Sunday, November 28, 2010

Daisy Does Christmas -- Daisy Martinez's New Holiday Cookbook

I don't think I would have looked at Daisy Martinez's new cookbook for fall and winter holiday entertaining except that my sister is a big fan of the TV chef.  Since I didn't really know Martinez's work or food, I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful Latino and Hispanic flavors her recipes offered and enjoyed the snippets of her life she shared. 

"Daisy's Holiday Cooking: Delicious Latin Recipes for Effortless Entertaining" with Chris Styler (Atria Books) is menu based and includes preparation schedules to help reduce some of the stress of cooking these "major" meals. Between the recipes and the color photos I ended up drooling over almost every recipe in the 163-page book.  They all seemed like they would be delicious.

The 10 menus begin with a "cozy festive fall dinner" and end with a New Year's Day "linner" (mid afternoon combo of lunch and dinner).  In between there are holiday buffets, Christmas events and an elegant New Year's Eve dinner. Each meal has its own color-coded section making it easy to find. The recipes are accompanied  by lots of color photos for inspiration.

While there are many recipes that would work well for vegetarians this is a meat centric cookbook.  It is also Christmas centric, with no options for other winter religious or cultural celebrations.  That's not surprising, since it is a food memoir of Daisy's own tastes and experiences, but it dimmed its appeal for me as a seasonally based cookbook.  However, most of the recipes would be appropriate throughout the year, so the book is not limited to holiday cooking.  An index by course would have made it easier to use the cookbook year round and increased its versatility. This is special event cooking, so don't expect budget cooking or super-quick recipes, although Martinez does include easier variations to get the same flavors.

Directions are thorough and complete with step by step photos of many techniques such as how to cut up a chicken and  Martinez gives ideas on how to use up any leftovers.

Some of the recipes that caught my eye include Achiote-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Manchamanteles (Tablecloth Stainer Sauce) with a chile-fruit note; Pumpkin-Spice Mantecadas, delectable little muffins; Empanaditas with Huitlacoche, Spinach and Mushroom Filling, small, savory turnovers using corn fungus; Arroz con Pato, a duck variation on a popular chicken dish; Coconut Tapioca with Mangoes, a luscious dessert, and Tamarind Margaritas, with spicy salt rims.

Keep reading for the recipes for the Coconut Tapioca with Mangoes and the Tamarind Margaritas and for links to other recipes from the book.

Coconut Tapioca with Mangoes
Makes 12 Servings

From "Daisy's Holiday Cooking" (Atria Books) by Daisy Martinez with Chris Styler

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup instant tapioca
2-13.5-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
2 1/2 cups light cream
2 large eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
Large pinch of ground ginger
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ripe mangoes

Stir together all the ingredients expect the vanilla and mangoes in a medium saucepan. Let stand of 5 minute. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the tapioca comes to a full boil.  Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Divide the tapioca into 12 6-oz. dessert dishes or pour into a large serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the top of the tapioca to prevent a skin from forming.  Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Just before serving, stand each mango on its end and slice away the fruit on either side of the pit. Peel the mango "fillets" and cut 6them crosswise into very thin slices.  Decorate the top of tapioca with the slices. Serve.

Tamarind Margaritas
Makes 2 drinks

From "Daisy's Holiday Cooking" (Atria Books) by Daisy Martinez with Chris Styler

1/4 cup kosher or fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder, or to taste
1/2 lime, squeezed, and squeezed out lime half reserved
Ice cubes as needed
1/4 cup (2 oz). silver tequila
2 Tbs. (1 oz.) Cointreau, triple sec, or other orange liqueur
2 Tbs. (1 oz.) tamarind puree (not syrup or pulp)

Stir salt and chipotle powder together on a small plate until blended. Rub the rims of 2 cocktail glasses with the squeezed out lime half and press the rims of the glasses in the salt to lightly coat them.

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes and pour in the tequila, Cointreau, tamarind puree, and lime juice.  Shake vigorously and strain into the glasses.

Links to other sources for recipes in the book:
Link to the New York Daily News and recipes for Sweet Plantain Canoes with Shrimp Diablo, Flourless Chocolate-Chili Cake and more.
Link to the Chicago Sun-Times and recipe for the Achiote-Rubbed Turkey.
Link to the blog A Chica Bakes and a recipe for Latino Hot Chocolate made with coconut milk and Mexican chocolate.
Photo credit: Atria Books (Simon and Schuster)
Discloure: Copy provided by publisher

1 comment:

Kate Campbell said...

Hi Faith: Your blog redesign is beautiful -- sounds like there are still a few bugs to work out -- but it is eye catching and info rich. It's great to have such an outstanding resource for food and recipes so close at hand. Thanks for all your hard work in bringing us fascinating food adventures. Best wishes for another 500-plus posts.