This book is lovely. The authors, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, take you on a trip to many exotic places. They have traveled extensively and share their journeys of food with their readers. It kind of makes me feel like I don't get around much. There are beautiful color pictures throughout the book. The layout is interesting. The ingredients are in a green side bar with the instructions on the inside "seam" of the book. It is pleasantly easy to read, which is a plus in the kitchen.
This book is full of interesting looking recipes. I had a hard time selecting what to make. I chose three dishes that didn't look too time intensive for a weeknight. First up was the Spinach Salad with Cilantro Dressing (pg. 64). This one came together in a snap. The dressing was made in the blender with simple ingredients that blended so well together. The creaminess of the mayo-mustard combo was delightfully brightened up by lime and cilantro. I served ours with the optional sliced jalapenos. Major yum, without major work.
I have had nagging voice in my head telling me I need black bean soup. I just happened to run across the Brazilian Black Bean Soup (pg. 35) and the voices sang. This recipe looked relatively simple, so I thought, "Why not?" The Latin Spice blend (pg. 27) is a flavor powerhouse. They give you the option to add whatever chile powder you like. I chose a combo of chipotle and ancho. The recipe for the spice mix didn't specify what type of paprika to use, so I opted for spicy smoked paprika. You can pick your pepper as well. I had jalapenos in the fridge, so they were the pepper of choice tonight. I thought it would be delightful in a Latin spice combo. It was a good call. The soup had a beautiful silky texture. It had a bit of heat to it, but not too much. I might try it with habanero another time to fire things up for my heat lovin' honey.
The real surprising treat for me was the Caramelized Cauliflower in Spanish Green Garlic Sauce (pg. 130). While I am not a hater, cauliflower is not my favorite vegetable. It seems I forget about this cloud-looking veggie. Again, this dish was very easy to throw together. The most time intensive part was chopping the parsley and mincing the garlic. I used my trusty Microplane grater and made quick work of the garlic. I added the optional chopped tomatoes. I am so glad that I did. Not only did they add a nice dimension of flavor, they added some beautiful color. Fred and I were split on this dish. I adored it, while he was...meh. I loves me some garlic. The garlic on this could easily be overpowering for many meeker folks. The garlic is not cooked, so it adds a dimension of heat that may turn some people off. I, on the other hand, figured it would do my heart good and keep the vampires away. YUM! Tell me this is not a gorgeous side dish?
Caramelized Cauliflower in Spanish Green Garlic Sauce
The Horizons Cookbook is likely to get some action in our house. I love dishes with lots of spices and bold flavors. The dishes I've tried so far easily fit this bill. If you like lots of flavor in your recipes and lots of beautiful pictures in your cookbooks, make sure to get a copy of this book. It's good reading and good eating!