Well, I cooked mexican this weekend. I'm an experienced chef and a proficient ethnic cook. I am sorry to say that cooking mexican basically sucked for me. I'm not sure if it's just me or what (probably).
I made some very nice carnitas with a pork shoulder. Okay, that was very easy and they did taste good, but to me, the downfall was this: it was a) no challenge and b) tasted just like any other mexican food I could have gone out and bought and wasn't anything special.
I made some chiles rellenos. Good, but again, no challenge and while good, were just like any other mexican food and nothing special. Used good chilies, good cheese, all that.
I made some salsa, which is always good, but again, no challenge there, and it pretty much tasted like salsa always tastes. Nothing special. I used good ingredients, and fresh chilies and all that.
Then there was the tortilla experience. Okay, I expected that the first few would not turn out too well, but I was not prepared for unmitigated disaster. We used Masa flour, followed the directions carefully etc. The first bad thing that happened was that my husband, in an effort to get them thinner and bigger, broke the tortilla press. It's metal, but hey, it snapped like a twig. Okay. On to the rolling pin. Got them nice and thin. Onto a nice hot cast iron pan. Instant puffing. They came out like leaden pancakes and were raw in the middle. Turned the heat down. Tried again. Still not good. Scrapped it and went for the handmade purchased ones I had in the freezer. Much better.
The next day, mostly out of spite :-) I made a chicken mole. Good, a bit more of a challenge, but still, nothing special and ended up in the freezer, where it will wait to be recycled as a tortilla filling on a day I don't want to cook.
So my take on it is this: I was expecting a challenge and either picked the wrong recipes or did something horribly wrong. Or perhaps it's as I suspected and mexican cooking essentially all tastes the same and should be topped with salsa and crema and served wrapped in a tortilla. I know that isn't true, but now I'm all bitter. So maybe someone can help me out and direct me to some better recipes.
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