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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who Needs a VIP Cooking Demo (or Spendy Cookbook) to Score Rick Bayless Recipes?

LinkI didn't expect to see a chef, let alone a Chicago legend, at Costco wholesale warehouse.

But there he was, grinning. Rick Bayless, Cooking for Solutions’ Educator of the Year.

OK, Bayless, chef-founder of Windy City’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, wasn't there in the flesh, but rather on the side of a variety box of Mexican beers promoting recipes using some of the Dos Equis and Sol that could be found inside.

And as it turns out, the VIP cooking demo he did at Monterey Bay Aquarium a few days later, on Friday, May 21, had long ago sold out and I couldn't talk the Aquarium powers that be into letting me peek in to relay some insight to the people here.

So it was nice to be able to pull two of the Midwest master of nuevo Mexican's promising recipes from said case of cerveza. They appear below. (For a longer discussion of whether sustainable chefs and the conscious food movement going Costco-style mainstream is a good thing, check out my most recent column.)

Bacon Queso Fundido with Dos Equis Ambar

Serves 6 as an appetizer

3 strips thick-sliced bacon
1 medium-size white onion, diced
2 serrano chiles or 1 large jalepeno, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/4 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespons Dos Equi Ambar
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
warm corn or flour tortillas, or tortilla chips
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Frontera Jalepeno Cilantro Salsa

* Heat oil in 8-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp, 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon, cool, then crumble and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of pan drippings.
* Add onions to pan and saute over medium-high heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Add chiles and tomatoes; cook until chiles soften, about 1 minute. Add beer and stir until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
* Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle cheese evenly over vegetables. Stir constantly until just melted, about 2 minutes. Transfer immediately to warm serving dish and sprinkle with bacon and cilantro.
* Serve in warm tortillas or on tortilla chips topped with salsa.

Scallop Ceviche with Chimichurri
Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer

6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2-3 serrano chiles
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems trimmed
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems trimmed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, patted dry
1/2 cup diced, peeled seedless cucumber
2 large avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
Frontera tortilla chips or saltine crackers

Prepare chimichurri:
* In dry skillet, roast garlic and chiles over medium hear until soft and blackened in spots, about 10 minutes for chiles and 15 minutes for garlic. Cool then peel garlic. Puree garlic, chiles, cilantro, parsley, oil, and 2 teaspoons salt in blender or food processor. Refrigerate several hours.
* Pour lime juice over scallops in glass bowl. Refrigerate, covered, until scallops are "done " to your liking, (cut one in half and taste), usually 1-1 1/2 hours. Strain off lime juice and reserve. Add 1/2 cup of chimichurri, cucumber, and avocado to scallops and stir. Taste, adding reserved lime juice, remaining chimichurri, and salt as desired.
* Serve in small bowls or stemmed glasses accompanied by tortilla chips or saltines crackers.