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Latin Flavors on the Grill
cookbook reviewslatin flavors on the grill
Latin Flavors on the Grill
by Douglas Rodriguez, Andrew Dicataldo
List Price: $35.00
Our Price: $24.50
You Save: $10.50

Reviewed by Lewis Cramer

Click Here to Buy It On Line!
May 2002

At first glance, the book seemed like a typical Suzy Homemaker, cookie-cutter recipe book. Then as I read on, the intensity of Douglas Rodriguez's ingredients began to fascinate me, and I realized that the book was much more intricate than I had initially anticipated. While reading the introduction, I found that I relate to Dougla's cooking style in that we both enjoy creating exciting or inventive dishes that draw attention to the eye and explode on the palate. I especially enjoyed reading how Rodriguez's Nuevo Latino recipes create an exhilarating mixture of classical Latino cooking mixed with both traditional and contemporary culinary styles.

Every craftsman should utilize his tools and equipment to their optimum abilities. Rodriguez was thorough on his emphasis of the necessary tools needed to master his trade. Levels of grill heat, types of grill fuel, and basic grill techniques were all addressed from a beginner's level all the way through the mastery phase. Rubs and marinades proved critical to every one of his grilling processes, and he attributed these ingredients to the finished product of intense flavor. The concentrated flavors of his food were ultimately compared to the actual grilling process. Man has evolved, cooking tools have evolved, and different varieties of food have evolved throughout time, but the basic element of fire which brings all of these components together has been a mainstay to the cooking process since its discovery.

My intrigue was peaked most surprisingly through his showcase of appetizers. Vegetarian options such as the Roasted Eggplant, Goat Cheese, and Tomato Quesadilla proved his dedication to a menu that satisfies more contemporary palates. Italian flare is visited in the Sardines served with Roasted Red Pepper, Olives, and Caper Salsa. More refined appetizers such as the Grilled Foie Gras with Dried Cherry and Shallot Mojo, Boneless Short Ribs with Opal Basil Chimichurri, and the Roasted Oysters with Black Trumpet Mushroom mojo (which most remind me of a Mignonette) would all be perfect additions to a fine dining experience. Rodriguez has mastered the ability to take traditional foods such as hamburgers, Easter, and Thanksgiving dinners and implement new, creative twists influenced by his Latino background. Instead of using typical beef ingredients for a hamburger, Rodriguez chose Chorizo as his staple ingredient. A common turkey dinner was transformed into Turkey Tenderloins in a Mole rub served with Boniato Mash, Cranberry Mojo, and Plantains glazed in balsamic and basil.

In conclusion, I found that this nontraditional cookbook served a great purpose in that it promotes a great new style that any backyard chef would enjoy. Pictures, graphics, and the general lay-out of this book mirror the intensity and brightness of the food and its flavor. Every detail down to the colors of the garnishes Rodriguez chose reflect the 'personality' he is trying to bring out of his Nuevo Latino cuisine...

Lewis Cramer is the Sous chef of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa, Pennsylvania. Prior to returning to his home state, Lewis gained experience at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Chicago and The Four Seasons Hotel, Palm Beach, Florida.

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