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What’s sizzling: Mexican food

Check out these cook books.




‘Dos Caminos Mexican Street Food’


Authors: Chef Ivy Stark with Joanna Pruess

What’s in it: One hundred twenty recipes for Mexican staples with modern flair, like plantain croquettes and mole short ribs

Chef Stark’s must-have ingredient for Mexican cooking: “Corn masa (dough) for making tortillas. It is the foundation of the cuisine.”

Her favorite recipe from the book: Tacos al pastor




‘Simple Food, Big Flavor’


Authors: Chef Aaron Sanchez with JJ Goode

What’s in it: Instructions for authentic dishes like chorizo and cornbread stuffing and chile-glazed duck, all divided by flavor profiles

Chef Sanchez’s must-have ingredients for Mexican cooking: “Chiles and cilantro”

His favorite recipe from the book: Sauteed shrimp with creamy red chile salsa





‘Mexican Made Easy’


Author: Chef Marcella Valladolid

What’s in it: Down-home dishes from the Food Network host, like chipotle-garbanzo dip and cilantro scallops.

Chef Valladolid’s must-have ingredient: "Homemade tortillas! They're much easier to make than you think. A good tortilla can be life-changing!"

Her favorite recipe from the book: Mexican pecan pie

Dos Caminos Recipe

Tacos Al Pastor

40 dried guajillo chiles

20 dried ancho chiles

20 dried pasilla negro chiles

2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

Grated zest of 1 orange

1⁄3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

9 cloves garlic

11/2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

8 ounces Mexican beer

6 ounces cola

1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa (recipe follows)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, for garnish

24 (4-inch) soft white corn tortillas

1. Stem and seed the guajillo, ancho and pasilla negro chiles; combine them in a stainless steel bowl with just enough hot water to cover, weigh them down with a plate, soak until soft, 15 to 20 minutes, then drain and set aside. Reserve the soaking

liquid.

2. In a small saucepan, simmer the orange juice over medium-low heat until reduced by half. Set aside. In the jar of an electric blender, puree the softened chiles until smooth, adding some of the soaking water, if needed, to get a smooth consistency.

3. In a large bowl, combine the reduced orange juice, pureed chiles, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper and oregano. Stir in the beer, cola, vinegar and lime juice. Add the pork, turning to coat evenly, cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight.

4. Prepare the Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa

(below).

5. When ready to cook, drain the pork well and blot the pieces dry with paper towels. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the pork, in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan, until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning to cook evenly. Remove from heat and serve right away, or keep warm in the pan over low heat until ready to serve.

6. While the pork is cooking, heat a gas grill or skillet over high heat. Add the pineapple and cook until lightly browned, turn and cook the second side until lightly colored. Remove and cut into cubes.

7. To serve: On a large platter, lay the tortillas side by side, overlapping them slightly. Divide the filling among them; top with grilled pineapple and Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa and serve.



Roasted Pineapple-Pasilla de Oaxaca Salsa

Yield: 3 ½ cups

1/4 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered

2 teaspoons lard or vegetable oil

5 medium cloves garlic

7 small pasilla de Oaxaca chiles

1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced

Salt

1. In a small saucepan, cover the tomatillos with enough water to come about halfway up the side of the pan, cover and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes; strain, reserving the liquid.

2. Meanwhile, on the plancha or in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, melt the lard, add the garlic and cook until soft and well charred on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the

chiles and toast for 2 minutes per side; tear them into pieces, discarding the stem, and transfer them to the jar of an electric blender.

3. Either under the broiler, on a gas grill or in the skillet, grill the pineapple until well caramelized, turning once. Transfer it to the jar of the blender along with enough of the chile rehydrating liquid to make the blades turn smoothly, add a large

pinch of salt and blend until smooth. Add the tomatillos and blend; season to taste with salt.

Simple Food, Big Flavor Recipe

Sautéed shrimp with creamy red chile salsa (from page 140)

Serves 4

¼ cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup Chile Colorado Sauce (page 134)

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Cooked rice, polenta, or grits, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

1. Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Put it over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic turns light brown.

2. Turn the heat to high, add the shrimp (in batches if necessary), and cook them for 1 minute on each side. Return all the shrimp to the skillet, lower the heat to medium and pour the Chile Colorado Sauce and heavy cream over them. Cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

3. Scoop out the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Simmer the sauce until it thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.

4. Add the cilantro and return the shrimp to the sauce. Turn down the heat and reheat the shrimp gently.

5. Spoon the shrimp and sauce into bowls over rice, polenta or grits, and serve immediately with lime wedges.

Mexican Made Easy Recipe

Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie

Serves 8 to 10

Nonstick cooking spray

1½ cups graham cracker or Maria cookie crumbs

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus 7 tablespoons, melted

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar

6 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 cups pecan halves

¼ cup Mexican crema or heavy cream

1 disc Mexican chocolate

or 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

2. Process the cookie crumbs, 7 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar in a food processor until the crumbs are moist. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish. Cover and freeze while preparing the filling (or for up to 1 week).

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

4. Combine the 12 tablespoons butter, remaining ½ cup brown sugar and the corn syrup in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in the pecans and crema. Boil until the mixture thickens slightly, about

3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

5. Pour the hot filling into the crust. Using a spoon, evenly distribute the nuts. Bake until the filling bubbles all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack and cool completely before serving.

 
 
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