Monday, July 2, 2012

Pineapple-Vanilla Agua Fresca + Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid {cookbook review}


Mexican Made Easy: Everyday Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavor

author: Marcela Valladolid
publisher: Clarkson Potter
photos: yes
hard cover: 224 pages

chapters/sections:  introduction - appetizers and small bites - tacos and tortas - soups - entrées - sides and salads - salsas - desserts - breakfast and brunch - drinks - menus - gracias - index

fun features:  Valladolid uses her experience of growing up in two countries (living in Tijuana, Mexico and crossing over to San Diego, California to go to school every day) and growing up in a family of foodies to bring traditional Mexican recipes to anybody's kitchen.  Her passion and love for what she does comes through easily in her introduction (both to the book and to each individual recipe).  Plus, this book is full of vibrant photos of food and family - it really sucks you in.

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen:  Chipotle-Garbanzo Dip, Queso Fundido w/ Chorizo, Spicy Shrimp Broth, Chipotle-Plum BBQ Ribs w/ Brussels Sprouts Slaw, Roasted Baby Red Potatoes w/ Chipotle Butter, Pecan and Chile de Arbol Salsa, Coconut Flan, Strawberry Rompope Shake, Oven-Roasted Poblano and Egg Casseroles, Chocolate Margarita

my thoughts/review:  This book is a fantastic resource for those who want to familiarize themselves with Mexican cuisine.  Valladolid's recipes combine tradition and a freshness adapted to today's kitchen.  She made a point of listing ingredients that you could find in any supermarket, no matter how small your town.  And although I am fairly versed in the world of Mexican cooking, I wasn't bored at all with the book, either.  Unlike many of the Mexican cooks I learned from, she does not weigh you down with technique (you know, if that's not what you're looking for).  She does give a few tips for using your leftovers, though.  There are also many typical American comfort food dishes that she has adapted to make Mexican-American versions (like meatloaf and mac-n-cheese).  Plus, and I think this may be my favorite part, it's full of kid-friendly and family-friendly recipes.

I really enjoyed it and recommend it to those looking to ease their way into Mexican cooking and flavors (don't be scared of spice and heat, this book runs pretty mild).

recipe(s) I have already tried:
Pasilla Bolognese Spaghetti
Tacos de Fideo (Angel Hair Tacos)

Pineapple-Vanilla Agua Fresca

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: beverage pineapple vanilla Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 c. roughly chopped fresh pineapple
  • 3 c. cold water
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extra
  • 3 Tbs. superfine sugar, or to taste
  • ice cubes
Instructions
Place pineapple, water, vanilla, and superfine sugar in jar of a blender. Process until smooth.

Strain into a pitcher, pressing solids to extract all liquid. Taste and adjust sugar, if needed.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve over ice.

ever-so-slightly adapted from Mexican Made Easy
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about the author:  Marcela Valladolid is the host of Discovery Travel and Living’s Relatos con Sabor (Stories with Flavor), which airs in every Latin American country and on Discovery Familia in the United States. Raised in Tijuana, Mexico, she attended the Los Angeles Culinary Institute and later the Ritz-Escoffier Cooking School in Paris. A former recipe editor/tester at Bon Appétit magazine, she became widely known after appearing as a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. She and her young son divide their time between Tijuana and San Diego.

further info: website | facebook | twitter

*I DID NOT receive a free copy of this book nor any compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

I am sharing this post with:
FOTMC: Summer Beverages
fr2button FOTM at La Cocina de Leslie