Thanks to our diverse community of Nashvillians, we have so many wonderful and reasonably priced Internationally-flavored restaurants. I particularly enjoy Mexican food, and El Jaliciense on the East Side is one of my favorite establishments. If you’re like me and love the flavors of Mexican cuisine and are curious to try preparing it in your home kitchen, Pati’s Mexican Table is a priceless resource.
Perhaps you know Pati from her PBS cooking show Pati’s Mexican Table. She is also the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC, and Pati often appears in the national media and at the Smithsonian to speak about Mexican culture and cuisine. Her debut cookbook is so user-friendly, it will quickly put your fear of unknown spices and techniques completely at ease. She explains traditional Mexican ingredients like queso fresco and jicama in special sidebars, and through detailed instructions Pati illustrates the tried and true cooking techniques of a Mexican kitchen. My favorite recipe so far has been her smoky chicken potato salad (page 159.) I’m looking forward to finding a ripe watermelon and some tomatillos to make her watermelon and tomatillo salad with feta cheese (page 53.) And I must attempt to create her guava cheesecake (page 256.)
If you’re already an experienced Mexican home cook, can I come over for dinner? Just kidding, but I do want to let you know about this year’s James Beard Foundation‘s award winning cookbook of the year, Gran Cocina Latina: the Food of Latin America, by Maricel E. Presilla. Presilla’s remarkable tome is beautifully crafted, authoritative, and I daresay will prove to be the ultimate resource on Latin American food.