Publishers don't generally send me cookbooks, but once in awhile one ends up in my mailbox. That's how I came upon Latin Chic: Entertaining with Style and Sass in 2005. The book, co-authored by Carolina Buia and Isabel C. Gonzalez, is bright with colors and photos, and stocked with all sorts of party planning/lifestyle advice -- in between the numerous recipes. The book is divided into specific party themes, such as A Pool Party in Puerto Rico (tapas menu for 4); Turning Up The Heat In The Hamptons (weekend barbecue for 8); La Dulce Vida at Vizcaya (1950s-inspired Caribbean Cocktail Party for 12), plus others -- over 200 pages in all. The book retails for $34.95, but you can get it here for $25.78. It is currently ranked number 228,783 on Amazon, which makes this the top seller thus far in our Short Order cookbook series.
Each section offers recipes for cocktails, hors d'ouerves, starters,
main plates, and desserts. Sprinkled in are pertinent tips -- how to
properly clip a cigar, why it's a nice idea to offer straw hats as
party favors, and "take a chance and wear heels the next time you sport
your bathing suit and sarong at the pool". (Actually, wearing high
heels at the pool isn't new -- working class girls in Brooklyn used to
do it all the time. Then again, I don't think these authors are
necessarily working class gals, and I say this only partly because
their husband's names, mentioned in the dedication, are Lang Whitaker
and Heath Barefoot. Working class guys are rarely named Heath or Lang.).
If you get this book real quick, you can probably steal a whole lot of
ideas for that Labor Day party you are throwing together this weekend.
We'll get you started with simple recipes for a papaya-glaze that will
perk up your grilled pork loin.
Recipes are set up well and easy to read
Guava Barbecue Sauce
"Super Bowl Sunday at Dr. Felix Gonzalez's house always includes
platefuls of juicy, grilled pork tenderloin medallions slathered in
guava barbecue sauce. This Miami Cuban has been making his own fruity
yet piquant sauce for years, which I have adapted here...The guava
sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week."
Recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of sauce.
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12 ounces guava paste, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients. Simmer over low
heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the guava paste
dissolves and the ingredients combine to form a thick, syrupy sauce, 15
to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. If not using immediately,
Latin Chic is published by HarperCollins Publishers
All photography by Jim Franco