Most of us are lucky if we happened to have abuelita’s recipe for enchiladas de puerco or capirotada written down, stashed away in the pages of a notebook or perhaps hastily typed up as part of an ambitious archival project. But all too often, those treasured recipes are lost forever as time passes; an unfortunate occurrence that Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, said, she was keen on preventing.
“The inspiration for compiling a cookbook of all our of favorite family recipes really just happened naturally one summer when my mother stayed with us,” says Marquez-Sharpnack, who is one of a long line of talented Mexican cooks. “I realized that with her lay the secret to all of these wonderful recipes that had been preserved for generations – and unless we made it a priority to preserve these recipes, they would be lost forever.”
More than 100 mouth-watering dishes are presented in the “Muy Bueno Cookbook” (which takes its name from grandmother Jesusita’s call to the table with the phrase “Siéntate a comer, esta muy bueno”), a collection of recipes spanning first generation authentic northern Mexican cuisine (Jesusita) to south of the border (mother Vangie’s down-home cooking) to innovative Latin fusion dishes created by third generation sisters Yvette and Veronica.
“I think just like any other Latino family, our tastes have changed and our family has grown but our memories remain centered on certain dishes that are truly timeless,” explains Yvette, who says every single recipe in “Muy Bueno” has been tested not one, but two and three times by her, her sister and mother. “And it’s my hope that our collection of recipes can help others create their own special memories.”
Straight from the pages of “Muy Bueno Cookbook” is a very special recipe for rajas con suero y queso asadero – roasted green chiles with buttermilk and cheese. It’s a speciality of mother Vangie, who would often prepare it as a Thanksgiving side dish. She learned how to make the dish from her, mother who, Yvette says, peeled off the skins off the green chiles just two months before her passing at their last Thanksgiving celebration together. Serve this side dish alongside rice and beans, or as Yvette does, whip up a dish as a savory snack during game day.
Roasted Green Chile with Buttermilk and Cheese
Rajas con Suero y Queso Asadero
Makes 12 to 14 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ Spanish yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced, or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tomato, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon flour
13 Anaheim chiles, roasted and peeled (see page 20), diced
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, roasted and peeled (see page 20), diced (optional for extra spice)
2½ cups suero (whey) or buttermilk
2 cups shredded asadero cheese
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly so as not to burn the garlic.
Add tomato (optional) and stir. Add flour and stir for another 2 minutes.
Add the roasted diced Anaheim chiles and jalapeño peppers and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to combine all the flavors together.
Add the suero and bring to a boil. Stir in the cheese. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow the cheese to melt before serving. Add salt to taste.