Rick Bayless, the multi-tasking Chicago restaurateur, cookbook author and TV cooking show star, has just produced his first app for the iPhone with his publisher, Chronicle Books. A bargain at $2.99 right now (normally $4.99), Rick Bayless: Mexican Essentials includes recipes for molcajete salsa, classic guacamole, sopes with plantains and crema, red-chile-braised chicken and whole fish baked Veracruz style -- about 35 recipes in all. These are the dishes, Bayless says in his introduction, that he turns to most often.
Hit a button and each recipe's ingredients are added to a shopping list. Nifty. You can also email the shopping list to whoever's headed for the market.
But the real gems here are the short videos that explain in Bayless' brisk, clear fashion how to make each dish. He also includes video tips on roasting and peeling tomatoes, chopping cilantro, crisp-frying tortillas, etc.
Want to take the sting out of freshly chopped onions? Simply place them in a colander and rinse under running water. To read that tip is one thing, to see him doing it at his kitchen sink helps lodge the idea firmly in the memory.
The app also has an ingredients list with descriptions of, what to look for when buying and how to store items such as achiote paste, banana leaves, fresh cheese, dried chiles, epazote, etc. Hit a button and you can hear Bayless expound on each ingredient.
Handy if you're not already an expert when it comes to Mexican dishes and want to get cooking for Cinco de Mayo.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Screenshots from Rick Bayless: Mexican Essentials. Credit: Rick Bayless / Chronicle Books