Roberto Santibañez’ new book TRULY MEXICAN (with JJ Goode and Shelley Wiseman) is a truly fantastic exploration as well as explanation of Mexican food with phenomenal mouth-watering photographs by Romula Yanes (formerly of Gourmet magazine for 25 years). The pictures and step-by-step instructions for toasting chilis, homemade tortillas, and blending sauces are helpful to any first-time Mexican cook.
In the past, I wrote of Roberto’s book ROSA’S NEW MEXICAN TABLE as a must have in any food allergic kitchen and TRULY MEXICAN does not disappoint. Although there is quite a section on Moles those who are nut and tree nut allergic may consider skipping, don’t! There are six Mole recipes that do not call for nuts or seeds, and additionally, there is a wonderful recipe for a mole using only pumpkin seeds (which are safe for us – remember to check with your board certified allergist to see what is safe for you).
During the past week, I made Guajillo Adobo, Ranchera Sauce, and Chilaquiles from TRULY MEXICAN. My husband and I often frequent Roberto’s Brooklyn Restaurant, FONDA, and upon eating the Chilquiles, my husband declared that they tasted “just like Fonda’s!” Our allergic kid loved her ‘nachos’ (made without the queso or Mexican crema), which she had never had in her life. My only regret is that I didn’t double each of the recipes.
The Guajillo Adobo was used to marinate, then grill chicken one night, as well as steak that went atop the Chilaquiles the next. The Ranchera Sauce found its place mixed in with Tortilla Chips for the Chilaquiles, but would also have been just as delectable on vegetables, or as an enchilada sauce. Mexican cooking is all about the sauces, salsas, and marinades. Other recipes that may excite an allergic family are taco shop guacamole, grilled adobo-marinated skirt steak, and roasted pineapple salsa. The beauty of Roberto’s book TRULY MEXICAN is that simple ingredients result in complex and rich flavors.
As if you weren’t hungry enough already – here’s the book trailer for TRULY MEXICAN
Admittedly, I’m still a novice at chili toasting even after three years of attempting to master Mexican cooking. Perhaps Roberto will consider teaching cooking classes here in Brooklyn sometime soon?
Until Santibañez starts his cooking classes, I suggest picking up a copy of TRULY MEXICAN and start cooking!