Ever since I have been cooking my two culinary idols were Guy Fieri and Marcela Valladolid. They are the people that inspired be to get in the kitchen and start cooking. They also taught be to be proud of my cooking. I learned from them that I should not be embarrassed and that cooking really is cool.
I have been fortunate enough to have met both of my culinary idols. I met Marcela a few years ago on the set of “The Kitchen”. It is filmed not far from where I live so my mother, brother and I luckily got a contact who gave us tickets. This is a huge deal because their studio audience is very very small. I was really star struck and was freaking out inside. It was incredible to speak with her on and off that day before she grabbed a plane ride home. I then knew that she was as awesome in person as she is on camera an,d from that day on, I became an ever bigger fan.
(PS…If you are reading this post Marcela, thank you for being such an inspiration! I hope to one day meet you again and maybe even get to cook together. Also, if you want to make my day, really my year, you can follow me on Instagram (@chefeitanbernath)!)
Marcela just released another cookbook called “Casa Marcela”. The first thing that struck me about this book is that it is not just a book of recipes but a story. She tells the story of moving into her new home in Southern California and the stories of her learning to cook in Mexico. While reading the book, you feel as if Marcela is inviting you into her home to cook with her. It is also full of tons of beautiful pictures of the food and family.
Today I made this Salsa de Molcajete today from the book. It was one of the recipes that stuck out to me because I hadn’t busted out my molcajete in a while. This salsa is so easy to make and is packed with flavor. To make it you start by dry roasting the tomatoes, jalapenos, chiles de arbol, and garlic cloves, in a cast iron skillet. Then you grind it all up the in a molcajete. The grinding of the molcajete is what releases the oils and flavor. It also gives it a nice chunky texture. It just makes the perfect salsa! If you don’t have a molcajete yet, you need to get one!
I aside from just the salsa I am in LOVE with these pictures I took. This may be one of my best photoshoots yet!
You all have got to get this book right now! Either run to your nearest bookstore or buy it from amazon here. I can assure you that it is a cookbook that you will not only love cooking from but a book you will read through many times. You can really tell how much time and effort was put into this book. Also, be sure to follow Marcela on Instagram, for tons of pictures of incredible food and family. I have included below the recipe for this amazing Salsa de Molcajete. If you make it, be sure to post a picture and tag me (@chefeitanbernath) and Marcela (@chefmarcela)! If you don’t mind, I am going to go now and finish all of this salsa!
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 fresh jalapeños
- 2 dried chiles de arbol
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- In a cast iron skillet over medium-high, dry-roast the tomatoes, jalapenos, chilies de arbol, and garlic. When the garlic’s papery outer skin starts to brown, remove the garlic from the pan and carefully peel it, discarding the skin. Continue roasting the tomatoes, chilies, and jalapenos until soft and blackened on all sides. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Place the garlic in a molcajete and season with the salt. Grind with the pestle until a paste forms. Add the chilies de arbol and grind until they break into tiny pieces. Steam he jalapenos before adding the into the molcajete. Grind the jalapenos. Add the tomatoes, one at a time, and grind until smooth. Season generously with salt. Serve warm, if desired.