Search the website

The Basics : Cooking Techniques

View All Recipes
Cooking Techniques
Kitchen Tools

April 7, 2009

Poblano Peppers, or Chiles, are rarely used in their raw form. While some ingredients are ready to jump in your mouth or in the pot, like an apple or a carrot, others have to go through a couple steps to bring out their finest qualities in flavor, color and texture. But those extra steps are so worth it! It can seem hard at first but once you prepare them a couple of times the process becomes very simple.  Plus you can make more than you need and freeze them for up to 4 or 5 months. Here are the steps.

Continue reading Poblano Peppers: How to Prep

January 16, 2013

It’s true you can always buy frozen puff pastry at any grocery store. But, in less than the time it takes for the frozen puff pastry to thaw, you can make your own from scratch. I have a simple recipe I learned at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, that is the one I turn to time and again. I just adapted it to make a larger quantity and also to give you a bit of a more detailed description.

The key to making good puff pastry dough, or any flaky dough for that matter, is keeping everything very cold (well the flour and salt are fine at room temp!). You’ll want to cut your butter into chunks while being very cold.

Begin by simply placing your flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add your chunks of butter and pulse several times (about 10 times) until the butter chunks are reduced to pieces about the size of peas. Feel free to use your hands to feel the mixture to estimate the size of the butter pieces.

Continue reading Puff Pastry: Basic Recipe

September 2, 2010
tamarind concentrate

Tamarind concentrate can be purchased from the grocery already made, or you can easily make it yourself. The concentrate is great because of its flavor and uses, and also, because it will keep in the refrigerator for a months.

Continue reading Tamarind Concentrate: Basic Recipe

May 5, 2009
Homemade Corn Tortillas

Yes, you can buy them already made at the store… but there are few things that can compare to the nurturing and filling sensation of homemade corn tortillas.

And the great thing is: We can buy the premade corn tortilla flour of extraordinary quality in the US these days. So you don’t have to nixtamalize the corn kernels (dry in the sun, cook and soak in hot water with lime, peel and grind to a paste) through a process of more than 36 hours to make your own fresh corn tortilla dough. Here is how you make them:

Continue reading Tortillas: Make Corn Tortillas at Home

October 10, 2013
Flour tortillas

There are so many ways that you can have and enjoy tortillas de harina at home. You can make them the traditional way, the fast-track-modern way (if you have an electric tortilla maker such as the REVEL…), or buy them ready made at the store. Different from corn tortillas, which rule Mexico’s south and are made with a base of nixtamalized corn, flour tortillas rule Mexico’s north and are wheat flour based. The latter also have an element of fat (either lard, vegetable shortening or oil) and are milder, sweeter and softer.

Sometimes both kinds of tortillas, flour and corn, work interchangeably for a dish, say cheese quesadillas or chicken tacos, and may depend on the preference of the eater. However, beware, there are other times when either the flour or corn tortilla should be the prime choice. Take Chilorio, it needs to be tucked in a flour tortilla. Yet any kind of enchiladas, enfrijoladas, or casserole must, REALLY MUST, be made with corn tortillas because they withhold the sauce much better than wheat flour ones, and sweetness may be uncalled for.

Continue reading Tortillas: Make Flour Tortillas at Home

May 15, 2009

Tostadas and chips are very versatile ingredients to have in the kitchen. If you don’t want to make them at home, you can buy good quality already made tostadas and chips in the stores these days.

You can make your own tostadas and chips with home made corn tortillas or store bought corn tortillas. In either case, spread the tortillas outside of the refrigerator, in your counter, baking sheet or tray for a half hour and up to a couple hours, so they will dry out a bit before baking, toasting or frying. This helps achieve a nicer crispness as they bake, toast or fry.

If you are going to make chips, cut them into 6 triangles before letting them dry.

Continue reading Tostadas and Chips: Make them at Home

April 3, 2013

Are you tired of the clumps and lumps when you make your own flavored Jello? Yes? No? What?! You don’t make your own flavored Jello? You should! It is healthier than the already flavored ones sold at the store and you can decide what ingredients go in it! It is tastier, exactly for the same reason, since you can choose your flavors, you can choose your own favorite ones.

Many cooks complain about the clumping when mixing unflavored gelatin with any liquid in order to be able to use it. Yet there is a fast and simple technique that provides a smooth and seamlessly effective gelatin base that will add volume and will help solidify any liquid that you may want to turn into Jello.

Note: You can find unflavored gelatin as easily as finding flour or sugar. It will be located in the baking section of your grocery store and is usually sold as a dry powder in packets or in a dry leaf form. I use the dry powder, which is most common. Make sure to buy “unflavored” gelatin.

Continue reading Unflavored Gelatin: How to Use

June 24, 2015
five ways to preserve vanilla

Vanilla is such an extraordinary ingredient.

As basic as that little black dress in your closet, it can be pulled out time and again, bringing class, flair and comfort every single time you wear it. Vanilla’s flavor and fragrance has come to embody comfort in kitchens worldwide.

However, given its popularity it has been overused in unfortunate ways, like bad imitation extract and exaggerated aromatic imitators. No wonder it has tried to be replicated though, vanilla comes with a high price tag.

But here is the thing: you can make a vanilla bean go a long way. You can extend its exuberant properties and multiply its uses by flavoring other basic ingredients with it.

Continue reading Vanilla Beans: Five Ways to Preserve

June 13, 2013

We’ve all heard that word here and there: “emulsify.” Why do we need to emulsify a vinaigrette? It is simple, emulsify is just a sophisticated word used for saying that you are making ingredients that would not naturally mix together, like water (or vinegar or wine or citrus juice) and oil, come together. And we do want them to come together so that when we add the vinaigrette to a salad or a dish, we’ll be able to taste their combination and not their disparate routes. If you don’t make them mix, you may get one forkful of unappetizing oil-covered greens, and another that tastes overly acidic, making your eyes squint.

To make them mix, or to emulsify, all you need to do is whisk with a fork or whisk or puree in a blender. By mixing fast, the oil breaks into the tiniest of droplets so that it has no choice but to mingle with the other ingredients. However, as it is natural, with the passing of time, the oil will separate again.

In my kitchen, as in most Mexican kitchens, most of my vinaigrettes are oil based. I usually do a ratio of 1 vinegar (or citrus or fruit juice) to 2 or 3 of oil, depending on how acidic my vinegar or juices are and if I am adding other things.

Continue reading Vinaigrette: How to Emulsify

September 11, 2015
homemade whipped cream

You want whipped cream that is foamy, airy, and delightful with gorgeous waves?

Here are some tips:

Make sure that your heavy cream is really cold.

Use a bowl and beaters that are clean and dry. Same goes if you choose to use an electric mixer, or if you beat the cream by hand with a whisk. It is a plus if you can chill them for a half hour before beating the cream. But don’t sweat it if you couldn’t spare the time!

Continue reading Whipped Cream: Make it at Home

  • Page 2 of 2
  • 1
  • 2

Home | About Pati | TV Show | Cookbook | Pati’s Blog | Contact | Terms of Use & Privacy Policy
© 2010-2015 Mexican Table, LLC. All rights reserved.
Newsletter Sign Up