Chef Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

· Registered
750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some ideas for a salad [or other side] that would compliment Pooh's Avocado and Tequila soup. Need recipes before Friday so I can go shopping!

I could also use suggestions for a nice wine to go with. Nothing too expensive. :)

Just a reminder:

Cold Avocado-Tequila Soup

1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tequila
One 15-ounce can chicken broth, fat skimmed from top
2 ripe avocados (about 1 pound), peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
4 lemon wedges (optional)
1 small tomato (optional), cut into 1/4-inch dice

1. Place the cilantro and jalapeno in a blender or the work bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

2. Add the lemon juice, tequila, chicken broth, avocados and salt, and process until smooth. Refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled, about 1 hour. (It can be refrigerated up to 6 hours until ready to serve.)

3. Ladle the soup into 6 serving bowls and garnish each bowl with a lemon wedge and a tablespoon or two of chopped tomato, if desired. Serve immediately.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

[ July 02, 2001: Message edited by: nancya ]

· Registered
5,047 Posts
Hi nancya..

When I think of something to compliment the soup I think texture. Maybe a jicama, apple and cucumber salad with some orange zest and grilled green onions, Maybe fry some flour tortilla strips and then dust with a little cumin,chile powder and kosher salt and float on top of the soup.

A black bean and toated native corn salad would work as well,with a anjou pepper vinaigrette.

Red grapefruit and avocado salad over boston lettuce with serrono pepper dressing.

nancy,When preparing tho food keep in mind a balance of heat,acity and sweetness.Acid is your freind when it comes to heat and a little sweetnes will dance with the acid to couple everything together.

I would also serve some warm mexican flat bread. As for the wine the same applys as with your food. nice acity to seem light on the palete and to make friends with the heat,but then a touch of residuel surger to balance.

Perhaps a pinot blanc from alsace or a spicy gewurztraminer the word gewurtz means "spiced"and they are known for there crisp,spicy profiles, even a german Kabinet that is young will be a pleasure to quaff.

I hope this helps and you have a great meal.

· Registered
379 Posts
Wow! Thank you CC. I could not have made better suggestions myself.


First of all, I'm flattered. I hope the soup won't disappoint you!

Second, need anything for main course or will CC's suggestions suffice? Just in case:
  • Seafood Stew (shrimp, scallops and cured salmon with coconut milk and salsa verde) or
  • Drunken Chicken
The chicken got drunk with Tequila!!!

Book at home but could post it tonight if interested!


[ July 05, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]

· Registered
750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Pooh, I'd love your drunken chicken recipe. Don't rush though, I'm making the soup for the moon ceremony, which is kind of a pot luck and the soup will be the main course.

Cape Chef, how did you dress the jicama, apple and cucumber salad? I was thinking something a little sweet and a little spicy.

Plan on trying the flat bread also. Still searching for recipes on that.

Thank you guys so much for your help. I think the cold soup will work really well. Last time I made chicken and noodles which had pretty much congealed by the time we ate it.

· Registered
2,550 Posts

Here's a recipe for corn tortillas.

For about 15 tortillas

1 pound fresh masa for tortillas
OR 1 3/4 cups masa harina for tortillas (such as Maseca brand) mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot tap water

1. The dough. For fresh masa, knead the dough with a little cool water until soft and easily malleable (I think it feels like soft Play-Doh or cookie dough); add water a tablespoon at a time and stop before the dough becomes sticky. Cover with plastic wrap.

For reconstituted masa harina, cover the masa harina-water mixture and let stand 30 minutes, then work in cool water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough is as soft as you can get it without being sticky; it will feel a little grittier, less puttylike than fresh masa, and it should feel slightly softer than masa when the proper amount of water has been worked in. Cover with plastic wrap.

2. Pressing and unmolding the tortillas. Divide the dough into 15 balls and cover with plastic wrap. Heat an ungreased double-size griddle (one that fits over two burners) or 2 ungreased large skillets so that one end of the griddle (or one skillet) is between medium-low and medium, the other end (or other skillet) is at medium-high. (If you're using cast iron, the heat will build as you're making tortillas, so you'll likely have to adjust the temperatures downward as you work.)

Cut 2 squares of medium-heavy plastic from a ziploc bag (at our restaurant, we cut up a medium-weight garbage bag) to fit over the plates of your tortilla press (a little bigger than the plates is fine). Open the press (if you're right-handed, you'll want the opened top plate to your left, the pressure handle to your right) and lay 1 square of plastic on the bottom plate. Center a ball of dough on the plastic, flattening it a little with your hand to make it stick, and cover with the other square of plastic. Close the top plate, then fold the pressure handle over onto the top plate and press down somewhat firmly. (Knowing just how hard to press will take a little practice -- too light and you'll have an uneven, thick tortilla; too heavy and it'll be too thin to get off the plastic.) You're looking for a round that is 5 to 6 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick.

Fold back the pressure handle, open the top plate, and, while the plastic-wrapped tortilla is still lying on the bottom plate, take hold of the top piece of plastic and quickly pull it off. Now, pick up the tortilla by the plastic with one hand, and flip it over, uncovered side down, onto the slightly separated fingers of your other hand -- it'll cover your fingers and half your palm. (If you're right-handed, I suggest that you pick up the plastic and tortilla with your left hand and flip it onto your right. As you get good at all this, work to align the top of the tortilla with the top of your index finger, with the circle extending just slightly past the tip of your middle finger; this will leave an inch or two of tortilla hanging down below your little finger.)

Starting at one edge, quickly peel the remaining plastic off the tortilla (go too slowly and you'll risk ripping the tortilla), leaving the raw, flattened disc of masa on your hand. If the dough is too soft, you'll have difficulty peeling off the plastic; to correct the problem, work a little masa harina into the dough and continue.

3. Baking the tortillas. Lay the tortilla on the cooler end of the griddle (or cooler skillet). Now, the practiced hand of most Mexican señoras will get that tortilla on the griddle in a flash with a deft, swift move that seems just the opposite of what you'd expect. Rather than turning her hand over to release the tortilla onto the griddle, she moves her hand (held at a 45-degree angle to the griddle) away from her, letting the overhanging portion of the tortilla go down first, then quickly rolling her hand out from underneath the tortilla (the movement looks as though she's brushing something off the griddle with the back of her hand), letting it smoothly fall flat. It looks easy, but practically all of us North Americans get to the "sweeping" part, think we're going to burn the backs of our hands (especially the backs of our little fingers), and jerk straight up rather than away from us, leaving behind a ripped or folded-over tortilla. You simply need to summon your courage -- realize that feeling the heat on the back of your hand isn't the same thing as burning yourself -- and just learn to do it. Turning your hand over to release a tortilla this size onto the griddle usually gives you a rippled tortilla that's impossible to cook evenly. (A word of advice: Try pressing, unmolding and laying the tortillas on your countertop before you start with the griddle. You can scrape up the dough, roll it back into a ball and do it all again. You'll notice that once you have that unmolded tortilla on your hand, you need to
get it off and onto the counter or griddle quickly or it will start to stick to your fingers.)

When you lay the tortilla on the griddle, it will immediately stick. If you have your temperature right, it'll release itself within 15 seconds, at which point you should flip it (with your fingers a la mexicana or with a spatula) onto the hotter surface. (If the heat is too low, the tortilla will dry out before it releases itself; if too high, it'll blister. Both translate to "not great texture.")

In 30 to 45 seconds, the tortilla should be speckled brown underneath. (If it browns faster, the temperature's too hot.) Flip it over, still on the hotter surface, and brown the other side for another half minute or so. A perfect tortilla is one that balloons up like pita bread after this second flip -- something you can encourage by lightly pressing on the tortilla with your fingertips or spatula. Or, you can encourage ballooning, as many Mexicans do, by stacking a finished tortilla or two onto one that's just been flipped.

Always taste your first tortilla: If the dough is too dry, the texture will be heavy (it'll probably have cracked around the edges when pressed, too).

As tortillas are finished, collect them in a cloth-lined basket. They're best after they've rested together for about 10 minutes (and steamed from their own heat), but still have the original heat of the griddle.

This is an excerpt from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.

Would you prefer flour tortillas?

· Registered
379 Posts
Drunken Chicken
(Pollo Borracho)
Yield: 4 servings

½ cup golden raisins
½ cup dry sherry, heated
½ cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
1 small chicken (about 3 ½ lbs.), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
½ cup corn oil or other vegetable oil
1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup blanched whole almonds
½ cup whole pimiento-stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups Chicken stock
1 cup tequila (preferably Sauza or Herradura)
1/3 to 1 cup white vinegar (see note below)
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour the hot sherry over them. Let sit at least 20 minutes to soften the raisins. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a flat plate or dish. Roll the chicken pieces in the flour to coat evenly. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until not quite smoking. Fry the chicken pieces until well browned on the outside but not cooked within, about 10 minutes. Work in batches or with two skillets if you don't have one big enough to hold all the pieces comfortably. Place the browned chicken in a baking dish or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Set aside while you make the sauce.

Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, scraping the pan to dislodge any browned bits of chicken, until the onion is golden and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 minutes. Add the olives and plumped raisins with any unabsorbed sherry; cook, stirring occasionally, another 2 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in about 1/4 cup of the chicken stock. Add the rest of the stock to the skillet along with the tequila and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring and scraping. Add 1/3 cup of the vinegar to the mixture along with the sugar; stir to combine and taste to judge the effect. Continue to add vinegar (up to 1 cup in all) until the desired tartness is achieved.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Let it boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavours meld, about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the baking dish and bake until the chicken is tender but not overcooked, about 20 minutes.

NOTE: The level of vinegar in this sweet-and sour dish would not be considered excessive by many Mexicans, but it may be a bit much for some people here. Begin with a small amount and add more to taste.

· Registered
379 Posts
Flour Tortillas
(Yield: 48 small (4-inch) or 24 large (6-inch)

6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 ½ to 2 cups water warmed to 115 degrees F (warmer than lukewarm, but not hot)

Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. With two knives or your fingers, cut or rub the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly pour 1 ½ cups of the warm water into the mixture, at the same time working the ingredients together with your fingers. When all the water has been added, continue to work the mixture with both hands until it gathers together in a ball. The object is a somewhat soft but not sticky dough. Add a little more water if necessary, but the dough is not terribly forgiving of adjustments. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth and silky, about 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and make 12 equal-sized balls from each piece. (For larger 6 inch tortillas, divide each quarter of the dough into 6 rather than 12 pieces). Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others covered with a tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Shape each ball of dough in your fingers as follows—the process is easier to carry out than to describe—flatten the ball slightly and hold it in your two hands with your thumbs on the top side and other fingers underneath. Lightly pull the dough out from the center on all sides, not stretching it much, but pulling it enough so that you can tuck down the edges between your thumbs and first two fingers to produce a somewhat rounded shape. (It's as if a flattish mushroom cap had fat edges you could tuck down, pulling and pushing to round the shape.) Cover the shaped piece of dough with a damp towel. Continue until you have shaped every ball of dough, keeping the completed ones covered. Let rest 20 minutes, covered.

On a lightly floured surface using a small, lightly floured rolling pin, roll out a ball of dough to a circle about 1/16-inch thick and 4 inches (or 6 inches) in diameter. Repeat with 3 more balls of dough, covering them with a towel as you are done. Be ready to cook them quickly.

Heat an ungreased griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact. Place a tortilla on the griddle and cook until the underside is speckled with brown spots and small bubbles appear on the top, about 30 seconds. Turn the tortilla with a spatula and cook the other side until it is also speckled, about 30 seconds more. Now encourage it to puff slightly by quickly pressing it first on one side and then the other slightly by quickly pressing it first on one side and then the other with a bunched-up tea towel or a weight such as a heavy can. (If using a cast-iron skillet, be very careful to avoid brushing the hot sides with your hand!) Remove to a plate, let cool slightly, and wrap snugly in a napkin or tea towel. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, rolling, cooking, stacking and covering them as they are done.

NOTE: Tortillas should be used quickly, but can be reheated very successfully. Wrap in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet in a preheated 300 degree F oven until heated through, about 5 minutes. A second method is to reheat them one at a time on a hot griddle. Or heat them (stacked, not individually) in a microwave oven 30 to 40 seconds. Flour tortillas freeze beautifully.

· Registered
750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Why didn't I think Margaritas? It's perfect!

Thanks Kimmie and Pooh for the flat bread recipes. And the drunken chicken sounds awesome!

Gonna have to take my guests keys away.


· Registered
2,550 Posts
You're welcome, Nancya.

Hope everything goes well.


· Registered
379 Posts
Welcome Nancya.

Just be careful with the vinegar. Taste and taste again before every addition. You will know when to's an acquired taste!

If ever you try it, please send me your comments.

And let us know how your moon ceremony turns out.


[ July 06, 2001: Message edited by: pooh ]

· Registered
750 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dear Pooh,

Sweet success!!! My hosting of the moon ceremony will go down as the one with practically no left-overs. Everyone loved the drunken chicken - and it is my new favorite recipe which will likely get made for any event I need to take a covered dish to. I made one small modification and used bite-sized pieces of chicken to make the buffet easier. I actually cooked the chicken and sauce the night before and combined them tonight, and it was all I could do to not eat all the sauce while, uh, tasting it for the right level of vinegar. My taste is definetly on the lower end of the vinegar, but I might try adding a little more the next time I make it.

The soup was raved about also. It was a little richer than I expected with such simple ingredients. By the way, thanks for the tequila tip. I tried the Sauza which was head and shoulders above Cuervo.

Cape Chef - everyone also loved the jicama etc., salad. I decided to dress it with a vinagrette made with orange juice, bit of lemon, olive oil, garlic, minced jalapeno, and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Worked rather well.

Dishes are done....time for bed. Thank you so much for your help.

p.s., I cheated and bought tortillas, then forgot to serve them. :rolleyes:

[ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: nancya ]
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.