Mexican Favorites - 108 pages
From Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library - Time Life Books
Caution! You might want to very careful about reading this book if you're hungry - the pictures look so delicious it'll drive you wild! The photography is extremely good. Each recipe has a full-page close up color photo of the prepared meal on the opposite page. This book is a nice size to be able to just flip through the pages looking at the large photos till you find the meal you want to prepare and eat.
So what's this book like, exactly? Well, the main part of the book is made up of 3 sections:
- Appetizers and snacks
- Light lunch or brunch
- Casual Main Courses
This includes some better-known favorites, like quesadillas, tortilla soup, and a delicious guacamole dip. In this pare of the book you'll also find an easy to make Tex Mex cheese dip to be served with your favorite tortilla chips - and the classic Mexican appetizer Ceviche. (note: Ceviche also makes a great, light main course.) While ceviche can be made with fish too, this recipe is called ceviche con camarones. (ceviche with shrimp).
Here in this group we get into some more substantial Mexican meals. A sample of the recipes you find here include: Scrambled Egg Enchiladas, Chilaquiles, Tamales - authentic with the corn husk wrappers - stuffed Poblano chiles, another Tex-Mex dish is included - a yummy Taco Salad. Also, Crab meat tostadas(on the larger 5 inch tostadas, and chicken tostadas on the smaller 2-3 inch chip size tostadas.)
The main course meals are what you'll find in this last main section of the recipe book. Some of the meals you'll see how to make here are chile con carne, beef fajitas, stuffed shrimp, and several more variations of enchiladas.
There isn't any introduction to the 3 sections. You can glance up at the strip across the top of each page and immediately see what section you're in. As I paged through the book I often passed from section to section without realizing it.
How are the recipes in the book presented?The presentation style of the recipes is straight forward and inviting. Each recipe basically uses 2 pages of the book - 1 page for a large, close up picture, and the other side (facing page) is used for the recipe itself. All the recipes have these basic components:
- The list of ingredients
- Preparation Instructions
The title is listed in English with a Spanish translation underneath.
The ingredient list is set off to one side by itself making it very easy to see at a glance.
This is followed by a few sentences that describe the recipe, saying things like what part of Mexico the food is popular in, what beverages are traditionally served with the food. Popular ingredients substitutions that you might be interested in are found here. Also, sometimes they tell you how the food is commonly eaten in Mexico whether by hand or which utensils are used by the natives. What garnish is used, the history of the food dish. Also, sometimes a recipe will go well with another recipe in the book (such as refried beans or guacamole) and they'll mention that fact.
Finally, you get the preparation instructions for the recipe. These are very detailed, and fairly long - usually the length of the instructions is between 200 and 300 words for each recipe. So you get all the facts and guidance you need for a successful preparation of the food you're interested in making. They Finish up the page with how many people the recipe serves.
In addition to all the recipes, there are a few other part / sections that the book has which I'll describe here:
- There's a 1 page introduction.
- 2 pages are devoted to the kitchen equipment you'll need. Most items are common buy you'll see special items like a tortilla press and a Mexican mortar and pestle called a Molcajete.
- Several pages of smaller recipes for making various styles of tortillas, beans, and salsas. Note that these recipes are used in many of the recipes in the book.
- Finally, the book finishes up with an illustrated glossary of Mexican cooking terms and a comprehensive index.
Again, one of the best parts about this book is all the huge, full page, detailed color photos of each recipe. It's very enjoyable to simply page through and admire the delicious meals in the pictures. And this is the best way to decide what you want to make.