Saturday, November 10, 2012

Muy Bueno Esta Muy Bueno! {Book Review}

If you follow my blog at all, you'll know that following a recipe is not my strong suit. Even with my best intentions, I tweak and twist, adapting the ingredients to match my pantry or my mood. And when I do find a recipe that is declared, by the three boys with whom I live, a winner, I still don't make it exactly the same way the next time.

Why on earth would I agree to review a cookbook? Well, I think that I am not alone; I am certain that other cooks use cookbooks as inspiration and jumping off points. And to those people, my reviews might be helpful. For fastidious cooks who measure and adhere strictly to listed ingredients, I apologize in advance!

*Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book 
Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor -  
for the purpose of reviewing it.*

Before this year my kitchen was off limits to my boys. I found peace among my pots and pans and liked that estrogen ruled supreme in that tiny space. But this year we have launched into a Cooking Around the World Adventure and I have willing invited testosterone to invade my culinary world. We're cooking and eating our way around the world and my boys are learning to cook while we venture by tabletop from country to country. As the boys blossom as cooks, I see them diverging from my recipes and tossing in their own flair.

So, I now fully appreciate how Muy Bueno includes three generations of authentic Mexican flavor. This cookbook, based on their blog,  includes grandmother Jesusita's old-world northern Mexican cuisine, mother Vangie's south of the border home-style dishes, and grandaughters Veronica and Yvette's Latin fusion.

The book moves from tamales to breads to salsas, through drinks, appetizers, and entrees, and finishes with sides and sweets. The photography is drool-worthy, the stories they tell are heartwarming, and the recipes they offer are inspiring and easy to follow.

My receipt of this gorgeous book was serendipitous - my friend was hosting a street taco party and had asked me to bring the salsa. Muy Bueno includes over half a dozen salsa recipes. And since I have never made homemade salsa, I flipped through the pages, trying to decide. When I couldn't narrow it down to a single recipe, I made two: Yvette's Salsa de Aguacate y Tomatillo and her Salsa de Hongos y Jalapenos.

Salsa de Aguacate y Tomatillo
Adapted from Muy Bueno

10 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper
1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
3 avocados
handful of cilantro
1 C water
freshly ground salt to taste

Roast the tomatillos, pepper, and onion in a 350 degree oven until the tomatillos are soft and the onion is wilted. In batches, blend the tomatillos, pepper, onion, and avocados in a blender with water. Season to taste with freshly ground salt.

I loved the creaminess of the avocado and the pop of the jalapeno!

I will be cooking out of this inspiring book and from their website in the coming months; I am certain of that! Their Ponche Navideño will be on our Christmas Eve table. And I might just be ringing in the New Year with bowls of their Albondigas and a cranberry margarita... and telling my guests, in Jesusita fashion: Sientate a comer, esta muy bueno! Sit down and eat, it's very good!

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