An unerring feel for the tastes we love has made Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's cookbooks and, restaurants havens for all who crave exciting,flavorful food. InMesa Mexicana,they offer their unique, interpretations of the tastes of coastal Mexico with a bold, colorful cuisine that excites the palate and satisfies our yen for earthy, rustic flavors, minus the heaviness of most standard fare. Best of all, the very healthy and inexpensive recipes in Mesa Mexicana can be made at home with minimal,fuss. There are salads, salsas, grilled meats and fish,the greatest collection of taco recipes in print, as well as the delicious vegetable dishes the authors are famed for-Braised Cauliflower with Parsley and Lime, Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Cumin, and Red, White, or Green Rice. Desserts include a sensational Lime Coconut Pie and fabulous frozen treats, including Kahlúa chip ice Cream and Tamarind ice. There are also cooling beverages such as Limeade with Chia Seeds, the Border Sunset, and of course, a stellar margarita.
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About the Author
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have worked together since 1982 as co-chefs and co-proprietors of City restaurant and the Border Grill in Los Angeles, and are the authors of the acclaimed City Cuisine cookbook (Morrow, 1989). The Border Grill was chosen by Gourmet magazine in 1993 as one of the best restaurants in America. Milliken and Feniger live in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
We love the tropical combination of fruit and salt found in this spicy fat-free salad. It is just the right kind of bright, crunchy food to reawaken dulled senses. In Mexico, in fact, it is a trditional hangover cure.
1 medium jícama (about 3/4 pound)
1/4 small pineapple
1 very small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 dried habanero chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped to a powder, or cayenne pepper to taste
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
Peel the jícama, including the fibrous layer just beneath the skin. Thinly slice the flesh and then cut into thin 1-inch strips. Place in a bowl.
Working over a bowl to catch the juices, peel the oranges and cut between the membranes to remove the sections. Remove the seeds. Transfer the orange sections and juice to the bowl with jícama.
Peel and core the pineapple, and trim out any eyes, being careful to save the juice. Cut the pineapple into 1 x 1/8-inch strips and add to the jícama bowl along with the juice.
Add the red onion, habanero chile or cayenne pepper, lime juice and salt. Toss well and chill for 30 minutes. Serve cold.
Serves 4 to 6
Mexican Brisket of Beef
We got such good feedback on our brisket recipe in City Cuisine, we just couldn't resist adapting it with Mexican flavors. The chipotles add a pleasant mouth-tingling sensation that is not at all overpowering. Serve with Smashed Potatoes (page 55) for a specialSunday supper.
3 1/2 pounds beef brisket
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
flour for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 medium onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
3 dried chipotle or morita chiles
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 quarts chicken stock or water
5 bay leaves
salt to taste
1 cup Pickled Red Onions (page 46), for garnish
4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Sprinkle the brisket with the coarse salt and pepper. Dredge in flour to coat and shake off any excess.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Sear the meat until browned on all sides, and remove. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the carrots and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan along with all the remaining ingredients except the salt and garnishes. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 21/4 hours, or until the meat slips off a fork when pierced.
Lift out the brisket and place on a cutting board. Cover with a damp towel. Pour the broth with vegetables into a tall container and skim off the layer of fat that rises. Remove and discard the bay leaves and chiles. Pour the broth and vegetables into a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth, add salt to taste and strain. Reheat the sauce.
Slice the brisket against the grain and arrange on a platter. Pour the warm sauce over it, sprinkle with pickled onions and sliced scallions and serve.
Serves 6Mesa Mexicana. Copyright © by Mary Milliken. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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