Rick Bayless, the bastion of authentic Mexican cooking, has spent decades educating us about how real Mexican food should taste. But, for many of us, real Mexican food can be a lot of work. There’s crushing and chopping, hours of simmering, and shopping for specialty ingredients.
Enter Mexican Everyday, a collection of simple, flavorful Mexican-inspired recipes using straightforward ingredients and focusing on lighter dishes as well. Like many chefs and food lovers, Rick found himself carrying a few more pounds than he would like, so he embarked on a program of yoga and strength training—along with healthy eating—in an attempt to lose weight without dieting.
“Nobody likes to be restricted,” he says. “I wanted to hit the appropriate equilibrium.” His common sense approach, reinforcing the notion that healthy food can also be flavorful and fulfilling, is not new; the ancient Mexican cultures artfully balanced feasting with lighter eating and maintained a healthier weight as a result. Mexican Everyday serves up a style of Mexican food not typically seen south of the border, but one that might be better. If it means experiencing Rick’s bold, fresh Mexican fare more often, we think so.
We put together a menu adapted from Mexican Everyday (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005) perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a Memorial Day grill-out. Go to fronterakitchens.com for more recipes from Rick.
By Janine MacLachlan, a food writer and chef/owner of The Rustic Kitchen cooking school in Chicago.