Reata: Legendary Texas Cooking Hardcover – Nov 4 2008
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“A grand collection of cooking and imagery that embodies the hardscrabble cowboy culture of West Texas.”
--Tosh Brown, author of Grazing Across Texas: Rod, Gun & Ranch Cooking
“Mike and Reata use traditional Texas ingredients with a sophisticated flair. The great presentations and photography give everyone a chance to see Reata’s roots.”
--Tom Perini, owner of the Perini Ranch Steakhouse and author of Texas Cowboy Cooking
“This group of recipes is an excellent collection of Reata’s best. The book takes basic ranch cooking to another level. Mike Micallef has hit another home run. Keep on spurrin’!”
--Cliff Teinert, owner of the Collins Creek Ranch and coauthor of Barbecue, Biscuits, and Beans: Chuckwagon Cooking
About the Author
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Mike Micallef is president of his family’s non-manufacturing companies including Reata Restaurants, Flight Services, Sierra La Rana, and CF Ranch. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a BBA and a certificate from the world-renowned ranch management program, Mike spent two years with Tsunami Partners where he managed various equity investments. Mike also serves in an advisory capacity to companies in the finance, banking, and entertainment fields. Mike divides his time between Alpine and Fort Worth and loves to hunt and fish with his dad every chance he gets.
A true entrepreneur, Al Micallef is the founder of the Reata restaurants and owner of JMK International, Inc. When not starting new ventures Al participates in a variety of hobbies, including hunting, fishing, team roping, flying, race car driving, and polo. His most recent interest is Reata Thoroughbred Racing. Al is also firmly committed to giving back to his community and has offered a lifetime of expertise and support to many charitable associations.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Tenderloin Tamales with Pecan Mash and Sun-dried Tomato Cream is an extraordinary tasting showstopper dinner. The Best Damn Macaroni and Cheese Ever is worthy of that monicker. The Barbecue Shrimp Enchiladas were amazing. I'd never seen heavy cream in either a bbq sauce or enchilada sauce recipe, and there's a full cup of heavy cream in this one. No wonder it's so decadent! My favorite in the book is a simple one, Tenderloin-wrapped Asparagus. The Sweet Molasses Glaze gives the tenderloin such a rich lacquered appearance, and it's so fragrant and elegant looking coming off of the grill, and it's easy enough to let kiddos help with. The Sweet Molasses Glaze recipe has enough left over for you to try the Avocado Caesar with Grilled Steak the next night.
I haven't tried any of the dessert recipes yet, but there's an interesting range there, too.
So I invited 18 friends over and made a dinner with 8 recipes (plus "sub recipes-- those that are within a recipe, like the Chipotle Cream Sauce. This seems to be very common in the book.)
The number of serious errors in this book are totally unacceptable. The only reason that the dinner was so good is that the basic foods are good, but the writing is very bad. The dinner would have been much worse if I didn't have experience as a professional cook. Below is a listing of some of the errors. Some of them.
We found basic errors in the recipes:
* The Cajeta is either wrong or poorly written. It calls for 4 cups of sugar and a cup of water, which you cook till the sugar dissolves. What happens is that the sugar absorbs the water or it evaporates, leaving you with crystallized sugar. Most recipes call for 2 quarts of cream and 1-2 cups of sugar.
* The Braised Cabbage had too much vinegar, or the instructions were in error. It calls for 2 cups of vinegar. This is supposed to cook off/be absorbed in 5 minutes. It is more like a soup at that point. The added sugar can't caramelize with that much vinegar.
* The Stacked Chicken Enchiladas ask for 2.5 cups of Tomatillo Sauce plus 1.5 cups of cream, which are mixed together, resulting in 4 cups of sauce. This is only used to dip the prepared tortilla into, nothing else. So there was about 3 cups extra. What a waste.
* The Stacked Chicken Enchiladas are assembled in "a large baking dish". No indication of how large. When it is all assembled it is put in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. There is no way that it could get warm through the center in that amount of time.
* The Pico Vinaigrette does not look like the picture. In the picture it is mostly white. In reality, with .25 cup of tomato juice and an equal amount of vinegar, it is red.
We found other problems with expressed yields. For example:
* The Chipotle Cream sauce says it yields 3 cups. However, the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cream and some chiles. Not 3 cups.
* Some recipes don't give any indication of yields.
* Some yields are confusing. For example; the Creme Anglaise recipe yields about 4 cups and serves 8. It is used with the Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding Tamale, which also serves 8. Yet, the tamale recipe calls for only 2 cups of Creme Anglaise. Why the difference? If only 2 cups are needed, why not just make a recipe for 2 cups?
Some information would have been nice to have, although not critical. For example:
* It would have been nice to have volume or pound equivalents for those items that may have wide variations in size. This would include cabbage, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, potatoes, limes, etc.
* I never saw a suggestion for a size of pan, casserole, or other container. That would have made assessing yields easier.
* None of the recipes seem to indicate whether or not it is recommended that the baking container be sprayed with oil. We did, but it would have been nice to know.
As I said above, the food was good. The dessert tamales were amazing. However, the authors and their editors either are very careless, or are more concerned about having a vanity-press item to market their restaurants.
this is my first review.
The book first weaves you into an overall story of the Micallef family, their history, Texas history, Fort Worth history and the recipes become a piece of the overall story, each with it's own reason for reading...you want to see what Mike will say about it. Plus, by reading it, you almost feel like Mike's just talking with you in your own kitchen.
I've tasted many of these dishes and Mike's personal style almost feels like he's walking you through the recipe. I have several cookbooks with the hopes of inspiring me to actually try something new and I think this book gets it done. I'm ready to tackle something new now!
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