As a Jew… I am always looking for new cookbooks that allow me to experiment with cooking in a manner that allows me to cook within the confines of my faith.
Let me tell you that this is not one of those books.
I have not always been a Jew that practices keeping a Kosher kitchen, but over the last few years this has become something that both my wife and I have tried to do. It has not been easy and I will certainly not tell you that our kitchen is 100% Kosher. But we do the best we can with what we have. So all that being said, let’s talk about this book!
About five years ago my Mother-in-Law bought me this book because she knew that I liked to cook, and more to the point, I liked to cook Latin food. Which is all fine and dandy until you realize that I am a white boy from Taft, California.
From the moment I got this book, I was interested in every recipe in it, and I started slow, with the simple ones and moved to the more complex ones as time went on.
I do not consider myself to be a novice cook, by any means. I have cooked for as few and my wife and myself and for as many as almost a hundred. I know the inside of a kitchen better than most men I know and even better than many women. A fact that my wife has not contended in the 20+ years we have been married. But I do like to take new things slow, and so that is what I did with this book.
But you know what??? I did not have to. Gloria and Emilio have done a fantastic job of putting together a book that ALMOST anyone can sit, read and be able to make a great meal in no time. This does not say anything bad about the book, quite the opposite. It tells you that they know how to teach and teach well.
When you pick up this book and read through it, you not only get a feel for the food and how to make it, but you also get a personal message from the authors about what that meal meant to them and their family. So there is more to the recipe than just the process, but also a little history.
As I went through this book, and as you can see in the picture, I found several things that became my favorites. Here is a short list of the ones that stand out:
- Chicharrones de Pescado - Page 33 (Instead of grouper, I used Tilapia)
- Ensalada de Aguacate - Page 43 - (add a touch of "mojo" to this to kick it up a notch.)
- Potaje de Frijoles Colorados - Page 59 (remove the pork chorizo and replace with caseless beef sausage to make it as Kosher as possible.)
- Fricase de Pollo - Page 109 (This is comfort food at it's ultimate.)
- Mojo Criollo - Page 159 (this is a "Garlic Sauce" that is used in many dishes in this book. Make it first. My Father-in-law eats this just as it is.)
- Sangria - Page 227 (Sangria... need I say more?)
I was told, once, that with some people, food is not just something you sit and eat. It is a part of a culture that you participate in through eating. And in reading this small, yet full, book... that is exactly what happens.
Normally there is a chart with my review in stars, but I cannot really see how I can do that here. There is so much about this book that is good that doing that might detract from something. So I will simply close with.
BUY THIS BOOK!!!