Rick Bayless’s Extensive Library

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com; http://eater.com/archives/2014/03/28/rick-bayless-cookbook-shelf.php

Photo by Paula Forbes

Paula Forbes recently wrote this great article on Rick Bayless and his extensive library and how it is utilized, and how Rick creates an environment for ongoing education for himself and for his staff as they research foods for their menus. It is one of a series in The Cookbook Shelf, in which Eater talks to food professionals about their book collections.

I thought I had many, many Mexican cookbooks but obviously not as many as Rick. My books are erupting all over the window ledges and even the floors so I have donated many to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at San Antonio, Texas where they are teaching students from all over Mexico and Central America. It is a very special place with a very dedicated purpose.

And by the way, I am the one now editing Ricardo Munoz’s book that Rick mentioned. A mutual friend of ours, Carmen Barnard Baca, my former coordinator in Mexico, was one of the three translators, along with her brother, Roberto Barnard Baca and Cristina Potters, and now I am editing it and working with the University of Texas Press so that it will soon be available.

Chefs’ trip 2014 – Yucatán with Rick Bayless and Ricardo Muñoz

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

Trip is full, a waitlist has been started

This September 27 to October 5, we will have our twelfth chefs’ trip to Mexico, and this year we will return once again to Yucatán, where we last did one over 10 years ago. As you can see from the photo, it can be quite intense.

Besides Rick and Ricardo, other local cooks and chefs such as Roberto Solis will be sharing their knowledge of both the traditional foods of the Maya and the more modern renditions, all quite unlike those in the rest of Mexico and their more modern renditions.

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

achiote

Many of these dishes will have green, black or red recado seasoning paste with achiote for flavoring such dishes as cochinita pibil, originally prepared with the native peccary cooked in a pit. You will sample my favorite dip, sikil-pák, made with pumpkin seeds and dzotobichay, a huge tamal stuffed with chopped hard-cooked eggs and wrapped with chaya leaves.

www.culinaryadventuresinc.com

Cochinita bibil

I always like to combine the rather intense cooking classes and other food related experiences with some time to learn about culture, especially in Yucatán so one day we will visit one of the major archeological sites, but, of course, eating some interesting food along the way.

These chef trips do fill quickly, and I always like to leave spots for those who haven’t been with us before so do let me know if you are interested in joining us in September. We have not yet confirmed the schedule so do not have a cost as of now, but I should know soon and will let you know. I expect it to be approximately $4,200, the same as last year. To hold a space, please contact us and we will send you the necessary paperwork for you to send back with a deposit.

How to Make Three Authentic Salsas with Roberto Santibañez

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Photograph by Romulo Yanes from Roberto’s “Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)

Reprinted from Men’s Journal by Carol Reed

According to chef Roberto Santibañez, salsas should be seen as spicy condiments, like steak sauce or ketchup, where a quarter teaspoon is added to main dishes to “create an explosion on the palate.” If you like to down your salsa a cup at a time with a bag of corn chips, by all means. But that’s not their primary purpose. Chiles, roasted over a fire and beaten into salsa, are “part of the foundation of all Mexican cuisine,” says French-trained Santibañez, a native of Mexico City who is the former culinary director of famed New York eatery Rosa Mexicana, and lately, the chef-owner of the upscale Fonda restaurants and La Botaneria small-plates bar in Brooklyn, New York, and Manhattan. Here, Santibañez offers three recipes so you can make classic Mexican salsas – a red, a green, and pico de gallo – to pair with dinner at home.

Salsa Roja de Molcajete

This simple roasted tomato salsa, omnipresent in Mexico, is the one most Americans associate with the term salsa. It’s best when the garlic, roasted chiles, and salt are pounded to a paste in a molcajete, a traditional Mexican volcanic-stone mortar and pestle. But you can easily substitute a blender.
(Serves 4)

Ingredients
1 lb tomatoes (about 3 medium)
2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, stemmed, or more to taste
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or 1/4 tsp fine salt

1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to broil (or 500°). Core the tomatoes and cut a small X through skin on the bottom. Cook tomatoes, cored sides up, with the chiles on a foil-lined baking pan, turning chiles after 8 minutes or so. Roast 15 minutes total, or until chiles are tender, blistered all over, and partly blackened. Remove chiles and cook tomatoes another 15–20 minutes until the tops blacken and they’re cooked to the core. Cool slightly.
2. Peel off tomato skins, and remove the chile skins (you might have to use a paring knife).
3. Put peeled chiles, garlic, kosher salt, and one-third of roasted tomatoes in blender; puree until fairly smooth. Add remaining tomatoes and pulse a few times to keep texture chunky. Season to taste with additional salt.

Salsa Verde Cruda

This tart and spicy fresh tomatillo salsa is chef Santibañez’s favorite (“I live for this salsa”). Learn to tweak the tomatillos’ acidity with a little lime juice and salt “to make it all sing,” he says. It tastes best fresh – no more than a few hours after you make it.
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients
1/2 lb tomatillos (5 or 6), husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, coarsely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste
2 tbsp chopped white onion
1 large garlic clove, peeled
3/4 tsp fine salt, or 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Put the tomatillos in the blender jar first, then add the remaining ingredients. Blend until the salsa is very smooth (tomatillo seeds will still be visible), at least a minute. Season to taste, adjusting flavor if desired with additional chile and salt, then blend again.

Pico de Gallo with Lemon Zest

This raw, saladlike tomato salsa, also known as salsa Mexicana, is a riff on the classic, swapping lemon for lime. It is best made anywhere from a few hours to 30 minutes before serving to marry and deepen the flavors.
(Makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups diced seeded tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
Heaping 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh serrano chiles, including seeds, or more to taste
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and stir thoroughly to distribute everything well. Season to taste with more chile, lemon juice, or salt, if desired.