Southwest Flavors: Santa Fe School of Cooking Hardcover – May 8 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Curtis, author of Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook and founder of the school, teams with daughter Nicole in this instructive and appetizing look at New Mexican cuisine. Drawing on recipes from the school, the pair pay proper homage to the chili, which features prominently in most recipes. They provide a list of their favorite types of chilis, introducing readers to the spicy, orange aji amarillo; the woodsy, dark red cascabel; and the sweet, smoked monta. Recipes for rice and salsa abound, but poultry, seafood, beef and pork dishes are also prevalent. Recipes range from classics, like the Spanish Tortilla, to the unusual, such as Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Fresh Tomato Sauce. New Mexican twists add flair to mundane dishes such as Southwestern Caesar Salad, which includes red chile croutons, and Dixon Apple Pie Tamales. The authors also offer helpful techniques for assembling tamales, making sopaipillas (light, fluffy fried dough) and working with nopales (cactus paddles). Throughout, they explore related topics such as "wildcrafting," New Mexican wines and Mexican vanilla. Particularly useful is the section listing sources for unusual and hard-to-find southwestern ingredients. Color photos. (May)
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About the Author
Susan Curtis, owner of the school, is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and of Les Dame d'Escoffier.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Big mistake. Rather than having the wonderful New Mexican recipes, the ones it has are not authentic in taste, better suited for tourists who collect cookbooks from each place they go, and rarely cook from them. One Santa Fe cook said "This could be written in New York or California for Rhode Islander's to think it was written there, with it's lack of New Mexico's taste. It has nothing of the richness of the Hispanic, Indian, or other unique local foods and culture."
I don't think you, and certainly no New Mexican can vouch for the authenticity of the book's recipes such as: Lasagna with ricotta filling, Red chile hummus with cucumber and tomato chips; Crab and corn Fritters with red chile glaze, Meatballs with Salsa Romesco; Dried mushroom soup, Sprout and endive Salad with walnut vinaigrette, wild greens and apple salad, Caesar salad with chile croutons, Beet and spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette. On and on.
Others are Rice pudding; Braised Swiss chard, Couscous with vegetables; Cheese grits, Corn flan; twice-cooked plantains (ever see banana trees in the desert?)Tandoori fish with coconut chutney (not many coconut trees either!)Veracruz-style fish; spicy tomato sauce; Roasted pineapple salsa (lot of pineapples in the desert); Avocado salsa; chicken breasts with applesauce; Sweet coconut rice pudding; key lime tart (with photo of the wrong color limes), Pecan-rum-raisin cake,
Oh, for more "authentic", there's banal Chile con carne, Strawberry Tequila mousse, Pinon Shortbread; Cream cheese pie with pineapple-coconut sauce; Peach and raspberry crisp; Brazilian kabobs with vinaigrette salsa; seafood brochettes with toasted fennel seed vinaigrette; Peruvian shrimp ceviche; Roasted red pepper, corn & Orzo salad with shrimp; Grilled eggplant "enchiladas",or Herb-roasted vegetables. Southwestern-NOT, Not, not!
That covers many of the recipes, you get the idea. Why buyt all of these recipes you could cull from many US cookbooks, when a REAL Southwest cook book's recipes are what you really want? What's Southwestern about Amaretto chocolate mousse, Phyllo cups with pistachios and passion fruit curd, or Poached pears with fresh berries?
I've since contacted cooks in Santa Fe, and they laughed that people still buy the "Cooking School"s version of Santa Fe foods, thinking it's authentic New Mexican cooking. They suggested checking out, instead: Dent's Feast of Santa Fe: Cooking of the American Southwest; Jamison's books, including The Border Cookbook; Cafe Pasqual's Cookbook; Green Chile Bible, or Red or Green: New Mexico Cuisine, and The Food of Santa Fe: Authentic Recipes from the American Southwest. For Mexican, Diane Kennedy's books can't be beat. Now go cook some REAL Southwestern food, and forget about the Silly Santa Fe Cooking School's Caesar salad, Seafood brochettes, and Lasagna.
If I was looking for the more modern type of cooking that is featured in this book, I would have given it five stars. As far as that goes, the book covers everything anyone would need to know.
If you are looking for traditional New Mexican cooking, I give it four stars, since most of the recipes are ultra-modern with new taste combinations. The background information is very interesting to read and also very informative.
It makes a great gift for your favorite cook - trust me, I know !