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A very successful Sunday lunch included the insanely easy chicken in tomatillo sauce from the Bayless cookbook.

 

I first roasted a whole chicken. Let it rest on a plate. Slash it so that the juices run.

 

Blackened 12 tomatillos under the broiler. Threw them, a few jalepenos and a few cloves of garlic in a blender. Heated oil in pot til very hot and poured the tomatillo mixture in and stirred it til it thickened and darkened. Then added 3 cups of chicken stock and let the whole mixture reduce down. Add the intense chicken juices that have run onto the plate. Season w/ salt. Add shredded chicken... and that is IT.

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More fun with tomatillos.

 

Back from a business trip I had to scrounge around the fridge for dinner and this is what I came up with:

 

1 lb tomatillos

2 jalepenos

1 avocado

garlic

cilantro

frozen chicken stock

chicken breasts

crema

limes

 

I blackened the tomatillos, jalepenos and garlic. Whizzed them in the blender and then dumped the mixture in a pot with about 2 T of hot oil. Let that blacken, thicken and then added the stock and raw chicken. Let the chicken cook in the whole concoction and reduce a little. Stirred in the cilantro, sliced avocado and thickened with crema.

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This looks like being the summer of the tacos, so any tips would be appreciated. Currently I am using soft tortillas with a light spinach flavor which I'm buying on Avenue A. Does anyone have a brand they would strongly recommend (no, if I was making them myself, this would be the summer of something easier)?

 

I am experimenting with minimalist toppings - just fresh, chopped cilantro and a few minced onions - and also with the whole works - crisp lettuce, chopped tomato, onions, hot sauce, and creme fraiche. I am not inclined to weigh them down with beans.

 

I also like making salsas (and have a book of recipes). If anyone has good, but surprisingly quick and easy, salsa suggestions, please fire away.

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boil in salted water for 10 minutes:

 

6 to 8 tomatillos

1 onion, peeled and halved

2 serrano chiles

2 cloves garlic

 

add some chopped cilantro or epazote if you like it. you could also roast all the vegetables.

 

I like julliened jicama, chopped cabbage or radishes on a taco

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Saw the DVD of Once Upon A Time in Mexico and one of the extras on the DVD is a 10 minute cooking school where the director gives his recipe for Cochinita Pibil. Dios mios did it look good.

 

As I suspected, a Rodriguez-geek transcribed the recipe and posted it on a fan site.

 

This is definitely going to be a weekend dish in the near future. Here are the other recipes I've found:

 

Diana Kennedy

 

Food Network

 

Bayless also has a recipe in his book.

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I also like making salsas (and have a book of recipes).  If anyone has good, but surprisingly quick and easy, salsa suggestions, please fire away.

Howdy y'all. :rolleyes:

 

Wilfrid, here is exactly what you asked for. A salsa recipe that is "good, but surprisingly quick and easy."

 

I want to say that I posted it "elsewhere," and was immediately attacked by one person that shall go nameless (but he has an eyeball stuck in the middle of his tongue) who said it wasn't "authentic," despite the fact that it was given to me by a friend who is really and truly Mexican and she damn sure considers it an "authentic Mexican salsa."

 

So I repeat the disclaimer: I claim nothing for this recipe other than it is indeed "GOOD, BUT SURPRISINGLY QUICK AND EASY."

 

I also should add that one shouldn't be put off by how long the recipe seems. It is in fact stupefyingly "quick and easy." It's just long because I'm so wordy (something I've been working on with limited success).

 

And of course because with me, there's always a story.

 

This recipe was given to me years ago by a friend that owned a beauty salon. She spoke no English. I had tasted her salsa and knew that it was what I wanted to be my "mainstay." She wouldn't tell me how she did it. One day, I went into her shop for a perm and she fried my hair. She was all upset and apologetic and (I think) maybe even afraid I'd sue. She asked what she could do to make it up to me.

 

So here's the recipe. Most people that taste it ask for the recipe, and I don't mind giving it out like that because those people have had it and know it's good and will prepare it like I tell them to. But I don't normally give it out like this because I have to threaten people within an inch of their lives to do it the way I say. Unless they've tasted it, and are willing to follow instructions to create the thing they've sampled, people (especially people that consider themselves to be good cooks) absolutely cannot RESIST trying to fiddle with it from the gitgo.

 

So I'm trusting you.

 

Salsa

 

Canned whole tomatoes - look on label to be positive nothing has been added other than tomatoes and salt. No vegetables, not even "Mexican style." Don't use fresh tomatoes. This is a shortcut recipe for producing a "cooked salsa." If you've "put up" your own tomatoes, and used nothing but salt, then fine, use them. But NOT fresh tomatoes.

Fresh jalapeños - find fat, bright green ones

Garlic salt - again, look on label to be certain nothing has been added but garlic and salt. Be careful not to get "California Blend" which has other things in it.

 

BASIC RECIPE:

 

Wash and dry whole jalapeños. On hot, non-greased surface (I just use a skillet) blister whole jalapeños, turning often, and watching to be sure they don't burn. You want nice dark brown spots, and the entire pepper to have lost its shiny green color, instead being a dull avocado color (like kitchen appliances from the 70's). You can also do this in an oven or (best of all) on a barbecue grill or over other wood fire, or on a comal. I rarely bother. I make a lot of this, and don't always have time to fire up the grill.

 

Drain cans of tomatoes (you can reserve liquid for another use; for example, if you add a little salt and lemon juice, you can drink it just like regular tomato juice) and place tomatoes into blender or food processor. Pulse until desired consistency (I like mine kind of chunky, so don't process until it's too smooth) and pour into large mixing bowl. Continue doing this until you reach the amount of salsa you want.

 

Take some of your pulsed tomatoes and return it to the blender/processor. Cut the stems from your cooked jalapeños and add. You can, obviously, add as many as you want for desired picante. I usually add about three whole jalapeños per blender-full of salsa, but this is entirely subjective depending on who's going to be doing the eating. (Note - if you want more flavor but less heat, you can remove the seeds and, most important, the veins, which are the source of the capsicum oil in the peppers that causes the heat. My friend didn't drain her tomatoes, and she added probably twenty jalapenos per blender, so her salsa was much runnier, and much hotter than mine. It was like liquid fire. But on the other hand, she was pleasing a houseful of Mexicans, whereas I had to please a houseful of gringos.) Now, pulse to chop the jalapeños, stopping before you pulverize the seeds, which makes it bitter.

 

Pour your chopped jalapeños in with your tomatoes. Add garlic salt "to taste" and I know this is subjective, but I "eyeball it" and all I can tell you is that if your salsa does not taste "right" it is undoubtedly because you haven't added enough, so add more and taste it again. Remember that salsa is a garnish so you want it a little salty, plus the flavor of salt decreases when the dish is cold (like cold soups, and salsa), so don't stint.

 

This is your basic salsa. Do it like this FIRST and get the flavors right before you branch out.

 

Okay.

 

Now, you're ready to branch out.

 

In addition to what I've already described, I always add: 1.) a little oil; can be any type of vegetable oil - I usually add olive oil; say a tablespoon per blender load, I guess. 2.) a little acid -- vinegar works just fine and is what I usually use, but also lemon or lime juice, or a mixture of all three -- again, sorry, "to taste," probably a tablespoon or so per blender load. 3.) cilantro - I like it and add it, usually right before the jalapeños and using the same method -- put a little of the tomatoes back into the blender/processor and add the cilantro and process, being very careful not to over-process.

 

This is all I usually do, and my salsa is wonderful.

 

Trust me on this and just make it like this a time or two. Don't immediately think to yourself, "I can make it better. I can add onions. I wonder why Jaymes didn't add onions. Maybe Jaymes has never heard of onions."

 

I have heard of onions. But I do not usually add them. Nor anything else other than the tomatoes, garlic salt, jalapenos, oil, vinegar, cilantro.

 

But sometimes, if I am going to use it for a dip, I will occasionally chop up and add: a fresh tomato (especially in the summer when the tomatoes are so wonderful); chopped onions (any kind will do -- green onions, whatever) and cubed avocado -- that makes a nice dip. But MOST of the time I don't!

 

Other things you can eventually experiment with adding (only AFTER you've fixed it enough times to have the hang of it): roasted garlic, liquid smoke, oregano, other kinds of peppers (habañeros, serranos, etc.), chile powder, cumin, sugar (yes, some people like a sweet salsa), Tapatío or other bottled Mexican hot sauce, or whatever else hits your imagination to try. But the secret is to first master the basic sauce and resist the urge to start adding stuff in order to "improve" it. Just wait a while before you try to get fancy, or you'll add so much stuff that you mess it up. (Remember that if you add a lot of chopped fresh tomatoes or avocados, you'll need to add more garlic salt as well.)

 

Now that you've got your salsa all jarred up and waiting for you in the fridge, take a flour tortilla and lay some sliced mild cheddar onto half of it, fold the other half over to make a half-moon shape, zap it in the microwave a minute or two until the cheese melts, or put a little oil in a skillet and fry on both sides until tortilla is crisp and cheese is melted, plate it, pour your cold salsa all over it and eat. With some sliced avocados alongside, of course.

 

This salsa is also wonderful with plain cheese omelets. And everything else that is good with salsa. Which in our house pretty much is everything else.

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Nice debut, Jaymes.* Sounds like the kind of thing I need. I have some leftover meat which is craving to be rolled in spinach tacos. I'll try this tonight or tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

*Why no onions, maybe she's confusing onions with something else, like plums or something. :unsure:

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Thanks for reminding me how much I love cochinita pibil. The first and third recipes look good. Second one seems like it had its spicing adjusted for gringos. One detail that it does give is the use of Seville orange juice or combination of citrus juices - plain orange juice tends to be too sweet and not acidic enough around here.

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Jaymes, is it mandatory to do this in the blender, or is it permitted to make less than a blender full on the cutting board?

Well, mi amiga mexicana made it in her blender, and I always use either that or a food processor. You always can make only a half-blender full, you know, if you don't want so much. I will say that this stuff is so versatile, and so good, that a blender-full isn't around very long. And if you have a food processor, that works as well.

 

Not sure that a cutting board would work because it's still VERY juicy, and I think what you'd wind up with is a mess. Although obviously, since I haven't tried it, I don't know for sure, so you might give it a go and let us know.

 

You probably could put the tomatoes into a shallow bowl and mash them with a potato masher, though, then add the chopped chiles, cilantro, etc.

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Thanks for reminding me how much I love cochinita pibil. The first and third recipes look good. Second one seems like it had its spicing adjusted for gringos. One detail that it does give is the use of Seville orange juice or combination of citrus juices - plain orange juice tends to be too sweet and not acidic enough around here.

Oh good someone who has made this. The Bayless recipe actually calls for sour orange juice and if you can't get that gives a proportion of lime juice and orange juice instead.

 

Any other tips? Do you use banana leaves?

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Oh good someone who has made this. The Bayless recipe actually calls for sour orange juice and if you can't get that gives a proportion of lime juice and orange juice instead.

 

Any other tips? Do you use banana leaves?

I used banana leaves last time I made this (back in Minneapolis - where do I get them here? could probably use foil). Marinated overnight.

 

The most important tip - do not be tempted to sample too much of the Tequila while this is cooking...will impair your ability to appreciate the results.

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