"Most people cook because they love the creative aspect of it," he explains. "I want to encourage that. I keep my recipes very carefully written, but I also say, 'Do what you want.'"
"That's why we include variations on all our recipes. To say, 'You can do it, too.'"
When it's time to plate the food for photo- graphs, the perfectionist in Bayless surfaces. On a dish acquired during a recent trip to Ireland, Bayless painstakingly tops two chile-coated tortillas with a pile of sautéed potatoes and a sunny-side-up egg. Beside them he arranges a handful of greens from the garden and drizzles apple cider vinegar over them. He carefully places the apple tart, baked from local apples bought at the market, on another plate and tops it with a zigzag of cajeta, Mexican goat's milk caramel sauce. You see the results on these pages.
It's all come together: the street market, the organic garden, the Mexican kitchen. This is the moment, or one of them at least, that Bayless must relish.
Come to think of it, he might prefer a moment a few weeks later.
Inspired, I cook two dozen enchiladas for my church's an-nual Mexican supper, but instead of using canned sauce, I follow Bayless' recipe. It worked, somehow; they were fabulous. I had a great time cooking, my neighbors had a great time eating, and we all went home happy. I like to think Bayless would have been happy, too. AW
alec huff is a photographer who resides in chicago; his work has been included in forbes, fortune, and entertainment weekly.
red chili enchiladas
with spicy potatoes and fried eggs
4 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 medium boiling potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
about 6 t vegetable oil or pork lard
1 small white onion, chopped
8 corn tortillas
4 large eggs
2 loosely packed cups sliced frisée or romaine lettuce
11/2 t cider vinegar
1/2 c grated queso añejo, romano, or parmesan cheese