"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shrimp in Adobo Sauce

Shrimp in Adobo Sauce reminded me of one of the only times I've ever had authentic Mexican food--in XYZ Restaurant in Southwest Harbor, Maine about fourteen years ago. XYZ stands for Xalapa, Yucatan, and Zacatecas, and it was a far cry from the Three Burrito Combo I was used to in Mexican joints. I'm sorry to say that my dining experience was marred that night by my other discovery, which was the use of fine tequila as a sipping liquor. The owners were friends of my sister-in-law and her husband and when the four of us came for dinner everything flowed freely. Let's just say I've steered clear of tequila ever since that night, and 'nuff said.

HOWEVER. Before the tequila fogged me up I was quite amazed by the food--meats and seafood sauced and rubbed with rich, spicy pepper purees. Authentic Mexican cuisine makes good use of smoked, dried peppers, and this is where you'll find a use for those mysterious creatures called pasilla negras, chipotles, anchos and poblanos.

I had dried ancho chilies in the cupboard and O'Malley helped me with the rest--toasting the chilies in a hot pan, then stripping them of seeds and stems, ripping into small pieces and soaking for 30 minutes. These were pureed with chopped onion, garlic and oregano and enough warm water to make a paste, which was then sauteed for five minutes. We added wine, vinegar and salt then, and eventually the shrimp. On the plate we garnished with chopped cilantro and diced avocado.

O'Malley is anxious to tell you what he thought of this dish, so here he is, in his own words.

Word of warning: WASH YOUR HANDS after making this, else you'll have the unpleasant smell of garlic following you around forever.

I liked it, mainly because I think that chili peppers are punk rock, and because garlic keeps away the mosquitoes, flies, vampires, evil sandmen, and Freddy Krueger. While I was cooking the sauce, I took one big whiff of it a few seconds before it was done--it clears the sinuses.

After the sauce was done, my Mom told me to taste it and see how it was. I took a tiny fraction of it off of the pan, licked it, and yelled so loud that I think I scarred the cat for life! I calmed down in a bit, being more surprised than anything.

Well, it ended up tasting wicked good with shrimp and avocado, though I didn't eat all of it because it's very filling--Don ended up eating most of it. I recommend keeping a glass of milk handy (or tequila!) in case it's too intense.

Final word before my mom starts writing again: Never eat this on a date if you don't want to frighten the poor girl (or guy)off with your garlic breath. Bye!

Suffice it to say our house last night was free from mosquitoes, flies, bogeymen, and people looking for dates.

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