Cookbook of the Month May 2013: OTHER BOOKS by RICK BAYLESS
- greedygirl May 1, 2013 01:14 AM
Here's the adjunct thread that some of you requested for Rick Bayless, so we can discuss recipes in his other books or from the internet.
Please include the title of the book you are using, and the page number.
A reminder, as always 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.
Yeah, I think that one's a bit of a dud too. The only thing I've made out of it was the chocoflan, which my friends decided was the best dessert ever. I liked it, but I prefer a less dense cake and flan. Other than that recipe, I'm not inspired to make anything else.
The cajeta was fabulous--made that out of one of his other books. I like half goat's and half cow's milk best.
I've made this recipe a lot too, it's one of the few in the book that I actually think works really well. I had some issues with the cooking time, but that's easily adjustable and could have also been a variation in my oven.
This is such an odd (and very easy) recipe, but it's a hit with everyone that eats it :-)
delys I'll take a look at my book and let you know what I've made and liked. I know this book took some heat and there was even speculation that Rick outsourced his recipe development but I seem to recall finding some real hits in there so I'll have to pull it off the shelf. I know RB signed this one for me as a birthday gift from mr bc but I wouldn't let that bias me...
Delys77, I have all of RBs cookbooks and Fiesta at Rick's is BY FAR my least favorite. I usually have pretty good success with his recipes, but my results with FaR is pretty mixed. Some recipes worked, some didn't. I also had a problem with cooking times and yields that didn't quite match up to what the recipe indicated.
What I DID like about the book were all the helpful tips at the end of each chapter on party planning.
Rick Bayless is one of the most generous chefs. He shares recipes on his website and doesn't take them back down after a period of time. Undoubtedly, this "cuts" into his cookbook sales. I think he genuinely wants everyone to love Mexican food as much as he does.
Long way of saying, I think all those recipes on his website are in a book, somewhere. Can't imagine why it isn't appropriate to include reviews on this thread.
Homemade thick cream (Crema Espesa)- p.51 Authentic Mexican
Since I can't locate crema around here but find the real thing to be far better than sour cream, I thought I could attempt to make this at home. It's a very simple method, just adding a touch of buttermilk to lukewarm whipping cream and setting aside in a jar to ripen for 12-24 hours. Because winter won't release its chilly grip in my area and the countertop-temperature was a bit cool, I stuck it in the oven with the pilot light on.
The crema was still too mild for me after 12 hours, but after 24 it had thickened nicely and had a pleasant tang to it. I did find that the whipping cream was a bit too heavy for my tastes--I like to slather the crema on my foods with abandon and couldn't do so with the 33% variety. A later attempt with half-and-half yielded too light a mouthfeel, even though it did thicken just as well. My next experiment will be with coffee cream (18%) and I bet that will be just right.
There was one occasion where the several-day-old batch of crema sat out on the counter in the sun for a few hours--and it was even better for it! It almost solidified and I had to thin it with some milk, but the flavour was superior to what I had previously made, more wild and ripe. So perhaps even longer than 24 hours would make for a more flavourful cream.
From the RB web site:
Queso Panela Con Salsa de Papaya and Chile Chipotle
This is a nice, light and refreshing appetizer, it's from one of the Baja episodes of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time.
Queso Panela is a fresh cheese. Rick recommends the LaLa brand, but Cacique also makes a good queso panela. If you can't find panela, you can use farmers cheese or queso fresco. Panela doesn't melt well (it holds it's shape when heated) and has a rather bland flavor.
Slice about 12 oz of queso panela into 1/2" slices (about the same size as a Triscuit) and shingle them out over your serving dish.
Cut an avocado, 1/2 a red onion and about a 1/4 of a Mexican papaya into 1/4" dice. Toss with a couple tablespoons of fresh lime juice a quarter cup of chopped cilantro and 1 or 2 finely minced chile chipotles in adobo. Season to taste with salt and then spoon the fruit salsa over the cheese.
Serve with the hard Mexican tostadas.
Ricotta Stuffed Ancho Chiles w/Red Wine Escabeche
This recipe is posted on the RB web site and is from the Baja season of Mexico: One Plate at a Time. The episode with this recipe was filmed in the Valle de Guadalupe and it really very good. If the anchos are on the small side, serve them as an appetizer. If the anchos are larger, add a salad and some crusty bread and serve them as a meal.
Escabeches are used to lightly pickle things and give them a good dose of flavor. This is one recipe where the quality of the olive oil and red wine used will have an impact.
This is a good hot weather dish that can be made early in the morning when the weather is still cool, but served at room temp later in the heat of the day. It's also surprisingly elegant
Red Chile Rice (Arroz Rojo)--Mexican Kitchen, p.252
Looking for an alternative to the standard red or green rice, I came across this flavourful chile-rich version.
A deep brick-red paste is first made using roasted anchos and garlic. I had my grill going so decided to use that to heat the chiles--I loved that satisfying crackle that comes from the proper temperature, and how the anchos soften and sightly puff up, while changing to a gorgeous red wine hue. The chiles are de-seeded and softened in hot water, then pureed in a blender with the garlic, some Mexican oregano, and a scant amount of cumin, cloves, salt & pepper.
Rice (I used basmati) and white onion are sauteed until the rice becomes chalky, and then hot chicken broth with part of the ancho paste dissolved in it goes into the rice, and the cooking finishes up on the stove, setting aside for the final absorption. After fluffing, the rice is sprinkled with chopped cilantro.
Since the paste makes 1 cup but the recipe only uses 5T, I only made a half batch that portion, using the remainder to slather over chicken destined for the grill (which was pretty good in its own right).
I guess it was the colour of this rice that makes it a bit deceptive--it looks like there should be a tomato-y flavour so the lack of tang is surprising at first bite. However, the complex flavour of the chiles more than makes up for it, providing a lovely showcase for these beauties. The cilantro brought this dish to life, adding the finishing touch and complementing the earthiness of the rice. I served it with the suggested roasted tomatillo-chipotle salsa, and that was another excellent topper for this dish. While I think I prefer the usual tomato-onion rice for everyday dishes, this one provides a lovely and welcome change.
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.
This is in my regular recipe rotation, meaning at least once a month.
I frequently make all the salsas in MK. They're all really good.
The chorizo stuffed ancho chiles with sweet-sour escabeche (p108) is also a favorite.
Sonoran Fried beans with chorizo and cheese (p. 242) is another staple around here.
Chile seasoned pot roasted pork (p. 378) is another winner for me.
Chipotle seasoned pot roast with Mexican vegetables (p. 368) is my mom's favorite. Actually, the tomatillo-chipotle salsa in this dish goes well with any meat.
I could go on. This is my absolute favorite and most used cookbook.
Incidentally, I've tried making corn tortillas using both Rick's recipe (which uses Maseca masa harina) and the recipe on the Maseca bag. I like Rick's better, but I have a LONG way to go to get my technique down. My tortillas taste good, but they're seriously ugly.
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp off the website
I really liked these shrimp appetizers. Not by any means a quick meal to prepare, you have to shell, de-vain, and butterfly, 2 dozen shrimp, then make the filling (dirtying the food processor), stuff the shrimp, and wrap in bacon. Then grill everything up. I served it with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, p. 154, Mexican Everyday. RB suggests using thinly sliced bacon but I used what I had in my fridge. It didn't work very well and the bacon took way longer than 1 1/2 minutes per side to cook so I opted to deconstruct .
I cooked the bacon first, drained the grease from the pan, grilled up the shrimp in what remained of the fat, then heated the filling in the microwave, plopped some in each shrimp and adorned with a crisp piece of bacon and reheated everything for a few minutes in the oven to warm through.
I loved this dish, the rest of my family liked it but didn't love it so it will not be made again because it was way too much work for mediocre reviews.
Tacos of Creamy Braised Chard, Potatoes, and Poblanos (Tacos de Acelgas Guisadas con Crema) Mexican Kitchen p.163
This was a nice vegetarian option to have available for a taco-filled evening with minimal fuss.
Onions are cooked to brown yet crunchy, then garlic, thyme, and oregano is added along with roasted poblano strips (I had grilled a large batch a few days earlier in anticipation of using plenty of them). Meanwhile, cubed potatoes are cooked in chicken broth until almost tender and then added to the pan with the onions. Ribbons of swiss chard meet with the blend and all is cooked until tender and the liquid is evaporated, while a hefty glug of tangy crema coats the items near the end. All is transferred to a deep serving dish and iberally sprinkled with queso fresco, then eaten in a corn tortilla.
I used lacinato kale that I had come across in the market in place of the chard, so I adjusted the cooking times, but other than that made no changes. I really thought the bitterness of the kale was softened by the luxurious fattiness of the crema; the two paired well together. Recently discovering potatoes in a taco filling has me seeking out the recipes that contain them, and this was a lovely version. It was a homey, comfort-food type dish--very mild and mellow, lacking the acidic or spicy jolt that a lot of these recipes have, but a welcome change. I found that we preferred this as a side dish instead of in a taco, and if I were serving it again I would probably keep it with like-minded flavours--it had too much competition to really shine as it could have.
Browned Vermicelli with Roasted Tomato, Zucchini, and Aged Cheese (Sopa Seca de Fideos) Mexican Kitchen, p.228
Is it possible to love a dish before you've even eaten it? Every time I've come across a recipe for fideos, I've stared longingly at the pages, vowing that one day I would finally get around to trying it. When I found this recipe in the cotm, I figured it would be the perfect time for me to check it off my list.
Start by making the chipotle-tomato sauce: toast dried chipotles and rehydrate them (or just use a canned chile in adobo) and roast garlic and tomatoes on a comal until blackened. I used 1½ 15 oz tins of fire-roasted tomatoes with juice in place of those pallid grocery store varieties currently available. This is processed to a fine puree, then fried w/a touch of oil until thickened.
Fine vermicelli noodles are fried in batches to brown both sides in oil (if using optional chorizo, fry in that leftover fat) and drained. The tomato sauce gets some broth stirred in (I used chicken) along with Mexican oregano and pepper. Diced fresh tomatoes, unroasted, also go in this mix (I used a combination of canned tomatoes and fresh grape tomatoes) and get simmered until slightly thickened, at which point the noodles go in, and then small cubes of zucchini and the cooked chorizo crumbles and after a spell, some crema. Grated queso anejo (or parmesan) is stirred in, then the noodles are transferred to a dish and topped with more cheese and cilantro. I thought there was enough aged cheese flavour in the noodles and so topped with queso fresco instead.
I loved the smokiness from the chipotles and the roasted tomatoes with the intensely deep tomato tang--it was a wonderful Mexican twist on plain old tomato sauce. The zucchini was tender-crisp, offering a nice textural contrast to the creamy noodles, and I bet some roasted or grilled corn would also be a pleasant addition-tho this would be good even with only the sauced noodles. Since I have never even seen fideos before, I wasn't sure of the noodle size--I used the middle-eastern vermicelli, which may have been even too fine for this dish--but it worked out anyway, though next time I will get something with a bit more heft to them.
These were some pretty high expectations to live up to, and the fideos ended up meeting and even exceeding them. I really loved these noodles and will definitely be making them again.
I adore fideos as well. If you feel like ever trying other versions, check out these fideo recipes:
Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez - Mexican-Style Noodles (Fideos Secos). Terrible name but great recipe
The Tortilla Book by Diana Kennedy - Fideos Secos. This has long been my "go to" recipe for fideos (until I ate Roberto's). It is fairly simple and a tasty accompaniment to chicken, shrimp and pork. I do add a little liquid than the recipe calls for as I prefer my fideos a little looser than how this recipe sometimes comes out
I had totally forgotten about this thread. I have made lots of things from "Authentic Mexican" which is one of my favorite books. Posting now so I remember to review the items that I have made, even though most of them I didn't make this month.