done in a slow cooker, or in the oven. I did none of it...not chicken, not slow cooker, not oven.

                                                                                                                                                            The recipe has one combine in a bowl a large can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, a bunch of minced garlic, some pickled jalapeño strips, a bit of dried thyme, ground clove and ground canela along with some salt. The potatoes are layered into the bottom of the slow cooker, the chicken on top, the sauce poured over and the whole thing simmered for several hours. The oven version has the chicken going into a baking dish first, then the potatoes, then the sauce, covering with foil and then baking. With both versions, once done, the dish is finished with sliced olives and chopped parsley.

                                                                                                                                                            I wasn't so much interested in the protein or the method as much as I was in the sauce itself since it contained neither onions nor capers. So I made the sauce as written, put it in a skillet, brought it to a simmer and let it go for 7 or 8 minutes. Then I slipped in some Pacific rock cod filet and cooked them for another 7 or 8 minutes. The potatoes I cooked on the side.

                                                                                                                                                            The fish (which is the traditional protein) was fine, the potatoes were fine, didn't love the sauce. In fact, I didn't even like the sauce. In spite of a heathy dose of pickled jalapeño strips and enough salt, the sauce was flat and fairly uninteresting. Now that could be because the flavor develops better during slow cooking or baking and not on the stove top, but compared to other Veracruzanas I've made this one doesn't cut it.

                                                                                                                                                            I would, however, encourage anyone interested in this recipe to go ahead and try it and form your own opinion. Mine may be somewhat biased since I have other Veracruzana recipes I like and by the fact I didn't really adhere to the intent of the recipe, which was to be a slow cooker chicken dish. I've had this cookbook a long time and have cooked a lot from it, this is the first real fail I've had from it. Your mileage may be different

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                              Chicken a la Veracruzana, Pork Variation, Pgs. 254-265

                                                                                                                                                              After paying close attention to DiningDiva's description and assessment of this recipe we cooked the meat, vegetables and sauce in the slow-cooker 5 hours on high as per Chef Bayless's direction.

                                                                                                                                                              With no substitutions I used 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, almost 3 pounds pork shoulder, 6 pickled jalapeno sliced into strips, increased the garlic from 3 to 6 cloves, Worcestershire, dried thyme/cloves/cinnamon, Mexican oregano. and fire-roasted canned tomatoes. The pork was sliced into 1" chunks, the potatoes into 6 wedges then because we deemed the wedges to be quite large, quartered them. Potatoes and meat layered then sauce poured over, cover, cook.

                                                                                                                                                              At the 5 hour mark we tasted a bit of meat and sauce and found the meat tender and juicy , and the sauce spicy with a slight burn from the jalapenos and garlic. The spice flavors were noticeable with cinnamon being more pronounced. The sauce was thin. Bayless says this would keep on the Warm setting for up to 4 hours, but since the Basmati rice was already cooked and waiting all we had to do was steam asparagus, so the meat and sauce were only on Warm for about 20 minutes or so.

                                                                                                                                                              When serving meat and potatoes are heaped onto each dinner plate leaving behind the sauce. We removed the meat and potatoes left in the pot to another bowl, and chopped Manzanilla olives and Italian parsley were stirred into the sauce remaining in the pot. This the was ladeled over the meat and potatoes. Basmati and rice were served along side.

                                                                                                                                                              While I didn't think the sauce was terriblly bland I did feel the main flavor was salt and cinnamon. The meat was still tender but not as juicy as at first sample. I wasn't thrilled with this dish but my expections were on the high side. Something seemed to be lost during those 20 minutes of wait time. I didn't like the potatoes here at all. G, on the other hand, thought everything was delicious and ate it all with abandon. [Insert shrug here]

                                                                                                                                                            2. Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tangy with Tangy Yucatecan Spices, Seasonal Vegetables and Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa
                                                                                                                                                              (Sorry not sure of the page and don't have the book with me).

                                                                                                                                                              My apologies all for posting another review without a page number, but I've left the book at home and I want to get these reviews down before my memory of the dish fades.

                                                                                                                                                              This was a big hit at our place. The parents in law came over for dinner on Saturday and the weather was spectacular so I fired up the BBQ. All the dinner guests were very satisfied with this punchy little dish.

                                                                                                                                                              Essentially you make a marinade out of lots of crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar, some cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil. The resulting marinade is definitely very tangy from the vinegar, but in a good way. Rick doesn't call for marinating for any specific length of time, but I thought I should get my chicken mixed in with the marinade for at least a few hours before cooking. I ended up marinating for about 2 hours and this was fine, the vinegar didn't cook the protein, but the marinade had done a pretty good job of penetrating the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                              Rick has you rub the chicken with only half the marinade, the other half goes into a pot with a bit of salt and some stock to be simmered as a sauce for the finished chicken.

                                                                                                                                                              Next Rick suggests you steam the vegetables (zucchini in my case) in the microwave. I wasn't so pressed for time so gently sauteed mine in a pan with some garlic laced olive oil until they were a touch browned and well softened. Next I grilled the chicken over a medium charcoal fire (mine was a bit too hot) for about 5 minutes, then placed them over indirect heat for about 10-12 more minutes until they were done.

                                                                                                                                                              I assembled family style, placing the zucchini on the platter, topping with the chicken, and then drizzling some of the sauce over all of it. I must admit the sauce is extremely tangy so I was relatively light handed with my saucing, which worked very well for us as I didn't want to overwhelm the chicken. I did however top with the suggested quick pickled onions (2 hour soak in lime juice) and some of the fresh chile salsa (will comment in the appropriate thread).

                                                                                                                                                              For me this was a perfect summer BBQ dish. The chicken gets a lovely smokey flavour from the grill, which is perfectly complimented by the tangy marinade and sauce. The salsa brings the fire, and the lovely onions help cut through all of the bold flavours with a bit of sharp acidic freshness. Finally, the lovely zucchini provide a smooth and slightly soft foil to the crunchy and crisp elements throughout the dish, plus their light flavour adds to the whole without competing.

                                                                                                                                                              I would definitely make this again, so easy, and so tasty.

                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                Yay! I'm glad it was good, it's my dinner tonight :) I won't get to marinate it for very long but I was thinking of putting the marinade under the skin, since I won't eat the skin anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                  In our case we kept the skin on, and it definitely took on some of the flavour of the marinade, but I think if you used skinless you can just pour a little more of the reserved marinade over when you sauce. Either way it should be quite flavourful.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah I generally will cook with the skin on to keep it moist, but then pull it off before eating, so I'm thinking just putting the marinade under the skin should be good. I'm excited to eat it!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                  I have made this before and did it again last night as I was inspired by COTM. This is a quick and easy route to some great flavor. It is not obviously Mexican food as most people understand it, in fact it would be fine for people who typically don't like Mexican, since other than the option of serving with salsa on the side, it has no chile in it at all.
                                                                                                                                                                  I followed the cookbook instructions for microwaving sliced potatoes, and this part did not work out so well, as they did not cook evenly. I think I would boil them if I do it again.
                                                                                                                                                                  I noted this in the thread about the fresh chile salsa, but again quickly, following the salsa recipe as written led to way-too-hot salsa, so even when using jalapenos, you should deseed the chiles - which the cookbook does not mention.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                    I made this last night along with the Roasted Chile Salsa. It was easy enough to make. I marinated the chicken (boneless skinless breasts b/c that's what I had on hand) for a couple of hours which was just a guess because, as noted above, there was no actual amount of marinating time stated.

                                                                                                                                                                    I added too much chicken broth to the marinade mixture in the pot and then had to stop the cooking process to deal with something else, so I wound up trying to rush the reduction process to get dinner on the table before 9pm.

                                                                                                                                                                    I served with sliced zucchini that I sauteed with some onions just for extra flavor. The sauce didn't really wow me, possibly because I didn't follow the directions exactly. I also felt like the strong and slightly bitter flavor of the zucchini didn't go well with the flavor of the chicken. I had a few bites of squash but then gave up on it.

                                                                                                                                                                    The chicken had great flavor, though, and I enjoyed it which is saying something because I really don't like chicken breasts. I would definitely make the marinade again... and I may try the sauce again. The salsa was blazing hot and entirely too much for both my husband and I. I won't be making that again.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                                                                                      Note that it does not actually instruct you to reduce the sauce, but that could be an oversight.. I think it is meant to be quite watery,

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                      Grilled Chicken Thighs with Tangy with Tangy Yucatecan Spices, Seasonal Vegetables and Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa p. 170-173

                                                                                                                                                                      This was great! The other posters have already given good descriptions. I cut this recipe down for one serving. I used a chicken leg quarter, and halved the marinade ingredients and had some left over. I also used asparagus, and I grilled it since I thought it was silly to microwave it when I already had the grill going. The marinade "sauce" with the asparagus was ridiculous in a good way, so good. I might just make that by itself again to go on asparagus. The grill burned the heck out of my skin in the initial phase, but that's OK because I had planned on removing it anyway. It also took a bit longer to cook than the recipe said, but that could be because I was using a pretty large leg quarter (14oz raw weight).

                                                                                                                                                                      I think this dish would be great for folks who do not like heat, as it is not spicy at all unless you top with the fresh chile salsa. Speaking of the salsa, I had read Njchicaa's review of it, and removed most of the seeds, and used a little less than 4oz of jalapenos, and I found it to be hot, but not overbearingly so. The chicken definitely doesn't need the salsa to be good though.

                                                                                                                                                                      Pictures below. The dog wanted some :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                        Nice! I'll bet the dog did, looks so tasty and must have smelled even better....

                                                                                                                                                                    3. Grilled Roadside Chicken [without] Knob Onions
                                                                                                                                                                      Recipe here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                                      This is really just a review of the rub/marinade -- I didn't follow the rest of the recipe. Lacking a grill, I decided to roast the chicken in a hot oven, and since I was oven-cooking I decided to use legs and thighs rather than spatchcocking a whole bird. I also skipped the onions and the suggested roasted tomatillo salsa (though I'm sure both would have been delightful with the chicken).

                                                                                                                                                                      The marinade is a very tasty combination of ground ancho chile, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, salt, orange juice, apple cider vinegar and garlic. Though in my case, lacking ground cloves, I used a bit of bin bhuna garam masala that I had leftover from 660 curries (which I found tasted mostly like cloves to me, and it seemed to work fine here). I coated my chicken pieces with the rub/marinade and roasted them in the oven at 450. I basted halfway through with the remaining marinade, and at the end I turned the heat down to 400 because the marinade was starting to burn. Verdict: delicious! I couldn't find the previous review which had said that the sauce was dry and bland, but this was not our experience at all. As expected, I tasted a strong ancho flavor, with sweetness from the oranges and tanginess from the vinegar, and the other components adding minor grace notes. I'm sure this would be even better cooked on a charcoal grill, which would add a nice smoky flavor to the mix, but as it was we enjoyed it. Very quick and easy. Served with leftover cowboy beans and gulf-style rice, and a variation of melissa clark's carrot-cabbage-cilantro salad dressed with olive oil, lime juice and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                        Grilled Roadside Chicken

                                                                                                                                                                        We made this on the grill using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I agree with Westminstress that this chicken was delicious! The ancho gives a nice chile flavor without much heat and is complemented nicely by the orange, spices and vinegar. The smokiness from the grill really does elevate the flavors, in my opinion, so I would reccommend you try it when you get a chance.

                                                                                                                                                                        We couldn't find the knob onions to go with it, but I think grilled onions would have been great with this. We served with Gulf Coast style rice and Slow cooker Pinto beans. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                          Grilled Roadside Chicken with Knob Onions (Pollo a las Brasas con Cebollitas) p. 179

                                                                                                                                                                          We made this tonight with bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. This northern-style marinade is subtler than the southern adobo marinade (we made this on a previous occasion), but still delicious. There is sweetness and brightness from the OJ and vinegar, smokiness from the ancho and a nice aroma from the oregano, canela and cloves.

                                                                                                                                                                          I happened to find knob onions today at the Mexican grocer and their addition was welcome indeed. We served this with fresh tomatillo salsa, MEIMM's red rice (thank you for sharing the recipe. We've already made this twice) and frijoles charros. Needless to say, we were happy diners tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, cool, BigSal, I'm glad the rice recipe worked out for you. I'd never bothered to write it down before (and don't normally measure when I make it), so I'm relieved to hear it works.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                            Grilled Roadside Chicken With(out) Knob Onions

                                                                                                                                                                            My review too is basically of the marinade. And the short and sweet version: This was great! This is probably going to be a new go to quick marinade for grilled chicken.

                                                                                                                                                                            I did not use a whole chicken, but bone in thighs, 4 of them, and halved the marinade ingredients. I took the skin off. I slathered both sides of the thighs with the marinade and then basted with a bit more once on the grill.

                                                                                                                                                                            Once cooked I took all the meat off the bone and made them sort of like tacos... just put them in flour tortillas and ate it that way. It was so flavorful that no other salsas or anything were needed. I had some grilled asparagus on the side since I was too lazy today to go to the mexican market to get knob onions.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Pineapple Skillet Upside-Down Cake p.301

                                                                                                                                                                            I have made this a few times now and the result is always great. It is a nice quick and easy dessert that most people like, but it is not exactly fancy. Good to make for a casual meal. The cake portion is not terribly rich, more like a sweet bread in fact, and would be kind of dull on its own. But the sugar and fruit on top make for a nice bit of intense sweetness in every bite. I did make it as written with 1/2 all-purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour and we like it that way but of course it would be a bit lighter tasting with only a-p. My only problem with this recipe is that it says "pour the batter evenly over the fruit" but when I make it the batter is way too stiff to pour. Instead it has to be smeared smooth with a spatula, and this leads to some of the fruit getting pulled away. Maybe another time I will add some milk to the batter to the point that it actually pours. Among the variations, I would most like to try doing it with mango.

                                                                                                                                                                            19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maple99

                                                                                                                                                                              By the way I found this recipe online: http://www.fronterafiesta.com/cook/de... I hope to make it maybe this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maple99

                                                                                                                                                                                This upside-down cake was he biggest success from this book thus far. I used about the same proportions of white and wheat flour, maybe a scant less wheat, as I was running out. For the topping I bypassed the pineapple, and used sliced mango and scattered blueberries. I came out beautifully steamy and stayed moist and flavorful. I served it with some up-market vanilla ice cream, which filled out the texture profile quite nicely. Next time I may add a little cornmeal, just for a touch of crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                Sadly, someone absconded with the leftover half cake. I was looking forward to some upside-down breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                Had to take the book back to the library, but prior posts indicate it's on page 301, and also in this link: http://www.fronterafiesta.com/cook/de...

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ooh, that's where you got that steamy picture :) Gorgeous.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maple99

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made this upside-down cake last night with 3 cups of chopped rhubarb. Rhubarb is not listed in the variations, but since he says you can use just about any other type of fruit ... why not rhubarb? Happy to report that the rhubarb worked, and the cake was yummy. I did not increase the sugar to compensate for the rhubarb's tartness, and I was glad I didn't. In fact, next time I would add even more rhubarb, as it reduces greatly, and I would use a tad less sugar, as I found the cake a bit sweet. I used a cast iron skillet and had difficulty flipping it out of the pan, so we had to eat our cake "right side up." No matter, it still tasted good, and the rhubarb side wasn't that pretty anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                        That is a great idea Westminstress, and I just happen to have some rhubarb. Did you do any pre-cooking of the rhubarb, or just chop it up and toss it in the pan? It seems to me rhubarb might need more cooking time than berries and suchlike.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I didn't precook the rhubarb. Just chopped it into half inch pieces. It was completely soft and a lot of it dissolved to a jammy consistency during the baking. If you really like rhubarb I'd add a bit extra because it cooks down a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the info. I'll come back and report when I have some time to bake, hopefully this weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                          Upside-Down Cake ala Westminstress!
                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this cake yesterday using rhubarb just as Westminstress reported above. (Thank you!) She was correct, the rhubarb cooked perfectly! I love this recipe, and the skillet and brown butter technique. There are so many variations to explore.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                            We're not huge dessert fans and definitely not baked things. But the two versions you've shared look simply amazing. I'm going to have to try something soon. Thanks, L.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                              I just saw this, LN. Glad you tried and liked it!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: maple99

                                                                                                                                                                                            Since the accolades were still being posted for this dessert I made it this past weekend using frozen blueberries from last summer. I liked L.Nightshades suggestion of using cornmeal in the batter (and I didn't have wheat flour anyway) so my proportions were 1/2 cup cornmeal to 1 cup white flour. Maybe I needed to add a bit more leavening to the batter due to the cornmeal because the center was a bit underdone (?) but we thought the cake was delicious nonetheless - the cornmeal did add a nice crunch & texture. I was afraid my butter was cooked past the "browned" stage because it ended up being pretty dark but the cake didn't suffer for it...it may have even enhanced the flavor. I will also be making this again, experimenting with different fruits.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                              I've returned this book to the library, and this is probably the only recipe I'll keep. It's such a versatile dessert, and I love the method. We can play with the addition of cornmeal (it's so cool that you tried it!), and figure out the right proportions. We've got a bag of black velvet apricots. I think we'll try them out with this recipe and the cornmeal variant.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                Mmmm, black velvet apricots - are these the same as "pluots"? That name is much better if they are!! As far as the cake...the only other thing I can think of that may have caused my batter to be underdone in the center is that my blueberries were frozen, but no different than IQF berries RB suggests using if fresh aren't available. Having made the batter with cornmeal, however, I can't imagine eating it any other way - I look forward to hearing how yours turns out and what kind of adjustment I may need to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Info on Black Velvet Apricots - http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They are a variety of pluot, they're also pretty tasty. Had some last summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I appreciate the link, DD! I'll have to keep my eyes open for these. Hopefully I can find them at one of the specialty produce markets in town, although my larger grocer has been handling a wider variety of fruits & vegetables lately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                      We actually got them at Costco, not such a specialty produce market! They are quite plummy, with a slightly fuzzy skin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're right (!) - I'm going out to my Cosco tomorrow so I'm glad you replied so quickly; thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Yucatecan Garlic Spice Marinade, p 142, used with Grilled skirt steak (as suggested on page 163)

                                                                                                                                                                                            This, unfortunately, was a little disappointing for us.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The marinade is easy enough and sounded promising with tons of garlic to start. He directs you to separate the cloves of a head of garlic and then cut a slit in each clove and microwave for 30 seconds, then slip off the husks. I skipped this step, thinking that it was just to make the husks easier to remove, but maybe the final outcome would have been better if the garlic was parcooked (I don't really think so, but maybe). Then you drop the garlic into a running blended, add the oil, apple cider vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, oregano, sugar and salt. This makes a thick emulsion which I thought smelled pretty great. Definite garlic pungency, but also the spices and oregano in the mix and a little sweetness from the cider vinegar and cinnamon. We marinaded skirt steak overnight and then grilled on a charcoal grill. Unfortunately, the final result was disappointing. Part of it may have been that it marinaded too long. I felt like the cider vinegar was too much the dominent flavor in the final result. It overpowered the beefiness of the skirt steak too much. The garlic flavor did come through, but didn't balance out the acid.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh well. Won't make that one again. The Roadside Chicken was a big winner though, so we'll keep grilling and cooking out of this book to find the winners.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                                              I also didn't bother to nuke the garlic, I just crushed, removed the skin and then tossed it into the processor.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado, Red Skin Potatoes, and Romaine, Pg. 200

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well there it is. The title almost tells the story. A few days ago I had poached three chicken breasts for a quick broth (garlic/ginger/scallions/ bay leaf/ water) so had the chicken to use in this very tasty taco recipe. Didn't have large red skinned potato so used a Yukon Gold which was sliced, doused with a bit of water, and seasoned with plenty of salt. Loved the 4 minute nuke to soften the slices. They are supposed to be soft w/o being mushy and they were. The potato slices are removed from the MW, leaving the liquid behind, and left to cool while the rest of the recipe is put together.

                                                                                                                                                                                              To make the dressing into the bowl w the potato liquid go: apple cider vinegar, Mexican oregano, chopped chipotles (I've been leaving the seeds in), chopped onion. Mix, taste, season w salt. We included freshly ground black pepper. Into another bowl put the potatoes that have been broken into bite size pieces, along with chopped cooked chicken chunks. Mix together then drizzle the dressing over and toss.

                                                                                                                                                                                              To serve add shredded Romaine leaves and diced avocado to the chicken and potatoes, drizzle a bit of oil over and toss to combine. Serve w warm tortillas (I heated them in a foil packet in the oven.).

                                                                                                                                                                                              This was one tasty taco, and quite filling. I do think though, it could have benefited from a touch of heat or something... chopped cilantro? A tangy cheese? Both? I served it with the Fried Beans on page 84, some hot salsa, and my pretend crema: a mix of ricotta/yogurt/lemon juice and a bit of yogurt whey to thin, so that gave extra flavor. I'd make it again, it's so easy, and tweak it a bit to my liking.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for your review, Gio; I've been flipping through the book's taco recipes trying to decide on one to try, and it will be this one. I just need a few days for the avocados to ripen...and, based on your thoughts, I'll add cilantro and maybe some type of cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now that I've made these Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos, I understand what Gio meant about their needing "something". I tasted the chicken salad mixture several times, and although it was very good (identical to Gio's for the most part) I also wondered what to add to give it some "zing". I read RB's "riffs", and seeing the suggestion of blue cheese, decided to add crumbled gorgonzola (I make a pasta sauce with chipotles, gorgonzola & heavy cream that is wonderful, so I was hoping this combination would work). For me, it did - the cheese gave it the sharpness & tang I was looking for, as the bites of cheese and chipotle were fantastic. And because beef pairs so well with gorgonzola, leftover steak from the grill would probably be delicious as a sub for chicken (which RB mentions in the riffs).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I decided not to add cilantro even though I had it chopped and ready, as I thought it might compete with the Mexican oregano (which, to me, has a subtle lemon flavor). I served the tacos with the Toasty *Guajillo* Chile Salsa (p.156), and crema, as did Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado, Red Skin Potatoes, and Romaine, Pg. 200

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My turn for this one. This is the last meal we are making from this book this month, but it may very well go into our rotation, at least as an every so often recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Taking Gio and Leslie lead I fiddled a little with the recipe to give it a bit more pep. I went with 4 chipotle's, some nice queso anejo, and lastly a healthy dash of green tabasco (the acidic hit was very nice). Overall I would say the dish was very easy, very tasty as prepared, and super healthy. Plus it is quite different from any other type of taco I have had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We quite enjoyed it, especially since the potatoes (which took 6 minutes in my microwave) paired very nicely with the chipotle and the dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I recommend it if you are looking for something a little different and healthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Tomatillo Pork Braise with Pickled Chiles - p 273

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1.5 lbs of tomatillos are cut into 1" pieces and form a "bed" on the bottom of your slow cooker. On top of this, sprinkle 3-4 halved peeled garlic cloves, 3-4 stemmed and chopped canned pickled jalapenos, 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro and 1.5-2 lb cubed pork shoulder tossed with 1tbsp of Worcestershire sauce. Cook on high for 6 hrs, then remove the meat, blenderize the sauce with another 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro, season with salt & sugar as desired, then stir in 30oz cooked, drained large white beans, mix the meat back in and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Simple, easy and flavourful! The sauce is very tangy from the tomatillos, and the pork is incredibly tender and falling apart. I'm not usually a big fan of pork, but in this setting it worked extremely well, absorbing flavours from the other ingredients in the slow cooker. The only thing I'd tweak in the future is to increase the number of peppers, because it just wasn't spicy enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lots of flavour here for very little effort -- a real winner for a weeknight meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've made this in the past as well and would also give it a big thumbs up

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Fresh Lime Ice with Berries, p.307

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was refreshing & delicious, especially after preparing and consuming various spicy meals over the last few days(!)...anyway, I followed his instructions exactly, using my KitchenAid ice cream maker (although he does say that in lieu of a freezer, it can be prepared using the "still-freeze" method). When I tasted the mixture prior to churning, I thought it might be too sweet, but after churning the tart/sweet balance was much better. It's not overly-tart by any means, so if that's what you are after I would increase the lime juice by maybe 2-4 tablespoons and then decrease the water by the same amount.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    He doesn't mention chilling the mixture before churning (which is what my freezer recommends) and I almost skipped that step due to my impatience, but I did chill it for about an hour. I'm not sure if it was due to the mixture not being super-chilled prior to churning, or the addition of corn syrup, but when I scooped it from the canister to a freezer container it was still a bit "liquid-y". Maybe that's what he meant when he suggested it should firm up for several hours in the freezer to have the best texture. When I checked it after ~3 hours it still was a bit soft in places so I sort of "folded" the entire mixture onto itself, but by the next morning it was totally "incorporated" and had a consistent texture throughout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looks and sounds wonderful, lesliej! Do you think it would go well with the pineapple skillet upside-down cake?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, geekmom! As far as going with the cake, I honestly think an ice cream, vs. an "ice" would better complement the cake's sweetness & richness (I'm assuming you mean alongside/on top of the cake). Especially since (and I'm reading the cake recipe now) the cake is supposed to be served warm. In fact, I'll bet a good vanilla ice cream would be wonderful with it! I just don't know if the consistency of the "ice", along with its tartness, would be a good match.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks, that makes sense! I'll pick up some cream today and will churn up some vanilla ice cream to go alongside the cake :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Having made the cake, I agree with lesliej, serve it with vanilla ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Toasty Arbol or Guajillo Chile Salsa - p 156

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Another dead-simple and tasty condiment! This one calls for 8oz tomatillos & 1/4 oz dried arbol chiles or 1/2 oz dried guajillos. I had extra tomatillos, so I threw them in. Heat 2tbsp veg oil in a 10" skillet over medium heat, and put your stemmed and de-seeded arbol or guajillo chiles in the pan. Turn frequently until the chiles are aromatic & change colour (or in my case, until they start to blacken because you were busy prepping tomatillos & briefly forgot about them...). Place chiles in a blender or food processor bowl, then remove the oil from the skillet and place your halved tomatillos, cut side down, in the pan along with 3 peeled cloves of garlic. These are browned on both sides then added to the blender along with a small amount of water, blended until nearly smooth, then seasoned to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This salsa is a lovely red colour, tangy from the tomatillos & has a nice smokiness from the toasted chiles. Note that the salsa doesn't have ANY heat at all (I used guajillos), so you may wish to ignore the instruction to remove all the seeds from your chiles or perhaps use arbols if you're a fan of spicy hot salsas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Toasty Arbol or Guajillo Chili Salsa. This salsa was indeed simple to make, geekmom, and tasty; I made it this afternoon to serve with the Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos I'm making for tomorrow's dinner. My dried guajillo chiles did carry some heat, however! It wasn't overwhelming, and I should have tasted them first (I should know this by now...!). Just a nice, smoky heat that will hopefully be nice drizzled over the tacos. I did leave a tad bit of oil in the skillet after oil-toasting the chiles, to prevent the inevitable sticking of the tomatillos. And since I was happy with the consistency of the salsa after pouring it out of the blender, I didn't add the additional water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Same here about the water - I think I may have thrown in a small splash just to help the pureeing process along but it really didn't need any more liquid. I'm disappointed to hear that my chiles could have had some heat -- it took me forever to track them down, and it was the only package left, so I didn't really have much choice in the guajillo department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I should have checked this thread before making the salsa - I used the full 1/2 c. of water called for, and it is VERY runny. However, since I used Arbol chiles, it is also VERY hot, so the thin consistency is good because it ensures that you don't accidentally get too much on a chip! I feel like it could maybe use a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors, but that is probably because my Arbols were so hot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa p 146

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow this was very tasty, great basic tomato based salsa. I used the fire-roasted canned tomatoes. You dry roast 2 jalapenos and 3 garlic cloves in a small pan, and then throw them in a food processor and pulse til chopped. Then you add a 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes and pulse a few more times until reaching the level of puree that you like. For me, I like a pretty smooth salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also I removed the seeds from my jalapenos after dry roasting them because my dinner guest doesn't like a lot of heat. The salsa still had a very mild heat even after doing this. Next time, if I were to remove the seeds, I'd do it before roasting though and just roast the peppers after being cut in half. I also added the juice from half a lime, which was optional.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this mainly for eating with chips, but I also used it with the green bean salad on page 73. Like I mentioned above, this is just a great tomato based basic salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa - p. 146

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also made this the other day. I used two jalepeños, and left the seeds in. I used a blender, instead of a food processor, to pulse the tomato/pepper/garlic mixture. There is cilantro in the recipe, and I added it to the blender after mixing and pulsed twice more to incorporate. There are also finely diced onions, which the recipe instructs you to rinse under cold water. I forgot the rinsing step. These don't go into blender/food processor, the tomato mixture is added to them after blending. I also used the optional lime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Because I left the jalapeño seeds in, and because these were just unusually hot jalapeños anyway, this batch of salsa was quite hot. The recipe is very similar to a salsa I've been making for years, so this really wasn't anything different for me, just another batch of red salsa. But I do usually seed and dice my jalapeños, and I'll go back to that. All in all, a good solid salsa recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I make this pretty frequently, and I throw the onions in the skillet to roast with the garlic and jalepenos, then blend them up with everything else. My crew doesn't do raw onions, and this gives a little additional smoky flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DeeCee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's a good idea, and I think it would be an improvement. What I usually do when I make my own version, is grill everything, including the onions, and the tomatoes (fresh tomatoes, that is, obviously it wouldn't work with canned).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Garlicky Ancho Chile Rub, p.137

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a simple-to-prepare rub, which absolutely elevated the flavor of our grilled rib-eye steaks. I cut the recipe in half since I was only grilling two steaks, chopping the garlic by hand rather than using a processor. I did use Mexican oregano, which, to me, is rather mild, so if you are using Turkish I would add it to taste. The resulting mixture was a wonderful balance of lightly sweet/salty/smoky, with a fair amount of heat, but the heat mellowed after grilling. In fact, I wished I would have used a bit more than the 1-2 Tbls.or so for each of the ~14oz. steaks. This rub would also be wonderful on pork tenderloin, ribs, and fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are quite a few types of oregano. Mexican oregano is not very closely related to the Mediterrenean varieties. When the Spanairds arrived in the New World they encountered a plant that closely resembled what they knew as oregano. The reality is that it wasn't the same plant and wasn't really in the oregano family :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mexican oregano is, believe it or not, more closely related to margorum. Mexican oregano brings some unusual flavors to the party and can take some getting used to. Most of us NOB see the word "oregano" and assume it will be, or taste, like the Med varieties because that's what we've all grown up eating. Then along comes Mexican oregano comes along and challenges our idea of how oregano "should" taste. If the Mexican oregano isn't your preference, try subbing in margerum and see if it works better for you, it's not quite as musty as the Mexican oregano.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The first paragraph of your comment is absolutely correct, DD, but this isn't: :: Mexican oregano is, believe it or not, more closely related to margorum. ::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marjoram, Origanum majorana, is a close relative to (Mediterranean/"Greek") oregano, Origanum vulgare v. hirtum. Mexican "oregano" is in the verbena family; it's Lippia graveolens. Both marjoram and Mexican oregano are perennials that are tender enough to be treated as annuals in my climate, but it's a lot easier to find plants of the marjoram, so I very much appreciate the tip to try it as a substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ellabee, thanks for the clarification!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think I knew somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind that Mexican oregano was part of the verbena family and, clearly, that recess was inaccessible last night when I posted ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In any event, the substitution for Mexican oregano if it's not available, or not a preference is marjorum (and thank you for the correct spelling)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I appreciate your helpful feedback; I agree - marjoram would be a better substitute for the Mexican oregano. They both have much more subtle notes of mint/citrus (to me, anyway), than Turkish, with Mexican oregano definitely being more "musty" as you stated. And providing that bit of history clarifies why the flavor of the various oreganos are so different!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My wonderful son who shouldn't be spending his money on me because he is saving for a wonderful life experience brought flowers, a card, and this book for me today. He had noticed that I had it from the library for this thread. So lucky am I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese p. 222-224

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These turned out pretty good... not sure if I'm totally convinced to give up my canned sauce, but for a day like today when I have the time, making the sauce was fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To make the sauce, you start with an ounce of dried guajillo chiles that have been seeded and torn into pieces. Then you toast them in a dry pan and then throw in the blender along with a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, garlic, cumin, and black pepper. You blend it up. Then, it says to pour over a strainer and push the sauce through to make sure no pieces of chile make it through. He mentions in the riff that if you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix you can skip the straining step...and I happen to have a Vitamix so I skipped it and didn't have any issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You then put the sauce in a pot and cook it until it is the consistency of tomato paste, he says this takes 5 to 7 minutes but it took more like 15 for me. It then says to pour in the broth and let it simmer. I'm just now realizing I forgot that step... like in the meatball recipe, I didn't miss it. While all that is going on you brush the tortillas with oil and bake them for a few minutes until they're soft. Then, you add a 1/2 cup sauce to the baking dish, and another 1/2 cup to the chicken (I used chicken thighs that I roasted on the bone). Then you assemble the enchiladas, top with sauce, and then the cheese (I used chihuahua) and bake for about 15 minutes. You can top with onions and cilantro, I skipped the onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Overall these were tasty, but not mind blowing. There was no heat whatsoever so if I ever make these again I might add some chipotles to the sauce or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, I actually had this recipe saved for awhile, even before this was COTM, from this blog, and her notes were helpful, especially about the quantity of chicken. I used 15.5 oz of chicken and it was a good amount for 12 enchiladas. 8 ounces seems like it wouldn't be enough for 12. http://ellysaysopa.com/2009/11/02/red...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, and for those of us who cares, each serving of 3 enchiladas was only 409 calories, so much less than typical enchiladas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese p. 222-224

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made a huge batch of red chili chicken last week for a mexican-food party I catered for about 60 people; the main dishes were red chili chicken (which in my mind I would call pollo Colorado!), following this sauce recipe, but mixing it with chicken (x4 birds) that I had done a criollo brine on, then bbq'd myself - much tastier chicken than a store rotisserie one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I used all the dark meat of the 4, plus 1/2 the breasts, and did about 4 x the sauce. I did add a couple of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, increased the salt a bit since my chicken was not so pumped with salt, and also added some lime juice and a couple spoons of sugar for balance. This brightened up the sauce quite a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Instead of making enchiladas, the chicken mixture was served in a chafing dish with the other 1/2 taken up by my Pork Chili Verde, and guests had both small very fresh corn tortillas or soft-taco size flour to put the meats on. There were a whole variety of condiments, homemade refries, mexi corn, chili relleno casserole, etc....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This means I can't comment on the whole enchilada part of the recipe, but the chicken mixture was very good - and lot's of guest compliments!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Chorizo, Potato, and Mushroom Tacos - p. 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (I haven't been the best at participating in COTM since our move, but I'm going to try to squeeze a few reports in this month.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wanted to like this dish a bit more than I did, but I think part of the issue was using the wrong potato and needing to add just a bit more oil to the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To make, the chorizo is heated until some of the fat starts to render or is half-cooked. He recommends adding a bit of oil if the chorizo hasn't rendered any fat. Mine had, but not much, so I did not add oil, but probably should've added some here. Sliced onions and mushrooms are then added and cooked until they soften. I used red onions and shiitake mushrooms. Grated potatoes are then added over the mixture and cooked until they soften. He recommends red or Yukon Gold. I had russet in the cabinet, so I used those and they ended up clumping very badly, so that it was hard to distribute the chorizo and mushrooms evenly throughout the dish. Once the potatoes are done, chopped cilantro is sprinkled on. He recommends serving with roasted tomatillo salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce. I served with a mystery tomatillo salsa from the freezer and slices of avocado.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Overall, it was good, but not great for us. I bought the chorizo from our local market and it was our first time using it and I wasn't crazy about the spicing of it. The clumping of the potatoes also meant we ended up with some tacos that just didn't have enough chorizo in them and were a little bland. The tacos that I had that were more chorizo heavy were quite nice, but I think they would've also benefited from a bit of cheese and maybe some fresh greens for a little crunch. We ended up with a bit of extra filling despite scaling the recipe in half, so we threw that into some scrambled eggs for a satisfying weekend breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chorizo, Potato, and Mushroom Tacos p. 189

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was looking forward to these as I have had chorizo and potato tacos before in a restaurant that were delicious. But alas, my experience was pretty similar to TxnInMtl's...kind of meh. I did use the oil since my chorizo didn't render hardly any fat at all. I used white onions and shiitake mushrooms. Turns out I didn't have 6 ounces... more like half that because the scale at the grocery store was off. And, in the end I think using baby bella/crimini would probably be just fine, and cheaper. I used red-skinned potatoes but still had the clumping issue. If I were to try something similar again I'd dice the potatoes instead of shredding, and perhaps par cook them ahead of time so they cook all the way through. Used white onions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I tried 3 different toppings on mine, the roasted tomatillo salsa, plain, and Tapatio hot sauce. I liked the Tapatio one the best, it added some very welcome heat since I thought otherwise it was kind of bland. I had tasted a piece of the chorizo after browning and it had good flavor so I think the other ingredients just sort of drowned out the chorizo. I also agree that cheese would have been a good topping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a ton leftover since I cook for one, so I'm going to see how it reheats in a microwave tomorrow to make some more tacos at work. I'll report back on that. I'm worried it'll end up mushy. I'm not an egg fan but like Tx mentioned, it would make a good mix in for eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Final verdict, probably won't make this again. I will say, it was a very economical meal though. I got the chorizo during a "ground meat" sale at Sprouts a couple months ago for $1.99/lb. Tortillas came in a pack of 32 for $2 at the Mexican market... onion was under $1, and the mushrooms were only about $3, and that would go down if you use a cheaper mushroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So just reporting back on the reheating in the microwave for my lunch. I reheated but I just couldn't eat it. It looked so unappetizing, with the clumpy potatoes etc. I tossed it, and I'm going out for lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Smoky Chipotle Rub (sorry I don't have my book with me, don't know the page number)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I actually made this rub a few weeks ago but just got around to using it. It's a simple rub, it's mostly smoked sweet paprika, with chipotle chile powder, and some garlic (pushed through a press) thrown in, and salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This pretty much tastes like it's name, and has a good amount of heat to it. I'm not sure I was crazy about it, I had it on a grilled chicken breast. I felt like the heat just overtook everything else, and I should probably add more salt, even though I used the prescribed amount. I'm going to try it (with more salt) on a pork tenderloin later on this week so maybe that will be a better than on chicken. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, my chicken was still good, it was just lacking... something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Chicken in Oaxacan Yellow Mole, pg. 255-257

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hesitate to review this, since I made so many changes, but since it hasn't been reviewed yet, perhaps others are passing it by because it seems somewhat blah as written. I thought so too, but my changes resulted in quite a nice dish, so here goes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The original dish calls for making a puree of dried guajillos, tomatoes, onion, garlic, a TINY bit of cumin, cinnamon and allspice, oregano and a cup of chicken broth. This is cooked in a bit of oil until it darkens and becomes the consistency of tomato paste. Then you whisk a bit of masa harina into three cups more broth and add to the cooked mixture, bring it to a boil and add boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cubed), green beans and diced potatoes or chayotes and simmer until everything is cooked through. Add some cilantro and season to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Given the small amount of spice (1/4 teaspoon for a pound of chicken and a pound of potatoes???), I knew this would be too bland for me - and I didn't want to use potatoes or green beans anyway. So, I made the pepper puree but used about a teaspoon of each spice, plus added a couple of chiles de arbol for heat. Then I browned my chicken cubes in a little bacon fat, sprinkled with a little flour (probably unnecessary, but I didn't have masa harina) and let that cook a moment, then deglazed with just a cup or so broth and finally added the pepper paste. I let this simmer and reduce to fully cook the chicken, then added some roasted poblanos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Anyway, even though I didn't make the real dish, the final product is delicious! It's not really yellow, either - it's a beautiful bright orangey-red from the guajillos. It would be terrific with the potatoes in it, and I may do that next time, but it's great with rice/tortillas, too. The one thing I wish I had done was reduce the spice paste before adding it to the chicken - I think it might have added a nice dimension of flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nice report. I keep reading this recipe, and then move on. Not sure why however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima


                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It sounds good as you made it, and I think the reversing of adding the spice paste to your browned chicken, reduce, then add stock would add something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The potatoes probably really do bring something to the party, as they would absorb the spices and chili flavors. I put potatoes in my chili verde for just this reason - they just sort of fall apart in the sauce, but become little mexi-flavor bombs, and taste even better than the pork part of the whole chili verde....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers, p.241

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll need to make this recipe again and tweak the poblano sauce because I found it to be a bit bland. The sauce is very easy to make - roast two poblano chiles and puree in a blender with milk, sauteed garlic, and masa harina. The sauce is simmered until it thickens, wilted spinach is added, and it's then served with seared salmon filets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As the sauce simmered I did need to add a bit more milk (1/4 - 1/3 cup) to thin it out, although it didn't make much difference in the flavor. In fact, for four servings, this extra bit of sauce was helpful. I wilted an entire bag of spinach in the microwave, but only added about 3/4 of it to the sauce (using more would have turned it into a "creamed spinach"). In fact, you could save a step and wilt the fresh spinach in the simmering sauce, eyeballing as you go until you are happy with the proportions. And I did roast a red bell pepper as recommended in the riffs, which is chopped and added to the finished sauce. This added a bite of sweetness which I was very happy with. I served the dish with the very popular "Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf" which can now include me as a fan!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So...in addition to the red bell pepper, my ideas for improving the flavor of the sauce are roasting a third poblano (just couldn't taste the smokiness from just two), adding chopped "hot" peppers to taste in the blender, and maybe replacing a bit of the milk with buttermilk. I love the contrast of crunchy, seared salmon with a creamy sauce (and the colors of this dish are so beautiful) so I will continue to experiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The sauce is a variation on a "Culichi" sauce. Dishes from the Sinoloan city of Culican are called Culichi. It actually is an amazingly delicious sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roasted, peeled and seeded poblanos, sauteed (in some butter) with thinly sliced onions and garlic, puree with Mexcian crema, creme fraiche, sour cream, heavy cream, half & half or any combination of the above. Heavily salt, hit it with a little Mex. orgeano if desired, puree again, thin as needed with milk, stock or water. Heat and serve. It goes exquisitely well with seafood and, believe it or not, poached eggs. It is not typically a spicy sauce, most likely to allow the fish or seafood to be the star of the dish, but neither should it be bland or insipid. The poblanos and the dairy component should be the primary flavor with the onions, garlic and other ingredients merely rounding out the flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think the first think I would change out would be the milk and use something a bit richer. I would also thin with a flavorful chicken stock rather than additional milk and even tho' RB is usually pretty right on with the amount of salt in his recipes, sometimes a little extra salt is all that is needed. Sauce Culichi is a great base for a lot of things and lends itself to endless modifications and variations :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Perfect! Since I can still remember how it tasted, the add-ins of stock & maybe sour cream/crema, etc. (much better than my idea of buttermilk, but still incorporating that bit of acid), would turn it into the sauce I was looking for. I also like the idea of sauteing the veggies together with the roasted chiles...that sounds wonderful. Now that I understand the history behind this sauce I will not consider a chile with "heat". And actually, serving it with poached eggs sounds delicious - that might just be what I do with it the next go-round. Thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you want a bit of acid try some lime juice. If you can get Key limes that would be great because they tend to be really tart in the U.S., but really, any of the limes we have available to us here would work. I'd probably start by using the juice of 1/2 a lime and if it's not enough work up from there. You could ad the lime juice during the saute stage, or at the end, or possibly a little bit at both points.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can probably Google something like poblano cream sauce and get lots of hits and ideas for different experiements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, Key limes are usually at my local grocery..another great tip. In the meantime, thanks again for your help; the advice provided by you & on this site in general has been invaluable!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seared Salmon with Spinach and Creamy Roasted Peppers, p.241

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Made this last night, although I took a few liberties with the recipe. First, I had in the freezer one salmon fillet and one cod fillet, so I used the two of them and served Mr. MM the salmon and I took the cod. I left out the masa harina, and used crema instead of milk, with just a little splash of milk to adjust the consistency. Also, I didn't have enough spinach, so I used some steamed collards, which I blended in with the sauce, while what spinach I had went in at the end as directed. So, a lot of changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr. MM liked this better than I did. He felt the sauce went very well with the salmon (and having a bite of his, I agree). It did not go particularly well with cod, so for me the dish was OK, but unremarkable. I can see making a version of this again, as the sauce was very easy, I just wouldn't substitute cod again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Jalapeño Baked Fish with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes Pg. 239

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was dinner for two last night so I halved the recipe. Like most of the recipes in this book this one comes together very easily and quite quickly. Essentially you blitz some fire roasted tomatoes with a bit of garlic, some cilantro, pickled jalapeños and some of the pickling vinegar from the jalapenos. Meanwhile you microwave some thinly sliced potatoes till tender, place them in an oven safe dish, top with firm fish (mahi mahi in my case) and then sauce the dish. Popped the whole thing into the oven for 15-20 minutes and you are good to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The results weren't bad but I would definitely tweak this recipe quite a bit. I did add some oregano to the sauce as he suggests in his riff, and it was a welcome addition. I found however that there were a few problems with the flavour profile otherwise. The fish itself is a bit ho hum as it isn't seasoned and it doesn't get any colour in the oven. The sauce is very tasty and super pungent, but essentially overwhelms the fish, and the potatoes are lovely and tender but again have no colour or crisp browness that I love in a potato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To remedy these challenges (in my eyes at least) I would suggest doing the sauce and the fish separately. A brief simmer in a saucepan would likely achieve lovely results for the sauce, which could rest a bit while you cooked the fish under the broiler (Rick Moonen Style) so that it has some lovely browning and consequent flavouring. I would of course oil and season the fish before it went in, possibly giving it a very judicious sprinkle of oregano. The potatoes could still be done in the microwave to save time but then could go into the roasting pan with the fish so that they could crisp up a bit. Finally I would lightly sauce the dish leaving the reserved sauce in individual ramekins in case my guests wanted more sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For me I think the described approach would take just a smidge more effort but you would hopefully end up with a nicely cooked piece of flavourful fish atop some slightly crisped potatoes, sauced with a pungent little powerhouse of a sauce.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Quick question for anyone who is in the know. I have some left over corn tortillas that I froze and I was planning on using them tomorrow. What is the best way to thaw them and prep them for use as a taco. I had thought I would just thaw on the counter and then microwave as RB directs, but I tried that with a single tortilla today and it didn't work very well. Essentially it dried out while thawing and remained chewy when microwaved.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I made the red chile enchiladas, the recipe called to brush them with olive oil and put in the oven for a few minutes until soft. they made them very soft and moist without breaking. Maybe try that, just go very easy on the oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    His microwave method worked great for flour tortillas, but I haven't tried it for corn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I bought one of these last week http://www.amazon.com/MEXI-1000-TORTW... but I haven't tried it yet, will do tonight and report back since I'm making tacos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've used the microwave to warm corn tortillsa and it worked very well as I recall. But I usually wrap either kind of tortilla in foil, no oil, and warm in a 350F oven for 5-ish minutes...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have a stock pot with a veggie-steamer insert (no center post, but wire handles instead) so I tried RB's steamer method to reheat my tortillas and it worked beautifully. They had not been frozen, but were in the fridge for more than a few days and were a little "stiff". If you don't have this type of steamer, maybe you could improvise by wrapping the the tortillas in a kitchen towel, lay this on a colander, and set the colander over a pot of simmering water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks all, I may try the oven method and see how it goes since steaming in the microwave might yield the same results in a pot and that didn't work out very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          By the way I tried the tortilla warmer in the microwave and it worked out well for me tonight. I put a wet folded up paper towel in the bottom, then more paper towel on top, then the tortillas and zapped it for 20 seconds on high and they turned out good... and they weren't the freshest either, I bought them on Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just reread his instructions and he talks about doing it at 50% for 4 minutes. I think that's too long. I usually just do it for 20-30 seconds on high. I do use the wet paper towel in the plastic bag though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have the same steamer, "veggie-steamer insert (no center post, but wire handles instead)" so your tip is great for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good! I hope it works as well as using the microwave. Using a pot with a lid would be best - or use foil to cover. When the water comes to a boil turn the heat off and let them steam (I would check their progress before the 10 minute mark, though). It's nice to have alternative ways of doing things - even reviving corn tortillas!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Roasted Tomatillo Salsa p. 154

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this salsa as it was suggested as a topping for the chorizo and potato tacos. You start by cutting some tomatillos (husked) in half and roasting on a non-stick skillet on stove-top. Non-stick is pretty essential here because the tomatillos stick pretty badly. he says you can put a piece of foil down if you don't have non-stick. You also roast some garlic along w/ the tomatillos. You roast til the tomatillos are soft, then toss it all into a blender and let it cool down for a few minutes. then you add in a jalapeno that has been stemmed and roughly chopped, some cilantro, and water. Then you blend it all up, pour it in a bowl, taste for salt, and add in some chopped up white onions that have been rinsed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My salsa turned out pretty watery even though I used the prescribed amount. Maybe my tomatillos were more watery... so, I'd play that one by ear. I tasted this before adding onions and salt, and though, meh. But once I added a bit of salt and the onions turned it into a tasty salsa. I didn't use too much of it tonight since it was just as a topping for tacos, but I'll munch on it with chips over the next few days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Grilled Red-Chile steak with Sweet Plantains, Red Onion and Chipolte Salsa, pg. 168

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was what we've come to call a COTM B-meal. Not bad, the recipe worked, a change of pace from the usual rotation, but nothing we'd be in a hurry to make again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best part for both of us was the steak, which is treated with a fairly simple rub (crushed garlic, ancho chile powder, brown sugar, oregano, cumin, b. pepper, salt) then grilled. So far so easy, and a tasty enough steak rub. FWIW, i made a half batch of the rub recipe which was plenty for my pound of top blade steaks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The other component of the dish was a sort of salad composed of grilled plantains --beware, the cut side of those suckers char very quickly-- and grilled red onion, those two ingredients are then cut up and tossed with some Smoky Chipolte Salsa. Serve the plantain salad and the balance of the chipolte salsa as sides with the steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The first few bites were pleasing, but very quickly the sweetness of the plantains grew cloying and just dominated all the other flavors. Part of this was user error, I was serving the plantains as the starch, whereas it would have been better to think of the plantains as a relish, a little bit of it goes a long way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Grilled Red-Chile steak with Sweet Plantains, Red Onion and Chipolte Salsa, pg. 168

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks Qianning for the well written summary. I tried my hand at this dish over the past weekend and made a few modifications subject to our tastes and Qianning's notes above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Firstly I went with about 1/4 of the rub as I didn't want to have any left over. This was more than enough for my 1 lb flank steak. I also couldn't find plantains, but wasn't fussed about it since Qianning noted that what was missing was an element of starch, so instead I went with RBs suggestion of substituting potatoes. Finally, I did the onions grill pan on the BBQ as I have never had much luck grilling them loose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I served the dish with sliced steak, onions and potatoes (not pictured) on the side, all drizzled with bit of the lovely Chipotle Salsa which we really like. All of this was paired with some grilled asparagus and the results were very tasty for us. Admittedly, not precisely what he had described in the recipe, but very tasty with the smoky rub and salsa, paired with a nicely grilled piece of steak with it's onion/potato accompaniment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PS I know the steak looks crazy rare but my partner and I are both big fans of rare steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Smoky Chipolte Salsa with Pan Roasted Tomatillos, pg. 149

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Made this to use in the Grilled Red Chile Steak w/ Plantains recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This salsa came together quickly and easily for me. In a skillet, cast iron in my case which worked well no problem with sticking or clean up, brown cut tomatillos and peeled garlic cloves. Once browned place in a food processor, add canned chipoltes in adobo, whiz. The recipe calls for adding some liquid, but reading the notes up thread on the other tomatillo salsa, I held back on adding liquid, and was glad that I had, as it was plenty saucy enough without more water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I liked the smoky chipolte flavor of this salsa, Mr. QN prefers our "standard" salsa verde made with stewed tomatillos and jalapenos. Oh well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Chipotle Beef Tacos with Caramelized Onions Pg. 194

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was quite pleased with this dish, especially since a few of the recent dishes I've made from the book were good, but not great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe itself is very very simple. Buzz some chipotles in a food processor (he calls for 7 oz and says there will be leftovers so I just buzzed up 4 chipotles with a bit of adobo) and then brush onto flank or skirt steak. This being Canada, skirt steak can be hard to find so I went with Flank. The steak is to be cooked in a medium high heat pan for 5 minutes per side for flank. At about 4 minutes on the first side my house was getting pretty smoky so flipped, and could only manage another 3 minutes or so on the other side before I was getting concerned about the smoking. I decided to pop it into the oven (at 350) for another 5 minutes or so and then turn the oven off and let it rest for another 5 minutes with the door just ajar. This worked quite well and the steak was a lovely medium rare when I sliced. it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              To accompany you quickly saute some onions until nice and brown but still crunchy, took about 6 minutes in my case and then make the chipotle tomatillo salsa on page 149 which you use to sauce the tacos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In a word this was a whole lot of beefy goodness. The steak is a bit smoky from the adobo coating and the salsa has a bit of heat and some tang from the tomatillos. Overall very well balanced, and I could see us repeating it. My partner who loves steak ate at least a double serving he liked it so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It definitely helped that the beef was a lovely piece of grass fed Alberta beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                delys77, this sounds great!! Where did you manage to find grass-fed Alberta beef?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I found excellent skirt steak at Sebastian Meats in Dundarave last week. They don't always have it out but you can call ahead to confirm if they've got some & they can set it aside for you. If you don't have a car, it's a real pain to get to, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks Geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is a bit of a cheat, I was in Calgary for work on Tuesday and had some time to kill before catching a flight back. I think I have seen grass fed Alberta beef at Armando's on Granville Island though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've also been able to order skirt steak from there, but thanks for the Sebastian's suggestion, I word in Ambleside so it is easy to pop over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you think this would be better suited for the grill?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For sure, he also suggests this in his riff, but the weather has been dubious of late around here. The threat of rain seems to have been hanging in the air all week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have some skirt steak at home so will be trying this tonight. Can someone with the book help me with the chipotle tomatillo salsa recipe. I've googled and found this one, but it's from Mexico: One Plate at a Time:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, I only have canned tomatillos as fresh are impossible to find in the UK. I was just going to roast them in the oven but maybe that wouldn't work?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The recipe you linked to for the salsa is a bit different from either of the tomatillo based salsas in the book. The Smoky Chipolte Salsa in the book has only three ingredients--3 garlic cloves (peeled, then dry roasted), 8 oz.tomatillos (peeled cut in half then dry roasted), and 2 peppers from a can of chipolte in adobo. Whiz in an FP. add salt to taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      here's a link hope it works in the UK:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      no idea about roasting canned tomatillos; but if you pan roast your garlic, and if you can get the canned chipoltes in adobo, I think your salsa will have enough "roasted" flavor even w/o roasting the tomatillos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks a lot for that. I have a LOT of chipotles in adobo, because I made my own a while back! You can find them here now, but only in specialist stores and they are pretty expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I made just the beef from the Chipotle Beef Tacos tonight - it's so simple, I hesitate to even call it a recipe! Still, I would never have thought to use straight chipotles in adobo as a marinade/grill sauce, so what do I know?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, I had the same issues with smoking when cooking inside, but that won't stop me from making this again - the chipotles get tamed a bit by the heat but make for a very flavorful steak, especially considering that there's almost zero effort involved. I look forward to trying it with the tart tomatillo salsa and sweet caramelized onions - I think that will make a really lovely taco!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. MEXICAN SCRAMBLED EGG TACOS p. 210

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You run garlic and fresh chiles (jalapeno or serrano) in a food processor or blender until they are finely chopped. Then you cook them in oil (or veg oil or lard or bacon/chorizo drippings) until brown. Diced tomato is added next and cooked until all of the tomato liquid evaporated. Then you crack your eggs, add some salt, and beat them until just blended. Cook in the skillet with the veg until as done as you like. Top with chopped cilantro and avocado (optional) and serve with warm corn tortillas and salsa or hot sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was only cooking for one so I had to reduce the amounts but 1/4 jalapeno was still probably too much. I don't love super-hot things, but I'm also not a sissy about jalapenos. I don't know what the heck is going on with the ones I've been buying recently because they are as hot as Hades. Cleared my sinuses right out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought this was a nice, fast (thank you mini-chopper) way to make eggs with Mexican flavors. The avocado and salsa was a nice topping for the eggs. It isn't something that I'd make at 5am before work but I'll definitely make it again on a weekend or to serve at a brunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Smoky Chipotle Salsa with Pan-Roasted Tomatillos, p. 149

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This starts out like the roasted tomatillo salsa on p. 154, roasting the whole garlic cloves and the tomatillos in a dry, nonstick skillet. My tomatillos never got "completely" soft but after about ten minutes, I declared them so :) Into the FP with the garlic, two chipotles in adobo and 1/4 c water. After cooling add about 1/2t salt. I love this! I could (almost) eat it with a spoon. It's for tonight Swiss chard tacos but I think I've just found my new go-to salsa. I'm really loving these chipotles in adobo. So wonderfully smoky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smoky Chipotle Salsa riff with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes - p 149

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I got sick of scrubbing tomatillo gunk off my nonstick skillet, so decided to put my tomatoes & garlic onto a baking sheet under the broiler instead. This worked quite well! I blended them in my food processor along with the chipotles, the small amount of adobo sauce left in the bottom of the chipotle container, about 1 tsp salt and a generous handful of fresh cilantro. I decided to skip the 1/4 cup of water recommended in the book, as we prefer our salsas thicker. The result was fantastic and very similar to my favourite fresh salsa from Skagit's Best in Washington state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I found that after the salsa sat for a while it got much thicker. I'm guessing the tomatillos absorbed a lot of liquid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I put some in some scrambled eggs this morning. Love this stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This happened to me too, with the tomato version. It kind of molded itself into a jelly shaped like the bowl we had set it out in! It just needed a little stir and it was fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this too but I don't have access to fresh tomatillos so used canned. For the first batch I tried to roast them in a pan but to be honest it didn't really work because there was so much liquid even though I drained the tomatillos. The second time, I just chucked the tomatillos straight in the blender with the roasted garlic. I didn't add any water because of the afore-mentioned liquid issue. Both batches were terrific. I'm not really familiar with tomatillos because they're hard to find even canned - will definitely be getting another can so I can make this salsa again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: I was trying to reply to c oliver's post about the smoky chipotle salsa, but I guess that didn't work!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worked fine! I so often see things on CH that sound so good, especially fresh fish, that I don't have access to so it is fun to cook from this. I even bought an achiote which I'll do something with soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think canned tomatillos would work great and much easier. I've only used them in the paste in a chile verde sauce and there they're boiled til tender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can broil the tomatillos just as easily and achieve the same result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Line a small rimmed baking sheet, or pie tin, with some aluminum foil. Lay out your dehusked, rinsed and dried tomatillos. Put directly under the broiler and go about 6 or 7 minutes depending upon their size. Remove from heat, and carefully flip them over. Return to the broiler and go another 3-4 minutes. Remove and let cool. Some of them may burst, but that's okay. Just scrape everything, including any juices, into your blender and then proceed. You can also put any onions, garlic cloves (unpeeled) and chiles in with the tomatillos and broil them too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresh tomatillo sauce (nothing roasted) is fabulous, especially with chicken and fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tomatillo sauce will thicken up, sometimes substantially, as it sits. If stirring isn't enough, just add a little water or stock and you should be good to go again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the broiling tip. I think I'll do that next time. These never got as soft as I'd expected but I think broiling would do the trick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Are you referring to caned tomatillos, DiningDiva? Because that's all I can get in the UK and even then not easily.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If all you can get are canned tomatillos, skip the roasting step altogether. Trying to roast/char a canned tomatillo is next to impossible. Just go straight to the blender. You can still get the char flavor from charring the onions, garlic and fresh chiles is you can get them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's what I concluded after trying to pan roast them! I just roasted the garlic for my second batch. The chipotles en adobo give you a smoky taste as well. I really like the resulting salsa, having never tried fresh tomatillos. Mr GG was rather suspicious of the colour which is rather muddy I must confess but likes the taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That color salsa is the one we always go for in restaurants :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Trout with Macadamias, Serrano and Green Beans - p 247

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Approx. 24oz of filleted trout (I used a steelhead fillet cut into four pieces) is pan-seared, then kept warm in the oven while green beans are cooked in the same pan along with a sauce of garlic, chicken broth, lime juice, cilantro, chopped roasted macadamias and chopped serrano peppers. The fish is served with this sauce drizzled over top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This was a delicious and very colourful centrepiece to our Sunday evening meal. Once all the prep is out of the way, it's quite quick to put together and was on the table in under 30 min. We served it alongside some BBQed vegetables, corn tortillas for the carb eaters at the table, refried beans and the smoky chipotle salsa from this book. A great meal and we loved the way all the colours popped on the plate - the bright green beans, the red salsa, the pink fish against the earthier colours of the tortillas and beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. page 295
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SLOW-COOKED ACHIOTE PORK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  my slow cooker is on with ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i added banana pepper, fresh plum tomatoes.