Who doesn’t love tacos? Just wrap whatever you’d like around a soft or crisp corn or flour tortilla and you’ve got the ultimate walking around food. Mexican food authority and author Kelley Cleary Coffeen grew up in Southern Arizona along the Mexican-U.S. border and came to appreciate all that these little street snacks could be. She was determined to write the ultimate taco cookbook and shes accomplished that with 300 Best Taco Recipes.
In her chunky, 384-page cookbook, Coffeen offers up taco recipes made with chicken and turkey, beef, pork and lamb, fish and seafood, vegetarian ingredients, and even dessert tacos. Her creativity is endless. How about a breakfast taco made from chorizo (spicy Mexican sausage) and eggs? What about Mexican Hash tacos made with potatoes, ground sirloin, and Monterey Jack cheese? Or maybe Parmesan Scallop Tacos are more to your liking. She even gets a little wild with offerings like Peanut Butter and Berry Tacos and Korean Kalibi Tacos with Asian Pear Salsa. They’re all here along with 295 more.
In addition, Coffeen gives readers the basics of making homemade tortillas and, something that’s always been a mystery to me, ways to keep fresh tortillas warm or reheat them without having them become too chewy or stiff. She unpacks ingredients for readers like tomatillos and jicama that may be unfamiliar to non-Mexican cooks. And she offers up a basic lexicon of Mexican food definitions like Adobo Sauce (smoky chile sauce), escabeche (oil, vinegar, and herbs for pickling), and elote (fresh corn n the cob).
300 Best Taco Recipes also provides readers with a wide range of salsa, relish, and sauce recipes, everything from basic pico de gallo and roasted tomato salsa to tropical salsa, margarita melon salsa, and blue cheese and onion relish. And, of course, you cant have tacos without beverages and Coffeen provides 21 recipes for cocktails. While I wish she’d included some non-alcoholic options, her offerings such as Dulce de Leche Martini and Cactus Colada are sure to please.
The book is well indexed and each chapter features a convenient listing (with page numbers) of the recipes. Though I’d have loved to see even more photos, the food photos that are provided are stunning. Rather than being next to the recipe they go with, the photos are clumped together in little bunches with reference page numbers to the recipes.
With 300 Best Taco Recipes, Coffeen not only offers us authentic, flavorful Mexican dishes, she gives us truly creative variations. Shes telling her readers that as long as you use fresh, delicious ingredients, anything can become a taco. We agree and, at realfoodtraveler, were going to spend a lot of time exploring that idea with 300 Best Taco Recipes. — BH