DiningDiva's Profile

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Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

Pico de Gallo exists but is not particularly ubiquitous in Mexico. It is not a sauce, and not served as a sauce.

about 2 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

It depends on how you're making your salsa and how you're making your pico.

Pico is finely diced onion, tomato, chile, cilantro with some salt for seasoning. It is more like what we would term a relish and is definitely NOT a sauce. In some parts of Mexico, and a lot of Central American, pico de gallo is finely diced jicama,orange and chile.

Salsa, as has been noted, means "sauce" in Spanish. As such it has a much more liquid consistency, is often pourable and has a texture that ranges from silky smooth to rustically chunky but still liquidy.

True pico is never, ever, pourable or liquidy, nor is it ever anything but chunky finely diced vegetables (and fruits depending upon where you are).

If I want pico I mince my onions tomatoes, chiles and cilantro by hand, season and serve. If I want salsa I put it all in the food processor, pulse a couple of times, season and serve; this is usually what is called salsa cruda or salsa fresca (fresca because it isn't cooked).

There are tons of nuances to Mexican cuisine, this is one of them. Americans tend to use the terms pico and salsa interchangeably, most Mexicans wouldn't.

about 2 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Open Air Fish Market (@ The Embarcadero) to Start August 2.

Trolley to the last stop and then hail a pedicab?

about 3 hours ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

My Favorite Corn Muffin Recipe

I can get fantastic olive oil, I like that idea too

I've put blueberries in the muffin before and that works out pretty well too.

about 9 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

My Favorite Corn Muffin Recipe

Another big thumbs up for Dorie's corn muffin recipe. It's easy and never fails. I like some of the add-ins, must try them soon.

about 11 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

AmazaonFresh now operating San Diego

What is it?

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Open Air Fish Market (@ The Embarcadero) to Start August 2.

I think Chesapeake Fish Co. is very close to the new market. And I think I read somewhere that these guys were trying to work out some kind of arrangement with Chesapeake for customers to take their whole fish over there for further processing. Or is that off the table now?

1 day ago
DiningDiva in San Diego

Food Network Star July 27 - Spoilers

Yeah, I was kind of surprised that yogurt threw him for a loop. It's a pretty innocuous item with a lot of uses, even home on the range uses.

Jul 28, 2014
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

Food Network Star July 27 - Spoilers

I don't think Lenny's schtick is any worse than the chick from Bitchin' Kitchen and he's less annoying than she.

Jul 28, 2014
DiningDiva in Food Media & News
1

Food Network Star July 27 - Spoilers

Sarah...nails on a chalkboard...I'm so with you on that one.

Not diggin' Jersey girl either. She is certainly less annoying than Sarah, but so vanilla bland I have no interest. I too live on the coast, the West Coast, coastal cuisine means something entirely different to me.

The pickin's were pretty slim this year...

Jul 28, 2014
DiningDiva in Food Media & News
1

Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

I know what salsa means. Perhaps we have different definitions for pico. Finely diced vegetables are not a sauce

Jul 26, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

But pico de gallo isn't salsa...

Jul 25, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

Depends on the tomato...globes yes, Romas not so much

Jul 25, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Food Network Star July 13 Episode - Spoilers

I think if they just Lenny be Lenny and gave him a show about cowboy cooking from easy to sophisticated, he'd probably be relatively successful. It's when they try and put these square contestants into round - and very uncomfortable - square holes that they act stupid and weird.

Jul 22, 2014
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

Book Recommendation

In spite of having odd titles, I think both these books are well written and really worth the reading time. Definitely under-rated and under the radar

Jul 17, 2014
DiningDiva in Food Media & News

Must have mexican cookbooks

Zarela's mother wrote a cookbook years ago that is also really good. I'm forgetting the title right now but it's geared a little bit more towards northern Mexico and her life on the ranch

Jul 17, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Must try restaurant ...

Jesus Cristo you guys...

I can give a well informed opinion of the La Mesa branch having eaten there multiple times. It's good.

I can't speak to the OB location as I've never eaten there.

I'd hate to say "oh yeah, go eat there, it's great" only to find out the OP went to the location I hadn't eaten at and had a less than satisfactory meal.

To the OP...there is a fairly current thread on Bo Beau in La Mesa, there isn't much on this board regarding the location in OB. The food is good in La Mesa and they have a wonderful patio for outside summer dining. I wouldn't consider this a "must try" restaurant and I am not sure either one is worth the drive from North Park.

Jul 15, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Must try restaurant ...

Which one...La Mesa or Ocean Beach?

Jul 15, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Must have mexican cookbooks

I'm going to try that poblano/potato salad, that sounds like a good fit for the hot and humid weather we've been having lately :-)

Jul 15, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

BT please check up thread, I didn't dismiss either Rick or Mexican Everyday, in fact I recommended it. I own Mexican Everyday and have cooked from it and like it. I especially like the salad section in the front of the book. If you haven't tried the sweet potato salad with guajillo chile dressing, give it a go, it's quite tasty.

I have all his books except the last one and have cooked from all the ones I own and I've had good luck with his recipe and very few failures :-). I just think his earlier books were better all around. Mexican Everyday accomplished exactly what it was supposed to...introduce a broad cross section of Americans to Mexican dishes and flavors and give them an easily accessible way to recreate those flavors in a home kitchen. I wouldn't call the recipes dumbed down as much as I would say they have been streamlined for a home cook.

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

Another Mexican cookbook that surprises is Mexico the Beautiful. It's got several strikes against it being a coffee table book as well as an early William Sonoma cookbook.

But it is a surprisingly good cookbook. I've cooked a number of things from it, all of them successful and all of them pretty traditional. It's an old book now, but it didn't make a lot of allowance for ingredient availability or the skill level of the cook. It's not a hard book to find, great photography, awkward size.

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

The one thing I like about both Rick and Diana is that they use their writing skills to describe the dishes, the traditions around certain dishes, the ingredients, the regions and such, so that their books are often much more than a bunch of recipes crammed on a few pages.

Rick kind of lost me beginning with Mexico One Plate at a Time as his writing became a little too effusive and over the top; the commentary and recipe headers were not nearly as contrived in his earlier books.

Diana's books The Art of Mexican Cooking and Cuisines of Mexico used to be bedtime reading for me. It really made me want to go and seek out the ingredients or travel to the places she described. I've actually ended up going places I've read about in her books, not by design, it's just kind of worked out that way.

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Must have mexican cookbooks

HUGE second on Alquimias y Atmosferas del Sabor book. It's a beautiful, beautiful book. Stunning photography...gives new meaning to the term food porn.

Good call on the Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz book. Mine's a paperback and the pages are getting so brown from age, thumbing through and cooking.

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Must have mexican cookbooks

My error, you are correct. I've got so many of these cookbooks I tend to confuse them. Essentials had the blue dust cover and My Mexico the yellow one, and I was clearly seeing the blue cover in my mind when I posted. Just got the wrong name on it.

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Must have mexican cookbooks

If I could only have 1 Mexican cookbook it would be The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
3

Must have mexican cookbooks

Ricardo, I have about 200 Mexican cookbooks in English and Spanish.

Diana Kennedy is probably the master of Mexican cookbooks in the English language. Her first book The Cuisine of Mexico and the 2nd book The Art of Mexican Cooking are very good. My Mexico is a compilation of her first 3 books and is very useful. I also like The Tortilla Book which focuses on masa based dishes. All of her books are, without fail, solid, well researched, with recipes that work. They do, however, rely (assume?) that the person doing the cooking has a little bit of knowledge about Mexican products and techniques. The recipes can seem daunting, but if you carefully read them through a few times before starting the cooking process you'll quickly find they aren't as difficult as they appear.

DK's Oaxaca book is a tour de force and probably the definitive book on Oaxacan cuisine. Sourcing some of the ingredients might be a challenge if you don't live in Oaxaca :-)

I don't agree with Cristina about Rick Bayless. Authentic Mexican is good, but I think Mexican Kitchen is better. He has an interesting little book that I recommend for people just starting to cook Mexican cuisine, Salsa's that Cook. That book starts with 8 basic salsa recipes scaled for 3 different yields. He offers suggestion for making chile substitutions if you can't find what the recipe needs, but since you're in Mexico, I don't think the challenge would be as great for you. The remainder of the book is 50 recipe using the 8 basic salsas. It's a nice little book that introduces novice cooks to some of the basic ingredients and techniques used in Mexican cooking.

Mexican cuisine can be a laborious, time consuming process. Mexican Everyday is actually a pretty good cookbook in that RB has streamlined the preparation process while retaining the integrity of the flavor profile. As with most of his later cookbooks, he offers a multitude of variations for each recipe including some for crockpots. The other thing I do like about Mexican Everyday is that he's taken Mexican flavors and ingredients and applied them to American salads.

If you are interested in an RB cookbook your best bets are (in the order they were published): Authentic Mexican, Mexican Table, Salsa's that Cook or Everyday Mexican. The others you could safely skip.

Other English language Mexican cookbooks that I like and use are:

Veracruz by Zarela Martinez...probably one of the single most under rated Mexican cookbooks on the market. While I don't prefer some of the techniques she uses, I've not had a recipe fail from this cookbook and her flavor profiles are true to what I've eaten in Veracruz

Season's of My Heart by Susana Trilling...Oaxaca
Her mole recipes work...they're a lot of work, but they turn out well.

Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez...this is another good cookbook for novices to Mexican cooking. The carnitas recipe in this book is killer. The guacamole recipe is classic and traditional, the variations are a mix of traditional regional guacamoles as well as some contemporary ideas.

Pati's Mexican table by Pati Jinich...I would have to agree with Cristina here that the recipes are dumbed down versions of traditional Mexican recipes, but they're actually pretty good and make cooking Mexican approachable for the average American cook with little experience with it, or not a lot of time to do the full blown traditional version. (Her chilorio recipe is quite good and very simple)

Salpicon by Priscilla Satkoff...this is also another underrated Mexican cookbook. It takes a more contemporary approach to traditional Mexican cooking without dumbing down or losing the intent or flavor profiles of each dish. The ancho-honey salsa in this book is one of the single best multi-purpose salsas I've encountered

I also agree with Cristina about David Sterling's Yucatan book. Not only is it an absolutely stunning cookbook visually, it is a pretty thorough examination of the cuisine of the Yucatan.

Good luck. I'd be curious to know what you finally end up purchasing. :-)

Jul 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
3

Random San Diego restaurant history

I remember the Gourmet Room at the Town & Country :-)

Su Casa, the Red Candle Inn...you're going way back

Jul 12, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

food/research suggestions for baja/ensenada - por favor!!!!

La Lomita is just about my favorite winery in the Valle. It's always a must stop for me. Love their Pagano

Jul 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

what type of tequila is best for mixing with non alcoholic margerita mix's

Well, I would agree that all by itself Citronge is not very good, but I've found it to be better than Cointreau in my margaritas because it adds less sweetness and is closer to the controy used it Mexico so I get the flavor profile I want.

I've also found it's a pretty highly divisive item...people either like it or hate it, there is no in between. It works in the margaritas I make, but I wouldn't drink it straight.

Jul 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Spirits

what type of tequila is best for mixing with non alcoholic margerita mix's

Try the El Jimador Blanco instead. It makes a really nice margarita.

And as everyone else has said, squeeze your own limes and use cointreau or citronage, for a much better tasting drink. Margaritas will always taste more like the tequila than not.

Other blancos that I have used and liked in margaritas are:

Under $20
Luna Azul
Cazadores

Over $20
Corazon
Siete Leguas
Centenario
Forteleza

Did not like George Clooney's, Casamigos at all...striaght or in a margarita

Jul 12, 2014
DiningDiva in Spirits