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Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine Hardcover – October 21, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Not since his first book, Authentic Mexican, has there been such an accessible opportunity to learn about real Mexican cooking. Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen offers translations of authentic Mexican dishes that preserve their authenticity. The book opens with 14 salsas, sauces, and seasonings that Bayless calls "cornerstones of Mexican dishes." Other than some chile peppers essential to certain dishes, most ingredients are found in any supermarket. For any less common ingredients, a mail-order source or an easy substitution is provided. This brilliant book is engaging, informative, and inspiring.

From Publishers Weekly

This definitive collection from Chicago chef and James Beard Award winner Bayless, in collaboration with his wife (and fellow restaurateur) and food journalist Brownson, proves comprehensively that the best Mexican food requires?and amply rewards?dedication and, often, time. Bayless begins with 15 Essential Recipes for salsas and sauces that work as "building blocks." Substitutions are suggested for uncommon ingredients, and excellent descriptions identify fresh and dried peppers. Throughout the text, sidebars inform about such items as tortilla presses, cactus paddles, pumpkin seeds and the delicacy huitlacoche (black corn fungus). Bayless explains fat's importance in the Mexican diet and tells how to make good lard at home. The chapter on salads includes two versions of guacamole, one given a fresh twist with roasted tomatillos; the chapter on soups offers Chilied Tortilla Soup with Shredded Chard and Oaxacan Black Bean Soup. An array of authentic Mexican fare is explored in "Tacos, Enchiladas and Other Casual Fare" (Simple Red Mole Enchiladas with Shredded Chicken) and "Vegetable, Bean, Rice and Egg Dishes" (e.g, Green Poblano Rice). "Fiesta Food" includes recipes for moles and tamales. Gringo cooks can relax with simpler main dishes?Red Chile-Braised Chicken wreathed in ancho and garlic sauce, smoky Chipotle Shrimp or zesty Chile-Glazed Country Ribs. Desserts are as delectable as Modern Mexican Chocolate Flan and as unusual as Crunchy Amaranth Tart and Creamy Lime Pie. Mail-order sources and a bibliography are included. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (October 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684800063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684800066
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen' is restaurateur / PBS show host Rick Bayless' second major book on Mexican cuisine in cooperation with his wife, Deann Groen Bayless, and the first with collaborator, JeanMarie Brownson.

The primary point of view which distinguishes this book from both his earlier `Authentic Mexican' book and his later PBS tie-in, `Mexico, One Plate at a Time' is that it deconstructs major aspects of Mexican dishes by breaking them down into `Essential' recipes and recipes which use these essential preparations as an ingredient.

This has a lot in common with Ming Tsai's technique in his latest book, `Simply Ming', with the difference that while many of Ming Tsai's preparations were of his own devising, Senor Bayless is presenting us with the fact that the Mexican cuisine by its very nature, lends itself to this `modularization'.

Almost all of the essential recipes are sauces and salsas. As Rick explains, the notion of a salsa is much broader to the Mexican mind than it may be to us gringos looking at the notion from the outside.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm mexican and a lover of good food. I can say that Rick Bayless knows about Mexican food more than most Mexicans. His deep understanding of Mexican culinary culture amazes me given that he wasn't born in Mexico. I have cooked many recipes from his cookbook and found them very detailed and easy to follow. In addition, having tasted authentic Mexican food (as opossed to the American version of Mexican food) duting all my life, I can attest that Rick's recipes really go to the heart of Mexican cooking. His recipes are a manual for authentic Mexican cooking techniques, to a level I have not seen in cookbooks written by native Mexicans. I travel frequently to Chicago and always enjoy eating at one of Rick Bayless' excellent restaurants (I like them so much that I have repeteadly arrived several times when it's closed on Mondays). Like another reader, I would have liked more color photographs, however, Rick Bayless' superb prose more than compensates for this omission.
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Format: Hardcover
Hats off to Bayless, this is one of the best cookbooks I have ever come across - regardless of culinary topic. He really does provide everything you would want in a cook book...he reveals the story behind the food with valuable insight, provides a good balance between finished dishes and understanding the raw materials and techniques, and he provides you with great sources for deeper research.

Its interesting that I was hesitant about Bayless's book in the beginning because my only previous experience with him was watching a few episodes of his show. From what I saw, I thought he spent way too much time on Antojitos...and that was definitely not what I was interested. See, I was born in Mexico City, and have dined on most of the regional cuisines of Mexico so what I craved were the incredible savory, complex dishes that I could not even dream of finding in California, where it is relatively easy to find authentic Mexican "junk" food.

To that end, this book really delivers. I have successfully prepared the Barbacoa, utilized his method of simmering chicken straight in a rich sauce, his basic sauce recipes answered a few lingering questions that allowed me to perfect my own recipes. In addition, I am exclusively dry roasting garlic on a griddle, and rinsing chopped onions which has improved just about every dish I prepare. Finally, he has given me valuable insight for deeper research on Mexican cuisine...such as identifying a Mexican cookbook that is entirely devoted to Mexico's wild mushrooms & truffles.

And those who don't think the foods he presents are traditional are completely wrong. If anything, he steers clear away from Contemporary trends in Mexican cuisine.
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Format: Hardcover
It is not often that an introduction written in a cookbook captures your
attention, and most people probably don't even read them yet the one in
Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen really sets the tone of this book. The
publication claims over 150 recipes but with Bayless's 'variations and
improvisations' section after almost every recipe, there are many more
possibilities to choose from.
True Mexican cuisine jumps from each page and each menu item also
contains words from the heart, giving history to each. Recipes include:
Shrimp Seviche with Roasted Cactus, Ripe Plantain Turnovers with Fresh
Cheese Filling, Mexican-Style Sweet Roasted Garlic Soup, Spicy Yucatecan
Beef "Salad" Tacos, Smoky Braised Mexican Pumpkin with Seared White
Onion, Chipotle Shrimp, Lamb Barbacoa from the Backyard Grill and Modern
Mexican Chocolate Flan with Kahlua.
A lot of heart and soul as well as time went into this book. Most
recipes not only contain variations and improvisations, but also include
some shortcuts and many with advanced preparation ideas to help today's
busy cook. With 150 recipes in over 420 pages these recipes were written
in complete detail. Ingredients are almost all available in regular
grocery stores with only a few at specialty stores. Mexican Kitchen is
definitely a cookbook to add to your collection.
Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless is published by Scribner Publishing.
Exceptional recipes written with a lot of passion and love for food. A
good book to add to any shelf
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