This post is sponsored by Negra Modelo. All opinions are 100% my own and I can’t wait to share this post with you!
I am super excited for today’s post because it is filled to the brim with all kinds of wonderful, including a recipe for drunken mushrooms that are pretty much perfection.
Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity of traveling to San Francisco for a Mexican food tour of the Mission District in San Francisco with Negra Modelo and Rick Bayless. You guys, Rick Bayless. We were walking around the streets of San Francisco with RICK BAYLESS. It was beyond cool and here’s the proof!
Photo courtesy of Negra Modelo and Vanessa Bahmani
Our first stop on the Negra Modelo Mexican food walking tour was a tortilleria. The tortillas were unreal, like no tortilla I’ve ever tasted. Rick Bayless talked about how most tortillas today are made from maseca, not from scratch using masa, but that tortillas made with masa are infinitely better. He’s totally right and, consequently, I have begun a hunt here in San Diego to find a tortilleria just like the one we visited in San Francisco (wish me luck!). Rick Bayless also told us that Chicago is the top producer of tortillas in the world. That’s right, the world, even above Mexico City, and that the abundance of great tortillas is one of the reasons he opened Frontera Grill in Chicago.
The second stop on the tour was a Mexican butcher. It was beyond fascinating and we learned that the way Mexican butchers cut up meat is totally different than American butchers. We also learned the history of carne asada in the United States. That’s a whole blog post of its own, we’ll have to chat over coffee so I can share that story with you.
The last stop on the walking food tour was La Reyna Mexican bakery. We had the chance to sample all kinds of sweet goodness and it was endearing to have the grandson of the original owner tell us all about the bakery.
Once the tour was done we attended an after party, complete with Negra Modelo, wonderful Mexican food and more fascinating information from Rick Bayless. I swear we could have sat there and listened to him talk for 6 hours straight and have been enraptured the entire time. Here are a few of the Rick Bayless gems I walked away with:
- Rick Bayless never uses jalapenos because they are completely unpredictable when it comes to the level of heat. He relies most heavily on poblanos in his cooking.
- Rick Bayless doesn’t understand green bell peppers and I am, and always have been, in complete agreement!
- If you want to start cooking with dried chiles, ancho and guajillo are good to start with and go well together.
- We also learned about the confusion that is ancho and pasilla chiles…but it would take me a whole post to tell you about it. We can talk about that over coffee as well, the same day we talk carne asada. 😉
- Rick Bayless uses Negra Modelo beer in his restaurant, including in ice cream! He likes that Negra Modelo is a medium-bodied beer with slow-roasted caramel malts, which yields a soft sweetness that works well in cooking. Which leads us to today’s recipe…
Photo with Rick Bayless courtesy of Irvin Lin from Eat the Love
During the party I had the chance to chat with Rick along with my friends Anita and Annelies. While we were talking I asked him what his favorite thing to cook with Negra Modelo is. He answered by saying that if a chef ever tells you that they have a favorite food, that they are probably not a very good chef because true chefs love all food and flavors. 🙂 Despite his lack of a favorite, he did tell us how to make really wonderful mushrooms.
So, here is my recipe for Drunken Mushrooms, as inspired by Rick Bayless. These mushrooms really are fantastic, with layers of flavor that are subtle and all play beautifully with one another. Rick said he uses these mushooms in queso flameado, which I am sure is amazing. But I am also confident that these mushrooms would be delicious topped on burgers, chicken, steak and pizza. In fact, I made pizza with olive oil, bacon and drunken mushrooms for dinner last night and it was scrumptious.
- Bacon drippings from a 10-ounce package of bacon
- 8 ounces white or baby bell mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup Negra Modelo beer
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh epazote or cilantro
- Heat bacon drippings over medium heat. Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until they are about half-way cooked.
- Raise heat to medium-high and add the beer, cooking and stirring until mushrooms are cooked through and most of the liquid has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper to tasted (a few pinches of kosher salt and a shake of pepper should do it).
- Remove from heat and stir in the epazote or cilantro.
Big thank you to Negra Modelo and to Rick Bayless for spending an afternoon with us! It is a day I will not soon forget! Be sure to visit the Negra Modelo site for even more Rick Bayless recipes!