Step up your Mexican cuisine
So you know how to roast chiles and have dutifully followed recipes for pozoles and molés.
The next step: Getting comfortable enough with the foundations of Mexican cooking to take your skills to another level.
For that, chef Aarón Sánchez has a new little book, Simple Food, Big Flavor (Atria, $27).
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Sánchez, a former contender on The Next Iron Chef and now a Food Network regular, has a theory that once you master a few simple base recipes, you can build on them to stretch your creativity.
As he explains in the intro, "I decided to take all my incredible flavor memories and distill them into 15 recipes, to cram all that flavor into magical sauces, purees and pastes."
Those flavor memories began when he was born in El Paso into a family with serious foodie credentials (his grandmother and mother both wrote cookbooks). He had stints in the kitchens of Paul Prudhomme and Douglas Rodriguez.
The ideas for using the 15 recipes and the tips Sánchez offers in his witty voice are what make the book especially valuable.
Consider, for example, a six-ingredient sauce called garlic-chipotle love, which will happily sit in the fridge for two weeks and can turn "dull soup into eye-rollingly good stuff."
-- Chicago Tribune