Mexican Everyday

I am not the biggest fan of Mexican food. Or should I say – American-style Mexican food. Regular salsa doesn’t seem to have a lot of flavor dimension – just hot, hotter, and taste doesn’t really matter hot – and everything is loaded down with heavy sauces. And don’t forget about the gut-bomb/inevitable post-meal regret you experience after going crazy on the chips, cheese, and beans. If I do eat it, I’m looking for the fruit/cucumber style salsa, something that’s grilled, and guacamole. My daughter asked for guacamole for Christmas a few years ago. We’re serious about guac, but for the rest…..I’ll opt for Thai takeout.

This cookbook is not that kind of Mexican.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised this week. First, the book is by Rick Bayless, arguably one of the best chefs around, let alone Mexican cuisine specialists. He’s the winner of Top Chef Masters. And he’s a hard-core yogi. (Tidbit from the book!) I’ve had this book for about 3 years and have used it primarily for guacamole and for Cinco de Mayo inspiration. Since it’s the first week of May, this was the book of the week! Rather that just subject my family alone to my 99 cookbooks project, we invited neighbors over for a feast to thank them for feeding us when our kitchen was gutted. That meal was one of the few food highlights I had this past winter, so I was ready to show my gratitude.

The Recipes
Home Cooked Beans
Gulf Coast-Style White Rice Pilaf
Avocado-Mango Salad with Fresh Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa
Guacamole Three Ways
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Tangy Yucatecan Spices and Seasonal Vegetables
Chorizo, Potato, and Mushroom Tacos
Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos with Avocado and Fresh Cheese
Tomatillo-Sauced Enchiladas with Spinach and Mushrooms
Pineapple Skillet Upside Down Cake
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The Healthy Green Drink Diet

Earth Day was on April 22, so I thought it would be fun to select a “green” cookbook. The top 3 choices included a healthy cookbook, a green juice cookbook, and a Rick Bayless cookbook with a green cover. H looked through all three and selected the green juice book, primarily because I limit her juice intake and she looked at this as an opportunity for more juice. Or so she thought!

We bought a juicer about 4 months after Jeff and I married and moved to Minnesota. With the abundance of apples and fall orchard festivals in Minnesota, we thought it would be fun to have fresh apple juice. It was heavily used for about 2 weeks, and then it had a prime location on the shelf for the next 4 years. Two years ago, I became curious about juicing and decided it was a good time for a juicing detox, so I pulled out the juicer and ordered this book on Amazon. Of course, I didn’t actually make anything out of it until this week.

The Recipes
Rad-ish Radish
Popeye Punch
Green King
Red Queen
Beetle Juice
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What Chefs Feed Their Kids

IMG_7678I distinctly remember the first time I saw this book. Classic case of book envy. It was in January 2013 and I was hanging out with a friend for a playdate with our kids and I spied this book on their counter. I flipped through it and fell in love. It’s a beautiful book. Clean layout, lots of great stories about the featured chefs and their kids, tips about cooking with her own child – I was sold. I’ve used it occasionally over the past two years but this was the first time I really focused on the recipes themselves.

H picked the book this week, which I found particularly appropriate since my ego was feeling a bit out of hand after I helped cook for a charity dinner. Of course I can be a chef at home! And you’re my child – so you’ll eat like a chef this week! Easier said than done. Nothing like your own children to dish out the humble pie when you need it.

The Recipes
Turkey Meatballs with Orecchiette Pasta and Tomato Sauce
Cannellini Bean Dip
Simply Leafy Greens
Carrot Salad with Ginger
Curried Chickpea Salad
Deviled Eggs with Tuna
Cannellini and Yellow Wax Bean Salad with Shaved Radish
Spaghetti Pancakes
Broccoli with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
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Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites

I’m starting my 99 Cookbooks project with one of my first cookbook purchases – Moosewood Restaurant. Low Fat. And low fat for a reason. Published in 1996, I grabbed this one when I lived in Seattle, probably late 2000. I was living in a great rental in Queen Anne with my best friend and brother, and my brother was doing a lot of the cooking for our crew. After a month or two, I realized that his high butter, high cream, high fat diet worked for him, but definitely not for me. I needed to lighten up. My since my bestie is a vegetarian, Moosewood was a great fit.

Since I’m forcing my family into this little project, I decided to throw the kids a bone and picked all the recipes from the “Children’s Favorites” list in the reference area. Give me a cookbook with food lists, I’m in love.

Creamy Macaroni Salad
Carrot Orange Salad
Honey Mustard Fish with Zucchini and Cilantro Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese
Banana Bundt Cake
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