The Book and the Cook - a la Mexico

I just finished The Lacuna, by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver; and as expected with Barbara's books, this one did not disappoint. A "lacuna" is a gap.

This is a fictional work, with much of the story centered on the life of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo during the American Depression through World War II written from the perspective of Harrison Shepard, a member of their household staff. It delves deeply into the politics of the day, as well as giving an insightful eye into the life and art of these two distinguished, yet controversial artists. Oh, and yes, there a healthy dose of foodie focus and discussions of Frida's passion for entertaining. After reading The Lacuna I needed Mexican food - and who better to give me the recipes I desire other than Rick Bayliss - the expert and Craig Claiborne celebrated chef. Meet Rick and the ingredients in our dinner entree - Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Chiles with Tomatoes and Cream - everything is local - tomato puree made from beautiful Lancaster County grown plum tomatoes, spinach, corn fresh from Sugartown Farms, cremini mushrooms, poblano chilis and a beautiful free range chicken from Lindhorf Farms. This is a baked version of a traditionally fried chile rellenos - lighter, but still incredible!
Can you guess who I am and what I can do???
Here I am from the back - I've got teeth but I don't bite - do you know me and my powers???
I'm the corn zipper from Kohn Rikon!!!
I love this gadget - the best corn stripper on the market - all the others are a waste of money - I know - I spent my money on them and threw them away - they just can't hold a candle to the Kohn Rikon Corn Zipper. It takes off two rows of corn at a time - perfectly. I hate to purchase a single use only gadget - I hate being functionally fixated - but this one is worth it!
Here are my stuffed chiles ready to hit the oven. What to do with the next 45 minutes???
Ahhhhh - yes - a Margarita - don't mind if I do!
I just love a really good Margarita - not one of those frozen concoctions - a good honest Margarita. The recipe in the Rick Bayliss cookbook is excellent (add a little extra lime juice and simple syrup) - simple, not fussy, and thankfully, not frozen; shaken, not stirred. Who could take issue with waiting when you have a good Margarita to distract you? Certainly not me!
Dinner time - what a beautiful entree - Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Chiles with Tomatoes and Cream, scented with Mexican Cinnamon - yum! The flavors are so decadent - simply indulgent!
All you need is a simple salad to accompany the stuffed chiles - refreshing and delicious. Tomorrow - more food - back to my roots. My Mom is coming to dinner and it will be all about Pennsylvania Dutch, all about summer, all about local!