OKC native Rick Bayless releases new cookbook 'Frontera'
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 4:38 AM
Margaritas and guacamole may not seem to suit a holiday menu.
But chef Rick Bayless, an Oklahoma native, features in his new cookbook recipes for both 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 is 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 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. 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.
"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 for 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."
Bayless said that he always cooks a big dinner with his wife's family in Chicago on Thanksgiving and then comes back to Oklahoma City the following day to celebrate the holiday with his family here.
In addition to his new cookbook, Bayless said that he just finished scouting for the ninth season of his highly rated Public Television series, "Mexico - One Plate at a Time." The upcoming 13-episode season will focus entirely on the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca.
And he is also working on another cookbook that will reflect the dishes of Frontera but also highlight Mexican street foods.
'SEE MEXICO: ONE PLATE AT A TIME'
When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays
Where: KRSC channel 35, cable 109
Here is a recipe from Bayless' book that you might want to try this fall.
Bayless said the drink tastes great without the optional ingredient of the kaffir lime leaf, which is available in most Asian markets and well-stocked grocery stores.
SPARKLING GINGER MARGARITA
2 slices ginger, the thickness of a quarter, no need to peel, coarsely chopped
1 fresh kaffir lime leaf, cut in half where the leaf is indented (optional)
1 1/2 ounces blue agave blanco tequila
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orange Curacao or other triple sec
1/4 ounce Ginger Agave Syrup (recipe below)
6 to 10 ice cubes (about 3/4 cup)
1 ounce sparkling wine, such as cava from Spain
1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger slices and 1 of the (optional) kaffir lime leaf halves with a cocktail muddler or a wooden spoon until the ginger is coarsely mashed. Add the tequila, lime juice, Curacao, Ginger Agave Syrup and ice.
2. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into a 6-ounce martini glass and top with the sparkling wine.
3. Bruise the other half of the lime leaf, if using, by slapping it between your palms to release the aroma. Float it on the top of the drink and serve immediately.
GINGER AGAVE SYRUP
1/2 cup agave syrup (light syrup gives the best flavor)
1/4 cup finely chopped ginger
1. Measure the agave syrup and 2 tablespoons water into a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and add the ginger. When the mixture reaches a simmer, time 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature; strain.
2. The syrup will keep for a month or more, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.
Original Print Headline: Bayless culture
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Walnut and pomegranate guacamole is a beautiful and delicious choice for this time of year. Courtesy
"Making the perfect margarita is understanding what the role of each ingredient is and the technique of putting them all together," Bayless says. Shown here is Bayless' Sparkling Ginger Margarita. Courtesy
Oklahoma native Rick Bayless is the author of the new cookbook "Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks." Courtesy