Monday, July 30, 2012

Rick Bayless Annoys Me

Bayless has spent the last 40 years exploring the foods and cooking styles of Mexico.  His book "Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen" was 10 years in the writing.  You may have watched him on "Mexico, One Plate at a Time" on PBS or known that he was named Chef of the Year (1995) by the James Beard Foundation and the International Associations of Culinary Professionals.

I am not in any way questioning his qualifications.  His writing style is what irks me.  His first shot across my bows (so to speak) was the beginning of the book when he lists and gives the recipes for ESSENTIAL sauces.  Excuse me?  How the hell does he know what is essential to me? 

Then in the recipes, "Take 1 cup of ESSENTIAL garlicky achiote seasoning paste" (list of other ingredients follows.) 

I like simplicity of construction in cooking.  He says to chop 2 cups of onion, par-boil them and then drain them saving 2 T of the cooking water!  How about this, dude -- chop the onions, cook them in 2 1/2 T of water and move on.  The extra 1/2 T water will boil off.

Still and all, it is an interesting book if you can wade through complicated (and to me unnecessary) instructions. 

PICKLED RED ONIONS are a staple condiment on Yucatan tables and whenever I've managed to run across them, I liked them so --

1 small red onion, peeled and diced
1/4 teas. black peppercorns
1/4 teas. cumin seeds
1/2 teas. dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
pinch of salt
1/3 cup cider vinegar

Parboil the onions (sigh) drain and put the onions in a bowl.
Grind the peppercorns and cumin and add to the onions (why not start with black pepper and cumin powder?)
Add the rest of the ingredients, plus enough water to cover the whole thing and let stand until the onions turn pink.  Cover and refrigerate; they'll be good for several weeks.

Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen" by Rick Bayless with Deann Bayless and Jeanmarie Brownson   Scribner   448 pages   $35

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