'Fiesta' is certainly a well chosen word to be included in the title of Rick Bayless's 7th cookbook because each recipe is a delicious celebration of food. Not only is the food the tastiest but with FIESTA AT RICK'S one finds joy in the preparation and most especially in sharing with friends.. Many of us who know how ebullient Rick is on television may be pleasantly surprised to find that this same joie de vivre and encouragement come across on the printed page.
Offered as a companion to the sixth season of Rick's PBS series, 'Mexico ' One Plate At A Time,' this photographed filled volume presents 150 new recipes ranging from'Guacamoles, Nibbles, and Libations' to 'Sweet Inspirations from Street Stalls, Bakeries and Ice Cream Shops' (do not, I repeat do not miss the White Chocolate ' Mezcal Ice Cream found on page 310 ' a little bit of heaven on earth!)
Whether you're cooking for yourself and a significant other or for a party of 20 Rick is a trustworthy guide, offering full menus and easy to understand day or two before the big event suggestions. For instance, since Fall is not too far away he suggests a Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24. Your friends won't soon forget this get-together beginning with a Mexican 'Cruidite' Platter with Chamoy Dipping Sauce followed by Lacquered Chicken in Classic Red Mole along with Sweet Plantains, Steaming Corn Tortillas and finishing with 'Cafe de Olla' Flan. Yes, you can do this thanks to Rick's Fiesta Game Plan that includes equipment, a timeline (clearly explained day by day), serving strategy, and embellishments. It's a no-fail plan for a never to be forgotten Fiesta. Rick is a wonder at making preparations not only easy but fun.
What is my favorite recipe in FIESTA AT RICK'S? Impossible to say because each is so different treating us to varying taste sensations.
Next time I'm in Chicago my first stop will be the Frontera Grill owned and operated by Rick and his wife, Deann. Until then I've been having my first tastes of Frontera foods (FronteraKitchens.com). We started with Frontera Guacamole Mix ' fresh tasting, just spicy enough with hints of tomatillo, garlic, green chile, and cilantro ' unbelievably good! We made enough for 18 people and four of us devoured it in under an hour. So easy ' simply mash ripe avocados and add mix ' presto perfection!
Following that we tried Frontera Roasted Vegetable Soup ' only 80 calories, no cholesterol ' rich with tomato, corn, pepper, onion, zucchini. Yes, yes I know the directions say 'Just heat & serve.' However, since it's summer in Texas we served it chilled topped with dollops of sour cream and loved it. Know it will be yummy and warming when cold weather comes.
FIESTA AT RICK'S is a much appreciated book at our house, and Frontera foods are much enjoyed.
- Gail Cooke