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cookbook review: Houston classic Mexican recipes by Erin Hicks Miller

Lost in paradise.  That's how I felt from the moment I opened this book.  Actually, from the moment I laid eyes on it.  I mean, look at the cover...what do you see?  Mmmm-hmmm.  Yuppers.  That's a big, beautiful bowl of the best soup on the planet.  Just sayin'.  It had me at hello. So, you're probably thinking I made that today.  But surprisingly enough, I didn't.  I will be making it in the future, though...no worries.  There were (and still are) just so many things I want to try in this book that features a cuisine near and dear to my heart.  Author Erin Hicks Miller has compiled more than sixty recipes from a few of the more than 3,000 Mexican restaurants in Houston, Texas.  It includes recipes from award-winning chefs that have made some of the favorites in their restaurants accessible to the home cook.  I decided that what better time than Superbowl Sunday...a year in which it was held in Texas even..to try out a big table of food from this book.  No better time!  Paired with my own tortillas, Mexican rice, and guacamole...we had a mouthwatering meal!  Check it out.

I'm going to start with what I thought was the star of the table, the Carne Guisada from Gringo's Mexican Kitchen.  Thick chunks of seasoned sirloin cooked to mouthwatering perfection.  I could not stop plucking these little morsels of beef from the pot each time I walked by it.  A new favorite en mi casa!
Straying from an old favorite recipe (which I now realize I've never posted), I turned to an equally tempting recipe from El Tiempo for Borracho Beans.  Although I didn't like them better than the version I've made for years...I did like them.  But how could I not...because aside from the requisite beer...they also contained a trio of porky pleasure- bacon, ham, and chorizo. Yum!
This Nopalitos Salad from Solero became a fast favorite, as well.  In the summertime, we often make a fresh cactus salad just tossed with tomato, onion, cilantro and queso fresco. This version uses goat cheese instead and is tossed in an awesome cilantro dressing.  My favorite part was the goat cheese...it literally just melts into your tongue.  It was pretty much bliss.  I'll definitely be keeping this one in the repertoire.
Although salsa is a staple in our house and a recipe is not really called for, I decided to give Tila's Salsa Roja a try because it differed from the way I make salsa, in that they add lime juice and they cook everything down after the roasting and blending.  Good.  But I'm not abandoning my "norm".
And of course, a Superbowl Party just wouldn't be a Superbowl Party without the alcohol!  So, I blended up a big batch of Michelada mix from 1308 Cantina and added some cerveza!  I tend to think of Micheladas as the beer drinkers answer to a Bloody Mary.  I like them every once in a while...and this is a great version...but I do prefer my beer straight from the bottle. 
We all thought the food was fantastic and are looking forward to trying out some more tasty Mexican treats from this cookbook.  And while I may have never been to Houston, I can say that I've sampled some of the finest Mexican cuisine the city has to offer!

*I received a copy of this book free to review, if I chose.  All opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.


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