Great Tips for Mexican Cooking

Part of the Mexican Cooking For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you love to cook (and eat) Mexican food, these terrific tips will help you make the most of preparing delicious, festive Mexican dishes and beverages:

  • Garnish freely. That doesn't mean a sprig or two of wilted parsley strewn across a plate. In the Mexican kitchen, the garnishes — fresh diced onion, sliced radish, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, diced chiles — are integral to the dish. They add the crunch, the freshness, and the bright acidity that completes a dish.

  • Recycle. Yesterday's salsa and chips are today's tortilla soup is tomorrow's chilaquiles. It's good for the planet, and it tastes good, too!

  • Start good taste at home. Try making our homemade corn and flour tortillas and our salsas rather than purchasing the store-bought variety. Then you'll recognize the difference between a so-so tortilla and something great.

  • Try unusual cuts of meat. Mexican cooking provides an excellent opportunity to explore inexpensive cuts of meat. Slowly cooked butts, shoulders, and shanks will reward you with silky tenderness and intense flavor at half the cost of prime cuts.

  • Aspire to be an acid queen or king. Acid accents, particularly from lime juice, are necessary in Mexican cooking to balance the richness and spice, especially in posoles, ceviches, and tacos.

  • Roast and toast freely. Roasted tomatoes, onions, and chiles add a unique layer of complexity to salsas and sauces that is characteristic of real Mexican cooking. Don't skip this step. The same advice applies to toasting pastas or grains.

  • Make homemade beverages. Mexican cuisine offers an array of wonderfully vibrant beverages, alcoholic and not. Get in the spirit and abandon predictable soft drinks and wines for a refreshing change.

  • Embrace chiles. Don't be intimidated by chiles. With a little know-how, you will find that they are easy to work with and extremely healthy and add a wallop of lowfat flavor that will grow on you if you give them a chance.

  • First say yes. Before you automatically say no to a new food or taste experience, think again and take a bite. Remember that it took Europeans about 400 years to figure out what to do with a tomato. Just think of all that great tomato sauce they were missing.

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Mexican Cooking For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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