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Pati's Mexican Table : TV Recipes

Quesadillas de flor de calabaza
Makes 12 quesadillas

2 poblano chiles, charred, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon safflower or corn oil
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
12 oz (about 8 cups) fresh squash blossoms, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
8 oz Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 cups instant Maseca corn masa flour, if making fresh masa tortillas, or substitute 1 package store-bought corn tortillas
1 3/4 cups water, for the masa, if making fresh masa tortillas

To Prepare Filling:
Place the poblano chiles on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly on the open flame or on a comal or skillet set over medium heat. Turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes, until they are charred and blistered all over. Transfer them to a plastic bag, close it tightly and let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. Working under a thin stream of cold water, peel off their skin; make a slit down the sides to remove and discard the seeds and veins, then remove and discard the stem. Cut them into 1/2-inch-wide strips or squares.

Add butter and oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is bubbling, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the prepared poblano chiles, then the squash blossoms and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the blossoms exude their juices and the mixture begins to dry out. Remove from the heat.

If Using Fresh Corn Masa:
Mix Maseca or instant corn dough masa with the water and knead for a few minutes until soft. Make 1-inch balls and flatten between plastic rounds on a tortilla press.

Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese and 2 tablespoons of the filling at the center of the dough disk and, leaving it on the plastic round of the tortilla press, fold it over and press to seal the edges. Repeat to form the rest of the quesadillas, using all the dough and filling.

In a deep and large skillet, add enough oil so that it’s at least ¾-inch deep; heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, about 3 to 4 minutes later, add a few quesadillas at a time to the hot oil, making sure not to crowd the skillet. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crisp. Transfer, with a slotted spoon, to a paper towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot, with the salsa of your choice.

If Using Store-Bought Tortillas:
If using pre-made corn tortillas, add the cheese and filling to the center of the tortilla. Place on an already hot comal, griddle or skillet, and let them cook until the cheese has melted and the tortilla has begun to lightly crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Mole de flor de jamaica y nuez
Adapted from Patricia Quintana
Serves 10

9 oz ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
6 oz pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
6 cups boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil or shortening
1 cup white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup pecans
1 cup pitted prunes
1 1/4 cup ripe plantain, peeled and sliced
3 corn tortillas, cut into squares
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup grated or chopped piloncillo or brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 cloves, whole
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Toasted sesame seeds (to decorate)

Preheat a comal, cast iron pan or nonstick skillet over low-medium heat. Toast chiles gently for about 10 seconds per side, being careful not to let them burn. Place them in a mixing bowl, cover them with boiling hot water and let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes until rehydrated, place chiles and water in batches in the food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

In a large, extended sauté pan, add oil and set over medium-high heat until hot, 1 or 2 minutes. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion starts to soften. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the hibiscus flowers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes; until lightly crunchy.

Add the tortillas, let them cook for 1 minute. Stir in the pecans, and cook for 1 minute. Add the plantains and prunes, stir and let them start to cook and brown, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Each time you add a new ingredient, let it start to cook and season, before adding the next.

Stir in the puréed chiles along with the chicken broth.

Once the whole mixture starts simmering, add the piloncillo, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 20 to 25 minutes. In batches, purée the mixture in the blender or food processor until smooth. Serve over the cooked meat, poultry or seafood of your choice.

Helado de pétalo de rosas, malvavisco, mango y pistache
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups loosely packed rose petals, rinsed
1 10-oz bag mini-marshmallows
3 cups, or 1 1/2 lbs, or about 3 mangos, peeled and diced
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios, toasted

Pour the milk and heavy cream into a medium-sized saucepan; set it over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the rose petals, marshmallows and mangos, cooking for about 10-15 minutes until the marshmallows have dissolved, stirring occasionally, but don’t let mixture come to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they become thick and spongy.

Slowly stir 1/3 of the milk/cream mixture into the egg yolk, whisking, until thoroughly combined. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/cream mixture.

Set the saucepan over low to low-medium heat, stirring frequently with a whisk or spoon until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Once it cools, refrigerate.

Once chilled, process in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions, and add the toasted pistachios 5 to 10 minutes before the ice cream is ready. Alternatively, freeze the entire mix.

Makes 10-12 small servings

1 ounce or 2 ancho chiles
3 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

Heat a comal or dry skillet over low-medium heat until hot.

Remove the stems, seeds and veins from the ancho chiles. Toast over the hot comal or dry skillet, over medium heat, for about 15 seconds per side, until chiles have softened and then begin to toast, have changed their color and released their aroma. Be careful not to burn them.

Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, until they rehydrate and look plump; let cool.

Place chiles and 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid in a blender along with the orange juice, lime juice, white onion and salt. Purée until smooth.

Serve as a drink alongside tequila in caballitos or straight, poured over ice cubes. Sangrita can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 oz. silver tequila
1/2 oz. Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. agave syrup
Fresh lime wheel

Mix the liquors, lime juice, agave syrup and ice in a cocktail mixer. Strain and add the fresh lime wheel.

Camarones al tequila
Serves 3 to 4

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup Tequila Reposado
1/4 cup Mexican cream, Latin style cream, crème fraiche or heavy cream
1 tablespoon chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, or to taste
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional, seeded and minced
10 chives, sliced

Peel and devein the shrimp. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a large and heavy sauté pan set over medium-high heat, let the butter melt. Once it starts to sizzle, add the garlic; stir and cook for 10 to 15 seconds, until it becomes fragrant.

Incorporate the shrimp, making sure that the pan is not overcrowded, and let them brown on one side and then the other, for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Don’t let them overcook; they should be browned on the outside but barely cooked through.

Add the tequila, and slightly tilt the pan over the flame to ignite it. Let it cook until the flames disappear. Stir in the cream and the chipotle sauce (and the seeded minced chile if using).

Serve immediately, with the chives sprinkled on top.

Pico de jí­cama y naranja
Makes 8 servings

1 large or 2 small jí­camas, 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into sticks
3 oranges, peeled and separated into segments or sliced
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 tablspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more taste
1 tablespoon dried ground chile Piquí­n or Tají­n, or to taste
1/2 cup shelled roasted (not salted) peanuts, chopped and toasted

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to create a vinaigrette.

Place the jí­camas and oranges in a salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette. Let it all marinate for about 10 minutes, either inside or outside of the refrigerator. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve.

Flan de café con crema batida al tequila
Makes about 10 individual flans

For the Flan:
1 cup sugar
1 14oz can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Mexican instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

For the Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white or silver tequila

To Prepare the Flan:
In a heavy medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently, until melted and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Quickly pour the caramelized sugar syrup into individual molds. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place all three milks, the eggs, vanilla and coffee in a blender. Mix until completely blended and smooth. Pour into the caramel-lined molds or ramekins. Set the molds into a larger baking dish or pan. Carefully pour boiling water (it is very important that the water already be very hot) into the larger holding pan up to at least half the height of the molds. Place on the middle rack of the oven.

Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes, or until the center comes out moist but clean. Remove the individual molds from the water bath and let them cool completely. Refrigerate the molds, covered with plastic.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the pan between the custard and the pan. Invert the flans onto plates to unmold them. Carefully lift up the molds to allow the syrup to run over the flan.

To Prepare the Whipped Cream:
Whip the cold cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. When it starts to hold peaks, add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and tequila. Continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Serve flan with a generous dollop of whipped cream; serve cold.

Dedos gitanos
Makes 6

6 slices white bread
Cajeta, La Lechera dulce de leche, nutella or any preserves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Trim the crust from the bread. Flatten the slices slightly with a rolling pin. In the center of each bread slice, add about 1 teaspoon of the filling of your choice.

Roll the bread and the mixture like a cigar or a rolled taco; set aside until you finish all of the slices.

In a bowl mix the egg and the cup of milk, whisk until well combined. In another extended bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon.

Set a skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter.

Soak the bread rolls in the milk mixture until fully coated. Add them to the hot pan, which should have the butter already melted, cook the rolls until they’re golden brown and look fully cooked. Roll the fingers in the sugar and cinnamon mixture; they are ready to eat!

Chilaquiles verdes
Serves 6

18-5″ corn tortillas
2 pounds green tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Half of a large white onion
1 or 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles
1 garlic clove
2 or 3 cilantro sprigs
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for brushing tortillas

To Garnish:
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup queso fresco or cotija, or substitute with Farmer’s cheese or mild feta, crumbled
1/4 cup Mexican cream

To Prepare the Tortillas:
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the tortillas into 2-inch, bite-sized pieces, lightly brush with oil, sprinkle salt. Set them on a baking tray and bake in the oven until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the pieces cool. Alternately, you can fry the tortilla pieces.

To Prepare the Tomatillo Sauce:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the tomatillos, onions, garlic and serrano chiles in a bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and rub all the ingredients until everything has a light coat of oil. Lay the ingredients in a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt.

Bake until tomatillos are soft and plump and all the ingredients look charred.
Let the ingredients cool. Add the charred vegetables, the cilantro and the broth to a blender and mix well.

Heat a pan over medium heat, adding one additional tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sauce from the blender and finish cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season to taste.

To Serve:
When the sauce is hot, quickly but carefully add the tortillas. Stir the tortillas into the mixture so that they are fully coated with the sauce.

Serve the tortillas and salsa in a large platter, garnished with the sliced onions, crumbled Mexican queso fresco, drizzle with the cream, garnish with chopped onion and cilantro. Eat immediately.

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