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Fresh Mexico: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor Paperback – August 25, 2009
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Growing up in Mexico, Marcela Valladolid rejoiced in the complex moles, dozens of different chiles, and homemade tortillas that graced her family’s dinner table. Going to school across the border in San Diego, and later to cooking school in Paris, she found plenty to love in the markets, quickly folding new ingredients into her repertoire. She also encountered some curious foods masquerading as authentic Mexican: cheddar cheese-stuffed quesadillas, tortilla chips drowning in still more cheese, and the ubiquitous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink overstuffed burritos. Where were the authentic, easy-to-prepare Mexican recipes she grew up with? The brightly flavored seafood ceviches bursting with freshness? The simple, slender burritos filled with nothing more than intensely flavorful braised meat and blistered chiles? The healthy salsas that come together in minutes but can transform a meal?
In her vivacious, fresh voice, Marcela aims to invigorate America’s taste for real Mexican food--dishes that can be accomplished on any busy weeknight but that still express the authentic flavors of her native cuisine. Her food is much like her, Mexican but influenced by other cultures. You’ll find recipes for Tilapia Ceviche; Butternut Squash-Chipotle Bisque; Roasted Pork Loin with Pineapple Glaze; Ancho-Chocolate Braised Short Ribs; and Fresh Guava Layer Cake.
Inspired ideas, helpful cooking techniques, and ingredient substitutions make this the most accessible, appealing, and contemporary Mexican cookbook you’ll find today. In addition, fast recipes and dishes that are low in fat are called out with easy-to-find symbols. With more than a hundred delicious recipes and beautiful color photography throughout, Fresh Mexico introduces a new generation of Americans to the vibrant flavors of modern Mexico.
From Fresh Mexico: Game Hens in Apricot, Tequila, and California Chile Sauce
This recipe is one of my favorites ever. It comes from my aunt Marcela, a chef who inspired me to enter the magical world of the culinary arts. We not only share the same name and the same career, we also agree that sweet and spicy is one of the best combinations when preparing Mexican food. Store-bought apricot preserves, used here, work well; just be sure to buy the best you can find. A kitchen syringe is a useful tool for injecting the hens with a flavorful mixture of broth, butter, and tequila. The result is a moist and succulent dish. --Marcela Valladolid
- 3 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons golden tequila
- Two 2-pound Cornish game hens, thawed if frozen
- 3 California chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh apricot halves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix 1/4 cup of the chicken broth, the melted butter, and 2 tablespoons of the tequila in a small glass bowl. Using a kitchen syringe, inject the mixture all over the hens, about 1/2 inch deep into the flesh. (If the butter in the mixture solidifies, warm it in a microwave.)
Put the chiles and 2 cups of the broth in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the chiles. Then transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the chile mixture into a small bowl, pressing on the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard whatever is left in the sieve.
Mix 1/4 cup of the preserves and 1/4 cup of the chile mixture in a medium bowl. Season heavily with salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the hens, working some of it between the skin and the breast. Put the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add the remaining ½ cup broth to the roasting pan.
Roast, basting with the pan drippings every 20 minutes, for 1 hour, or until a thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 160 F. Add more broth if the juices begin to dry out.
Transfer the hens to a platter. Strain the pan juices into a medium saucepan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons tequila, 1/4 cup apricot preserves, and chile mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the hens, garnish the platter with fresh apricot halves, and serve.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
To my delight, these recipes seem authentic without being completely impossible. For example, the author calls for Mexican Ibarra chocolate in her mole sauce...but explains that you can substitute semisweet chocolate with 2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a little almond extract. These "tips" and substitutions are great because sometimes the grocery store doesn't have a wide variety of foreign foods.
While some of these recipes seem authentic, there are also some delicious looking "fusion" recipes. I am especially excited for the pine nut and pomegranite juice brittle (think Mexican trail mix) and cheese-stuffed jalapenos in puff pastry. Yumm!
The book itself is very beautiful to look at. The bright hues look great against the colorful pictures and savory recipes. There are appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, sides, salsas, and desserts.
This book is so outstanding because it isn't simply enchilada and flan recipes. We've seen those before! While there are some traditional recipes, there are many exciting "fusion" ideas too. I love the emphasis on FRESH ingredients (as the title hints) and easy to find items.
Recommended to fans of Mexican cuisine and those looking to transform their traditional recipes into something healthful, innovative, and delicious.
After the first three or four recipes, we knew we had to buy the book.
However, my wife had to copy one recipe so we could have it that night. She couldn't wait for the book to come.
It came, and so far, everything we have made from it is terrific and healthy. Many of her recipes are replacing our favorite recipes from way back.
The recipes are written so clearly, step-by-step, they are practical and Chef Marcela provides additional helpful hints, substitutions and recommendations that I'm willing to give them a try even when I'm a stranger to the kitchen! Creamed rajas, avocado soup, can wait! I'm all inspired!!
I also enjoyed the additional information provided regarding Mexican food (i.e. there is no yellow cheese in real Mexican food!), culinary experiences growing up between Tiuana and San Diego, and professional pictures!
This cookbook is definitely a great addition to any kitchen open to experience fabulous Mexican food!!
Today I'm going to try the cold avocado soup, game hens with apricot and tequila and the guava layer cake with cream cheese frosting! Beautiful cook.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this lady. Watch her show on tv all the time. She makes it so easy to do Mexican cuisine.Published 11 months ago by Elaine Moore
Love the recipes in the book, they are simple and Marcela Valladolid explains some of them on her TV shows just like she shows you in her book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kitty
I just received this cookbook and have glanced through the recipes, they do look easy to prepare and I love the substitute ingredients Marcela lists, she is a joy to watch on the... Read morePublished 14 months ago by barbara engle