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Daisy Cooks

Order "Daisy Cooks!" today!

DAISY COOKS! Latin Flavors that will rock your world

by Daisy Martinez

Publisher:  Hyperion Books, 2005
ISBN: 1-4013-0160-6
294 pages; Hardcover; $29.95

As part of keeping up with "food news"  I watch a lot of cooking shows on TV - good and bad ones included!  If I don't click to another channel within the first 5 minutes of watching a cooking program -- you have my attention -- and I'm committed to watching the cook! 

That was my experience when I first came across Daisy Martinez' cooking show (PBS stations - check your local listings for times)  From the first moment Daisy appeared on camera, her infectious smile, enthusiasm and an apparent passion for food that equals my own, I was hooked and she definitely got my attention!

The first episode I experienced  included a segment about green plantains (platanos verdes) and how to make twice-fried green plantain chips (tostones).  Now she really had my attention, as I've been known to say that if someone fried the phone book, I'd probably eat it so you can understand my enthusiasm rising when I heard that fried green plantains were on the menu.

The second aspect of a TV cooking show that I look to experience is actually learning something new!  As I've been cooking for decades, I still cherish the new information that comes my way - hopefully every day.  Although I know and have made and eaten thin fried plantain chips,  I'm not fully versed in Latin-inspired cuisine, so tostones was something new for me to learn that day.  The details on how to make tostones can be found in  Daisy Cooks! --  turn to page 113 to see the recipe!  

Several days later, as I was shopping at my local supermarket - if by coincidence or design, I came upon a tostonera - a gadget made of wood which is used to flatten pieces of the plantain into thin disks to make tostones!  Daisy describes this device - also on page 113 - and how it is used.  So there were two new bits of information for me to store in the culinary file cabinet in my brain....and a new gadget for my kitchen.  That same day in the supermarket, I bought a few green plaintains and guess what I made when I got home?

Visually, the book is lovely to look at, easy to read and the layout of the recipes and photographs are very well presented.  Throughout the book there are sidebars of information containing notes and variations of the recipe on that page where applicable as well as other tips and bits of information about specific ingredients and cooking techniques,  Especially helpful is the information contained in paragraphs entitled "Daisy's Pantry" where Daisy shares with the home cook her suggestions on what specific foods to have in your pantry which will enable you to cook a variety of Latiin-inspired dishes.

By Latin-inspired cuisine, Daisy's interpretations of dishes from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Spain, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Central and South America may sound complicated and involved but several of the recipes take less than one hour to prepare. However, for the passionate food lover, the time it takes to create a flavorful dish for family and friends isn't really an issue.

Daisy's professional  techniques and skills she learned by attending The French Culinary Institute in New York City,  along with attending Conchita and Valentina Martinez Cooking Academy.....that is to say, she  learned cooking techniques and family recipes at her mother and grandmother's sides  while growing up in Brooklyn, NY --  all of which contributed to her success as a caterer, cook book author and TV cooking personality.

If you've not experimented with cooking foods that have their origin in Spanish-speaking countries, it's time you did!   Be sure to pay particular attention to Daisy's "Top Ten Hits" in the front of the book.   When you've made even one of Daisy's Top Ten Hits like the Achiote Oil on page 9 to use in five recipes in the book, or by adding a spoonful of achiote oil to mashed potatoes as Daisy suggests, you'll understand my passion for this cook and her book!




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