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The Best Mexican Recipes: Kitchen-Tested Recipes Put the Real Flavors of Mexico Within Reach Paperback – April 15, 2015
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About the Author
America’s Test Kitchen is well-known for its top-rated television shows with more than 4 million weekly public television viewers, bestselling cookbooks, magazines, websites, and cooking school. The highly reputable and recognizable brands of America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated, and Cook’s Country are the work of over 60 passionate chefs based in Boston, Massachusetts, who put ingredients, cookware, equipment, and recipes through objective, rigorous testing to identify the very best. Discover, learn, and expand your cooking repertoire with Julia Collin Davison, Bridget Lancaster, Jack Bishop, Dan Souza, Lisa McManus, Tucker Shaw, Bryan Roof, and our fabulous team of test cooks!
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Here is a quote from the Introduction to this cookbook:
"So with this book, we set out to tell the story of Mexican cooking in the United States through a collection of foolproof recipes that range from little-known authentic dishes and Tex-Mex favorites to fresh, modern dishes inspired by the flavors of Mexico...We think this book presents the very best of American cooking put through the filter of what makes sense for the American home kitchen. No incredibly exotic local ingredients or complicated techniques best left to chefs."
With that mind, I am very excited to have this collection of Mexican(ish) recipes. Here is the breakdown of chapters:
1) Getting Started (intro to ingredients, equipment, and basic methods)
2) Appetizers and Drinks
3) Soups, Stews, and Chilis
4) Tacos, Tostadas, Tamales, and More
5) Burritos, Chimichangas, and Quesadillas
6) Enchiladas and Casseroles
8) Beef and Pork
10) Vegetarian Mains
WHAT I DON'T LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK
***So far, not much I don't like about it. The only thing is when I opened it to the halfway page and attempted to pull it to its "fully opened" book position, the binding made a noise that no binding should ever make, but maybe it was just stiff. I will, of course, update if I have any issues with the durability of the book.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK
***The size of the book--it isn't so heavy that my wrist hurts when I hold it with one hand, the way ATK's "The Best Recipe" hardcover does. It is pretty flexible and easy to page through.
***Full-page illustrations of many recipes (I counted about 88), and many other smaller photos and photo sequences such as "Assembling Flautas" and "Shaping Flour Tortillas," which I expect to be tremendously useful
***The "Getting Started" section at the beginning includes some helpful information, including a photo glossary of fresh and dried chiles, corn products and common Mexican seasonings/herbs
***A decent variety of bold and conservative, depending on your mood or company
***Some I have tried:
--fresh tomato salsa (good, but I still prefer the soupy looking salsa at the local restaurant)
--classic ground beef tacos (my go-to recipe for taco meat, instead of those seasoning packets)
--easy chipotle chicken tacos (my husband absolutely RAVES about these tacos!)
***What I am looking forward to trying: recipes for both corn tortillas and flour tortillas, enfrijoladas, queso fundido, chicken burritos mojados, cheese enchiladas (unabashedly Tex-Mex), skillet chicken fajitas, meatballs in chipotle sauce, Mexican breakfast sandwiches, cilantro rice/lime rice/chile rice, mashed spiced pumpkin, mango, jicama, and orange salad
I will update as I try out some of these recipes!
To conclude, this is a very user-friendly and tutorial cookbook for those who are looking for something more authentic than Taco Bell but not quite so authentic as to call for...I dunno, tripe or brains. It is a good starting point for those wishing to explore Mexican cuisine and don't want to waste time with recipes that don't turn out. You can always try a purist cookbook later if you feel the inclination, but in the meantime, you will have some solid recipes to try out. I give this an enthusiastic five stars.
If you like your food spicy then you'll like these recipes. For myself and my family I cut back on the hotter chiles and it tastes better to us. Some of my favorite recipes are:
Chunky Guacamole - I leave out the jalpeño (too spicy) and the raw onion (husband can't eat raw onions)
Corn Tortillas - Never knew how easy they are to make at home. Using a ziplock bag with the sides cut out is genius. Plus homemade tortillas are very tasty.
Easy Chipotle Chicken Tacos - If you already have corn tortillas, you can have this on the table in 30 minutes or less.
Fish Veracruz - I used to hate fish cooked with onion and tomatoes but this recipe changed my mind. It's another fast and easy recipe.
Huevos Rancheros - I've cooked this from a half a dozen different recipes and if I have time this is the best one.
Pan-Roasted Cod with Amarillo Sauce - Only use two of the chiles and it's spicy enough for me. Delicious dish.
Salmon with Roasted Salsa Verde - Another great fish recipe.
Shredded Beef Tacos with Cabbage-Carrot Slaw - My favorite beef taco recipe when I have the time.
The recipes for the common sides are good and pretty easy. The recipes frequently use canned diced tomatoes which are easy to keep on hand. The tomatillos take a bit more planning as my grocery store sells them underripe.
All in all, another winning cookbook.