Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine Festival
at Millennium Park
September 23 - 25
Recipes from Deb's Test Kitchen
With Labor Day weekend right around the corner, I thought I'd give you some new ideas for entertaining a crowd.
Then, try my version of potato salad.
Roasted Vegetables with Chipotle Mayonnaise
I roasted multi-colored potatoes along with carrots, summer squash,
zucchini and onions, then whipped up a chipotle mayo to finish it off.
Next, I created a light summer version of Chile Rellenos,
I stuffed a poblano half with shrimp, corn, chayote and tomatoes. Then,
folded in a poblano cream and wrapped it up in a corn husk. Pop it in
the oven and approximately 20 minutes later, you have a delicious first
We did have a problem with this section
on the web site last month. It's now fixed, so you can submit your
questions again through the
Frontera's Pescado a la Veraniega
Here's a great way to taste the
tomatoes and chiles from our rooftop garden. Try the wood-grilled
day-boat catch with the daily-changing "rooftop salsa".
Kuhn Rikon Watermelon Knife
I first saw this knife at the Housewares Show and decided that I
needed to try it out. It easily slices through the thick skins of
cantaloupes and honeydews in addition to large watermelons. I also used
it to slice bread. The knife is made from a high quality Japanese carbon
steel and has a nonstick coating. The seed shaped cut-outs aren't just
there as a design element, it prevents sticking. It comes with a safety
sheath for easy storage and transport. Retail price is under $25 and
you'll find it at
. Try out your new knife with this recipe for a
SEPTEMBER 2011 | FROM THE FRONTERA TEST KITCHEN
Several years ago I started writing about our annual staff trip to
Mexico. Rick and I thought it would be a good way to share our
experiences with you. This was my fifth staff trip with each of the
previous trips focusing on a different region of Mexico. During these
trips, we immerse ourselves into the history, culture, traditions and
foods that are indigenous to that state. This year's trip was
unique, because instead of concentrating on one place, Rick and Deann
structured this trip to study one dish in three different regions. They
wanted to give us the opportunity to compare and contrast classic
presentations of mole in Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca.
I'm going to kick off this year's profiles with Susana Trilling,
chef, teacher, author, TV host and food consultant. Susana has lived in
Oaxaca for the past 23 years and built her school (affectionately called
"The Temple of Good Food'
in 2000. We spent the better part of a day broken up into 4 groups,
each working on a different mole. (Oaxaca is known as the "Land of the
Seven Moles"). It was truly an extraordinary experience. Susana worked
with each group, making the final adjustments in seasoning and
consistency, which gave us the chance to taste how that impacted the
mole. If you're visiting Oaxaca, I highly recommend that you look into
taking a class at
Seasons Of My Heart
Want an overview of this year's trip? Check out the
that was created by photographer Paul Elledge who accompanied us on this year's trip.
Who are your mentors?
My grandmother Marie Antoinette Chavana Flores; Phyllis
Gosfield a Philadelphia chef and ex almost mother in law; Douglas
Newbold, the first chef I worked under at The Fish Market
in Philadelphia; Tom Newhouse, professor at Cornell University
and Diana Kennedy for her wonderful cookbooks.
How did you become interesting in cooking?
When my sisters and I split our family chores, I chose cooking
dinner because it seemed like more fun than cleaning up or setting the
table. At 10, I made Beef Wellington from a magazine and became hooked.
I was also inspired by my grandmother. She had a Tex-Mex restaurant
when I was growing up.
What are your earliest childhood food memories?
Fried baloney sandwiches, my grandmother's TexMex chalupas and beef
tamales, my mother's Christmas Swedish tea ring and her jambalaya.
How did your TV series Seasons Of My Heart come about?
One weekend we had a guest come down for a long weekend
course. In those days we were traveling in a VW bug and we had a real
adventure traveling to the markets, and cooking up a storm. I had no
idea she was a PBS scout and at the end of the weekend she asked me if I
would like to do a TV show. I thought it sounded like fun. Little did I
know that I had to write and get funding to do the series, plus the
Tell us about your first book - My Search for the Seventh Mole.
I was teaching in Austin, Texas after already living in Oaxaca for a
few years. When we got to the part of the class that focused on moles, I
mentioned that although Oaxaca was known as the "Land of the Seven
Moles" I had never come across the seventh mole and I wondered if it
really existed. Dave Dewitt, of Chile Pepper magazine fame, happened to
be in the audience and loved the idea of me searching for the seventh
mole. It became a cover story for his magazine and from there, it
expanded into this book. While researching the book, I interviewed most
of the people in San Lorenzo Cacaotepec, Etla, where the story takes
When did you start teaching?
I started 18 years ago in the kitchen of my home. The first classes
were for local women learning North American and International dishes.
Then I started teaching foreigners Mexican cooking with a big emphasis
on Oaxaca. In 2000, we built the facility we're in now. The classes are
hands-on and we combine the class with a trip to the Etla market or
cheese making. Being a food historian, I'm passionate about
teaching our students about the culture through the food.
Ten years ago, we started offering off the tourist trail type of
travel in small groups. All the trips are inspired by a fiesta,
holiday, or ingredient. We tour various regions of Oaxaca as well
as the Yucatan, Michoacan and Veracruz.
For more information about Susana, the school, recipes, trips, her
newsletter and the specialty food products she imports into the US,
Seasons of My Heart
Season 8 premieres this month
Check your local PBS schedule.
Recipes will be posted soon. In the meantime, check out the
Test Kitchen Director/Web Site Culinary Director
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