World Cuisine

homesicktexanAny fans of Lisa Fain’s first cookbook, Homesick Texan or her blog, Homesick Texan, will surely enjoy The Homesick Texan's Family Table, her latest cookbook of recipes inspired by family favorites. Fain always manages to put her own twist on the recipes, updating them, making them even better than you might remember and her stories of growing up in Texas will charm even those who have never been to the Lone Star state.

There are plenty of guilty pleasure recipes like Bacon and Chipotle Corn Pudding, Stacked Jalapeño Cheese Enchiladas and Potato Chorizo Breakfast Tacos, but also more modern fare like Blueberry Granola, Turkey Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Chipotle Sauce and Tuna with Avocado and Red Pepper Baked in Parchment. 

Taste-of-TanzaniaI tend to shy away from self-published books, but I was intrigued by Taste of Tanzania. I’ve not seen very many African cookbooks and even fewer designed for a Western audience. There are many indigenous ingredients that you won’t be able to find, and author Miriam Kinunda has made substations and focused on recipes that are more practical.

The recipes show a wide range of influences, Persian, Portuguese, Indian and also some Asian and European and has a lot of soup, stew and vegetable dishes. Some particularly appealing recipes include Swahili Beans, red beans cooked with coconut milk, onions, ginger, tomatoes and cilantro, Fish in Peanut Sauce and Ginger Tea.

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vinbrantfoodI reviewed a lot of cookbooks this past year, but these are some that I feel really strongly about. Let me tell you why...

Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season is one of the most beautiful cookbooks this year, written by the talented The Year in Food blogger and photographer, Kimberley Hasselbrink. She has an eye for color and texture and that means her mostly vegetarian recipes are as pretty to look at they are delicious to eat.

Her flavor combinations are often unique but make perfect sense. She pairs risotto with edamame and sautéed radishes. She tops grilled halloumi with fresh strawberries, mint and cilantro. Turkey burgers are topped with cheddar and balsamic figs.

The book is divided into seasons and highlights different ingredients. Feeling bored by Winter squash? Chile Roasted Delicata Squash with Queso Fresco or Soba Noodles with Kabocha Squash in a Mellow Japanese Curry will jazz things up. This is an inspiring book with very unique and appealing recipes.

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ImageIndia: The Cookbook
The amount most of us knows about Indian cuisine is miniscule. And yet, who doesn't love Indian food? Making it at home using the best ingredients is a revelation. This book has the largest collection of Indian recipes that I have ever seen. The introductory sections on the regions of India alone is wonderful.

Bookmarked recipes: Dry cabbage in masala, Lamb in chickpea flour and curry yogurt, Coconut filled pancakes

Why?
This encyclopedia of 1000 recipes will be your go-to Indian cooking reference.

Who?
Those who love Indian food but want to experience a wider variety of fresh, tasty food than they can find in any given Indian restaurant.

Street food of MexicoHugo Ortega's Street Food of Mexico rocks! And if you are planning a holiday cocktail party and want a break from pigs in blankets and crab cakes, this book is all you need!

One cannot be in Houston without swooning over a Hugo Ortega restaurant. Delicious evenings can be spent at the foodie delight, Backstreet Café, or his original - Hugo’s, but my favorite is Caracol – the best Coastal Mexican restaurant in the world. (See One for the Table review in archives)

Mexican street food, in this book, is not just the simple taco that comes to mind. Ortega traveled the breadth of Mexico re-discovering the local foods of his homeland, giving us delicious and unexpected recipes. Just scanning the pages of Street Food of MEXICO is a sensual treat.

I have never seen a book with more surprises: Mitchelada con camarones (Spicy Beer Cocktail with Shrimp), Salbutes con pato en recado negro (Thick Tortillas Topped with Duck in a Black Seasoning Paste), Guajolotas (Tamal Stuffed Sandwiches from Mexico City}, Ensalada de jumiles con nopales (fresh Crawfish and Cactus Salad), Camotes Poblanos (Sweet Potato Candied Rolls)… it goes on of course!

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