• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

kalypso

Cooking with Diana Kennedy's "Oaxaca al Gusto"

52 posts in this topic

I will confess right up front I have been a huge fan of Diana Kennedy since I purhcased "The Cuisines of Mexico" some 25+ years ago. I've read her books like novels and they've inhabited my nightstand off and on for years. I've heard many comments over the years that her recipes are intimidating and not approachable. Funny, for me it was just the opposite, she made the food and Mexico come alive for me. If her cookbooks hooked me, my first class with her back in 1993 set the hook.

So even thought I own the Spanish version of Oaxaca al Gusto, and knew it was classic Diana, I was looking forward to the English version as I knew it would be easier for me to manage. I also knew it would be possible to cook from the book and decided to find out just how accessible - or not - it really is. I chose to make 2 easy recipes over the weekend just to get a feel for the how the book and recipes work in practice, not theory.

Arroz con Pollo

Pag. 11

I had 2 concerns with this recipe, one that it would be bland and two, with 5 cups of liquid to 8 oz of rice, that the rice would be mushy. Turns out neither were a problem.

Diana recommends leaving the skin on the chicken when poaching, which I did and just defatted the broth. There aren't a huge amount of seasonings in this dish, just some tomatoes (not even charred), garlic and salt, along with some onion, 2 tomates verde (tomatillos de milpa, i.e. wild tomatillos) 1 allspice berry, 1 clove and a sprig of parsley. This is not an assertive, in-your-face kind of dish, but the flavor profile was surprisingly potent.

I cook for my 91 year old mother who constantly surprises me with the subtleties of her palate. She can tell almost instantly when a dish is off. Not a big rice lover, she actually loved this dish, and I have instructions to make it again. The flavors all play well together with no one single flavor dominating another. Diana says the rice should be "moist", I think it walks the fine line between being soft and mushy. My rice turned out pretty well. Each grain was separate and did not clump together. The recipe called for using a whole chicken, which I did. I think when I make this again, I will probably start with 2 whole skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, each whole breast cut into 4 pieces. And because the white meat dries out so much, I'll probably poach them less than called for in the recipe and make up some of the liquid with chicken stock. This won't change the integrity of the dish for me, just the ease of preparation.

I am lucky enough to be able to source tomate verde at the Mexican markets here in San Diego. These are tiny tomatillos about the size of a marble. They are quite tart and have lots of seeds. I couldn't see how just two of them were going to impart any flavor. But the beauty of Mexican sauces is that when made correctly they are perfectly balanced and the flavors in this dish were.

The little tomatillos contributed just enough tart to counteract the tomatoes in the sauce. If regular tomatillos are all that are available, chose one that is on the small side.

This was a lovely dish, not earth shattering, nor particularly challenging, but it was easy to make and tasty to eat. I do have pictures of the dish, but I am having problems uploading them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salsa de Chile Pasilla de Oaxaca

(Oaxacan Pasilla Chile Sauce)

pg. 56

Chile pasilla de Oaxaca is a dried, smoked chile. It's fairly rare and probably one of the most expensive chiles. Last December 2 kilos of them cost $460 pesos (about $35 USD, or about $17/lb). The flavor is unique and exotic; the smoked flavor is prounounced by not over powering. This chile is not often found outside of Oaxaca, not even in other parts of Mexico. I've never seen it available for purchase in the U.S.

This salsa is addictive and wonderful. It's made with 5 ingredients, 10 oz of tomate verde, 4 chile pasilla de Oaxaca, 4 cloves of garlic, a little water and some salt. The tomates verdes are diced and cooked until soft with a bit of water. The recommended way of toasting the chiles and garlic is to bury them in hot (but not red) ashes until they have softened. Since I didn't have any hot ashes handy, I just toasted them on a comal. The chiles are not seeded or soaked.

The recipe says to make this salsa in a molcajete, mine isn't big enough so I made it in the small bowl of my food processor. That worked just fine. Mince the garlic and salt in the food processor, add the chiles 1 or 2 at a time along with some water. Gradually add the tomates verdes along with a little of their water. Process to blend, sauce should retain some of it's texutre. The salsa has a wonderfully deep smokey flavor and packs a reasonable punch. It did mellow some sitting over night. It goes well with eggs, chicken, pork starches like rice or potatoes and vegetables such as corn or chayote. I also tried it with some requeson (lightly salted, cheese that is slightly wetter than ricotta) this afternoon and it paired well with that.

The photo for this dish wouldn't load either.

10 oz. of tomatillos could be easily be substituted for the tomates verdes. Unforutnately a regular pasilla can not be substituted for the chile pasilla de Oaxaca. The whole point of this salsa is the piquant smokey bite.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 oz. of tomatillos could be easily be substituted for the tomates verdes.

I'm probably showing my ignorance, but aren't tomatillos and tomates verdes the same thing? If not, what's the difference?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is one cultivated (and bigger) and the other wild (and smaller)?

Are you guessing? Or do you know for sure that's it?

I don't know - when I'm in Mexico, I never hear anybody say "tomatillo." Even in the markets when I'm standing there looking at what we clearly call a tomatillo in the US, the signs and vendors refer to them as tomates verdes.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question, in fact, based on reading here and there and this quotation from kalypso:

I am lucky enough to be able to source tomate verde at the Mexican markets here in San Diego. These are tiny tomatillos about the size of a marble. They are quite tart and have lots of seeds.

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question, in fact, based on reading here and there and this quotation from kalypso:

I am lucky enough to be able to source tomate verde at the Mexican markets here in San Diego. These are tiny tomatillos about the size of a marble. They are quite tart and have lots of seeds.

Ah ha! So then, reading and remembering! An excellent method, and one I obviously should adopt.

:biggrin:


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jaymes, you've seen tomates verdes in the mercados in Mexico. You'd recognize them if you saw them. I have some pretty decent pictures of them, in the husk and out, that I keep trying to upload without success.

If I have time tonight I'll upload them to Flickr and link it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tomatillos are Physalis ixocarpa, ground cherries are Physalis pruinosa. The little ones are the second. Tomato verde are the former to the best of my knowledge. And I think that matches Jaymes original post, whose experience I would trust in this matter. And it makes more sense when a recipe calls for two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my experience, the small ones are called Milperos, but they're tomate verde, not another plant. The milperos are often slightly purple and sweet and always small. They can naturalize in a cornfield and that's why they're known as milperos. But they're tomate verde or tomate de cascara.

I've never seen anything called a tomatillo in Mexico.

But I'm not the last word. This is just from my experience.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just want to thank you Kalypso for christening this book and sharing your first tries and your thoughts on the recipes. Bummer about the photos. The first recipe I plan to make is the Enchiladas de San Antonio (p 402). Odd name: they are really quesadillas (made with fresh masa), don't know if they changed the name for the American market, which may think quesadillas are those things you get in fast food places made from flour tortillas.

Regarding the salsa de chile pasilla de Oaxaca: Kennedy provides a similar recipe for it in her Art of Mexican Cooking, and suggests chipotles mora or regular chipotles as substitutes for the pasillas de Oaxaca. Elsewhere (Cuisines) she talks about chile negro as similar, which is the pasilla widely available in the U.S. I have made this sauce many times with regular pasillas and, if not exactly what you cold get in with the Mexican ones, it is excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just in Oaxaca and bought LOTS of chiles.

Right off the bat I made the simple salsa with the pasilla de Oaxaca and it's incredible. It's smoked but it's not chipotle.

Smothered it all over eggs and chorizo this morning and it almost felt like I was still on the road.....

IMG_1105.JPG


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you bring back some for sale or just for personal use? I know the availability of the ingredients has been holding some of us back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my experience, the small ones are called Milperos, but they're tomate verde, not another plant. The milperos are often slightly purple and sweet and always small. They can naturalize in a cornfield and that's why they're known as milperos. But they're tomate verde or tomate de cascara.

I've never seen anything called a tomatillo in Mexico.

But I'm not the last word. This is just from my experience.

Tomate de milpa is how that variety of tomate de cascara, tomatillo, or tomate verde is also referred to. They were traditionally grown as part of the cornfield symphony, together with beans and squashes.

Regards,

Theabroma


Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did you bring back some for sale or just for personal use? I know the availability of the ingredients has been holding some of us back.

Well, it's premature to say anything much, but I'm working on it! I met with several growers and if all goes well, it may happen. How's that for being vague? The problem is that there aren't that many growers and for the chilhuacles, the weather has been bad for several years so they haven't had great quality or yields.

But how's this for food porn? It's a field of costeño chiles drying in the sun, near Pinotepa Nacional:

IMG_0514.JPG

Chilhuacle blacks on the left and I think those are more costeños on the right but I'm not sure:

IMG_0798.JPG

I'll keep you posted!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

rancho_gordo, you are a hell of a tease. Let's just say, hypothetically, that if you were to land a deal with these chile growers, I think you'd have a few customers here.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the Tomatillo / Tomate Verde controversies... you are all right, that is there are regional variations for common names in Mexico.

In the highlands of Jalisco they are undeniably called Tomatillos, and I would hypothesize that because Altenos are one of the oldest & most common immigrants in the U.S... that THEIR regional term is what came to dominate north of the border.

In Mexico City they are referred to as Tomate Verde.

In Nahuatl.. Tomatl refers to Tomate Verde / Tomatillo... wheras Xitomatl is Tomato.

With regards to the Milpa variety... the naming convention controversy follows suit because in Jalisco they are called Tomatillo Milpero whearas in Mexico City and other places in the south they are called Tomate Verde de Milpa, Tomate Milpero, or simply Milperos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We revisited the Oaxacan pasilla salsa this weekend. I did decide I'd use the molcajete and this proved irresistible to my 10 year old son, Nico. "Please, Papa!" I was a little worried about the mess but he did fine and has a much better grinding technique than i did.

IMG_2697.JPG

Making it in the blender is fine but it's with chiles and tomatillos that you really get the importance of the molcajete. (Or maybe I'm trying to justify why I have 4 and a metate). Anyway, it's incredible. The pasillas are so particular and funkier than a regular chipotle.

We used the salsa for dinner in the beans and then the next morning over eggs. We also made DK's cascabel salsa which is a really crowd pleaser, especially for kids who want to like things spicy but don't really dig the heat quite yet.

IMG_2723.JPG

We also had some sauteed chantrelles. it was a good eating type of weekend.


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any updates? I'm thisclose to deciding to cook the entire Christmas dinner from this book.

where is that menu in the book? Can't easily find anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry -- "the" should have been "my/our." I'm piecing together a few different celebratory dishes from throughout the book to try to form a somewhat coherent whole.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a reason why one couldn't home-smoke fresh pasillas? Is there a reference somewhere on how chipotles (smoked jalapeños) are made?


Monterey Bay area

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a reason why one couldn't home-smoke fresh pasillas? Is there a reference somewhere on how chipotles (smoked jalapeños) are made?

Ojisan, you must be prescient. The very thing I was going to ask, although I thinking of Poblanos.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry -- "the" should have been "my/our." I'm piecing together a few different celebratory dishes from throughout the book to try to form a somewhat coherent whole.

Ah. I hope you'll post your menu--and your success with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Paul Fink
      This unfortunately titled book changed my life. I always enjoyed cooking and idealized Julia Child &
      Jacque Pepin. But I was a typical home cook. I would see a recipe and try to duplicate it little understanding about what I was doing.
       
      Cooking the Nouvelle Cuisine in America talked about a philosophy of cooking. It showed me that there is more depth to cooking. A history. A philosophy.
      The recipes are very approachable and you can make them on a budget from grocery store ingredients. I read it as a grad student in Oregon, in the late 80's I had access to lots of fresh ingredients. And some very nice wines, cheap! I was suppose to be studying physics but I end up learning more about wine & cooking.
    • By Smokeydoke
      Here is the discussion thread.
      Here is the Amazon link.
      My first recipe was Mushroom Mapo Tofu p. 132  I was blown away by how good this tasted. Very spicy! Very authentic. I didn't miss the meat at all. I told Mr. Smokey I'd add ground pork next time and he said it didn't need it. Mr. Smokey refused pork? Ha!
      Definitely a keeper and maybe a regular rotation spot.
      If I had anything negative to say, it would be the dish wasn't very filling. The recipe is suppose to serve four but the two of us finished it off, no problem, and Mister wasn't full afterwards. A soup, or an appetizer could be paired with the dish to make a heartier meal.
      Note: I did receive a complimentary copy of the book to review, but all opinions of the book and recipes are mine.


    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Started in on Rob's book tonight.  Nice pictures, interesting philosophy.  The bit about grapevines reminded me ever so much about my balcony.  My grapevine has been growing ten or twenty years, planted by the birds.  Never a grape, ever.  Only recently did I learn that unlike European grapes, the native grapevines are sexual.  This one is undoubtedly a boy.  He provides lovely leaves and shade, and something for the tomatoes to hang onto.
       
    • By Bon Appetit Cookbooks
      This topic was hijacked from the Vancouver Board.
      What cookbooks do you love to cook out of at home?
      Is there a specific recipe that is your favorite?
      Or is there a book you just can't live without?
      If you have pictures, even better! Lets see how it turns out!
      Some of my favorites to cook out of:
      The Balthazar Cookbook - The Beef Tartar is amazing! As is the Chicken Liver Mousse
      The Babbo Cookbook - The Strawberries & Peaches with Balsamic Zabaglione
      Barefoot in Paris - The Blue Cheese Souffle looks JUST LIKE THE PICTURE!
      The Bouchon Cookbook - The Roast Chicken will seriously change your life
      Gordon Ramsey Makes it Easy - The Chocolate Pots are the easiest dessert in the world and tastes so good....especially with the Amedei #7
      There are lots more. Hopefully I can take pictures and show you.
      Hopefully this post can be an ongoing thing.
      I think we are all interested in what eachother cooks!
      Happy Cooking

      J
    • By Dave the Cook
      Those of us that have been following Rob Connoley's (aka gfron1) trek from home cook to down-and-literally-dirty locavore James Beard-semi-finalist chef are justifiably proud of his well-deserved transformation to a published author, which he has faithfully detailed in an earlier topic. If you're not familiar with his story, I urge you to catch up, then come back here, because we're ready to move on to the next step.
       
      Rob's book, Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm & Field, is finally, officially available. This alone is awesome news, and you should totally order your copy today. Or . . . 
       
      . . . we want to continue the conversation about Rob, his book and his future plans in this topic. And just to up the awesomeness, Rob is offering a free book to a randomly selected participant here.
       
      Simply post a question or comment in this topic between now and 11:59 p.m. CST (US), 13 September 2016 and you'll be eligible to "win," based on a random drawing to be conducted, with each participant getting one chance, not including Society volunteers (and Rob himself. Multiple posts will not improve your chances, so don't get overheated.)  The winner will be announced on 14 September.
       
      Rob will be along shortly to add his encouragement and whatever late-breaking news he has -- he's busy guy these days, so be patient -- but there's no need to wait to post questions or comments.
       
       
      P.S. And if you don't win, you should still get this book.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.