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Isabel's Cantina: Bold Latin Flavors from the New California Kitchenby Isabel Cruz
Synopses & Reviews
When Isabel Cruz opened her first small restaurant in San Diego, she cooked what she loved to eat: simple Latin comfort food spiced with the Pacific Rim flavors she knew from her old Los Angeles neighborhood. Her trademark blend of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, Japanese, and Thai cooking allowed her to cut some of the calories and fat so often found in Latin food without ever sacrificing taste. Soon, the nutritious, flavorful, easy-to-prepare meals Isabel had cooked every night for her family took California by storm.
In Isabel's Cantina, she shares the deceptively simple recipes that make her five West Coast restaurants so popular, as well as many of her own personal favorites. By relying on the boldly flavored ingredients common to both Latin and Asian cuisines — like mangoes, limes, chiles, mint, ginger, coconut, and cilantro — Isabel's healthful dishes are never bland. She gets things going with starters such as Grilled Vegetable Salad with Sofrito Vinaigrette and Shrimp Bites Wrapped in Greens. There's Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Jalapeno-Ponzu Sauce, Green Chile Posole with Pork, and New York Strip Steak with Baked Plantain Fries. Gone are heavy refried beans and white rice, replaced by Chipotle White Beans and whole-grain Power Rice. In an invaluable chapter, Isabel reveals how to dress up any meal with healthy sauces and salsas, such as Papaya-Mango-Mint Salsa and Avocado Salsa Cruda. Desserts, drinks, and even brunch dishes round out her collection of recipes for every part of the day.
Blending fresh flavors with an eye for health, Isabel's signature Latin food with Asian accents is not only good for you but — most important — it's delicious.
"'Cruz, owner of five restaurants on the West Coast, is known for her version of Latin comfort food — simple, healthy dishes influenced by the various cultures and cuisines she was surrounded by growing up in L.A. like Cuban, Mexican, Japanese and Thai. Cruz highlights such ingredients as 'mangoes, limes, coconut, chile peppers, mint, ginger, and cilantro.... These are my flavor building blocks.' The 'Starters' section includes Seared Tuna Wontons with Avocado Salsa Cruda, which are 'a little nod to Japan but 100 percent California.' Empanadas are made with turkey for a lighter meal as are Cruz's 'Albondigas,' Latin meatballs. The 'Main Courses' chapter includes fresh, healthful dishes like Steamed Red Snapper with Hearts of Palm and Ginger, and Green Chili Posole, a Mexican stew. The 'Rice, Beans and Other Sides' section includes recipes for Quick Black Beans, Brown Rice with Barley, and Sweet Plantains. The 'Salsas, Sauces and Marinades' are used in specific recipes throughout the book, but can be added onto almost any dish. Included are Chipotle Corn Salsa, Guava Sauce, and Red Bell Pepper Sofrito. The options are endless in this bright debut, and Cruz convinces that 'Latin food can be healthy and light and still be delicious, and that today's Latin food is a blend of the cultures that surround it.'' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In her cookbook, Cruz shares the deceptively simple recipes that make her five West Coast restaurants so popular, as well as many of her own personal favorites. By relying on the boldly flavored ingredients common to both Latin and Asian cuisines, the healthful dishes are never bland.
About the Author
Isabel Cruz is the owner of five restaurants along the West Coast, extending from Coffee Cup in La Jolla and Isabel's Cantina and Seaside Cantina in San Diego, California, to Dragonfly in Ashland and Isabel in Portland, Oregon. Isabel, who grew up in Los Angeles, now lives in San Diego with her husband and two sons. This is her first book.
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