Blending roasted Roma tomatoes, lime juice, a clove of garlic, chipotle and adobo puree, honey, salt, Worcestershire sauce and pepper into a mixture, Tacolicious executive chef Antelmo Faria began demonstrating his “A Summer’s Night Shrimp Cocktail,” a recipe from his new cookbook Tacolicious (authored by himself, Sara Deseran, Joe Hargrave and Mike Barrow), at the Santa Clara Library on Feb. 8.
“When I do cooking demos,” said Faria, “I really try to demystify this whole cooking thing with people because not everybody is super comfortable with cooking. Some people are more comfortable and have a broader range of what they cook and what they’re comfortable with but some people don’t.”
To keep it simple, Faria chose the shrimp cocktail dish, which adds onion, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, cubed avocado and poached shrimp to the salsa-like base, and can be served alone or as a topping for crackers or chips.
“Cooking is really about two things,” said Faria. “At its core, cooking is really about nourishment. It’s about feeding the body, fueling the body and getting your body to the next state. That’s the goal of eating, but since time and since cultures have evolved, food has become a source of pride and also a source of reflecting on your culture, and a reflection of what cultures have to offer, and creativity and passion and so much more. So I really try to encourage people to have fun with cooking and to make cooking something that you’re not afraid of or intimidated by – something that you really feel comfortable in doing. I always tell people that other than basic safety rules like don’t burn the house down, throw rules out the window. Cooking is a personal thing, like music. It should be what you want it to be, when you want it to be it.”
“When I was young,” he continued, “my father cooked a lot – I came from a family that cooked a lot – and they kind of gave me the basic rules … But other than that, I was told to be creative, go out and source flavors and have fun with it, and that’s what I want everybody to do.”
Faria’s shrimp dish can be found periodically on the Tacolicious – a small chain of four restaurants in San Francisco and Palo Alto – menu, which takes a fresh, seasonal approach to Mexican cooking.
The cookbook was created over the course of a year as the minds behind Tacolicious, which began as a taco stand at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza famers’ market, took the time to scale back, test and standardize their recipes to come up with the final product.
“It’s a fun, easy book to cook out of,” said Faria. “There are a lot of fun recipes in there.”
Visit http://tacolicious.com for location and cookbook information.
February Food Fest at the Central Park Library, 2635 Homestead Road, continues with the Executive Chef of Flour + Water restaurant, Thomas McNaughton, on Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. Demonstrations are held in the Redwood Room and are free to the public.