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Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Roberto Santibanez

Santibañez, a Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef and owner of the Brooklyn eatery, Fonda, born and raised in Mexico City, didn't set out to pen a "comprehensive" guide to Mexican cooking or the rich history of the country's food, … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Roberto Santibanez
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Wiley
1 review about Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques...

A Treasure Trove of Sauce Recipes that Transcend the Ordinary

  • Jun 13, 2011

I admit to being a cookbook junkie, and when the Vine Program offered this beautiful hardcover book for review, I couldn’t resist. Here’s my take on it:

First of all, it’s a nice oversize book, chock full of gorgeous photographs, all printed on heavyweight quality paper. Chief author and Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Santibanez (owner of Fonda in Brooklyn, NY) says of the recipes in his book: “it’s been a long way since the people of the Unites States thought the food of my home country was just beans and burritos.”In the 264 pages of his book, he proves through exciting and innovative recipes, just how much a myth that is. His goal: to convert as many people as he can from those who love to cook Mexican food into those who cook Mexican food that they love.

The Basics section covers essential ingredients and techniques, a Five Commandments of Great Mexican Cooking (Buy the Best Ingredients You Can; Look, Touch, and Smell; Texture Matters; Season to Taste), a listing of the chiles with a heat level chart plus roasting tips. This section covers much more, however. Here you’ll find tips on roasting tomatoes and onions, how to work with avocados, a compendium of pantry items and more. The next section covers an array of salsas, both fresh and roasted with wonderful photos–forty salsas in all and covering everything from simple tomato salsa to much more elaborate salsas such as Burnt Chipotle Chile Salsa and Jalisco-Style Guajillo Salsa. Section three is all about Guacamole, chunky or smooth, classic or elaborate. Adobos is the topic of Section Four. These are the thick, boldly flavored chile purees used to make marinades or braising liquids or sauces. Pescado Adobo os a simple but tasty method for preparing marinated fish which is sauteed in a skillet, then served with freshly squeezed lime juice. (There’s also a yummy sounding grilled skirt steak using the adobo sauce I’m anxious to try.) Moles and Pipianes is the topic for Section Five, and they can be thin and soupy or rich and thick. They can also be red, green or yellow. The Mole from Puebla is the one with which I’m most familiar. That’s the one with cinnamon and chocolate. A beautiful shredded chicken enchilada recipe using this sauce is pictured with the recipe on page 118. Other sauces are under the header Pipianes and one scrumptious sounding recipe is the Red Peanut Sauce shown on page 200 with roasted pork loin. A following section shows more food ideas using Mexican sauces–various taco and enchilada recipes, quesadillas, tamales, beans with pork and carnitas. Lastly there’s a section on side dishes–pinto beans, rice, a zucchini and corn with cream, spinach and mushrooms–followed by the index.

I haven’t tried any of the recipes but I plan to. The basics of the book indicate that sauces, be they moles, adobos, guacamole or pipianes, are the keys to taking simple dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans out of the ordinary and are therefore the items to master if one wants outstanding Mexican food. That considered, this book is a treasure trove of interesting new ways to transcend ordinary or ho-hum Mexican cuisine. I plan to educate my palate to Mr. Santibanoz’ recipes with alacrity. Bon Apetit!    

Thank you, Vine!

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