by Patricia Quintana
Grupo Oceano (in Spanish), 288 pp., $47.25
We are lucky to have renowned Mexico City chef Patricia Quintana visit Austin twice in the same year. Although The Best of Quintana one of her most popular cookbooks is in print in English, her more recent books are only available in Spanish (she is currently seeking an American publisher to offer English translations). Chef Quintana will speak at a panel about her first novel, Polvo de Jade, Esencia del Tiempo, and will also do a cooking demonstration from her latest cookbook, Mulli: El Libro de los Moles. This beautiful, oversized cookbook is full of interesting recipes, although not all are for moles as the title implies. It also includes recipes for various salsas and for many dishes in which to use them. After all, mulli is a word in Náhuatl that means sauce or mixture, and moles are included in this description.
It is worth mentioning that the book is in Spanish and the recipes are in metric units. It starts with easy recipes for salsas both for cooking and for the table and, as the book progresses, the recipes become more complex, as do the dishes chef Quintana presents. The lighter clelmoles and moles de olla are more like stews, while pipianes are thicker, nut- and seed-based sauces to be served with meats. The complex mole recipes are as long as three pages and, according to chef Quintana, might take up to three days in advance preparation.
"We make moles for special celebrations: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings," Quintana told me when I inquired about the recipe for the hibiscus flower mole with lobster tails, which serves 20. "They are not everyday dishes. So, when one takes the time to make a mole, it is usually made in large quantities. ... Make the whole recipe and freeze it in batches. That way you can have some whenever you need. It will keep for at least six months."
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