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Thursday, March 24, 2016

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! ENCHILADAS (Trinity University Press)

ENCHILADAS: Aztec to Tex-Mex (Trinity University Press, 2015, 239 pages, ISBN 978-1-59534-751-0, $39.95 US hard covers) is by Cappy Lawton, who has designed, developed and operated 29 restaurants in Texas. Today, with his wife Suzy and his son Trevor, he actively owns three in San Antonio: La Fonda on Main (in business since 1932), Cappy's and Cappyccino's. His co-author is Chris Waters Dunn, a San Antonio food writer with a creative writing MFA and culinary degree from CIA. Major log rollers include Mark Miller and Anne Lindsay Greer, who have both written about southwest US food. The book collects a variety of more than 60 regional enchiladas and 40 sauces and garnishes, from Baja to Yucatan, ending up with Tex-Mex. Just about all of them are lavishly illustrated with up close photos. The first 90 pages deal with a primer about ingredients and the techniques of making tortillas, roasting chiles, making refried beans, assembling, and some tips on garnishing and accompaniments. Then follows the parade of contents: pork, beef, poultry, seafood, dairy, and vegetable. The Tex-Mex section is entirely different, and has notes on brisket, chicken, cheese, and gravies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mostly avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Source material at the back carefully explains the derivation of each particular recipe (some are from books), including changes and modifications and some updating. A lot of the recipes come from La Fonda on Main, but even these have been changed a bit for the US home kitchen. At the back there is a glossary of Spanish food terms. This was a recent winner at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Audience and level of use: those interested in Mexican food
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: enchiladas de atun (tuna), enchiladas banderas, enchiladas de nayarit, enchiladas de langosta, enchiladas nortenas,  de pato, enchiladas rojas, napa slaw, red rice, roasted tomato salsa.
The downside to this book: weight-wise, it is close to five pounds.
The upside to this book: it does a good job of dissing the notion that enchiladas are just rolled and smothered in some gravy.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

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