A Neoclassic View of Plated Desserts by Timothy Moriarty, mobi, B000SER5SI


  • Full Title : A Neoclassic View of Plated Desserts: Grand Finales
  • Autor: Timothy Moriarty
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition
  • Publication Date: December 10, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B000SER5SI
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format: mobi

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"A Neoclassic View of Plated Desserts demonstrates both the subtle and theatrical pizzazz of a talented collective of visionaries." -Andrew MacLauchlan Executive Pastry Chef, Coyote Cafe "A brilliant addition to Tish Boyle’s and Timothy Moriarty’s series of cookbooks. This dynamic duo has thoroughly translated the recipes of some of our country’s leading pastry chefs with immense ease and perfection. It is with enormous admiration that I recommend this cookbook to anyone searching for a greater knowledge of desserts." -François Payard Owner, Payard Patisserie & Bistro Author, Simply Sensational Desserts "It is the purpose of a neoclassic dessert to isolate the integral elements of a time-honored classic and transform its components to produce a dessert with the grandeur demanded by today’s consumer. The pastry chefs who contributed to this book have provided recipes that do just that-and they do it magnificently!" -Bo Friberg Chef/Instructor, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone

 

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Keywords

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naan calories, vegetable samosa, masala, korean recipes, mars candy, is book—because it affords indoor and outdoor grillers alike an opportunity to expand our grilling horizons. There are some dishes you can make on an indoor grill that are difficult, if not impossible, outdoors. The short list would include panini and Cuban sandwiches, spit-roasted onions and artichokes, saganaki (Greek grilled cheese made in a grill pan), shad roe, and sugar- and cinnamon-crusted banana “tostones” for dessert.

Surveys have shown that most people tend to grill the same three or four dishes over and over. If you’re strictly an indoor griller, I hope this book will help you expand your repertory and give you some bold new ideas for using your contact grill, grill pan, built-in grill, freestanding grill, fireplace, countertop rotisserie, and stove-top smoker. If you grill both indoors and outdoors—or even solely outdoors, I hope the book will still give you some fresh ideas.

As with all my books, I learned a lot, had fun, and ate well while writing it. I hope it will make you a better griller—whether you cook indoors, outdoors, or both.

* * *

INTRODUCTION

* * *

bringing the grill indoors

There are lots of places I could start this book.

At the rugged stone hearth at Randall’s Ordinary in Stonington, Connecticut, a country inn where dinner is cooked nightly in an antique fireplace—almost exactly as it has been since Colonial times.

In the “green room” of a television station, where I met boxer turned indoor grill champ—and the personality behind one of the most widely sold cooking devices in human history—George Foreman. (It was a great and validating moment—the champ gave me the perfunctory smile, walked halfway down the hall, then turned and shouted: “Hey, you’re the guy that wrote How to Grill!”)

On the set of the QVC, where, a few years back, an inventor and marketing genius named Ron Popiel made retailing history by selling $1 million worth of his Showtime rotisseries in a single hour.

But the most appropriate place to begin might be at the restaurant Da Toso in the hamlet of Leonacco in the province of Friuli, northeastern Italy. Da Toso is a ’que hound’s dream come true—a third-generation family-run restaurant in an out-of-the-way village with a strictly local clientele, and absolutely terrific, authentic live-fire-cooked food. I’d been brought here by Friuli gastronomy expert Bepi Pucciarella to experience a highly distinctive style of Italian barbecue—grilling on a fogolar—a freestanding hearth located not outdoors or even in a fireplace, but in the center of a dining or living room.

The fogolar is remarkable for the ingenuity of the setup—a raised stone hearth on stout wooden legs with a charcoal-burning, slanted metal grill positioned under an onion-shaped copper chimney (also freestanding) to carry away the smoke. Da Toso’s food was remarkable, too, for its simplicity and forthright flavors—lamb chops grilled with garlic and rosemary, for example, or grilled calf’s liver carpeted with paper-thin slices of white truffle.

But what struck me the most was how warm and comforting the arrangement was. It combined the sights, sounds, smells, and of course flavors of live-fire cooking with the inimitable sense of comfort you get when you stand in front of a fireplace on a cold or rainy day. From the dawn of humankind, the fire has provided light, warmth, cooking, and a sense of security, and all were abundantly present in Da Toso’s unassuming dining room.

It was here that the vision for this book began to take shape, for while I had experimented with grilling in the massive fireplace at my grilling seminar, Barbecue University at the Greenbrier, and tinkered with grill pans and stove-top smokers, I’d never thought of indoor grilling as an area I’d be interested in pursuing. My lunch at Da Toso convinced me that one could grill indoors with passion and finesse—even soul.

Thus began an adventure that led me from the venerable art of fireplace cookery to the high-tech convenience of contact grills like the George Foreman and panini machines, and built-in grills like the Jenn-Air. I decided that the book would include an indoor equivalent for every sort of outdoor live-fire cooking experience: direct grilling, indirect grilling, spit-roasting, smoking, and even roasting in the embers.

To this end, I resolved to cover all the major types of indoor grills, from a gridiron in the fireplace to a built-in grill in your stove to a grill pan, contact grill, freestanding electric grill, stove-top smoker, and even countertop rotisserie. (See box on this page.)

I began to experiment with these devices—sometimes with felicitous results, sometimes with disappointment. The contact grill, for example, turned out middling steaks at best. (However, I did figure out some techniques for improving the performance of a contact grill for meat—see page 81.) On the other hand, it proved terrific for making panini and other pressed sandwiches—a category I had been unable to include in previous books. The contact grill also proved surprisingly effective for grilling seafood, vegetables, and even fruit for dessert.

For decades I’ve used my Camerons stove-top smoker cooker to prepare delicious kipper-style smoked salmon. In the course of writing this book, I discovered you could also use it to make delectable barbecued ribs, smoked turkey, Texas-style brisket, and even an indoor beer-can chicken.

Grill pans have been part of my batterie de cuisine since my student days in Paris. Back then, French chefs didn’t grill over live fire (most still don’t), but they often used grill pans to give steaks, chops, and chicken breasts a seared flavor and a handsome crosshatch of grill marks.

The countertop rotisserie, on the other hand, was a new piece of cookware for me, and I must confess I was skeptical the first time I plugged one in. It lived up to its impressive sales figures, however, turning out crisp-skinned succulent chickens, handsome roasted ducks, and even many foods you wouldn’t normally think of spit-roasting, from tuna “roasts” to lamb shanks to corn on the cob.

outdoor vs. indoor

OUTDOOR GRILLING METHOD

INDOOR EQUIVALENT

Direct grilling over wood or charcoal

Fireplace grill

Direct grilling over gas

Built-in grill, freestanding grill, grill pan

Indirect grilling

Countertop rotisserie

Spit-roasting

Countertop rotisserie

Smoking

Stove-top smoker

Grilling in the embers

Fireplace grill

The shortest leap from outdoor to indoor grills came with fireplace grills and built-in grills (built into your stove). Grilling in a fireplace most closely resembles grilling on charcoal outdoors—with one added advantage—wood embers produce a lot more flavor than charcoal. Built-in grills powered by gas or electricity function very much like outdoor gas grills.

how to use this book

In writing this book, I’ve tried to make the recipes as versatile and user-friendly as possible. There are dozens of different indoor grilling devices on the market, and beginning on the next page, you’ll find descriptions of the major types and brands.

In terms of sheer number sold, the George Foreman contact grill is probably the most popular, followed by the countertop rotisserie, grill pan, and built-in grill.

To bring everyone under the tent, I’ve tried to provide instructions for preparing a particular recipe on as many different types of indoor grills as possible. The body of the recipe outlines the basic preparation, marinating, and seasoning instructions. The box that accompanies most recipes, entitled “If you have a . . .,” will tell you how to cook the dish on the various types of indoor grills, while Tips and Notes highlight special ingredients or cooking strategies.

For some recipes, particularly those that are smoked or spit-roasted, only one type of indoor grilling device will work. In these instances, only one device is listed.

one final note

Although there’s nothing like the thrill of cooking over live fire outdoors, or the inimitable flavor that results when foods are sizzled over glowing embers or slow-smoked over smoldering wood, you can grill very tasty and righteous food indoors. This book was written to help you bring those robust, soul-satisfying flavors from the outdoors indoors. (In fact, if you’re a diehard outdoor griller, be assured that most of the marinades, rubs, basting sauces, indeed, entire recipes in this book can be made outdoors.)

So happy grilling and warmest wishes.

—Steven Raichlen

indoor grills

There are five basic types of indoor grills: the contact grill, the grill pan, the built-in grill, the freestanding grill, and the fireplace grill. Add to those two other ingenious devices, the countertop rotisserie and the stove-top smoker. Some function like outdoor charcoal or gas grills; others use technologies that produce results comparable to various grilling methods. All can be useful tools in the indoor griller’s arsenal, although each also has limitations. Here’s a scorecard to help you understand the players, beginning with the popular contact grill. My favorite indoor method—and the one that’s most comparable to outdoor live-fire cooking—is the fireplace. If you want to check that out first, turn to page 10.

contact grills

The contact grill, which most people are familiar with in the form of the very popular George Foreman, works something like a waffle iron or sandwich press. Its ridged grilling plates heat up to cook food from the top and the bottom simultaneously. The weight of the lid presses down on the food, creating an inviting crust, and the raised ridges on the best models leave well-defined grill marks. Panini machines are also contact grills.

If you’re a hardcore barbecue traditionalist, you may have doubts about contact grills and how their results compare with outdoor grills. It’s not the same, of course, but when it comes to what contact grills do well, they can be handy. They preheat quickly and, since you don’t have to turn most food cooked in them, cooking generally takes less than half the time as on an outdoor grill. And contact grills are terrific for making hot sandwiches, such as Italian panini (see pages 300 through 307), Cuban sandwiches like the medianoche (page 308), a French croque monsieur (page 292), and the classic Reuben (page 319).

Along with the weight of the grill’s lid, the top and bottom heat sources produce exceptionally satisfying exteriors on seafood, especially fatty salmon and bluefish. The moderate heat enables you to grill delicate foods that would normally be off-limits to outdoor grills, such as thin fish fillets or shad roe. Contact grills are also good for cooking foods crusted with ground nuts, seeds, or bread crumbs. And the nonstick surface that’s a feature of most contact grills makes them a dream for grilling sticky foods like polenta and cheese. If you believe (and I do, Dr. Atkins notwithstanding) that a reduced-fat diet is generally good for you, the contact grill can have powerful health benefits, since fat drains off as the lid presses down on the food while it cooks. As the mighty George Foreman says, “Knock out the fat.”

Another advantage of contact grills, however, is that they’re fairly compact. They don’t take up a lot of space, and they’re well suited to cooking for one or two people.

Most contact grills, however, do a middling job of cooking steaks and other red meats-—indeed, any food that needs to be seared over high heat. This brings us to the main drawback of contact grills: Because the meat is sandwiched between the two metal plates, it tends to stew in its own steam rather than grill. And as for those grill marks, models vary widely in their ability to create well-defined ones and to properly cook food through, so ample wattage is essential.

One improvement I’d like to see for all contact grills is an on/off switch. Many models turn on when you plug them in. I’d also like to see more power and a higher heat capacity controlled by a thermostat on even the smallest machines.

preheating times

TYPE OF GRILL

PREHEATING TO HIGH

Contact grills

3 to 5 minutes

Grill pans

3 to 5 minutes

Built-in grills

5 to 8 minutes

Freestanding grills

5 minutes

Countertop rotisseries

0 to 5 minutes

Stove-top smokers

3 to 5 minutes

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A CONTACT GRILL

• A grill with enough power to brown and sear food. Buy one that can cook at least four burgers at a time, and preferably one that cooks six. Two-burger grills just don’t get hot enough. For more about contact grill sizes, see the box on page 4.

• An adjustable temperature control—many contact grills lack this, but it’s a feature I appreciate, even though ninety-nine percent of the time, I run the grill on the highest setting.

• An on light to let you know the grill is in operation.

• A nonstick coating on the cooking surface to prevent food from sticking to it.

• Raised parallel ridges on the cooking surface to give you well-defined grill marks.

• A drip pan to catch the fat.

• Easy cleanup. Ideally, you should be able to immerse the grilling plates in water, but only one contact grill I know of lets you do this, and it’s a loser on other accounts. Many contact grills come with plastic “combs” or “rakes” to enable you to scrape clean between the grill ridges.

• Sturdy construction, particularly with regards to the handle. Some recipes occasionally require you to exert extra pressure on the food as it cooks by pressing down on the top grill plate.

• A floating hinge, which enables the top grill plate to sit higher or lower depending on the thickness of the food underneath it. This promotes even grilling, while a fixed hinge causes the food closer to the hinge to cook faster and hotter than the food farther from it.

• A latch so you can fasten the grill closed when you put it away.

• Finally, a cool-looking design. I love the ribbed chrome look of panini machines, such as VillaWare’s Uno ProPress (for more about panini machines, see the box on page 302).

safety tip

To reduce the likelihood of setting off your smoke alarm, grill under or as close to your stove hood as possible and run the exhaust fan on high.

TIPS FOR COOKING IN A CONTACT GRILL

• Don’t forget to put the drip pan under the front of the contact grill before you start cooking. Rendered fat can flow quickly, so you may need to replace the drip pan with a clean one. You may even want to set the whole grill on a rimmed baking sheet.

is bigger better?

The shopper buying a contact grill is faced with a daunting selection—even from a single manufacturer. Consider the broad product line of George Foreman grills, which are manufactured by Salton.

It turns out that not all contact grills are equal, and that with the popular Foreman grill, at least, bigger is better. Foreman grills come with varying wattages—from 760 watts to 1,500. The lower-wattage machines may fit handily on the counter of a small kitchen, but they have a hard time getting hot enough to brown food and apply grill marks.

So when you buy a contact grill, look for the highest available wattage—at least 1,000 watts, ideally 1,500. Unfortunately, while this is marked on the bottom of the machine, it may be not be marked on the box. It’s best to check the label on the underside of the machine before buying. That’s easy in stores with display models. In smaller stores, ask a salesperson to open the box so you can double-check.

• To grill, plug in the machine, and if your model has one, set the thermostat to the desired temperature—most often high. When the power light goes from red to green (or from off to on), the grill is ready. If you don’t have a thermostat, preheat the grill for three to five minutes.

• Despite their name, panini machines are good for grilling much more than sandwiches. Their high wattage and heavy lids make them ideal for chicken breasts, for example, and even steak. But that heavy lid can wreak havoc on delicate foods; when cooking these, lower the lid gently. For all intents and purposes panini machines and Foreman grills are interchangeable.

• In the best of all possible worlds, you’d
order meat online, chocolate world, pizza hut website, great vegetarian meals, chocolate turtles, —more from our kitchens, our supplies, our spice cabinets, our schedules—than does continuing to make the foods that are already in our comfort zones.

This can all be very convincing, which may be one reason why the only Mexican foods most of us have attempted to cook at home are tacos and quesadillas. It is also why I am so honored and excited to help give the world a window into Gonzalo Guzmán—a chef with so much nostalgia, passion, and love for cooking the food from his Mexican upbringing that he wants to break down whatever walls it takes for you to embrace this cooking, too.

We’re not here to tell you how easy it is to cook authentic Mexican food. Gonzalo, my coauthor and the chef of Nopalito restaurants, will be the first to admit that some of the recipes require a labor of love. But I have learned something essential from timidly following him around his San Francisco kitchens, my heart secretly racing with every pot lid that he lifts: although some recipes are admittedly longer, more laborious, and more capable of feeding a small army than others, the most difficult part about making them—or any Mexican food—is getting over the mental hump it takes to try. Some of the raw ingredients and techniques in this book may be (exhilaratingly) exotic to you, but chances are you will find the kitchen rhythms they require familiar—the whir of the blender, drum beat of knife on cutting board, and sizzling of sauté pans. But when the kitchen symphony dies down and the dinner bell rings, you will have something comforting, nourishing, and transporting on your plate.

My path to cooking Gonzalo’s food was hardly seamless. It was only after meeting with him week after week and letting myself trust-fall into a world where I awkwardly botched the rolled r in every recipe title, Jackson Pollocked my entire kitchen trying to “fry a salsa,” and risked squashing a finger every time I clamped down on my borrowed tortilla press, that I dared to say I was beginning to hold my own in my pursuit of Mexican home cooking. My homemade tortillas may not come out as geometrically perfect circles yet, but the recipes and guidance in this book have enabled me to stand in a Mexican kitchen or grocery and feel empowered and connected as a cook and human. Never intimidated. Never silly for having shown up to try.

Gonzalo is a tremendous, patient, and dedicated teacher—though I know he will be embarrassed by my saying so, even more so by my writing this preface. But I could not pass up the opportunity to honor his rare qualities as a chef and a person. Because once you know Gonzalo, you just want to do right by him. The knowledge and encouragement he has shared have led me to so many small but addictive triumphs, like choosing the perfect edible cactus paddle (look for bright colors and a firm feel), telling when a tamale is done steaming (a toothpick inserted into the masa should come out clean, but first, don’t forget to open up the corn husk), and creating impossibly tender carnitas (it’s all about the lard). But beyond imparting new kitchen skills, Gonzalo and this book project have helped me see Mexican culture in America in a way I hadn’t before. How many times had I passed the Mexican markets in San Francisco’s Mission District with little to no thought about stopping in? Now, I have a sense of quiet satisfaction bringing my guajillo chiles, epazote, and piloncillo up to the counter, and watching the clerk smile a little, wondering what this little gringa is going to do with all her Mexican goodies.

The ability to bring it all full circle is Gonzalo’s greatest strength. He has found a way to honor his roots, the inspiration to infuse them with his professional culinary learnings, and the courage to open two restaurants about old school–meets-organic Mexican cooking in one of the world’s most discerning food cities. Although reading how this boy from rural Mexico became a beloved Mexican American chef may make you wistful for your own romantic life story, the envy melts away once you realize that what has inspired him is pure nostalgia, hard work, and love for his family—not pride or a desire for fame. And, of course, once you own this book, you are privy to (almost) all of his secrets anyway.

Since I began working on this book, I have not stopped talking about this chef and his incredibly fresh, one-of-a-kind, Mexican-by-way-of-California food: to friends, to family, and (seriously? I’m sorry, everyone) to strangers. I keep doing this because the message is unfailingly well received. People love the Nopalito restaurants. Some come from far and wide to visit them. Others come loyally and religiously with their families, week after week. But all of them see something special in this place and its message and are glad to support it. And the whole story of a young, successful Mexican chef cooking the foods his mama taught him is equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking. Hearing about Mexican cuisine from someone who loves it so much makes you almost homesick for a place you may have never even been to. You immediately want to take part in this world of re-creating humble—and humblingly beautiful—dishes, which, after seventeen years and counting away from Mexico, are still among Gonzalo’s fondest memories.

Gracias , Gonzalo, for opening up not only your world but also the world of Mexican cooking, to me and to these lucky readers.

Estoy muy contenta que puedo llamarte mi amigo.

—Stacy Adimando

INTRODUCTIONS

I grew up in the tiny village of Catemaco in Veracruz, Mexico. From the outside, we would have appeared to have very little. My family tended cornfields, and my mom and aunt cooked for many of our community’s town and school events, making everything by wood fire and without a refrigerator or even electricity. Looking back, I can see that those days of farming by morning and cooking family dinners from scratch at night—even without modern conveniences—made for a rich and memorable life. Of course, my life today as a partner and chef of two Nopalito restaurants in San Francisco is not so bad either. But in some ways, what I do in my kitchens here is an attempt to remember and honor the way things were back then—the food our days revolved around, and the simple life we led and loved.

With the time pressures of cooking, maintaining the restaurants, and raising my own family here in California, somehow the years have flown by without my returning much to Mexico, and when I have time and space to think about it, I deeply miss the feeling of walking the rows of our local farms, grinding corn every day on our communal molino , or relaxing in the shade beneath my late grandfather’s cacao trees. I know it can never again be the same as it was then—I’m sure time has brought changes to the village, and to my family’s way of living. But there is plenty about the traditional experience we had that is worth preserving and sharing, even in the fast-paced urban lives many of us have. This is the inspiration behind my restaurants, and the pages of this book.

At Nopalito we do home-style, authentic Mexican food with seasonal, organic ingredients, giving the dishes fresh and delicious twists in line with today’s ever-evolving food world. So as much as this is a book about Mexican home cooking—inspired by the days I spent accidentally learning it in my hometown in Veracruz and later in Puebla—it also incorporates the knowledge I’ve gained from the last seventeen years working in San Francisco restaurants, where I’ve had access to not only incredible local ingredients but also some of the best chef mentors imaginable. I hope you will use these recipes as a stepping stone to explore and experiment with Mexican cooking. Once you understand the basic ingredients and techniques of the cuisine—and hear the stories of the cooks, mamás , and abuelitas of our hometowns, who infused them with love, flavor, and brilliant color from their modest kitchens—the recipes and techniques will more easily become a part of your own home kitchen.

I had a hard time believing my co-chefs, partners, and chef mentors when they told me people would want to come to a restaurant that served the foods from my small-town upbringing in Mexico. To me, the dishes we ate were so humble, so second-nature, that I doubted that people in San Francisco, one of the best food cities in the world, would find them as compelling as I did growing up. I guess my partners were right—and the opportunity to cook these recipes every day and record them in this book is a gift I feel so lucky to have. This book is by no means the be-all, end-all guide to every dish in Mexico. It is a collection of the ones that have made the deepest impressions on my heart and live on in my memory most intensely since being away from home. Thank you for celebrating them with me.

—Gonzalo Guzmán

Unlike my co-chef Gonzalo, I really didn’t know much about the food south of our border before we opened Nopalito together with our partners in 2009. I am a cook, a classically trained cook, versed in French, Italian, Greek, and Spanish cooking styles, but as of eight years ago Mexican food to me still just meant huge platters of beans, rice, and tortillas smothered with tons of melted cheese; burritos bigger than my head; and taco salads in their deep-fried, often stale shells. It was about sombrero-wearing waiters and strolling mariachi bands (why, by the way, does the shortest musician always seem to carry the biggest guitar and vice versa?).

Much of the Mexican dining scene in the United States is loaded with stereotypes and Western bastardizations. But I have been lucky to have small insights into the traditional culture and food by way of my Mexican colleagues, hard at work in every restaurant kitchen I’ve worked in over the last thirty-plus years. In my experience, these were almost always young men who had made the often dangerous journey from their pueblos to the “land of gold.” Not many spoke English at all, forcing me to patch together my still embarrassing version of kitchen Spanish. Most had two jobs; were working sixteen hours a day, and were sending almost every penny back to their families in Mexico. They may have gone for years without seeing their wives, parents, siblings, or children. The daily stresses of being illegal or invisible in our society would have destroyed me. But to so many of them, it was motivation to work impossibly hard and persevere.

Not many of the Mexican cooks I’ve encountered in San Francisco have had a dream to become cooks. Many have come from backgrounds as diverse as teacher, lawyer, rancher, farmer, police officer, and government official. Cooking was and still is a way to get a job quickly, without necessarily having a lot of experience, and most have not ended up falling deeply in love with cooking. I have encountered only a few notable exceptions—in particular, a young man from Veracruz who stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Gonzalo González Guzmán showed up in a fancy Greek restaurant where I was managing the kitchen eighteen years ago. His father, Santiago, who was a dishwasher at the time, asked me if his sixteen-year-old son could have a job with us. I consented, and a day later a small, sweet, very young-looking kid showed up to work. I asked his papa if this boy was really sixteen. Sí , sí , he assured me. And that’s when Gonzalo (who was really fourteen) and I began our professional relationship.

A few weeks later, a prep position opened up in the kitchen. To me, Gonzo—with his burning intelligence, speed, and self-motivation—was the obvious choice for the job. He excelled immediately and was soon a valuable member of the kitchen staff.

A little more than a year later, I left to open my first restaurant, a miniscule space in the Fillmore District that featured Mediterranean small plates. Gonzalo came along and began his career as a line cook. He remained there for several years, cooking in other restaurants as a second job, and thriving as both a cook and a natural leader.

In 2006, my partners, Jeff Hanak and Allyson Jossel, and I opened Nopa, a California-style restaurant with a wood-fired oven. Gonzalo had just become a father, and for a short time he had transitioned out of the kitchen to make some “real money” bussing tables at night in a high-end restaurant. He was my first choice as butcher for our new place, and after a lot of convincing on my part, he joined our kitchen at Nopa, once again quickly moving up through the ranks and becoming a sous chef.

Fast-forward three years: I was working one evening and talking with a guest about edible plants, including cactus leaves, or nopales . He mentioned his purchase that afternoon of a small nopale, or nopalito , and upon hearing the word I immediately had a flash that this was the perfect concept on which to build our next project. The very next day, my partner Jeff was approached to see a raw space less than two blocks away from Nopa. Aha! The concept of our Mexican restaurant was born. On our staff at Nopa, an intense young cook from Michoacán, Jose Ramos, had been producing insanely delicious meals (including a version of Nopalito’s now-famous carnitas). Given Jose and Gonzalo’s mutual love and knowledge of traditional Mexican cuisine, they formed a dynamic duo.

These two proud Mexican cooks, along with a couple of us hardworking gringos, opened Nopalito to much acclaim from our local San Franciscan foodies and quite a few nods from the national press. Three years later, the second location was built, and Gonzalo became the sole chef and creative force behind both restaurants.

Gonzalo is one of my favorite humans—a great chef, an incredibly hard worker, a courageous and fiercely intelligent partner, and a close friend. Gonzo speaks from his heart and cooks from his soul. He is a dedicated partner, both to Jeff, Ally, and me, and to the mother of his two beautiful children. An honorable son, brother, cousin, and friend, Gonzalo brought along to our kitchens his cousins Lidia, Sergio, and Silverio, who have been with us from day one and to whom we also owe an incredible debt.

Over the last seven years, my understanding of Mexican cuisine has increased 1,000 percent, thanks to the Nopalito experience—and I know I’m not the only one who can say that. This is not boring or simple or expected food, and it’s not food that falls back on stereotypes or clichés. The techniques are complex and labor intensive, and the menus achieve so many gutsy and delicious flavors using very simple ingredients and humble tradition-based recipes. As I’ve come to discover—and you will, too—chiles are not just about spice; they offer an array of flavors, from sweet and gentle to sour, charred, and smoky, and in some cases, yes, blow-your-head-off spicy. And the hard work required just to produce fresh masa alone—no doubt the core of Mexican cuisine, and one described so well in this book—means hours and hours of work at the restaurant scale. A cook with a traditional Western background simply couldn’t imagine it.

Gonzalo has done an amazing job breaking down these recipes to make them accessible to the home cook. As you will see when you start to create these beautiful dishes yourself, much of the secret to their impact is in the layering of base flavors—the dish becoming the sum of all its parts, gaining something indispensable with each ingredient and each technique. This intensely seasoned, beautifully historic cooking humbles my “classically trained” palate. I have come to love everything about this cuisine.

I hope this book helps give you insight into the wonderful world of Mexican cooking and the beautiful people who interpret it daily at Nopalito.

Buen provecho.

—Laurence Jossel

Background and Basics: From Mexico to Your Kitchen

IN THE MEXICAN KITCHEN

Many of the food traditions of Mexico historically revolved around three very simple pillars:

We ate mostly what we could grow ourselves.

We preserved what we grew, through drying, pickling, and other techniques.

We used all parts of everything we had access to, from the husks of the corn cobs to the fat from
pineapple smoothie recipe, bake ziti, international food, orange pekoe tea, best restaurants, or star fruit.

Rings: Decorative wheels of seeded peppers and chiles that can be skewered or dropped into a cocktail.

Skewers: Cherries, olives, and other ingredients that are placed on cocktail picks and rested across the rim of the glass or dropped into a cocktail.

Wedge: A lengthwise section cut from lemons, limes, or oranges.

Glassware

Acquiring glassware is one of the most fun parts of having a home bar. As with your tools and ingredients, just be sure you cover the basics when you’re starting out, then build your collection over time. And don’t be afraid to mix and match—at Imbibe, we love mixing vintage glassware with new pieces. And if you want to use a coupe in place of a cocktail glass, go for it. One easy way to figure out what kind of glassware you need is to decide what top five cocktails you want to be able to make—then plan your glassware accordingly.

Cocktail: A V-shaped glass with a long stem, also known as a Martini glass, that is designed to serve “up” drinks and keep warm fingers away from the cold liquid.

Collins: A tall, 8- to 14-ounce glass that is often used for iced drinks and those with carbonated ingredients, as its slender design helps to hold the drink’s fizz.

Cordial: A petite, 1- to 3-ounce glass used for aperitifs and digestifs, as well as very small cocktails.

Coupe: A stemmed, saucer-shaped, 4- to 8-ounce glass often used for classic cocktails and/or drinks that include sparkling wine.

Double rocks: Also known as a bucket glass or double Old Fashioned, this glass is common for such drinks as the Margarita.

Flute: A tall, stemmed, 6- to 10-ounce glass designed to keep Champagne bubbly and also used for sparkling wine cocktails.

Highball: Larger than a rocks glass but shorter than a Collins, this glass is most often used for drinks with cubed or cracked ice and carbonated ingredients.

Julep cup: Traditionally a short metal cup popularized by the Mint Julep.

Mug: A glass or ceramic cup often used for serving hot drinks, such as toddies.

Old Fashioned: Also known as a rocks glass, the 6- to 8-ounce short, round glass is used for holding ice and spirits, as well as some cocktails, most notably the Old Fashioned.

Poco/Hurricane: A large, 14- to 20-ounce curved and stemmed glass, designed to look like a hurricane lamp, used for serving the Hurricane cocktail or blended or frozen drinks.

Rocks: See Old Fashioned.

CHAPTER ONE

SOUTH

* * *

Mark Twain’s famous quip “SOMETIMES TOO MUCH TO DRINK IS BARELY ENOUGH” could be the credo of the South—whether it’s iced tea or an ice-cold cocktail, Southerners love to wash the day down with a delicious drink. From Mardi Gras to the Kentucky Derby to lounging on a porch swing on a sweltering summer day, drinking is a sign of hospitality, celebration, and day-to-day enjoyment, and like the food of the South, the region’s drinks are full of character and flavor. The South brought us many of America’s most venerable classic cocktails, such as the Sazerac, Vieux Carré, and Mint Julep, and Southern bartenders take pride in that history, crafting cocktails that reflect a sense of past and present culture. And with a heritage that includes the production of some of the world’s best cocktail ingredients—from Kentucky bourbon to Georgia peaches—it’s no wonder that the South provides one of the best opportunities in the country to truly experience the taste of place.

SEELBACH COCKTAIL

* * *

SERVES: * 1

TOOLS: MIXING GLASS, BARSPOON, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: FLUTE

GARNISH: LEMON TWIST

* * *

Kentucky is home to the world’s finest bourbons and, as such, is naturally the source of inspiration for many of the most beloved whiskey-based cocktails. Named after the famous hotel in Louisville, this classic cocktail remains as popular today as it was back in the early twentieth century. The Seelbach fortifies a backbone of bourbon with a touch of Cointreau, two types of bitters, and a splash of sparkling wine for a sophisticated sipper that will transport you to a more genteel time and place.

* * *

2 ounces bourbon

½ ounce Cointreau

7 dashes of Angostura bitters

7 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Ice cubes

4 to 5 ounces Champagne or other sparkling wine

Combine the bourbon, Cointreau, and Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain into a flute. Top with the Champagne and garnish with the lemon twist.

FARMER’S CHOICE

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: MUDDLER, COCKTAIL SHAKER, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: HIGHBALL

GARNISH: GRAPEFRUIT PEEL, RED BELL PEPPER RING

* * *

With its proximity to the Caribbean islands and large Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican populations, Miami is fully infused with the flavors and culture of rum. Classic rum cocktails, such as Mojitos and Cuba Libres, can be found on menus across the city, and at the Florida Room in the Delano Hotel, bartender Gabriel Orta mixes up an array of creative rum-based recipes, including this deliciously refreshing sipper combining aged rum with red bell peppers and a generous helping of citrus, another essential flavor of southern Florida food and drink.

* * *

2 chunks fresh red bell pepper, seeded and deribbed

1¾ ounces aged rum

1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce sugarcane syrup (See A.C. Tip 001)

Dash of rhubarb bitters

Ice cubes

Muddle the bell pepper in a cocktail shaker. Add the rum, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, sugarcane syrup, and bitters and shake well with ice. Double strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with the grapefruit peel and bell pepper ring.

GABRIEL ORTA

FLORIDA ROOM, MIAMI, FLORIDA

A.C. TIP 001

Sugarcane syrup is a thick, intensely sweet syrup made from sugarcane juice. It’s available in specialty grocery stores and online.

ACROSS THE BOARD

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: MUDDLER, MIXING GLASS, BARSPOON, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: JULEP CUP

GARNISH: MINT SPRIG

* * *

There are few things as quintessentially Kentucky as the Mint Julep, and right in the heart of bourbon country, Jennifer Pittman of Louisville’s Proof on Main puts a modern twist on the classic cocktail. With a traditional base of mint and bourbon, she showcases the fresh, sweet flavor of strawberries, which grow abundantly throughout Kentucky. “One of my favorite things about summer in Kentucky is the revealing of the first bunches of fresh, ripe, red strawberries,” Pittman says. “These tiny fruits pack a whole lot of flavor, and when combined with mint and rhubarb, they make a delicious concoction. Balsamic vinegar is the perfect addition, with its sweet-tart finish. The result will make even the most traditional Julep connoisseurs go back for a second helping.”

* * *

8 to 10 mint leaves

2 fresh strawberries, hulled

Dash of rhubarb bitters

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon quality balsamic vinegar

2½ ounces bourbon (preferably sweeter bourbon, such as Old Weller or Van Winkle)

Ice cubes, for mixing

Crushed ice, for serving

Place the mint leaves in a Julep cup and lightly bruise with a muddler. Set aside. In a mixing glass, muddle the strawberries with the bitters, sugar, and vinegar. Add the bourbon, fill the glass with ice cubes, and stir until chilled. Double strain the mixture over the mint leaves in the Julep cup. Add plenty of crushed ice and garnish with the mint sprig.

JENNIFER PITTMAN

PROOF ON MAIN, LOUISYILLE, KENTUCKY

A.C. TIP 002

Take care not to overmuddle the mint leaves, as they will become bitter if bruised too much. Instead, you want to lightly press the leaves with a muddler or the back of a spoon to gently release the herb’s oils.

BIG BAY STORM

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: COCKTAIL SHAKER, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: COLLINS

GARNISH: ORANGE WHEEL

* * *

If you’ve ever visited or lived in North Carolina, you’ve surely had the pleasure of tasting Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored cola that’s been produced in Salisbury, North Carolina, since 1917 and is considered a statewide treasure. Locals use Cheerwine in everything from ice cream to barbecue sauce, and at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, you can find it in cocktails, including this one by Shannon Healy, which balances the sweetness of the soda, rum, and pineapple juice with the bitterness of Campari and the tang of lime juice.

* * *

1¼ ounces Gosling’s rum

¾ ounce Campari

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce pineapple juice

Ice cubes

1 ounce Cheerwine soda

Combine the rum, Campari, lemon juice, and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with the Cheerwine, stir to combine, and garnish with the orange wheel.

SHANNON HEALY

CROOK’S CORNER, CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA

CHARLESTON TEA PUNCH

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: COCKTAIL SHAKER, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: COCKTAIL

GARNISH: ORANGE SLICE, 2 FRESH RASPBERRIES

* * *

Charleston, South Carolina, was the first place to grow tea in America, and because sweetened iced tea is a staple of low-country life, it makes sense that it would find its way into Southern cocktails. Using a raspberry-flavored black tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation—the only commercial tea plantation in America—Charleston bartender Jason Hall puts a delicious twist on the classic Planter’s Punch in this flavorful concoction. “I get asked to make this drink quite a bit,” he says, making this Southern cocktail “second only to the Mint Julep.”

* * *

1 ounce light rum

1 ounce dark rum

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce Raspberry Tea Simple Syrup

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon raspberry preserves

1 teaspoon orange preserves

Dash of Angostura bitters

Ice cubes

Combine the light and dark rums, Cointreau, simple syrup, lime juice, raspberry and orange preserves, and bitters in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake well. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange slice and raspberries, skewered on a cocktail pick.

JASON HALL

CHARLESTION GRILL, CHARLESTION, SOUTH CAROLINA

RASPBERRY TEA SIMPLE SYRUP

MAKES ABOUT 1½ CUPS

1½ teaspoons loose-leaf

American Classic Rockville

Raspberry Tea or other raspberry-flavored black tea

1 cup boiling water

1 cup granulated sugar

Steep the tea in the water for 2 minutes. Strain the tea into a small saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue to simmer, stirring slowly, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool before transferring to a clean glass bottle. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

COMFORTABLY OLD FASHIONED

Bartender Lu Brow is a local celebrity in the Big Easy, mixing up regional favorites at Café Adelaide’s legendary Swizzle Stick Bar. One of her most popular recipes is the Comfortably Old Fashioned, a clever twist on the classic bourbon-based Old Fashioned cocktail. Instead of bourbon, Brow uses Southern Comfort, a New Orleans original that blends whiskey with fruit and spices. And for a final touch, she garnishes the drink with a housemade brandied cherry.

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: MUDDLER, BARSPOON

GLASS: OLD FASHIONED

GARNISH: BRANDIED CHERRY (Recipe follows)

* * *

1 orange wheel, halved

½ barspoon granulated sugar

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

2 ounces Southern Comfort

Ice chunk

Muddle the orange wheel, sugar, and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Add the Southern Comfort and stir. Add a large chunk of ice and garnish with a brandied cherry.

LU BROW

SWIZZLE STICK BAR, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

LU’S BRANDIED CHERRIES

MAKES 2 CUPS

1 pound sweet cherries

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup brandy

Wash and pit the cherries. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and vanilla and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the brandy, and let cool. Transfer the cherries and their cooking liquid to a clean jar and refrigerate, uncovered, until the cherries are cool to the touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

COPPER FOX COOLER

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: MUDDLER, COCKTAIL SHAKER, FINE-MESH STRAINER

GLASS: HIGHBALL

GARNISH: SAGE SPRIG, (See A.C. Tip 003)

* * *

Virginia has a long history of distilling, with George Washington getting into the business of making whiskey at Mount Vernon in 1797. More than two hundred years later, the Copper Fox Distillery, in Sperryville, Virginia, keeps the tradition alive, producing a variety of small-batch whiskey. Created by native Virginian Todd Thrasher of PX in Alexandria, this recipe combines Copper Fox’s single-malt whiskey with locally grown blackberries and an herbal lemonade for a deliciously nuanced cocktail that would make Virginia’s whiskey-loving forefathers proud.

* * *

2 fresh blackberries

1½ ounces Wasmund’s single-malt whiskey

3 ounces Sage Lemonade

Ice cubes

1 ounce soda water

Muddle the blackberries in a cocktail shaker. Add the whiskey and lemonade and shake well with ice. Double strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with the soda water and garnish with the sage sprig.

TODD THRASHER

PX, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

A.C. TIP 003

To release the aroma of the sage garnish, place the herb in the palm of one hand and smack it with the other.

SAGE LEMONADE

MAKES ABOUT 5 CUPS

1 cup granulated sugar

4 fresh sage leaves, crushed

4 cups water

1 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the sugar, sage leaves, and ½ cup of the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring slowly until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. In a pitcher, stir together the chilled sage syrup, the lemon juice, and the remaining 3½ cups of water. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

DIXIE CUP

“The Dixie Cup is our homage to the South in general and Atlanta in particular,” says Atlanta bartender Timothy Faulkner, who created this charming cocktail as a testament to the beauty of simplicity and lauds it as “simultaneously sharp and palatable, recognizable and unfamiliar.” Both Four Roses bourbon and Red Rock ginger ale originate from Reconstruction-era Atlanta, and sugar and citrus are staple ingredients of Southern cooking. Together, they create a perfectly refined cocktail with a refreshing kick of spice—very Southern indeed.

* * *

SERVES * 1

TOOLS: MIXING GLASS

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