Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mexican Fiesta!

I know, I know, it's been a little while since my last post. After a few weeks of eating out (I'll blog about them soon, I promise) and several "grab and growl" meals at home, we finally decided to make a night of it and cook a real meal. Since it's Saturday we went all out and pretty quickly settled on Mexican food as our theme. We were lucky enough to receive a great book recently: Mexican Everyday by none other than legend Rick Bayless. You're probably familiar with Bayless and his locally popular and nationally recognized Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, but this was my first time trying any of his recipes myself.

Some cookbooks, especially those by famous chefs, look nice but lack a lot in execution, unless you're a professional chef with access to things like glace de viand, truffles and foie gras. This book however lived up to our expectations. Each recipe we chose had excellent, detailed instructions and clearly had been thoroughly tested in a home kitchen. The descriptions and variations helped us adjust each recipe to our particular tastes (spicy vs. mild) and avaible ingredients (canned fire-roasted tomatoes vs. fresh). And one of my favorite features of any cookbook, it has lots of full-color pictures to accompany the recipes throughout, not just a small sampling pasted together in one section.

Here's what we chose to make:
Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa
Guacamole with Blue Chips
Quick Cowboy Beans
Ancho Chile Flank Steak

We were going to have an upside down cherry cake too, but after all the above and several passion fruit margaritas courtesy of a mix given to us by Shelley Heinen, we quickly determined that we should hold off on dessert until tomorrow.

Everything was delicious. Sitting on the deck and sipping our margaritas in the gorgeous weather, I couldn't help but think that this was really the most perfect date night possible. It was made only slighly more un-romantic by the fact that Peter ate so much of the delicious food that his stomach started to hurt.

I'll share our twists on some of the recipes this week, but I highly recommend you buy this cookbook if you don't already have it.

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