For The Talk's Food Festival, Cookbook Author and Host of "Pati's Mexican Table" Pati Jinich stopped by for a Talk Takeaway: Cooking segment. She showed the ladies some of her delicious Mexican dishes. Here are the recipes!
Scrambled Egg Packets with Black Bean Sauce
"HUEVOS ENVUELTOS BAÑADOS EN FRIJOL"
Tender soft-scrambled eggs get special treatment when slowly cooked with onion and a fresh chile. Wrap them in warm soft corn tortillas, ladle on an earthy black bean sauce, and they're transformed into a hearty main course.
When we have a group of friends over for a late weekend brunch, I make a double recipe ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven, ready to come out as soon as I hear a knock on the door. In addition to serving it with ripe avocado, Mexican crema, and crumbled cheese, I like to have a side of Fresh Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa to ladle on top.
8 corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade
Two 15.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and pureed with 1½ cups water
Kosher or coarse sea salt
1/3 cup chopped white onion
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, halved, seeded if desired, and minced, or to taste
8 large eggs, beaten until foamy
¼ cup Mexican crema, crème fraîche, or sour cream
½ cup crumbled queso fresco, Cotija, farmer cheese, or mild feta
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out, and sliced (optional)
Salsa of your choice (optional)
1. Heat ¼ inch of oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. The oil is ready if when you dip the edge of a tortilla in the oil, it bubbles happily around the edges without going wild. Using tongs, dip the tortillas one at a time in the oil for 10 to 15 seconds per side. The tortillas will first appear to soften and then begin to crisp. Drain on paper towels and cover with aluminum foil or an inverted plate to keep warm. Set the pan aside. (Alternatively, you can lightly toast the tortillas on a well-heated comal or skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side.)
2. Heat the bean puree in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot. The puree will have the consistency of heavy cream. Taste for salt, adding more if need be. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and keep warm.
3. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil from the pan you used to cook the tortillas if you fried them. If you toasted the tortillas, add 3 tablespoons oil. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown lightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chile and cook until softened, about 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the beaten eggs, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring often and gently, to your desired doneness. I like my eggs still soft, not dry, which takes 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. To assemble the packets, place a tortilla on a plate and spoon about 3 tablespoons of the scrambled eggs onto it. Roll it up and place in a serving dish, seam side down. Continue with the remaining tortillas and eggs. When all the tortillas are rolled and in the dish, pour the bean puree on top.
5. Drizzle on the cream, sprinkle the cheese over all, and bring to the table. Serve with the slices of avocado and your favorite salsa, if you'd like.
* MEXICAN COOK'S TRICK: To get the fluffi est scrambled eggs, beat them with a fork or whisk until they are a bit foamy, then cook them slowly and gently, stirring, until they're fluffy and creamy. Don't let them dry out by overcooking them.
Avocado and Hearts of Palm Salad
Serves 6 to 8
Pairing buttery avocados with tender hearts of palm is a tradition in my family for special occasions. Cherry tomatoes and corn make the salad even more alluring, and pumpkin seeds add a nutty crunch. Serve as a main dish with a side of toast or pita bread, or serve as a side dish to chicken, meat, or fish. No one who has tried it at my home or in my class has ever left without the recipe.
3 tablespoons hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican, or 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, rinsed, drained, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped red onion, or to taste
3 large Hass avocados, halved, pitted, meat scooped out, and cut into bite-sized chunks
1. Heat a small heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring often, until you hear popping sounds, like popcorn, and they begin to brown lightly, 3 to 4 minutes; take care not to burn them. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, to heat through. Drain and set aside.
3. Combine the vinegar, lime juice, oregano, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add the oils in a thin, steady stream, mixing with a whisk or a fork until emulsified.
4. In a large salad bowl, combine the hearts of palm, corn, cherry tomatoes, and red onion. Add the vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Gently fold in the avocados, taking care not to mash them.
5. Sprinkle the salad with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.
* MEXICAN COOK'S TRICK: Hearts of palm—palmitos, or "little palm trees," in Spanish—are readily available canned or jarred. Be sure to rinse them before using to rid them of any canned flavor or graininess from the preserving liquid.
TRIPLE ORANGE MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES
"POLVORONES DE NARANJA"
Makes 26 to 30 cookies, depending on size
I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I attended many wedding celebrations, and my husband and I were married in a very Mexican way—but I had never heard of Mexican wedding cookies until I moved to the United States and started getting nonstop requests from American friends for a recipe. It took me a while to realize that the cookies that are so well liked north of the border were what I knew as polvorones. I grew up eating them, and they are dearly loved south of the border too, where they are an everyday cookie found in just about any bakery shop.
The name polvorón comes from the Spanish word polvo, which translates as "dust" or "powder." The cookies, firm on the outside, break into the fi nest of crumbs the moment they are in your mouth, and it takes just a couple of seconds for them to melt deliciously and disappear.
You can flavor polvorones with nuts, vanilla, chocolate, or cinnamon. In this recipe, I give them an orange overload: a gentle bite from the zest, sweetness from the juice, and sophistication from orange flavored liqueur.
If you are taking the cookies to a party, cut colored tissue paper into 3- to 4-inch squares and wrap the cookies like candies, as is done in Mexico for special occasions.
½ pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for the cookie sheets
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon packed grated orange zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur
3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon baking soda
1. In a food processor, pulse the butter with the confectioners' sugar until combined. Add the egg, yolk, orange zest, juice, and orange flavored liqueur and pulse, until thoroughly mixed. The dough will look rather loose: That's OK.
2. Add the flour and baking soda and pulse until the mixture starts to come together into small chunks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary, and pulse again. Turn the dough out, gather it into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or butter them and dust them with flour.
4. Roll the dough into 1- to 1½-inch balls and place on the cookie sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Give each one a light pat on the top to flatten it slightly.
5. Bake until the cookies are cooked through, their bottoms are golden brown, and their tops are light golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Sift a generous load of confectioners' sugar over the cooled cookies.
* MEXICAN COOK'S TRICK: When rolling the dough into balls, don't overwork it, or the butter may heat to the point of melting, making the dough greasy and resulting in cookies that toughen and burn along the edges. The dough is overworked if it starts to feel oily in your hands and sticks to your fingers. If this happens, place it in a bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so, until it cools and firms up.
Fresh Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa
Makes about 4 cups.
Talk about a magical ingredient! When used raw, tomatillos lend a considerably different character to a dish than when cooked: they're crisper, of course, but they're also more tart, with a punchy, clean flavor.
In this recipe, the smoky-sweet heat from the chipotles in adobo can be adjusted to your taste. Use just the sauce from the chipotles for a hint; for a bit more heat, add the chile without the seeds; and to really ramp it up, drop in the entire chile, including the seeds.
This salsa makes a great accent for grilled meats, fish, or chicken. Add diced avocado and cubes of cheese and you'll have a to-die-for appetizer along with a bowl of Tortilla Chips.
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and halved
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and top part of stems
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (optional), seeded if desired, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
1 large ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out, and diced (optional)
2 cups diced queso fresco, Cotija, farmer cheese, or mild feta (about 8 ounces; optional)
1. Combine the tomatillos, garlic, onion, cilantro, chipotle chile (if using), adobo sauce, and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth; it will be soupy.
2. Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl. Stir in the avocado and cheese, if desired. Taste, adjust the salt if needed, and serve.
Simple Beans From The Pot
"FRIJOLES DE OLLA"
Home-cooked beans are helpful, well-behaved, adaptable, and easy to make. Yes, they take some time to cook, but they need only as much babysitting as a ten-year-old—you just need to sneak a peek every now and then. Whether in Mexico or not, you will always find a pot of beans cooking in any Mexican home, filing the kitchen with a warm, earthy aroma and comforting steaminess, an ambiance I hanker for when I am hungry or homesick.
With a side of warm corn tortillas and pickled chiles or salsa, you really don't need anything else. Of course, if you have some ripe avocado and fresh crumbled cheese too, you will have a feast.
1 pound (about 2½ cups) dried black or pinto beans
½ large white onion
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
2 cilantro sprigs or 3–4 fresh epazote leaves (optional)
1. Rinse the beans in cold water, pick them over, and drain. Place them in a large pot or casserole and cover with at least 3 inches of water. Add the onion and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a happy simmer, partially covered, until the beans are cooked through and soft, 1¼ to 1½ hours, depending on their age.
2. Add the salt and cilantro, if using, and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the beans are so soft that they come apart if you hold one between your fingers, and the broth has thickened to a soupy consistency. If the beans are not quite there and the broth is drying out, add more water.
3. Remove the onion and herbs with a slotted spoon before serving the beans.
* MEXICAN COOK'S TRICK: Make a delicious bean puree by combining 5 cups cooked beans with 1 cup of their liquid (or 5 cups rinsed canned beans plus a cup of water or chicken broth) and salt to taste in a blender or food processor and pureeing until entirely smooth. Use in Scrambled Egg Packets.