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Mexican cookbook recommendation reques

Highland's picture

Hi all: I'm looking to purchase a cookbook for mexican food - nothing too elaborate and/or complicated - just good tasting food with ingredients readily accessible. Would you mind sharing your favorites?

cindy

Gary's picture

(post #62692, reply #1 of 49)

http://forums.taunton.com/tp-cookstalk/messages?msg=26454.1

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

unbaked's picture

(post #62692, reply #2 of 49)

It's a huge book, but Mexico the Beautiful is one I've used as a reference for years. I have at least one other done by Marilyn Tausend, who is excellent. Glenys speaks well of her.


Diana Kennedy is the grand dame of Mexican Cookery, but her recipes seem much more complicated.


I've never been a fan of Bayless, though I bet I'd bump heads with many here if I were ever dumb enough to say that out loud (grin)


I've probably made about 1/2 or more of the recipes in MTB without a single failure. For just trying it out, she wrote a smaller book called Savoring Mexico, doesn't weigh as much lol, but neither is it as complete.

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

whatscooking's picture

(post #62692, reply #3 of 49)

There is joke in my family that somewhere, tucked away in my home, is a shrine to Rick Bayless.  A scary one with pictures torn out of newpapers, candles and religious figurines.  I just love him so much.  I was a little overboard a few years ago but lately I've turned my attention toward asian cooking and I've calmed down a little.


I would suggest Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen.  I have all his books.  Each of his books has gotten easier, the recipes, more simplified.  Authentic Mexican, his first is a little challenging.  There are so many steps to each recipe, nothing difficult, but you'll literally be in the kitchen all day.  Mexican Kitchen is just right.  It has accessible recipes that turn out great.  You will still need access to a market with some hispanic produce and dry goods.  With his subsequent books, I think he simplifies for the reader at the expense of the recipe.  There are not as many recipes that call for the charring, straining, and frying of sauces.  I do enjoy Mexico, One Plate at a Time.  I don't highly recommend Salsas or Everyday Mexican.  You'll find some repetition in his books but I never minded - the more Rick, the better ;)

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain
http://theoutdatedkitchen.blogspot.com/

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #4 of 49)

May I ask you what you don't recommend  SALSAS?  I got it as a Christmas gift, but have not used it yet.  Bal

 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

whatscooking's picture

(post #62692, reply #5 of 49)

There's nothing wrong with it.  But the basic sauces at the beginning, that most of the recipes are based on, can be found in Mexican Kitchen or Authentic Mexican also.  They are just tinkered with (sometimes streamlined) and I prefer the ones in MK.  I have Salsas and I've made things from it, but its not as tattered and splattered as Mexican Kitchen.

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain
http://theoutdatedkitchen.blogspot.com/

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #6 of 49)

A very loud groan is being sent in your direction.  Now I have to buy the Authentic Mexican!


(I've just read excerps from a newly published book written by a woman who with the exception of food and real essentials did not buy anything for a whole year; no Starbucks, no pizza, no  restaurants ... and I was just considering to  attempt to immitate her for  3 months. Hah!) 


I am not a fan of Mexican food as it is presented in the States.  DH loves  canned rerfried  beans because he had them as a kid.  Kids have been to Tacos, or whaever that chain is called.  Yuk!  


Several years ago I decided to prove that Mexican food is no good and bought the very first Mexican cookbook I came across which turned out to be  One plate a Time. LOL.  I was in for a big surprise.  I love that book, but I never ventured outside of it.


Thanks for your info.  Bal


 


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

whatscooking's picture

(post #62692, reply #7 of 49)

The Crema de Elote (corn soup) in Authentic Mex. is one of my favorite soups.   There is a lightened-up version in Everyday Mexican too.  Come corn season, you must try it.  (if you haven't bought the book, I'll send you the recipe)

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain
http://theoutdatedkitchen.blogspot.com/

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #8 of 49)

I love corn in any shape and form, and would love to make the corn soup.  The question is which of the two books you mention  I should buy?


When I venture into a new (for me) cuisine, at first, I try to get as authentic as possible, I look at it as an adventure or a challenge.  After "mastering  phase one," I either reject the recipes I tried totally, or fall in love with them and end up, when necessary, adapting them to my needs.  In a case like this, I know  what compromises have been made and don't feel like a fool when someone tells me that what I present as Irish stew  tastes like Hungerian Goulash.


I try to avoid the pitfalls created by unscrupulous food writers who  will, let's say, make a variation of hummus, but call it "Mexican dip," or make ravioli with meat and, call them "Chinese  dumplings."


Sorry for my rant.  So which book should I get? Bal


 


 



 


So much to cook; so little time.


Edited 3/19/2006 1:31 pm ET by ballottine

 

So much to cook; so little time.

whatscooking's picture

(post #62692, reply #9 of 49)

I would say that you should go the bookstore and look them over.  Both have authentic techniques.  And they are definitely mexican, not tex-mex.  In both, he'll give you an idea of the region the recipe came from.  Personally, the recipes in Mexican Kitchen appeal more to me.  I make more from that book.  But I still like Authentic Mexican too.  So it really depends on what looks best to you.  Or buy both ;)

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain
http://theoutdatedkitchen.blogspot.com/

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #10 of 49)

"...both!"


Groan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Glenys's picture

(post #62692, reply #11 of 49)

By far and away my favourite Mexican corn soup is a hybrid of authentic cooking from Diana Kennedy with a step adapted by Deborah Madison. It begins with an infusion of cinnamon sticks, mint, cilantro, peppercorns and if desired basil in milk. Once the infusion is well steeped and flavoured, the corn chowder is made with the mixture. It's truly delicious.

whatscooking's picture

(post #62692, reply #12 of 49)

I'd love the recipe.  It sounds interesting and I really like corn soup in general.

Chicago-style deep-dish:  "Pizza for people who just aren't fat enough"
Anthony Bourdain
http://theoutdatedkitchen.blogspot.com/

pamilyn's picture

(post #62692, reply #13 of 49)

Wow that sounds really amazing!! Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Dr. Mike's picture

(post #62692, reply #14 of 49)

Hi,


Two books I've found useful are MEXICAN LIGHT  by Martha Shulman (pub. 1996) & MEXICAN FAMILY COOKING by Aida Gabilondo (pub. 1986).


Enjoy!

atatkdmom's picture

(post #62692, reply #15 of 49)

I cook a lot of Mexican food in our house because we live close to Mexico (Tucson, Arizona), and my husband is Mexican.  My mother in law, who lives south of the border, has taught me a lot.  I have a number of Mexican cookbooks and the one I have used the most is called Mesa Mexicana from the Two Hot Tamales.  They used to be on Food Network.  I have pulled a lot of good recipes from there.  They are not difficult and use mostly very authentic and fresh ingredients.  My MOL thinks their flour tortilla recipe is as good as those in Mexico.  The soups in the cookbook are great, the quesadillas, the enchiladas, etc.  My favorite thing about this book is the recipes come as close to the way my MOL cooks as any other cookbook I have used.  Also, something to note is that Suzanne Finniger and Mary Sue Miliken (authors) both learned to cook in Mexico, which is why their recipes are so authentic.  If I am not mistaken, if you can't get your hands on any of the ingredients due to unavailability because of where you live, they give references to places you can purchase the items.  There are several good Mexican ingredient websites for mail order.


Lastly, I have seen some references from others to buy a Rick Bayless cookbook.  I have one and I think he's great, too!


Have fun!  Cindy in Tucson.  :)

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #16 of 49)

Hah!  During my last trip to costco I  saw Mexican Food for Dummies  by Suzanne Finniger and Mary Sue Miliken whom I respect highly , but I wondered  what do they know about Mexican Food. .. You answered my question.  thank you.  Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

atatkdmom's picture

(post #62692, reply #17 of 49)

Wow!  I'm gonna have to go to Costco and check this book out!  Sounds interesting!


Thanks, Cindy

butterscotch's picture

(post #62692, reply #18 of 49)

Over the last 25 years or so, they've had all kinds of restaurants here in LA, but the majority have been Latin-themed.  Their very first place was a coffee house, but their first real restaurant was a Mexican place, the Border Grill, now in Santa Monica. They opened a second border grill a few years ago in Pasadena, where we live, and I was overjoyed. No more having to drive all the way across town for their great food. But somehow the Pasadena one didn't take off. I think the space may have been just too big and expensive. Now it's gone, and I miss the fish tacos, the interesting vegetable plates, and their way with flank steak. 


Do Mary Sue and Susan talk about their restaurants on their TV shows? I don't watch much TV and have never seen them on the air. 

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #19 of 49)

The first time I've heard of them was  on Julia's TV show and their recipes are included in Julia's first book featuring  US based chefs. 


I recall being addicted, of all things, to their pop corn.  I've also used their recipes from magazines.  I don't think I've seen them on TV after Julia's show. Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

courgette's picture

(post #62692, reply #20 of 49)

So what's in the popcorn?


Mo

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #21 of 49)

As I recall Cumin, Cayenne, etc.  Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #22 of 49)

Sorry. It took me a while, but I found the recipe  I mentioned.  It comes from  their Bangla period which coinsided with my Bengali food  craze. (LOL) This popcorn is not for little  kids, it is very spicy,but it is good with drinks. The chefs served large bowls of this popcorn in their bar.


 


 


Curry  Popcorn


        by


Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger

 


½ tea spoon, or to your taste Red Pepper Flakes        


1 tea spoon Ground Cumin             


½ tea spoon Turmeric                        


1 tea spoon Cracked Black Peppercorns  


1 tea spoon Salt                                       


¼ cup vegetable oil (I use corn oil)


½ cup unpopped popcorn


 



  1. Measure the spices onto a plate and place near the stove.
  2. Preheat a heavy duty sauce pan or a heavy casserole with a tight fitting lid.
  3. Add oil and test for the right heat by adding a single kernel of popcorn in to the saucepan. Turn the heat to high and cover the pan.
  4. When the kernel pops quickly pour the rest of the corn into the pan and cover the pan with the lid.
  5. When the corn really starts popping, HOLD YOUR BREATH and rapidly toss in the spices, cover the pan, walk away, breath.

 


Spice fumes will burn your throat, do not breath them in.


 



  1. Return to the stove and keep shaking the covered pan until the popping stops.

 


After the first try adjust  the spices to suit your taste.  Popcorn will be gorgeous orange.


 


 



 


So much to cook; so little time.


Edited 6/30/2006 12:58 pm ET by ballottine

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Risottogirl's picture

(post #62692, reply #23 of 49)

What is unopened popcorn?

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor


Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #24 of 49)

I mean UNPOPPED.  Sorry and thanks for catching it.  I am totally tuned to the news. This is unbelievable newsday.  Lots of books will be written discussing today's events, (you will see,) where are the CT's heavy weights?  I keep checking IPKE.  lol bal

 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Glenys's picture

(post #62692, reply #25 of 49)

Not to be confused with "old maids".

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #26 of 49)

 


I am glad you are here, I need to pick your brain.  I was shopping for whipping cream and discovered that the store had heavy cream 38% milk fat and 42%milk fat.  38% was a bit more expensive.  What is the difference? Which one is better for desserts and other uses?  The Costco whipping cream  does not give persentage.  TIA.


A humongous Thank You is in order for posting guidance on how to stabilize whipped cream just when I needed it.   It worked.  I used 6 quarts of heavy cream , some of it "masquerading"  as a butter cream. lol.  A humongous Thank You is being send your way.  Bal


PS: Have you read  the Heat yet? I would love to know your opinion.  Bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Heather's picture

(post #62692, reply #27 of 49)

Funny you should ask about heavy cream--this was in a food newsletter I received today. It's confusing.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Why is it so many recipes STILL call for heavy cream, while in the store, we cannot find any such thing? Do we go for half-and-half, whipping cream (unwhipped) or what? And if the answer is whipping cream, why don't recipes just say unwhipped whipping cream if that's what they want?

That's a really good point and one of those marketing/language glitches that seem to defy logic. Some stores are beginning to carry heavy cream, which has a fat content of 36 to 40 percent, but the majority of markets simply offer whipping cream, which is between 30 and 36 percent. If a recipe calls for heavy cream and you can't find it, use whipping cream.

Just FYI; half-and-half has a fat content of about 10.5 percent.

Ballottine's picture

(post #62692, reply #28 of 49)

I would love to know the answer.TIA.  Bal

 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Glenys's picture

(post #62692, reply #29 of 49)

I agree, I don't think it's ever been misleading or a mystery. Read the label, check the fat content. The good news is that many of us purchase whipping cream on the heavy end and some can't. No one has ever suggested whipping cereal or table cream, that's just a losing concept.
You'll be fine, you're just having a Canuck moment.
It ain't heavy, but it's my brother's cream.

Gary's picture

(post #62692, reply #30 of 49)

It's not a marketing glitch. In the US, the FDA regulates these terms:

FDA sets standards of composition for milk and different types of cream. These standards give minimum milkfat requirements, which must be met if the product is to be shipped in interstate commerce.

* Light Cream Light cream, also called coffee cream or table cream, must have at least 18 percent milkfat, but less than 30 percent.

* Half-and-Half Half-and-half is made by homogenizing a mixture of milk and cream. It must contain at least 10.5 percent milkfat, but not more than 18 percent.

* Light Whipping Cream Light whipping cream must have at least 30 percent milkfat, but less than 36 percent.

* Heavy Cream Heavy cream must have at least 36 percent milkfat.

http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/special/foodlabel/lite.html


Edited 6/30/2006 8:00 am ET by Gary

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.