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Mexican Cooking Tips (6 of 6)

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Category: Mexican, Cheese

 Ingredients List

  • Dictionary of MEXICAN Cookin
  • (This is part 6 of 6)


TOMATILLO: These fat little vegetables are the size of robust cherry
tomatoes. They grow in papery husks reminiscent of Japanese lanterns and
taste best when they are a brilliant green in color. By the time they begin
to turn yellow, they have lost some of their acid freshness. This happens
when they are lightly cooked too, but then, although they relinquish their
vibrant color, the develop a gentler flavor and become more luscious.
Uncooked, chopped tomatillos are the basis for chunky green salsas. Select
tomatillos with their husks still drawn tightly around them. Husk and rinse
off the sticky residue before using them.
TOMATO: Roasting tomatoes gives them a faintly mysterious flavor. It
works best with truly ripe red tomatoes.
TO ROAST TOMATOES: To roast and peel tomatoes, set the oven
control to broil. Arrange cored tomatoes with their top surfaces
about 5 inches from the heat. Broil, turning occasionally, until
the skin is blistered and evenly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
The skins will be easy to remove. If the tomatoes are roasted on
aluminum foil, the cleanup will be easy and you'll be able to save
any juice they give off as they roast.
TORTILLA: Tortillas are round, flat unleavened breads made from ground
wheat or corn. They are the basis of Mexican cookery.
Tortillas are rolled, folded, used as dippers, fried crisp and munched
fresh. Corn tortillas are cut into wedges and fried for chips. For the
best chips, fry tortillas that are at least one day old. Flour tortillas,
softer than those made from corn, are more popular in northern Mexico where
corn does not flourish; wheat was brought there by the Spanish.
Commercially made tortillas of both kinds are best stored in the freezer
until needed.
To soften tortillas, warm them on a hot ungreased skillet or griddle for
about 30 seconds to 1 minute. They can be warmed in a 250 degree oven for
15 minutes. Or, wrap several in dampened microwaveable paper toweling or
microwave plastic wrap and microwave on high (100% Power) for 15 to 20
TRIPE: Usually what is meant by tripe is the line of pig and sheep
stomachs. Tripe is the identifying ingredient of traditional MEMUDO, a
hearty soup. Tripe needs to be thoroughly rinsed often, in three or four
changes of cold water, before it can be used.
VENISON: Venison is deer meat. Because it is lean, venison needs moist
heat to keep it tender. See GAME.
WALNUTS: The flavor of this nut is delicious with corn. See NUTS for
toasting and grinding.

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