Pati Jinich (of the beautiful site Pati’s Mexican Table) is the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband and three boys. She is also the star of a popular TV show, a regular guest in the national media, including NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s The Chew, Fox News, NPR, and The Splendid Table. She hosts live programs for the Smithsonian Institution and has cooked at Blair House, the official guest house for the president of the United States. Born and raised in Mexico City, Pati is on a mission to show everyone that real Mexican home cooking is not at all what most people think of when they think “Mexican”.
Pati’s gorgeous new book, Pati’s Mexican Table introduces readers to Mexican home cooking recipes – many of which are not well known outside of Mexico. Regional specialties, traditional family favourites, and American-influenced creations are featured as Pati really strives to impress upon the reader that “Mexican home cooking is beautiful in its simplicity, tremendously convenient, and wholesome” – and that it’s not “taco salads, nachos slathered with cheese or overstuffed burritos.” Looking through the book, you’ll notice that many of these dishes are not spicy, vegetarian offerings are prominently featured and that dishes are not all heavy and cheesy – far from it, in fact. Fresh and exciting ingredients are used and you’ll be surprised at how many of them are easy to find on a regular supermarket shelf. As Pati points out, many of the ingredients “like tomatillos, chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and queso fresco are used in a number of recipes, making it worthwhile to stock up.” And stock up you will want to as you flip through the book, marking recipe after recipe of deliciously fresh food that you want to make. Pati really makes authentic Mexican food accessible to the home cook.
Case in point: this easy Aztec chicken casserole. Looking through the ingredients, the most “ethnic” ingredient is poblano chilies which are no longer so foreign to many regular supermarkets (the fact that I didn’t have any, we’d run out, when I came to make this meant I did a little playing around using smoked paprika to replicate the flavour of the charred chilies). When I met Pati at Toronto’s The Cookbook Store a couple of weekends ago, there was a group of ladies asking Pati what ingredients she used most – you might be surprised to hear that it’s garlic, chilies, onions, tomatoes – nothing challenging to find at all. Pati’s book definitely makes Mexican – real Mexican – seem do-able, even on a weeknight!
I also took the time to make Pati’s Chunky Guacamole – so simple but so tasty. I like my guac not so spicy so this one was perfect. Avocados, white onion, cilantro, jalapeño chilies to taste, lime juice and salt to taste – that’s it, that’s all.
Pati’s book is gorgeous to look at and full of “Oh I can’t wait to make that!” recipes. As someone who has travelled a fair bit in Mexico, it’s wonderful to find a cookbook which can help me re-create some of the dishes I have enjoyed on my travels in a no-fuss way yet which retain their authenticity. A little bit of Mexico on a weeknight? Sounds like the ultimate in dinner table travel, doesn’t it?
Pati’s Mexican Table: A Canadian Giveaway
Thanks to the kind people at Thomas Allen Ltd, I have one copy of Pati’s Mexican Table to giveaway to a Canadian reader (sorry US and International friends!).
To enter, leave a comment below letting me know which one of these recipes you’d like to try first:
Jicama, Beet, Orange and Caramelized Peanut Salad
Shrimp in Red Pipiàn;
Mexican-Style Pasta with chipotles, avocado, and queso fresco,
Ancho Chile Burgers with Lime Aioli
Impossible Chocoflans (apparently they are very simple to make)
Piggy Cookies (that Jinich recreated after a journey to the countryside and also brought with her to the book signing at The Cookbook Store!)
Homemade Corn Tortillas
a rainbow of creative salsas
For a second entry, tweet the following message:
Enter to win @PatriciaJinich ‘s Mexican Table from @ThomasAllenLTD + @eatlivtravwrite! Details: http://bit.ly/12ecxQi (Canada only)
then come back to leave a separate comment letting me know you did.
Contest closes Thursday April 11th at 6pm EST. Winner chosen using random.org and will be contacted on Friday April 12th.
Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of Pati’s Mexican Table by Thomas Allen Ltd. I was not asked to write a post about it, nor am I being compensated for doing so. For the giveaway, Thomas Allen is providing one (1) copy to be shipped to a Canadian address.