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  • From My Mexican Kitchen
  • Written by Diana Kennedy
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780609607008
  • Our Price: $40.00
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From My Mexican Kitchen

Techniques and Ingredients

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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Diana Kennedy has been called the “ultimate authority, the high priestess” of Mexican cooking, and with good reason. For more than forty years she has traveled through her beloved adoptive country, researching and recording its truly extraordinary cuisine. Now Diana turns her attention to the book she readily admits “should have been written years ago.”

Diana’s objective in From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients is simple: to provide a guide to better understanding the ingredients Mexico has to offer and how best to prepare them. Her execution is little short of brilliant.

The book is invaluable to the novice eager for an introduction to Mexican cooking, but it is equally important for the aficionados interested in refining and expanding their knowledge and skills.

From My Mexican Kitchen takes readers and cooks on a tour of the primary ingredients of the cuisine, from achiote and avocado leaves to hoja santa, huauzontle, and the sour tunas called xoconostles—which are increasingly available in the United States. Diana unravels the dizzying array of fresh and dried chiles, explaining their uses and preparation; vibrant color photographs at last take the guesswork out of identifying them!

Step-by-step photographs and Diana’s trademark instructions (peppered with her over-the-shoulder asides) lead us through the proper techniques for making moles, tamales, tortillas, and much more. Some highlights: chiles rellenos, frijoles de olla, salsa de jitomate, fresh corn tamales from Michoacán, and bolillos (Mexican bread rolls). These recipes provide a solid grounding for the new Mexican cook, and Diana then sends readers to her earlier work for more advanced regional recipes.

Brilliantly photographed, with a text at once lively and authoritative, Diana Kennedy’s From My Mexican Kitchen is the one book anyone interested in this food cannot afford to be without.

Excerpt

GUACAMOLE

Guacamole is one of those popular Mexican foods that is easy to make and very nutritious. There are many versions in Mexico itself, like a delicious one with tomatillos and avocado leaf, as well as many distortions that find their way back to Mexico (like the version in My Mexico from Zacatecas with of all things sour cream!). Guacamole is often served alone or as part of a botana with totopos, to accompany tacos, or as part of that extravaganza of a dish, Carne Asada a la Tampiqueña (The Art, page 287).

There is a lot of advice about how to keep guacamole from turning brown if it is not eaten when freshly made: by adding lime juice (which is not always appropriate), leaving the pits immersed in the mashed flesh, keeping it in an airtight container, and the latest foolproof one of pressing plastic wrap over the surface. (I shudder to think of the action of the fat off the avocados on the plastic!) My advice is don't make it in advance. Have everything already chopped, crush the base ahead of time, and mash the avocados at the last minute in front of guests. Why not? But be sure you have a nice-size molcajete (see page 298) to do your show in style. Of course, the perfect guacamole has to be made in a molcajete so the flavors are intensified by the crushing of the ingredients—cutting them just isn't the same. But if you don't have one, you can blend the base of onion, chile, cilantro, and salt and then mash in the avocados to a rough texture; don't blend to a smooth consistency—texture means flavor!

The recipe that follows is one that I first came across when I went to Mexico in 1957, and it seems to me to be a classic. One of the simpler northern versions with little wild chiles, onion, and lime juice is delicious, as well as the guacamole with the surprising combination of fruit, chiles, and avocado from Guanajuato (My Mexico, page 106). See the advice about buying avocados in advance on page 95, and no sweet onions, please!

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625ml)

2 heaped tablespoons finely chopped white onion
4 serrano chiles, finely chopped (yes, seeds and all), or to taste
3 heaped tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste
3 avocados (about 1 pound/450g)
About 1/2 cup (125ml) finely chopped, unskinned tomatoes

The toppings:
1/4 cup (63ml) finely chopped tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped white onion
2 heaped tablespoons finely (but not too finely, just prettily) chopped cilantro

Put the onion, chiles, cilantro, and salt into a molcajete (see note above) and crush to a paste. Cut the avocados in half and, without peeling, remove the pit and squeeze out the flesh. Mash the avocado roughly into the base and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle the surface of the guacamole with the toppings. Serve immediately.
Diana Kennedy

About Diana Kennedy

Diana Kennedy - From My Mexican Kitchen
DIANA KENNEDY has devoted almost all of her fifty years in Mexico to studying the nation’s cuisine and culture. The author of The Art of Mexican Cooking, My Mexico, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, and From My Mexican Kitchen, as well as Nothing Fancy in English and Spanish, she is considered the leading authority on Mexican food, and the government has awarded her its highest honor, the order of the Aztec Eagle.

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