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Spice Up Your Spring Menus

Growing up with a half Mexican, half Italian mother, I was spoiled with the best of both worlds when it came to good food. Some of the first dishes I learned to make included tacos, enchiladas, Spanish rice and chile verde, so you can imagine how skeptical I am when looking for new Latin-inspired recipes. However, I was pleasantly surprised after reviewing Daisy Martinez’s new book, “Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night.”


Martinez, who hosts the show “Viva Daisy” on the Food Network, has created a cohesive collection of Latin-inspired recipes based on her travels throughout Latin America and her Puerto Rican background. What I like best about this cookbook is that it provides a wide variety of classic Latin dishes from all over the globe from Peruvian Roast Chicken to Jibaritos, a Puerto Rican-style sandwich made with plantains instead of bread. She also gives excellent how-to guides with photos for preparing some of the more difficult items like churros and empanadas.

The book is broken up into sections starting with breakfast but Martinez has cleverly included several unique sections like “Weeknight Dinners” and “Buffets” to help the busy cook plan their meals in advance without emptying out their pocketbooks or taking up their entire day in the kitchen. Her goal was to provide simple, nutritious recipes that are user friendly and easy on the budget and she does this successfully while simultaneously helping the average cook get outside their comfort zone. The photos in this book are beautiful and there are wonderful explanations of the origins of certain dishes or variations on specific recipes.

I’ve been trying to eat light lately, so I enjoyed the Buenos Aires Hearts of Palm Salad made with avocados, juicy tomatoes and a light citrus-based dressing. But I’ll admit I’m dying to splurge and try her Strawberry Delicia, a Latin version of a trifle made with layers of cake, cream cheese, whipped cream, preserves and fresh strawberries. Que Rica!

If you like to try different cuisines, or want a good starter book for Latin foods, I definitely recommend adding this cookbook to your pantry!

For more Latin recipes try these:

Festive Mexican Menus

Cuban Dishes

Spanish Recipes