By Lorena Garcia
Ballantine, $32.50, 230 pages
Garcia declares that her cooking style is “modern Latin with a global twist.” Her recipes reflect this style exactly, and thankfully she chooses ingredients with the home cook in mind—you don’t need to find a Latin grocery to chase hard-to-find items. Whenever an ingredient is foreign to most cooks, she provides alternatives. She alters recipes from authentic to more acceptable ones (olive oil or butter instead of lard). She includes ingredients to reflect the global twist (coconut milk, balsamic glaze, hoisin sauce, panko bread crumbs).
“One major goal of mine was to not give people a huge grocery list and a pantry full of ingredients that wouldn’t be used again.”
The recipes are very good from a wide range of Latin cuisines from all of Latin America. They are well written, easy to follow, many illustrated but not overwhelmingly so to make this qualify as a coffee table book. These are not exactly easy recipes but most home cooks should have no problem following them. A chapter called 30 Minutos offers cooks cooking on the fly. The list of recipes that head each chapter is nice. Additional useful information, called Sabes Qué?, under most recipes is also a good addition as well as the many kitchen/cooking suggestions in the sidebars. The design of the book is good, so is the excellent, cross-referenced index.