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50 Women Game-Changers (in Food): #45 Diana Kennedy - Chipotles en Adobo {homemade}

the "Gourmet" prompt...
45. Diana Kennedy- The uncompromising, adventurous Mexican culinary authority is profiled by Kemp Minifie in this issue of Gourmet Live.

Diana Kennedy was born in Loughton, Essex, UK in 1923.   She immigrated to Canada in 1953.  She's always had a bit of the travel-bug, and while returning to Canada from some of her travels that year, she visited the Caribbean where she met and fell in love with a New York Times correspondent, Paul Kennedy.  Paul's job took them to Central America and the Caribbean.  Diana used these times to board buses and visit remote parts of Mexico.  It was then that she fell in love with their cuisine.

In 1966, she and Paul moved to New York where Paul passed away only one year later.  At the urging of Craig Claiborne (food editor of The New York Times back then), Diana began giving Mexican cooking classes.  She was already traveling to Mexico 6 months out of the year, but she did hold classes when she was back in the states.  During her travels, she researched and really dove in to food and regions and wanted to capture the essence of Mexican cuisine.  Her first book, The Cuisines of México was released in 1972.  Her most recent book, Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy which was released in 2010 took her 14 years to complete.
Aside from her 9 cookbooks, she has received numerous awards including the highest award that the Government of the Republic of Mexico bestows upon non-Mexicans, the Order of the Aztec Eagle in 1981.  She also was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2002.

Even now, at the age of 89, she remains active in her conservationist lifestyle (using no detergents and raising chickens and growing food conscientiously).  The preservation of local ingredients is extremely important to her.  She doesn't see herself slowing down since there are still so many things that interest her that she has not done yet!
Well.  If you know me even a tiny bit, you can probably guess that I have mad respect for Diana Kennedy, her accomplishments, and her food.  I love paging through her encyclopedic-type books for tips and techniques and recipes.  It was a hard decision figuring out what to make to honor her this week.  I decided to go with something simple - yet essential.  Living in a home where Mexican food is commonplace, I decided  to make something I use quite often, homemade chipotles in adobo sauce.  It uses two of my absolute favorite dried chiles- anchos and (obviously) chipotles.  Dried chipotles...if you can find the good ones...are insane.  I love to hold them between my fingers and let the intoxicating smoky smell fill my head.  These are so incredibly delicious.  They make a big batch that will keep well in the fridge and be ready for you to reach in and grab out some authentic Mexican flavor full of heat and smoke and earthy delight whenever your heart desires.  Mine desires it often...

Chipotles en Adobo {homemade}

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: ~1 hour
Keywords: simmer condiment preserving vegan chiles Mexican

Ingredients (~1 quart)
  • 4 oz. (115 g) chipotle mora or morita seco chiles
  • 3 ancho chiles, seeded & deveined
  • ~1½ c. (375 ml) water
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ tsp. dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ¾ c. (190 ml) cider vinegar
  • ¾ c. (190 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 oz. (60 g/⅓ c. firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. sea salt
Pierce a tiny hole through each of the chipotle morita chiles using a thin, sharp skewer or tip of a paring knife. This allows the liquid to penetrate the chile later on. Place them in a pan or pot with a tightly fitting lid and cover well with water. Cook over medium-low until chiles are tender (but not mushy), 30-40 minutes. Drain and discard cooking water. Pick off any stems, if you wish.
In the meantime, put the anchos in a small pan, cover with water, and simmer for ~5 minutes. Drain and place the chiles in the jar of a blender. Add 1 c. (250 ml) of the water and the garlic, marjoram, thyme, cumin, and bay leaf along with 4 of the simmered chipotles. Blend to a "textured" sauce.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet and then pour in the ingredients from the blender. Fry them for ~3 minutes or so over medium heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan a bit to keep from sticking. Add the remaining water, both vinegars, brown sugar, and the salt. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the remaining chipotles and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer, stirring from time to time until sauce has thickened, ~15 minutes.
Let cool and then transfer to a glass container with a lid and store in the refrigerator. If you can, allow chiles to mature/develop for ~2 weeks before using. Use in place of commercially canned chipotles in adobo sauce.

slightly adapted from From My Mexican Kitchen by Diana Kennedy
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(sources) and for further info: The New York Review of Books - Cooking with the Grand Dame of Mexican Cuisine (NPR) - Wikipedia - The Cookbook Blog (author interview) 
In May '11, Gourmet posted a list of 50 Women Game-Changers (in Food) that runs the gamut from food writers to cookbook authors to television personalities to restauranteurs to chefs to food bloggers.  Some are a given.  Some are controversial.  Speaking the names of some brings fond childhood memories.  Speaking the names of others will make some readers cringe.  And of course, some of our favorites were not even included.  We food-lovers are a passionate bunch of people and whether we agree or disagree, every woman on this list has earned her place for a reason.  Being a woman who is passionate about food (cooking, eating, talking about, writing about, photographing), when I caught wind of Mary from One Perfect Bite's idea of cooking/blogging her way through each of these 50 per week...I knew I wanted to join her.  Many of these women paved the way for us in culinary school, in the kitchen, in cookbooks, in food writing, and on television and I think it is a fabulous way to pay tribute to their efforts.  Some of the women on the list have been tops with me for years.  Some I have heard of (perhaps even seen, read, or cooked from) before.  And there are even a handful that I am not familiar with at all.  I excited to educate myself on each of these women game-changers and hope you look forward to reading along.  We are going in order from 1 to 50.
Who is cooking along with these 50 Women Game-Changers?

I am sharing this post with:
Katherine Martinelli Friday Blog Hop: Cinco de Mayo
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