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Gran Cocina Latina - The Food of Latin America (Anglais) Relié – 26 novembre 2012


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Gran Cocina Latina unifies the vast culinary landscape of the Latin world, from Mexico to Argentina and all the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean. In one volume it gives cooks, armchair travellers and curious chefs the first comprehensive collection of recipes from this region. An inquisitive historian and a successful restauranteur, Maricel E. Presilla has spent more than thirty years visiting each country. She has gathered more than 500 recipes for the full range of dishes, from the foundational adobos and sofritos to empanadas and tamales to ceviches and moles to sancocho and desserts such as flan and tres leches cake. This is a one-of-a-kind cookbook to be savoured and read as much for the writing and information as for its introduction to heretofore unrevealed recipes.


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110 internautes sur 119 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Amazing Encyclopedic Cookbook on the Food of Latin America 26 septembre 2012
Par Naomi Manygoats - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I have loved reading and cooking from cookbooks for several decades now, and just last week completed the 6 month classroom portion of chef's school, which was located in the heart of Tex-Mex land. While we made a few enchiladas, tamales, empanadas, and salsas, we did not have a block of study devoted to the foods of Latin America. I was, therefore, amazed and very happily surprised by the encyclopedic cookbook and reference on the subject by Maricel E. Presilla, The Food of Latin America Gran Cocina Latina.

First of all, Presilla defines Latin America as the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries that emerged from the disintegration of Iberian colonial power, which includes Mexico and spreads across the Caribbean to the three islands of the Hispanic Caribbean; Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. It continues through Mexico to Central America and South America, only excluding Belize, and Guianas since those countries were French, Dutch, etc. influence.

While I have read many cookbooks that were compiled largely from the author's study, Presilla is so well qualified to write such a culinary and historical book, that it will stand the test of time and be the expert book on the subject for decades to come. It is like getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II, the enhanced and expanded edition (which never actually existed) all at once! The author holds a PhD in Medieval Spanish History, is the chef and co-owner of two pan-Latin restaurants, and was named Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation. Presilla spent 30 years traveling all over Latin America, learning recipes and cooking from the most humble dwellings to the nicest ones. The author came to the U.S. from Cuba, and noted that that many Latin-American cooks, expecially those whose family came to the U.S. before good Latin American markets were in existant, used American ingredients as substitutions. Therefore, she documents the recipes as they were intended to be made, but does give some notes about where to find the ingredients, and at times substitutions.

There are over 500 recipes in this book, and the book itself is 902 pages. While I have only begun to read the book, the recipes are well written, and seem to be accurate and detailed in how to create them. I have made similar recipes of many of the dishes, and was on the lookout for any obvious errors, and did not spot any. (If the recipes are 100% error free in a book with this many recipes though, it would be nothing short of miraculous, so as with any recipe, the cook should read it all in advance and use common sense). There are color photographs of some of the dishes, which are located in groups of pages that are together in several parts of the book, as opposed to having a picture of each dish opposite the recipe. There are also beautiful botanical-type drawings, such as you see in Cook's Illustrated, to illustrate techniques and ingredients throughout the book. There are extras as well, such as kitchen tools needed, a glossary of peppers, and more. The formatting, text, and overall layout is well done. The text is readable even to older eyes. There are two recipe indexes, one for recipes in English, and one for the Spanish titles.

Instead of having the recipes arranged by country, which would have been head-spinning and confusing given how many countries are represented, the recipes are grouped according to ingredient or type. Chapters include Layers of Latin Flavor, Table Condiments, Tropical Roots and Starchy Vegetables, Squashes, Corn, Quinoa, and Beans, Rice, Drinks, Little Latin Dishes, Empanadas, The Tamal Family, Cebiches, La Olla (Soups and Hearty Potages), Salads, Breads, Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Meat, Hot Pepper Pots, and Dulce Latino (Desserts). Each chapter has its own table of contents at the beginning of the chapter.

As an example of the scope of the book, the section on Empanadas has The Empanada Filling, A Note about Frozen Empanada Dough, Working Ahead, Galician Empanadas, (Galician Empanada with Tuna or Salt Cod Hash, Galician Empanada with Chorizo), Savory Double-Crust Pies (Venezuelan Chicken Pot Pie, Helena Ibarra's Polvorosa Pot Pie), Folded Baked Empanadas (Chilean Beef Empanadas). Then comes Argentinean Empanadas (Making Authentic Argentinean Empanadas, Big-Bellied Argentinean Beef Empanadas, Matilde's Classic Beef Empanadas), Fried Empanadas (Cuban Fried Beef Empanadas, Argentinean-Style Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Fried Empanadas, `Hot Air' Cheese Empanadas from Cuenca). Next comes South American Empanadas with Cracked Corn or Plantain Dough (Fresh Corn Dough for Colombian and Venezuelan Empanadas, Instant Corn Dough for Colombian and Venezuelan Empanadas, Valle del Cauca White Corn Empanadas with Potatoes and Peanuts, Venezuelan Corn Empanadas with Shredded Beef, Black Beans, and Fresh Cheese, Plantain Empanadas with Shrimp in Merken Adobo, and Ecuadorian Green Plantain Empanadas with Cheese). And there is even more in this chapter not mentioned in the index, such as illustrations and steps for making the decorative border for Argentinean empanadas, and the secret way of cooking the onion....

In short, if you are the type of cook who loves to just read cookbooks, this one would keep you busy for at least a year I think. There are so many stories, historical notes, etc. that even a non-cook should find it a fascinating book to read. If you love to cook from your books, then you will probably need a few years or decades to make your way through this amazing reference. To say I am simply thrilled with the book is putting it lightly! Well done Maricel Presilla, I expect to see this book sweeping the cookbook awards! The only people who might be disappointed in the book are those that expect a color picture of each recipe opposite the recipe. However, if the book was done like that, you would not be able to lift it!

I have had this book for a few weeks now, and have grown to really appreciate the recipes for Rice, Beans, and other vegetables that are in the book. Since I am trying to cook and eat more of a plant based diet, the many variations of Rice and Bean dishes are a huge plus. I can easily substitute for the meat in these recipes.
73 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Incredible tour of Latin cuisine 30 septembre 2012
Par Timothy Hayes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is absolutely amazing. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have other books on Mexican cuisine (Kennedy and Bayless) and a couple of Caribbean cookbook, but this book covers the varied cuisines of the Latin world with such incredible detail that it is easily my favorite on the subject. I had intitially imagined it to be like a Latin Larousse, but with its straightforward style and infectious enthusiasm for the cuisine, it is its own beast, and a beautiful one at that! While it does not offer a complete view of the cuisines of any one country (a little disappointed to not have a pipian verde recipe), I can't imagine any book coming as close to doing so as this one does.

The recipes are straightforward and presented with introductions that makes them hard to resist. Ever since I received the book I've been scouring the internet for different rare ingredients(Chiles chilhuacles, chiles mirasol, chicha jora, to name a few), but the book overs good substitutions for ingredients that you may have difficulty procuring outside of their native regions (I'm looking at you, chilhuacles negros!). I've already made a Peruvian adobo from the book and just finished grinding together chiles pequin and cocoa nibs to create in incredible Mayan seasoning brick that can be grated onto dishes as needed. I'm also gathering up the ingredients to make the epic Oaxacan mole negro for Halloween (I'm absolutely fascinated by the prospect of burning a bunch of chile seeds to carbon and using them to color the sauce- noxious fumes be damned!) Who knows, by next summer I may even be planting my own selection of chiles and herbs that I can make more of these fantastic recipes.

If you have any interest in authentic Latin cuisine, or are passionate about the art of cooking in any way, you need to buy this book. It will surely earn a prominent place amongst your cookbooks and on your kitchen counters.
52 internautes sur 59 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Amazing first edition 20 décembre 2012
Par Mark Hays - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
From the other reviews, you already know that this book is comprehensive, amazing, and quite heavy!

You should keep in mind that it is encyclopedic and is also a first edition, so it contains a large number of typographical and other errors. At the same time, Presilla provides important and excellent suggestions.

For example, my wife and I decided to make Cochinita Pibil. Presilla suggests Yucatecan Saffron Rice, Yucatecan Refried Beans, and Yucatecan Red Onions Pickled in Bitter Orange Juice. The onion recipe declares them to be the obligatory accompaniment for the pig, so we added those to the meal. The recipe for the beans suggests the pig and rice. The rice recipe suggests the pig, beans, and onions. OK, so you're making all this as a meal, we decided.

For the pig, Presilla suggests country-style spareribs marinated for a couple of hours and that they be cooked at 425F for 35-45 minutes. This is just plain wrong.

The C/S sparerib is somewhat of an abomination: a piece of sparerib with an attached piece of chop. It is impossible for these two distinct cuts to cook at the time same rate. Plus, you have all the small, razor-sharp bones to contend with! A shoulder or butt is probably ideal for this; whole loin for a low-fat version would work OK.

If you look at your Bayless/Kennedy/etc collection and look online, you'll see that 4-24 hours marination is ideal. We ended up going 24 hours once we figured out that the cooking time was way off. Indirect gas or charcoal at about 300F for several hours, or braised in the oven (our choice) for several hours is what most people recommend. 45 minutes at 450F would produce nothing but shoe leather.

Anyway, this is first-edition type stuff!

As for the meal, the onions were... hot but good. The beans were... bland but had a lingering heat. The rice was... plain old saffron/Mexican rice and somewhat bland, and the meat was... strange. Oh no: we cooked all day and the result is mediocre!

But when you make some corn tortillas, sit down, and COMBINE each of the components with the onions and with one another, something magic happens! This was the best meal of 2012, hands down. Presilla's repeated cross-suggestions of accompaniments is CRITICAL to the success of this meal. The onions, citrus, and cilantro make the other components simply explode with flavor. Indeed, you could say that those onions are the main part of the meal; I've never experienced anything quite like it!

Without her insight, we most certainly would not have chosen this combination of items, would have had a mediocre meal, and probably never would have made this again.

As it turns out Bayless' Picadillo Oaxaqueno, Calabacitas con Crema, and Frijoles Negros Borrachos may have just been edged out by Presilla. Believe me, this is saying something!

Four stars, just for the first edition errors; a remarkable five-star work aside from that.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Truly outstanding !! 23 août 2013
Par H H Felsted - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I saw this book first in my Public Library and checked it out. Ultimately they made me bring it back. Then I bought it, and no one can make me bring it back.

I spent a career in Venezuela and Mexico, mostly in the back country, often sleeping in hammocks and eating fresh cooked foods unavailable in big city restaurants (when I had the opportunity to look for them.) I'm now in my late 80s, and this book refreshes memories of foods long forgotten, marinates taste buds, and pulls me back into the kitchen. Perhaps most gratifying are the fragments of history of where these foods originated and where and how they arrived and were modified for the New World tongue.

Thank you, Maricel Presilla. And Thank you, Amazon.
19 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Lacking in some areas 29 mars 2013
Par S. Nunez - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I rarely get books on Latin American cooking because while Mexican and Cuban are usually accurate, anything else is usually woefully innacurate. But reading about Presilla's research and the time put into this book, I had hope. And the book is mostly the real deal, but I am left disappointed about some things.
I was nodding and smiling all through the section on white rice. Yes, someone who gets it! I have seen so many Latin American cuisine books that kept throwing out 2:1 ratios for white rice, which is simply wrong and not reflective of true Latin American cooking. She was also right about the variety in arrows con pollo and how it can be soupy or dry and very rarely the same from one country to another.
And really that's what I enjoy most about this book. It's rare that someone gets how diverse we all are in spite of speaking one language (which itself is very different from one country to another) and she gets this point across.

So the disappointment? Aside from errors as a previous reviewer pointed out (yes, cochinita pibil is cooked low and slow), it's seeing certain countries get very little mention yet again.
I'm already used to the Dominican Republic getting very little mention and many of our dishes attributed solely to Cuba and Puerto Rico, so the fact that there are just three dishes (one of which I've never eaten nor had anyone make) isn't surprising, but it is disappointing considering expectations for this book. The empanada section is where it really bothered me. Presilla makes brief mention of empanadas made with yuca dough, but then while she has more than one Argentine, more than one Chilean, more than one Ecuadorian, and mostly made of flour doughs, yet she couldn't include the classic Dominican empanada, which is reflective of the cuisine's roots in its use of yuca and starchy root vegetables in general? I mean I guess it works out for me since when I open an empanada shop some day nobody will know how to make them, but still.
No sopes (on the Mexican side, and I feel the chapter on "little foods" could be way more comprehensive)? No kipes? I really did expect better!

Still, this is a better volume on the food of Latin America than any other books out there. Just that if you want to know more about certain countries you're better off resorting to blogs (because most books are poor).

Edit:
She also erroneously lists an almojábana recipe as pandebono, with the recipe having more cornmeal than yuca starch. Pandebono has minimal cornmeal versus almojábanas which are heavy on the cornmeal.

Honestly, the more I read the book the more disappointed I am with how lacking or downright inaccurate it is in cuisines other than Cuban, Puerto Rican, Ecuadorian, Argentine, and Peruvian.

ALSO, VERY IMPORTANT!!! The salt amounts are wrong for many of the basic white rice methods. It should be teaspoons where it says tablespoons considering they are made with just 2 cups of rice, plus if you look at her recipes for half the amount (1 cup), the salt amount if doubled would be in tsp, not tbsp!
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