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Isabel's Cantina: Bold Latin Flavors from the New California Kitchen [Hardcover]

Isabel Cruz

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Book Description

Aug. 28 2007
When Isabel Cruz opened her first small restaurant in San Diego, she cooked what she loved to eat: simple Latin comfort food spiced with the Pacific Rim flavors she knew from her old Los Angeles neighborhood. Her trademark blend of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Japanese, and Thai cooking allowed her to cut some of the calories and fat so often found in Latin food without ever sacrificing taste. Soon, the nutritious, flavorful, easy-to-prepare meals Isabel had cooked every night for her family took California by storm.

In Isabel’s Cantina, she shares the deceptively simple recipes that make her five West Coast restaurants so popular, as well as many of her own personal favorites. By relying on the boldly flavored ingredients common to both Latin and Asian cuisines—like mangoes, limes, chiles, mint, ginger, coconut, and cilantro—Isabel’s healthful dishes are never bland. She gets things going with starters such as Grilled Vegetable Salad with Sofrito Vinaigrette and Shrimp Bites Wrapped in Greens. There’s Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Jalapeño-Ponzu Sauce, Green Chile Posole with Pork, and New York Strip Steak with Baked Plantain Fries. Gone are heavy refried beans and white rice, replaced by Chipotle White Beans and whole-grain Power Rice. In an invaluable chapter, Isabel reveals how to dress up any meal with healthy sauces and salsas, such as Papaya-Mango-Mint Salsa and Avocado Salsa Cruda. Desserts, drinks, and even brunch dishes round out her collection of recipes for every part of the day.

Blending fresh flavors with an eye for health, Isabel’s signature Latin food with Asian accents is not only good for you but—most important—it’s delicious.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (Aug. 28 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307352749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307352743
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 19.6 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,390,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cruz, owner of five restaurants on the West Coast, is known for her version of Latin comfort food—simple, healthy dishes influenced by the various cultures and cuisines she was surrounded by growing up in L.A. like Cuban, Mexican, Japanese and Thai. Cruz highlights such ingredients as mangoes, limes, coconut, chile peppers, mint, ginger, and cilantro.... These are my flavor building blocks. The Starters section includes Seared Tuna Wontons with Avocado Salsa Cruda, which are a little nod to Japan but 100 percent California. Empanadas are made with turkey for a lighter meal as are Cruz's Albondigas, Latin meatballs. The Main Courses chapter includes fresh, healthful dishes like Steamed Red Snapper with Hearts of Palm and Ginger, and Green Chili Posole, a Mexican stew. The Rice, Beans and Other Sides section includes recipes for Quick Black Beans, Brown Rice with Barley, and Sweet Plantains. The Salsas, Sauces and Marinades are used in specific recipes throughout the book, but can be added onto almost any dish. Included are Chipotle Corn Salsa, Guava Sauce, and Red Bell Pepper Sofrito. The options are endless in this bright debut, and Cruz convinces that Latin food can be healthy and light and still be delicious, and that today's Latin food is a blend of the cultures that surround it. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Isabel Cruz is the owner of five restaurants along the West Coast, extending from Coffee Cup in La Jolla and Isabel’s Cantina and Seaside Cantina in San Diego, California, to Dragonfly in Ashland and Isabel in Portland, Oregon. Isabel, who grew up in Los Angeles, now lives in San Diego with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Isabel's Cantina Sept. 24 2007
By S. L. Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
I haven't been able to get this excited about a cookbook in years! The recipes are simple and the food is wonderful. I have tried many of them and already have several favorites, such as the Jicama, Cucumber and Radish Salad, the Avocado Salsa Cruda and the Roasted Chile Verde Sauce. The instructions are clear and concise, the tips are wonderful and the flavors are delightfully light, refreshing tasty and healthy. The full color photos are gorgeous!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, Fresh, Fantastic Tasting Food! Sept. 12 2007
By WMT - Published on Amazon.com
We love Isabel's food, we eat in her restaurants all the time! Now that we have her cookbook we can make her simple and tasty recipes when entertaining and cooking at home. We're also excited to have recipes that will help us stay fit and healthy! YUM!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recipe HEAVEN Oct. 7 2009
By F. Elvin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Isabel's wonderful food in my favorite restaurant in Ashland, Oregon (Shakespeare Festival town). This is a collection of her best creations--and some very practical and easy food prep ideas. This book is a favorite gift to friends who are serious and not-so-serious cooks. And, the design and layout of the book invites you to check out every page.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ISABEL'S CANTINA Sept. 28 2007
By Edith Rosa - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book to be extremely informative and I love the pictures and the layout. The recipes are easy to follow and most of all different. The food and the sauces are so tasty and look so appetizing. The tips are also extremely helpful. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to seeing more of this type of cookbook. Thank you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Feb. 13 2008
By Prasuti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ate at her restaurant and had to get the book as the food was wonderful. The photos and the recipes are
great. We tried them at home and they are unique and great tasting.

The only reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that if you were not a cook, it would be hard to follow the recipes, as they leave out things that you'd know as a cook to do, but wouldn't if you were a novice. Nonetheless, this is a great book with great photos.

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