been another hectic month around here. Just when it seems it
can't get any busier, we're proven wrong. Between Rick's
"Fiesta at Rick's", we
started production on Rick's iPhone app which should be available by
the end of the year, plus we've started work on the next cookbook.
So although we're all a little tired, it's all great stuff, and we
remain jazzed about how the year is progressing.
is settling in here in Chicago, we still have many warm days, which is
what inspired me to focus one last time (at least until next spring) on
grilling. I've given the Frontera touch to beer can chicken and
have found a new gadget that works perfectly on the grill in terms of
this recipe. I've also included a recipe from
"Fiesta at Rick's" for pomegranate ice cream made with a sour cream base I think you'll enjoy.
addition to the profile on one of our Frontera Farmer Foundation 2010
recipients, I'd also like to introduce you to one of Rick and Deann's
friends who we met during our trip to Mexico City. Her name is
Dona Carmen Ramirez Degollado and she is an amazing woman. Carmen
or "Titita" as she is known, has also provided us with one of her
signature recipes to share with you.
you enjoy this edition and check back next month when we share some of
our family favorites for Thanksgiving including Rick's fabulous turkey
with cranberry and jicama salsa.
Rick's Upcoming Events
October 7th San Antonio, Texas Join Rick and KLRN TV for a fundraiser to benefit the station at the St. Anthony Hotel. Tickets for
"Dinner with Rick Bayless" includes Rick's demonstration, dinner and an autographed copy of "Fiesta at Rick's".
October 13th Parker, Colorado Although
Rick's private luncheon and demo are already sold out, there are still
tickets available for the evening event with all proceeds
benefitting the Douglas County Libraries Foundation. The
event will be held at The Wildlife Experience. You can either
attend the reception, talk, and book signing for $60 or just
the talk and book signing for $30. You can
purchase tickets on line or by calling 303-791-7323.
October 17th Orlando, Florida Join Rick at Macy's Mall of Millenia at 2pm for a demo and book signing. For reservations, call 305-577-1818.
October 23rd Rockford, Illinois Rick
is appearing at two events both benefitting the Rockford Public Library
and the Rockford Public Library Foundation. The first event
"Rick Bayless Cooks"
is a demonstration, tasting, and Q & A at Giovanni's
Restaurant from 4pm to 5:30pm. Tickets are $35 for priority
seating and $25 for general admission. The second event
"Rick Bayless Live"
is a dinner from 7pm to 9:30pm at Giovanni's Restaurant and will
feature dishes based on Rick's recipes. He will be speaking during
the dinner. Tickets are $125.
Spotlight on Topolobampo
Chef Brian Enyart and I sat down this month to talk about the new
which features dishes from Oaxaca. Instead of going with the more
recognized dishes from this region, namely the seven moles, Brian chose
to create dishes that take advantage of lesser known specialties.
an interesting story on why Brian chose to feature a Oaxacan menu this
month and I wanted to share it with you. Brian picks one recipe
every month that one member of his team has created. This month,
Aris, one of the line cooks, had a recipe for a soup based on the
Oaxacan pasilla chile which is the dish you see above. The base of
the soup is a consomme of the Oaxacan pasilla, roasted tomatillos and
shellfish stock with ricotta and epazote dumplings, grilled scallops,
tomatillos, roasted apples and chicharron. That dish created the
jumping off point for Brian and this month's menu. The menu also
features a carnitas dish made with black garlic and served with a
gausmole (a mole made with tomatillos, toasted guaje seeds, and herbs),
and a huevos con chorizo, Oaxacan chorizo paired with an egg yolk
are just a few of the dishes that are available this month at Topolo,
where you'll have the opportunity to experience another dimension of
Oaxacan cuisine that you're probably not familiar with.
Julia and Todd from
Peasants' Plot Sustainable Farm
in Manteno, Illinois, were one of this year's grantees that volunteered
to join us at this year's Frontera Farmer Foundation. Although I
did talk to them when we were creating the brochure that highlighted all
the recipients, I had the chance to talk with them again this month as a
follow up of how this season is going and their plans for the
future. I'm always amazed at how resourceful our farmers are in
terms of making their dreams a reality, but before I get into that, let
me give you a little background on the farm.
inherited the land from his grandparents and while his son was in still
in school, he used to farm part-time during the summers just for
himself. At that time, Todd was a full-time carpenter working on
sets and custom pieces which he still does during the winter when he's
not farming. Four years ago, he and Julia made the transition to full
time farming, moving out to the farm. They attended a Farm Beginnings
program to help them in terms of what to expect and the nuts and bolts
of the business of starting and running a farm. As helpful as that
was, it still didn't prepare them for the realities of starting the
farm. Within a few months of starting the business, they realized
that the business plan they wrote really didn't relate to how their farm
was evolving and they scrapped it. As Julia so elequently put it,
"each small family farm is unique in itself and there are no hard
or fast rules for how to make it successful. It's all a matter of
adapting to the curves and bumps in the road and keeping your eye on
that end, they have found some creative ways of economizing on one of
the largest drains on their profits - labor costs. They have two
separate programs set up to help with those costs. The first is
their working shareholders, which totaled 25 people this year, most
of whom came from the Chicago area, and used to carpool to the
farm. These shareholders put in 10 hours a month for 5 months
which translates into two 5 hour days per month. In exchange for
their labor, they received a weekly CSA share. This program has
been so successful that there are plans to expand the number of
positions available next year. The second program came about when a
relative asked to store their motor home on the property.
Julia and Todd (with the relative's permission) decided to look for a
full time couple to work on the farm for the growing season and provide
the motor home as their living space. This internship program
allows a couple to get hands-on experience in terms of what would be
involved in running a farm of their own.
a follow up to how this year's grant impacted their business, the truck
that they bought with the grant money allowed them to double the size
of their CSA this year and they are planning on doubling it again next
year. If you're interested in joining their CSA, applications are
currently being accepted for the 2011 CSA. For more information on
the farm or if you're interested in either the working shareholders or
full time internship program, check out the
Peasants' Plot web site.
Richard James Chef de Cuisine Frontera Grill and Chef Carmen
Meet Chef Carmen Ramirez
Carmen and her husband Raul started
El Bajio in
1972 a small restaurant that specialized in the cuisine of
Michoacan. Four years later, at the age of 40, Carmen was faced
with running the restaurant alone and supporting five children after her
husband passed away. It's at this point, that she began to cook
dishes that she remembered from her childhood in Xalapa, a
city in the state of Veracruz. Many of the dishes that
she serves are recipes that she learned in her family's
kitchen. Carmen has established her reputation as one of
the leading authorities in the cuisine of Veracruz. She
has dedicated her professional life to preserving the
traditional dishes of Veracruz, not only for the dishes themselves, but
because those recipes represent the history and culture of the
people of Mexico.
El Bajio is
recognized as one of the leading restaurants in Mexico and Carmen has
achieved this through her dedication to preserving these
authentic recipes using the best, freshest, and most traditional
ingredients. They don't take any shortcuts in their
preparations, everything served in the restaurant is made
from scratch. One of the most interesting parts of visiting
El Bajio is watching her cooks preparing many of the components of the
dishes right in front of you. You're also made to feel as
though you are a guest in her home which is the philosophy that she has
instilled in her staff. It's this level of hospitality along
with the pride of her staff that makes this a unique dining
experience. It's no wonder that she has been able to expand
from this original restaurant to eight other locations
throughout Mexico City. In 2002, Carmen published a cookbook based
on the recipes from the restaurant called "Alquimias Y Atmosferas Del
Sabor". The cookbook won the World Cookbook Gourmand Award
for Best Spanish Cookbook.
and Carmen met many years ago and their friendship has extended beyond
just visiting her restaurants. They have collaborated many times
over the years and those collaborations have served as springboards
for recipes that Rick has created for the
restaurants, cookbooks, and his TV show. One of those
collaborations (Green Herb Ceviche) is based on her recipe called
Cebiche Verde de Sierra which she has graciously offered to share with
For more information about
El Bajio, locations,
hours, phone, and menus which change daily, check out their web
site. The restaurants are open 7 days a week.
a personal note, save room for dessert, especially the chocolate
torte. All the desserts are prepared by Carmen's daughter,
Mariateresa who is a pastry chef extraordinaire.
Recipes from the Test Kitchen
is on the way, so here are my "last gasp of summer" recipes for the
grill. I've done a take on beer can chicken called
"Grilled Ancho Chicken" which uses an ancho paste to flavor the chicken. I've paired it with a
"Three Bean Salad" which
I tossed with cherry tomatoes, knob onions, corn, and finished
with a Lime Cilantro dressing. For dessert, you have to try my
"Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Cookies". No
description is really necessary since the name says it all. So
there you have it, an easy menu that would be great for that last BBQ of
the season. I've also added the recipe from "Fiesta at Rick's"
Pomegranate Ice Cream. Enjoy!
Kitchen Gadget Adventures
the years, I've tried many variations on the vertical chicken
roaster. After the first time that I tried a beer can chicken
recipe using an actual beer can, dealing with both a hot, slippery
chicken and a can of hot liquid (I'm sure I don't need to draw you a
picture), I switched to a more stable device for roasting chicken.
The chicken roaster pictured above is the one that I've settled
on. It's made by Mr. Bar-B-Q and it's called the Grill Wok Chicken
Roaster. I like the fact that it has handles on both sides.
The large center column allows me to add additional beer (or in my case
a mixture of beer and the ancho paste) thorough out the cooking process
and given how stable the device is with the chicken loaded, I can still
turn the roaster several times to ensure even cooking without worrying
about tipping the chicken. It's available in both a
non-stick version on Amazon. The non-stick version is $15.99 and the stainless $19.99.
The two most recognized sources for up to date information about sustainable seafood are the
Monterery Bay Aquarium and the
Blue Ocean Institute, both of which have entered into a partnership with Whole Foods in launching a seafood sustainability rating program.
years, Monterery Bay has had a pocket guide for seafood. In July,
Blue Ocean Institute launched a free iPhone app that not only gives you
this information on your mobile phone, but also recipes and wine
recommendations. The app is called FishPhone and it's available at
the ITunes store.
you don't have an iPhone, you can text 30644 with the message FISH and
the name of the fish you have a question about. They'll text you
back with their assessment and better alternatives.
can also sign up for their ocean alerts by texting BLUE to 30644.
Along with the ratings, they'll also supply cooking tips.
See you next month.
Test Kitchen Director/Web Site Culinary Director
Follow Rick on Twitter
Follow Rick on Facebook