Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Rick Bayless Inspired BBQ

We were having T's mom & husband over for dinner and decided to turn to our always dependable for inspiration chef..Rick Bayless.

Yes, yes we know ...we do like to cook his food a lot obviously. It is just a fact his food and recipes really do inspire us to cook. We dig his flavors fully.

On this evening we did 3 of his recipes 2 from Fiesta At Rick's: Fresh Cheese in Roasted Tomatillo Salsa and Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky Chipotle. And then 1 from the July issue of Food & Wine magazine Shrimp with Spicy Chipotle Tomato Sauce. We did our Grilled Watermelon salad as a side to help balance all that heat.

First was the Fresh Cheese in Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. T peeled the husks and then roasted them in a skillet with some peeled garlic.

When they were browned on each side we flipped them

and put them in the food processor with some water to create the salsa.

The salsa then went into a sauce pan with a little Serrano chile and was brought to a boil before add the cubed fresh mozzarella cheese. We put the cheese in the molcajete that we heated on the grill for 30 minutes and served the cheese with some grilled sliced baguettes.

It was great,  a bit runnier than we anticipated but somewhat like a Mexican fondue. (Warning: if you do have a molcajete we don't recommend serving the cheese in it as we did per Rick's suggestion in the cookbook. It was more than a pain to clean. G ended up using a wire brush to get all of the cheese out of the grooves of the volcanic rock. Ooops. Won't do that again.)

Next, T got started on the Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky Chipotle. She cooked the meat, then the potatoes. The salad is all put together with a little apple cider vinegar, chipotles, red onion, olive oil and avocado. It really was delicious.

 We weren't sure what to expect. Neither of us had ever had beef in a potato salad before it was definitely tasty with a good texture.

G was in charge of preparing the Shrimp with Spicy Chipotle Tomato Sauce dish. He worked early to create the very texturally flavored Salsa Negra with Chipotle sauce. He then grilled the shrimp and topped the shrimp with the sauce.

The shrimp and the sauce was amazingly good. The sauce is very different than you'd think..definitely more like a smoky bbq sauce. The molasses and balsamic vinegar are the components that add the depth of flavor.

The grilled watermelon salad was a perfect accompaniment
Before grilling: naked watermelon
 to help balance the heat with it's sweet and tangy flavors.
After: fully dressed watermelon salad
 It was another great meal inspired by Mr. Bayless.


Fresh Cheese with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa/Panela en Salsa Verde from Fiesta At Ricks
Panela is a Mexican fresh cheese that has a light (some would say “spongy”) texture and a milky-sweet flavor with just enough salt to make it interesting. Panela doesn’t melt; it just softens a little when heated. Mexican queso fresco is a fine substitute, though it’s texture is more compact.
Serves 4 as a snack
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1⁄2 pound (about 4 medium) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 1 serrano or 1 small jalapeño), stems broken off, roughly chopped
8 ounces panela cheese, cut into 3/4 inch cubes—you’ll have 2 loosely packed cups
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
About 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro

Set a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (if no non-stick skillet is available, lay in a piece of foil). Lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned, 3 or 4 minutes, turn everything over and brown the other side. (The tomatillos should be completely soft.)
Scoop the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor, and let cool to room temperature, about 3 minutes. Add the chile and 1/2 cup water. Blend to a smooth puree. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous 1⁄2 teaspoon.
Pour the salsa into a medium (3-quart) saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cheese. When the cheese is heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes, pour the mixture into a warm serving dish—in Mexico, they often use a super-charged stone mortar (molcajete) that’s been heated for about 45 minutes to an hour in a 400-degreen oven.
Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Sprinkle over the dish, along with the chopped cilantro. Serve right away.

Beef and Potato Salad with Smoky ChipotleSalpiccon de Res al Chipotle

Makes about 3 1/2 cups, enough for 15 tostadas, serving 15 as a nibble or light appetizer
Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time & Fiesta At Rick's


3/4 pound stewing beef (preferably from the chuck), cut into 1-inch cubes
3 (about 3/4 pounds) medium-size boiling potatoes, cut into roughly 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1 medium, ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Scoop the beef into a medium saucepan, cover it generously with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and set over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Skim off the grayish foam that rises during the first few minutes of simmering. Partially cover and simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a plate to cool. Scoop the potatoes into the meat broth (if there isn't enough to cover the potatoes, add water) and simmer over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes.
Use the slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes into a medium bowl, sprinkle with vinegar. Break the up the meat into coarse shreds and stir it into the potatoes, along with the chipotles, onion and olive oil. Let cool completely, then taste and season with salt if you think necessary. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Just before serving, scoop the mixture into a wide serving bowl and mix in the avocado.

Shrimp with Spicy Chipotle-Tomato Sauce From Food & Wine
  1. One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  2. 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for grilling
  3. 1/4 cup Salsa Negra with Chipotle
  4. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  6. Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. In a blender, puree the diced tomatoes. In a medium saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the tomato puree and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 7 minutes. Add the Salsa Negra and 1/3 cup of water and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the shrimp with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the shrimp with the sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
Make Ahead- The chipotle-tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days
Salsa Negra with Chipotle
  1. 3/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce (from a 7-ounce can), stemmed and coarsely chopped
  2. 1 tablespoon molasses, preferably unsulfured
  3. 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  4. 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. In a blender, combine the chipotle chiles with the molasses, balsamic vinegar, dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the water. Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Strain the sweet chipotle puree through a fine strainer into a small saucepan, pressing on the solids with a spatula to extract as much of the puree as possible.
  3. Simmer the chipotle sauce over moderately low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula, until it is very thick, pasty and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Remove the salsa from the heat. Stir in the soy sauce and remaining 1/4 cup of water. Serve the salsa negra hot or at room temperature.


  1. It's interesting that really no seasoning is added to the beef and that it is boiled. I guess that later the chipotles will add flavor but it seems like roasting the meat with spices such a cumin, chili flakes, etc would just add another layer to the dish.

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com

  2. I agree. We both are usually amazed of all of the layers of flavors that Rick Bayless recipes typically have. But I think because the meat is just shredded it really is about the texture of the meat tnis dish as opposed to the flavor. The flavors come from the sauce.


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