Coming Sunday: Rick Bayless shares holiday recipes
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2012
11/17/12 at 6:37 AM
Margaritas and guacamole may not seem to suit a holiday menu.
But chef Rick Bayless, an Oklahoma native, features recipes for both in his new cookbook that are perfect for every season.
The book, “Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks” by Bayless and his wife, Deann Groen Bayless, features 60 recipes showcasing the most requested offerings at his Chicago restaurant, Frontera. Bayless said this his first book that reflects the culture of his restaurant.
His goal was to provide cooks with a basic understanding of the ingredients that go into margaritas and guacamole, which are always his fans’ favorite recipes from his other cookbooks.
“Making the perfect margarita is understanding what the role of each ingredient is and the technique of putting them all together. Once you understand what your options are, then you can make your perfect margarita,” Bayless said. “It’s the same thing with guacamole.”
The book also has variations on the classic recipes that demonstrate the use of seasonal ingredients. Bayless said.
For fall, he suggested the walnut and pomegranate guacamole or the roasted fennel and apple guacamole.
“Both of those are absolutely drop dead delicious and perfect for this time of year,” Bayless said.
And for a fall cocktail, he suggested the apple agua fresca. Agua frescas are the fruit-based soft drink of Mexico, he said. For winter, any drinks containing his recipe for spiced triple sec are perfect.
And although his he is best known for his Mexican cooking, Bayless said that he relies on many of the traditional recipes of his Oklahoma upbringing for his own holiday table.
Bayless was born in Oklahoma City into a family of restaurateurs and grocers specializing in barbecue. So, he grew up having smoked turkey and still serves the turkey smoked in his own home.
Having begun his culinary training as a youth, Bayless later broadened his cooking interests as an undergraduate student of Spanish and Latin American culture.
“When I was growing up, I grew up in the restaurant business in Oklahoma City and that was our busiest time of year so for us. Holidays were all about working, working, working and cooking, cooking, cooking and my grandmother was the hostess with the mostest, as she always said, because she would love to have big groups over and she cooked for days,” Bayless said.
His grandmother was a very good cook but, more important, she was the life of the party, Bayless said.
“No matter what she made, even if it did not turn out good, she would sell it to you as the best thing you ever ate, and she could make you feel so good about eating anything. I learned a whole lot from her because I think that so often we get so tied up with making the perfect this or the perfect that rather than having the perfect dinner,” he said.
“The perfect dinner comes from the generosity of spirit coming from the host saying, ‘We are so happy you are here and we made all of this food you.’ And just enjoying the moment because it is all about that sharing around the table, spending time together, sharing the same meal and becoming close by partaking in one of life’s most elemental activities. To me, I think we become too tied up in the stuff that is on the table and not the people who are around the table.”
Read more of this story and find a recipe in Sunday's Scene section or online at tulsaworld.com/scene.
Chef Rick Bayless