Living in New Mexico, Nusom is articulate about chile (peppers) vs. chili (the dish). This guy loves chile peppers in everything and his cooking deftly shows off their complex flavors as well as their heat. Red Chile Pesto and his killer Ensenada Black Bean Dip prove his food is creative in ways that work. Though it was not his goal, most recipes are also quick and easy to make. In all, The Sizzling Southwest Cookbook
offers 160+ recipes that are lean and mean in the best ways.
Chile aficionados and low-fat dieters looking for flavorful food will welcome this exciting book packed with healthy variations of classic southwestern dishes and with innovative recipes featuring various chiles. A "Chile Primer" briefly discusses the origins and uses of chile peppers in southwestern cooking and provides a handy user's guide to fresh and dried chiles, rating spiciness from 0 (bell peppers) to 10 (Habaneros). Besides low-fat versions of such traditional southwestern recipes as tortilla soup, gazpacho, and chicken with adobo sauce, Nusom includes her recipes for tangy cucumber-mango salsa, shrimp marinated in a chile "martini," and a southwestern stir-fry. Caroline Andrew