Review of Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens by Pati Jinich + Recipe

Pati Jinich is a smart and creatively talented woman. I would definitely call her a Renaissance Woman. She is highly-educated, but is also grounded by her Mexican culture and, best of all, Mexican cuisine. Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchen is a culmination of all of her facets: a working Mexican American D.C. mom with her husband and three young boys; a daughter and granddaughter born and raised in Mexico City among accomplished cooks; and a researcher, historian, and former Mexican policy analyst who takes her production crew to Mexico to uncover regional dishes. I also would like to add that she is one of the most down-to-earth and friendliest people you will ever meet.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Melissa’s culinary team and Pati who prepared the following dishes with the utmost care and expertise.

In the “Salads” chapter, Potato and Poblano Rajas Salad (Ensalada de Papitas con Rajas) is Pati’s take on a popular combination of potatoes and poblano chiles but turns it into potato salad where it can really shine on its own. The recipe uses kosher salt, baby red potatoes, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), sesame seed oil, red onion, poblano chiles, tarragon, allspice, sesame seeds, white wine vinegar, and rice vinegar. It has a nice flavor and is not too spicy. This would be a great dish to bring to a picnic or potluck. Rating: 4/5

In the “Spreads, Guacamoles, Salsas, Adobos, and Garnishes” chapter, Pickled Onions and Cabbage (Cebolla Morada y Col en Escabeche) is a condiment typically found on the Yucatan Peninsula. The recipe uses red onion, EVOO, jalapeno chiles, grapefruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, rice vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, and green cabbage. This is an excellent condiment with just enough pickled flavor and is not too spicy. It has a crunchy texture and works well with the Fast-Track Chicken Pibil. I can also see this used to top hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Rating: 5/5

In the “Tacos and Tostadas” chapter, Tacos al Pastor (Tacos al Pastor Caseros) is a dish that originated from the Lebanese Mexican communities and utilizes a rotisserie heat source like doner or gyro with lamb and or beef. The recipe uses achiote adobo, pork loin, pineapple, canola oil, kosher salt, corn tortillas, cilantro, white onion, limes, and Quick Salsa Verde (recipe also included in cookbook). I thought the pineapple was a little overpowering to the pork. I think I would make it with half of the pineapple amount next time. Rating: 4/5

In the “Guisados (Stews) and Other One-Dish Meals” chapter, Fast-Track Chicken Pibil (Pollo Pibil Rapido) is a quick way to make pibil which is normally made in an underground pit called a pib. The recipe uses tomatoes, red onion, garlic, kosher salt, chicken broth, canola oil, grapefruit juice, orange juice, white vinegar, oregano, allspice, cumin, black pepper, achiote paste, chicken, and the Pickled Onions and Cabbage (recipe also included in cookbook). The achiote paste gives the chicken a nice flavor with a stew-like consistency. It is great on a tostada with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro. Rating: 4/5

In the “Sides” chapter, Simmered Shaved Corn with Chiles and Epazote (Esquites) is a popular street food in Chihuahua. The recipe uses butter, canola oil, jalapeno chile, corn, epazote, and kosher salt. This is an excellent side with sweet and refreshing flavor. You can also serve it with extra fixings like limes, mayo, Mexican crema, queso fresco, and/or chile piquin powder. Rating: 5/5

In the “Desserts” chapter, Tita Chelo’s Frosted Flakes Cookies (Galettas de Zucaritas de la Tita Chelo) is Pati’s hubby’s favorite childhood dessert from his Grandmother Consuelo’s. The recipe uses butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, sea salt, flour, and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. These cookies are not too sweet and have a nice crunchy texture from the frosted flakes. Rating: 5/5

Everything-in-the-Pantry Cookies combines Pati’s boys’ favorite snacks into the dough. I have been given permission to share this recipe with you (see below). The flavor is reminiscent of a homemade kitchen sink cookie. The dulce de leche is a nice touch. This would be great with a cup of coffee. Rating: 5/5

Everything-in-the-Pantry Cookies (Excerpted from MEXICAN TODAY, © 2016 by Pati Jinich. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Rux Martin Books. All rights reserved.)
Makes about 34 cookies
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Make Ahead: The cookies will keep in a tin or jar for up to a week.

  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 14 ounces (3½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup broken pretzels (½-inch pieces)
  • Store-bought cajeta or dulce de leche, for drizzling (optional)

  1. Position the racks in the middle and bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With a hand mixer in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until it is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture ½ cup at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and pretzel pieces with a rubber spatula.
  4. Using a small scoop or tablespoon, scoop up the dough by the tablespoon and place 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. The cookies will not look uniform, but that’s what you want.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned. Removed from the oven and let cool on the pans or on racks.
  6. For an extra treat, drizzle cajeta or dulce de leche on the top of the cookies right before eating.

In the “Drinks” chapter, Honey and Hibiscus Flower Tea or Aguas Fresca (Té o Agua Fresca con Miel) can be served hot or cold. The recipe uses water, honey, and hibiscus flowers. The tea is not too sweet and has a tangy and refreshing flavor. It also aids in digestion. Rating: 4.5/5

Make Mexican Today: New and Rediscovered Recipes for Contemporary Kitchens part of your everyday cooking regimen.

For more information:
Cookbook is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, and Bam! Books-A-Million
You can also catch Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS and join her on her travels through Mexico and cooking in her kitchen.

On the search for an ingredient that you can’t find in the store, check out Melissa’s Produce’s website or call +1.800.588.0151.