Monday, November 05, 2012

Mexican Cookbook Roundup

Last year I received a copy of Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibanez. It made it's way into my kitchen and never left. I am often skimming through it and planning my shopping and meals with it. The book focuses on salsas, sauces, moles and adobos. It's a mix and match kind of book, take a sauce use it for enchiladas or a stew, however you like. I make my own tortillas these days and my freezer is always stocked with big bags of tamales, roasted chiles and tomatillos. It has expanded my repertoire, to say the least. The book also includes a scrumptious recipe for a pipian and jalapeƱo dip I have been in search of literally for years.

Because of my recent fixation with Mexican food, I got very excited to see so many new Mexican cookbooks this season, including a new one from Santibanez. His latest book is Tacos, Tortas and Tamales. If you want to recreate Mexican street food at home, this is the book for you. From salt cod tortas to tacos of potatoes in green salsa and agua frescas, there is plenty to try that you probably haven't made or possibly even tasted before. I find this book like the last one to be very inspiring. I may not follow the recipes exactly but I find great ideas that excite me. 

The next book comes from Rick Bayless, my other go-to Mexican cookbook author. It's Frontera Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks. Some wild and wonderful recipes are in this book like cilantro japaleno margaritas, port sangria, and guacamole with watercress and sesame. It's quite the party book, whether you are actually throwing a party or just cooking for your family.  The emphasis here is on drinks, not on meals. It won't be your primary Mexican cookbook, but definitely a go-to for entertaining. 
It was Rick Bayless who opened my eyes to the idea that Mexican cuisines encompasses dishes with many different influences including Maya, France and Spain and even the Philippines. La Cocina Mexicana, Many Cultures, One Cuisine by Marilyn Tausend explores this concept in depth. This book has lots of recipes you probably won't find elsewhere, like chicken in white almond sauce, spicy yucca soup and stew of prickly pear with potatoes and cabbage. I already made the purslane salad with tomatoes and chiles. This one is a keeper.

Finally Muy Bueno, a Mexican cookbook based on the blog of the same name. This is more of a family style cookbook, with mostly easier recipes you can make any night of the week. If you're looking for Mexican comfort food, this is a good pick. There are lots of photos and techniques are nicely explained--everything from how to make flour tortillas to menudo, picadillo and albondigas (meatballs). The recipe that caught my eye was roasted green chiles with buttermilk and cheese. I can't wait to try it. The book has lots of personal stories and anecdotes to that give you a sense of what it's like to grow up in a close knit Mexican American family where recipes are shared and passed down from one generation to the next. The book and the blog are written by a mother and her two adult daughters, with lots of recollections and recipes from grandma as well.

Disclaimer: I did receive these books as review copies and links are Amazon affiliate links.