Thursday, June 26, 2008

Simply Delicioso Meals with a Latin Twist

My current spate of cookbooks seem to be focused on one specific locale or other...New Orleans, Spain and now a wonderful book Simply Delicioso, from Random House that takes us through Latin America. Author, Ingrid Hoffmann, who you might know from the Food Network, shares some awesome dishes with a very colorful Latin twist. The photographs are stellar - you want to lick the pages, and the recipes are easy to follow and - even better - easy to prepare.

Each one has a short intro that really explains the dishes to those of us who are not Latin but want a taste of it. And there's always a "Chica tip" like the one for the delicioso churrasco steak salad

" Store vinaigrette style salad dressing in a child's sippy cup. You can sprinkle as much as you like onto the salad and keep the rest fresh in the fridge. Just remember to cover the holes in the lid when you shake the dressing!"

Brilliant, don't you think!

So sit back, relax, enjoy your mojito or margarita (she has several recipe options for each and other great Latin drinks too) and pretend your somewhere South of the Border. Can't you hear the music?

Flipping through the book, for the first time, I have a bazillion little bits of paper marking recipes I must try. Let me share a few choices with you - starting with appetizers and little snacks (that's what she calls this section - I could make a whole meal of them): shrimp cocktail salad with avocado and cilantro, bacon guacomole, tomato-mango bruschetta, crab arepas (made with arepa chips - I am definitely on a hunt for them) and some chorizo empanadas I know my family will love. Too many salads to even mention - they all sound and look so fantastic - but I do have to mention the shrimp & lychee-stuffed avocados. I'll have to wait for my girls to come home though since my Honey is not really an avocado fan.

If you like Croque Monsieur (that very French version of a grilled cheese sandwich) then you're really going to love the Cuban Croque Senor loaded with pitted green olives, minced shallots, red wine vinegar, Swiss cheese and roasted pork. No wonder the title of the book is Simply Delicioso.

I couldn't get beyond the Tamarind Glazed Ribs, especially since I just bought my first package of tamarind paste. The ribs were very tangy with a mild heat. Even though I thought it would be too hot for us. The recipe calls for 2 large ancho chilies. I forgot that larger usually means milder when it comes to chilies. You can tell I'm new to the whole chili scene.

I should have served them with the emerald rice that sounds spectacular...cooked long-grain rice that's tossed with fresh cilantro & parsley, lime zest and grated Parmesan cheese and placed under the broiler for a few minutes to brown. Instead, I just microwaved a sweet potato and dug in!

One of these days I'll also have to try the dulce de leche cookie sandwiches that have me drooling as I write this or perhaps the frozen margarita pops.


Ben said...

I love tamarind, the only problem with is that it is addictive and when it is gone you crave it and have tamarind withdrawals. LOL

I have to check that book out to see how Latin it really is :-p


Goody said...

I can just imagine the look of delight on my three year old's face if he got a mouth full of that by mistake! No really, I think he'd drink it quite happily.

I just had over a hundred of my cookbooks destroyed in a tornado-this looks like as good a book as any to start re-building the collection.

Lulu Barbarian said...

Seeing "Cuban Croque Senor loaded with pitted green olives, minced shallots, red wine vinegar, Swiss cheese and roasted pork" in my feed totally grabbed me and gave me no choice but to click through. Great cookbook find!

The part about the tamarind just makes me sad though; I've been scouring local grocery stores for tamarind anything to no avail. And I've quite a backlog of tamarind-requiring recipes. Oh, well, there's always the internet! :-)

Ruth Daniels said...

Ben, tamarind definitely has a tangy unique flavor. Not sure why I've never bought my own before.

Goody, sorry to hear about the tornado. I do hope you and yours are all safe at least. Good luck with rebuilding.

Lulu, if there are any Asian, Middle Eastern or Indian stores around you, that's where you're more likely to find some.

Thanks all for dropping by.

Dharm said...

those ribs do indeed look lovely! We sometimes use tamarind in curries over here!

Melissa A. said...

Where did you end up getting the tamarind paste in Halifax? I haven't had a chance to look so far, but I was at the Mumford Sobeys today and they didn't seem to have it or the proper rice noodles

Ruth Daniels said...

Melissa, I probably got it at either the Middle Eastern Store on Agricola & North or the Indian Groceries on Robie & North and probably Gourmet Cash & Carry on Kempt near Windsor would have some too.