Mexican Made Easy has a wider range of regional/fusion dishes but maintains the mantra of using fresh, authentic ingredients. At the same time, she understands that not everyone is going to be able to find authentic Mexican ingredients at their local market and often gives equivalent substitutions (sour cream for Mexican crema for instance).
Something else I loved about both of these books was how personal all of these dishes were to Marcela, often using family and friends for inspiration and giving such heartfelt background to why and how the recipes were important to her. If she had a ghostwriter for these cookbooks (an issue recently brought to the attention of many New York Times readers with this controversial article by Julia Moskin) they were darn good at their job and translating Marcela's voice and heart onto these pages.
So far I have tried one dish from each of the books and one was so good that I made it for dinner two nights in a row. The other dish I tried was actually a beverage and a complete miss for me. However, one miss is not going to stop me from continuing to try more dishes from both of these beautiful books.
The first dish I made was from Fresh Mexico and it was the Ancho, Pecan, and Honey-Glazed Chicken Drumettes. I used chicken thighs instead of legs because I had a ton of thighs in the freezer and wanted to use them up. Honestly, whatever part of the chicken you use makes no difference. This is the best barbeque chicken glaze I have ever had: homemade or bottled. It was so good that I went back and licked the dish I cooked it in. Very classy of me I know.
Ancho, Pecan, and Honey-Glazed Chicken
Adapted from Fresh Mexico by Marcela Valladolid
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile (or regular chili powder will work in a pinch)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 & 1/2 pound chicken drumettes (or whatever kind of chicken you like)
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Stir the honey, pecans, and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat for 3 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.
|Best barbeque sauce I've ever had. I made it 2 nights in a row!
4. Place chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush all over with glaze
5. Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Be prepared to lick your fingers and any other dish or body part still containing this mouthwatering glaze when there is no longer any chicken left on your plate.
The beverage I tried was from Mexican Made Easy and it was Oatmeal Horchata. Normally I love regular horchata which is a very refreshing Mexican rice drink. I've made it and posted about it here on my blog. Oatmeal horchata just didn't do it for me. It tasted like wallpaper paste. But maybe someone else other than me will like the flavor of it (If you like almond milk, which I do not, it has a similar flavor).
From Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken into tiny pieces
4 cups cold water
Sugar or agave nectar
1. In a large pitcher, soak the oats and cinnamon in the cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Blend the mixture (including the cinnamon) in a blender until smooth.
3. Strain and sweeten with sugar or agave to taste. Serve well chilled over ice.
If I managed to do either of these books justice and you're now hungry for fresh Mexican food, give these books a try.