These days it feels like every new post should start with a great big Mea Culpa. I have not been fair to this blog, ignoring it for weeks at a time. In my defense, I am working on 4 different cookbooks this year alone, some as a ghostwriter (translation: no can talk about it), some as a duly credited writer. In fact, next fall, the first cookbook with my name on the cover will finally come out, helping turn the page in many ways…
The mea culpa not only concerns readers of this blog but my family as well. There has been very little cooking done around these parts, most of it offhanded and downright basic. Mind you, my guinea pigs might actually be happy about the novelty-free menu, content to just feast their eyes on the newly-bought, unopened cookbooks piling up at the end of our grand dining room table.
I had promised you multiple reviews about the best iPad food apps, having downloaded and bought over 2 dozens of them for this very purpose. Although I have been surfing most, and formed an opinion about many, there hasn’t been time to put all my notes together. Rather than wait for my schedule to free up, I’ve settled on presenting my fave apps one or two at a time, thoroughness be damned. First in line:
Rick Bayless Mexican Essentials
Bayless is an American-born chef widely regarded as an authority on Mexican cuisine. He has hosted PBS shows, including the popular Mexico: One Plate at a Time, and published multiple cookbooks revisiting traditional Mexican cuisine and making it accessible to the home cook. The app features 35 recipes and 40 instructional videos on everything from how to roast chilies to grinding spices and making your own tortillas. An Ingredients section presents 35 foods used in Mexican cooking with handy tips on storage and cooking.
In a nutshell, I loved this app and plan on cooking every recipe over time. (With a 6 year-old at home, I might have to dull the spices somewhat or just cook separate meals for adults and kid). Bayless knows whereof he writes and speaks, inviting cooks to use these essentials as inspiration in the kichen. As he says: “It’s sort of having (him) right there in the kitchen with you.” I wish.
If you want a taste of his cooking, you can find tons of recipes on his website. Be prepared to cook all-Mexican for months to even graze the surface though. Or you can concentrate on the 35 essentials in this app, one of which is the Huevos Rancheros my family loved. Hope you do too.
Published by: Chronicle Books
Released: April 25, 2012
Price: $4.99 (presently on sale for $2.99)
Huevos Rancheros (Ranch-style Eggs)
Serves 6 as a breakfast or light meal
Note: I made this recipe for 3 people only but cooked the full amount of sauce. We enjoyed the spicy leftover on steak and rice the next day.
• 1 kg (2 lbs) ripe tomatoes
• 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
• 1 medium white onion, diced
• Fresh green chiles to taste (I used 3 serranos), stemmed and finely chopped (seeding optional)
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 500 ml (2 cups) chicken broth or water (I used water)
• 12 eggs
• 12 hot corn tortillas
• 180 ml (3/4 cup) crumbled Mexican queso fresco (I used good quality sheep feta)
• Chopped fresh cilantro
1. In a rimmed baking sheet, broil the tomatoes in the oven (about 4 inches below the broiler) around 6 minutes per side or until charred. You can remove all the blackened skin or leave some patches the way I did to add smokiness to the sauce. Put tomatoes and cooking juices in a blender and grind to a coarse puree.
2. In a heavy pot over medium-high heat, cook the onion and chiles in half the oil about 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir-cook 1 minute more.
3. Add in the tomato puree and cook while stirring for 5 minutes, until thicker and darker.
4. Reduce heat to medium and add in water. Simmer for 10 minutes, season to taste and set aside to keep warm.
5. Fry the eggs sunny-side up making sure the yolks remain runny.
6. Cover each plate with 2 overlapping warm tortillas, top with 2 eggs and spoon sauce all over. Garnish with cheese and cilantro to taste. Serve immediately.