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 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.