Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recipes from Roberto Santibañez new cookbook: Truly Mexican

Perhaps the best way to consider the resume of restaurant extraordinaire Roberto Santibañez is in recipe form:

1. Start with a passion for cooking sparked at a young age. (Roberto’s grandmother taught him that cooking doesn’t always have to go by the book).

2. Throw in a dash of training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris; then, blend in experience cooking for the Foreign Affairs Ministry in his native Mexico City. (This is where Roberto rediscovered Mexican cuisine.) “I was ready to combine all that I had learned with everything I felt in my heart,” he says.

3. Pour in some time spent as an international executive chef, as culinary director of Rosa Mexicano in New York, and, currently, as the owner of Fonda Restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

4. Fold in a few published cookbooks—“Rosa’s New Mexican Table,” “Truly Mexican” and the most recent, “Tacos, Tortas and Tamales,” set to debut October 2012.

5. Mix all the ingredients together, and you have an all-around chef, culinary consultant, author and teacher.


Below, Roberto dishes four to-die-for recipes, from a blue cheese guacamole as an appetizer to a mouth-watering skirt steak as the entrée.

Blue Cheese Guacamole (Guacamole Con Queso Azul)
Recipe from “Truly Mexican”
Makes about 2 1/2 cups


2 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile (including seeds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon fine salt)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large or 2 small ripe Mexican Hass avocados, halved and pitted
1/4 cup coarsely chopped smoked almonds, divided
3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese, divided


STEP 1: Mash the onion, chile, salt and half of the cilantro into a paste in a bowl. You can also mince and mash the ingredients together on a cutting board with a large knife or fork. Then, transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the lime juice.

STEP 2: Score the flesh in the avocado halves in a crosshatch pattern (not through the skin) with a knife. Scoop it with a spoon into a bowl.

STEP 3: Add the rest of the cilantro, most of the almonds and blue cheese. Toss well. Mash coarsely with a pestle or fork.

STEP 4: Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt. Garnish with remaining almonds and blue cheese. Best served right away with corn tortillas.


Mango Cream with Berries (Crema de mangos con moras)
Recipe from “Tacos, Tortas and Tamales”
Makes 10 to 12 servings

"This recipe is for lazy cooks, as sometimes we all can be. An arrow in the quiver of so many Mexican cooks is relying on a bit of culinary magic to replicate the rich texture of old-fashioned custard desserts. You toss all the ingredients in a blender and whiz for a good two minutes until the culinary alchemy reveals itself: the acidity of the mangoes and lime thickens the milk and the orange-hued cream sets almost like custard. Once it does, I’ll top it with berries or serve it alongside cookies or wafers. Occasionally, I’ll gussy up these combinations, creating pretty layers of cream and either crumbled cookies (or granola) or bananas (or berries) in glass jars." – Roberto Santibanez


1 pound ripe mangoes (about 2 large), peeled and pitted
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk, shaken
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups mixed fresh berries or berry compote (see page 220)


STEP 1: Combine mangos, milks and lime juice in a blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

STEP 2: Add lime juice, if necessary. Continue blending 2 1/2 more minutes until cream is thick.

STEP 3: Transfer mango cream to a large container.

STEP 4: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

STEP 5: Halve or quarter any large berries.

STEP 6: Layer the mango cream with the berries or compote in serving bowls or glasses.


Pineapple Agua Fresca (Agua de piña y hierba buena)
Recipe from “Tacos, Tortas and Tamales”
Makes 6 to 8 servings

"Sweet tart pineapple and fresh spearmint make for a brightly flavored beverage that would be the life of any party." – Roberto Santibanez


2 cups peeled, 1 inch pineapple chunks
1/3 cup sugar
8 large spearmint leaves
Up to 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Ice cubes


STEP 1: Blend pineapple, sugar and mint with 4 cups of water until smooth. Can blend in batches.

STEP 2: Strain pineapple mixture through sieve into a large pitcher.

STEP 3: Gradually season with more sugar and lime juice.

STEP 4: Chill pitcher in the fridge.

STEP 5: Stir thoroughly and pour agua fresca into glasses with ice.


Grilled Adobo-Marinated Skirt Steak (Carne Adobada)
Recipe from “Truly Mexican”
Makes 4 servings

"This heavenly steak is the kind of treat you get in tacos at the little stands in Mexican markets, tucked into warm tortillas and topped with spicy salsa. I love the beefy flavor, the chew and the low price of skirt steak, but you can use any type of steak you’d like. If it’s a thick cut, just sear it in a hot pan, then finish it in an oven preheated to 350°F." – Roberto Santibanez


2 pounds skirt steak, cut into four 8- to 9-inch pieces
1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup Pasilla-Guajillo Adobo (recipe below)
1 tablespoon mild olive or vegetable oil


STEP 1: Pat steaks dry; season with the salt.

STEP 2: Coat generously with adobo. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

STEP 3: Heat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill or grill pan.

STEP 4: Cook steaks, 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare (depends on thickness).

STEP 5: Let steaks rest for 5 minutes before slicing for tacos or serving whole.

STEP 6: Serve with corn tortillas, salsa, rice, beans or any other side dish. Best served right away.


Pasilla-Guajillo Adobo (Adobo de Pasilla y Guajillo)
Recipe from “Truly Mexican”
Makes 3 cups

"Introducing a second chile into the mix takes a few extra minutes, but rewards you by providing a well-rounded, sophisticated flavor. A splash of beer adds serious depth. Pasillas and guajillos go beautifully together, but once you get the hang of adobos, you’ll find yourself experimenting with other combinations as well. Perhaps you’ll do what my mom does—peeking into the cupboard, grabbing a few bags of whatever chiles you’ve had around for a while and whipping up something incredible." – Roberto Santibanez


2 ounces pasilla chiles (6), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded and deveined
2 ounces guajillo chiles (8), wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded and deveined
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup light Mexican beer
1/2 cup chopped white onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon fine salt, or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 whole cloves


STEP 1: Heat griddle or heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Toast 2 or 3 chiles at a time, turning over frequently until fragrant (about 1 minute per batch).

STEP 2: Soak chiles in cold water until soft (about 30 minutes).

STEP 3: Drain and discard soaking water.

STEP 4: Put vinegar and beer in blender with chiles and remaining ingredients.

STEP 5: Blend until smooth, at least 3 minutes, adding water if necessary to puree. For a silky, smooth texture, strain the adobo through a medium-mesh sieve.

STEP 6: Use puree as a marinade for seafood and meat. Or turn it into a cooking sauce for eggs, beans and enchiladas.

STEP 7: Adobo keeps in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Disclosure: I did not receive any products nor was paid for this post. I was provided info from the PR firm to share. Thanks to A Bullseye View. Any expressed opinions are my own and personal thoughts. No other compensation was given.

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1 comment:

  1. These are utterly delicious, i must make the first one for a dinner. Thanks for the recipes..:)
    Skin Care