Latin American Cooking

If you think a mole is only a beauty mark or a reason to go to the doctor's office, and gooey orange cheese from a jar is the best way to make your nachos grande, you're truly a lucky person. All the savors and flavors of real Latin American cuisine will be a fresh adventure for you. Imagine the aromas as you splash lean, grilled fish with a blend of citrus and peppers. The unique warmth of a true Mexican mole (pronounced moh-lay), a blending of roasted garlic, tomatoes, peppers, spices, nuts, vegetables and, yes, often chocolate! can be the heart of the meal, transforming meats, grains, and sturdy vegetables into an exotic yet homey cuisine that is perfect for the chilly autumn nights to come.

Latin American cuisine shows the influence of history as newcomers from Africa, Spain, and other parts of Europe adapted their own dishes to the amazing foods they found in the Western Hemisphere. Bear in mind that there are differences in regions of a country just as there are differences between countries themselves. Great chefs have made these many cuisines accessible to American kitchens, and their books often serve lessons about other cultures as well as recipes. Voyage to sunnier lands through these unique cookbooks. You will find they vary in difficulty. Some embrace the nervous beginner, while others relish the challenge of preparing exquisite and complicated dishes.

Finding the ingredients for these recipes can be a bit of a challenge, although it is not as daunting a task as it was perhaps ten years ago. With more Hispanic Americans making their homes in the Rappahannock area, local grocery stores such as Shoppers Food Warehouse and Food Lion have made an effort to stock many popular ingredients. Indeed, specialty shops, such as Bladna Food Imports in the Greenbriar Shopping Center, are wonderful places to find an array of enticing ingredients. If all else fails, most cookbooks will include a list of mail order suppliers to take care of your needs.

Deleites de la Cocina Mexicana = Healthy Mexican American Cooking

By Maria Luisa Urdaneta

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"Because diabetes is a growing health problem in the Mexican American community this information is vital for all those who need or want to manage their diet without giving up the foods they've grown up with and love. No other cookbook provides such a wide range of healthy Mexican recipes, all kitchen-tested, easy to prepare, and simply delicious. Let Deleites de la Cocina Mexicana be your one-stop guide to cooking and eating guilt-free Mexican food."  A bi-lingual cookbook.

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Vertamae Cooks in the Americas' Family Kitchen

By Vertamae Grosvenor

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"Storyteller, poet, and culinary anthropologist Vertamae Grosvenor displays the pleasures of Afro-Atlantic cooking in this soulful companion to the new PBS series The Americas' Family Kitchen. Here, as in the series, she shows how African tastes and traditions have influenced the various cuisines of America, acquiring new flavors and ingredients along the way in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.  You'll find more than a hundred mouth-watering, down-home recipes, spiced with Vertamae's anecdotes, humor, and historical insights. The recipes range from the surprising to the happily familiar, from zesty Bahian shrimp creole to the simple pleasures of sweet potato pie. And everything from Hoppin' John to Sunshine Soup to Low Country Red Rice has a story."

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The Essential Cuisines of Mexico

By Diana Kennedy

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More than 300 authentic recipes are grouped by food category (tamales, salads, seafood, sweet yeast breads, etc.). Chapter introductions share the author's travel stories. Uses exotic ingredients such as pigs' feet, nopoles (cactus paddles) and cuiclacoche (corn fungus), to create the real deal of Mexican cooking. Some recipes will be challenging, and
others, such as Chiles Con Queso (chiles with cheese) and angel hair pasta with tomato broth, will be easy, comforting, and tasty.

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Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey through Oaxaca, Mexico

By Susana Trilling

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Bounded by mountains and the Pacific Ocean lies the state of Oaxaca. Susan Trilling, a New York restaurant owner and caterer, delves into the cuisine of the region that became her adopted home. The culinary traditions do share some Spanish roots with other Latin cuisine, but much of its savor comes from the age-old traditions of the native people. The book's chapters are arranged by region and offer delights such as Chiled Chicken Wrapped in Herbs and Banana Leaves and Layered Mango Pudding. Many vegetarian and seafood recipes are included.
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Real Mexican Food for People with Diabetes

By Doris Cross

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More than 150 recipes geared to a diabetic's needs that still maintain a lot of authentic taste. Enjoy Fiesta Tortilla Corn Chowder, Blackened Chicken Enchiladas, and Southwest Corn Fritters.
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Nuevo Latino: Recipes that Celebrate the New Latin- American Cuisine

By Douglas Rodriguez

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The co-owner and chef of New York City's Patria restaurant has created a cookbook for Americans who want to experience the dazzling delights of Latin-American cuisine. Sweet citrus combines with sharp and earthy flavors of garlic, mustard, shallots and more to awaken the palate of the most jaded diner. The flavors are exciting, and Cuban-born Rodriguez has thoughtfully included a listing of mail order companies that can supply hard-to-find ingredients for small town dwellers.

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New World Kitchen: Latin American and Caribbean Cuisine

By Norman Van Aken

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Norman Van Aken explores the rich influence of Latin American cuisine on the American palate. The roots of these amazing savories come from Africa, Spain, and the native peoples of the islands and the expansive countries that make up Latin America. Van Aken has written in a straightforward manner and has chosen to use ingredients which, while exotic (scotch bonnet chiles, tomatillos or jicama) are not impossible for a home chef to acquire. The recipes are sophisticated, yet doable.
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Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel

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A #1 bestseller in Mexico in 1990, this charming, imaginative, and just plain fun novel of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico includes unique recipes at the beginning of each chapter for a variety of traditional dishes.

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La Cocina de la Frontera: Mexican-American Cooking from the Southwest

By James W. Peyton

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This is the first cookbook to present all the regional styles of Mexican-American cooking. It traces the cooking from its Indian roots, through its development in response to European influences, to its arrival in the American Southwest. More than 200 recipes focus on regional styles found in New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas. Try out the Char-broiled Shrimp Tacos, Chicken Stew, Corn Bread with Green Chile, Cinnamon Tea, and Herbed Sirloin Roast. Has history ever been so delicious?

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From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients

By Diana Kennedy

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Diana Kennedy is considered by many to be the Julia Child of Mexican cuisine. In this fully illustrated guide, the world-renowned authority on Mexican cuisines returns with an encyclopedic exploration of the foods and cooking traditions she introduced in The Essential Cuisines of Mexico. An entire chapter is devoted to the different kinds of chiles and another on the different types of beans. The first half of the book concerns ingredients while the second half is devoted to technique. Includes step-by-step photographs.

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