I know Maria and Shana are skeptical that I will be contributing to this month of posting on a daily basis but I am determined to prove myself. Lots of crazy stuff and periods of upheaval have interrupted my cooking/food life this year, but things have recently settled down and there has been some cooking and plans for more cooking, not to mention a trip to NYC, to look forward to. So hopefully I’ll have more to share going forward.
A sign of progress – last week I pored over the October issue of Food and Wine (I subscribe to Bon Appetit, Gourmet and F&W, but for some reason F&W has been hitting the spot more for me lately – at least as far as inspiring me to fantasize and even plan some cooking sessions). So I went through and picked a bunch of choice recipes, came up with 3 menus, and asked my husband to pick one. Not surprisingly he went for the one with the latino vibe, which included steamed mussels with creme fraiche, jalapenos and cilantro, pork posole, and a mexican-inspired salad.
I must say I highly recommend the “simple pork posole” recipe (on page 106 in the magazine). It was very simple and utterly satisfying. We wimped out on the mussels and ended up just putting together some marinated squid and mussels from the seafood bar at Whole Foods, then doctored it up with lime and a little garlic so it was sort of like a ceviche.
My only truly creative contribution to the meal was the salad. I had some leftover roasted squash, and, somewhat inspired by the farmers market salad (from our up north dinner a few weeks back), I came up with what I thought was a perfect accompaniment to the pozole. It was basically just green leaf lettuce, dressed with Rick Bayless’ lime ceasar salad dressing, and topped with:
chopped roasted squash
pomegranate seeds (be careful if you have white kitchen cabinets – evidence of pomegranate pounding is ubiquitous!)
raw pumpkin seeds sauteed in oil and some salt until golden
crumbled queso fresco
I’d say the salad dressing is key, which is included in the recipe for “Topolo ‘Ceasar’ Salad” from his excellent cookbook, “Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen.”
1 cup fruity olive oil
1 1/2 T sherry vinegar
4 t worcestershire sauce
1 fresh serrano chile, stemmed and halved
zest of 1 1/2 limes
Combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil plus all other dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and process for one full minute. Scrape into a bowl and slowly whisk in remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Adjust salt if necessary.
*He notes that he whisks half the oil by hand to keep the dressing from becoming too mayonaisy. I’ve done it both ways (whisk half vs. add it all to the food processor and I like it either way).