Sandra Gutierrez's passion for food permeates the pages of her new book, The New Southern Latino Table. In it, she talks about her upbringing in Guatemala--a fusion of Latin and American cultures that reached into all areas of her life--language, culture, and especially food. Gutierrez credits her tia Maria, an accomplished and avid writer and cook, for giving her the cooking bug at an early age.
Years later, Gutierrez found herself in North Carolina as a newlywed, trying to replicate the flavors of home with ingredients found stateside. And now, she has spent most of her life living in the southern United States, and has discovered the perfect harmony between classic Southern cuisine and the foods of her own Latin culture. "The Latina found her Southern belle within..." as she says in her introduction.
In this book, you'll find recipes for chimichurri, but also for coleslaw, for ensalada rusa, but also for country fried steaks. And you'll find a beautiful fusion in recipes for chile-chocolate brownies, catfish soft tacos with mango salsa, pumpkin seed brittle or jalapeño deviled eggs.
Sandra Gutierrez's book would be at home in the kitchen of any lover of Latin food (I also loved her guide to Latin groceries at the back) and is filled with recipes and useful cultural notes. And needless to say, in the holiday season, it would make a great gift!
I'm giving away a copy of the book, and all you need to do to be eligible is leave a comment below. Comments will close on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 10:00am Mountain time, and is open to US residents only.
I loved the recipe for her Peach Salsa, which the publishers of the book have graciously allowed me to share here. It's so simple and summery, and would be a great companion to chips or a relish on top of fish, tacos, or steak!
From The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes that Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Copyright © 2011 by Sandra A. Gutierrez. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press. www.uncpress.unc.edu
In this new spin on a classic, peaches replace tomatoes, and the result is a healthy, colorful, and refreshing salsa. Whether you choose to eat it with tortilla chips or use it to dress grilled fish, this peachy take on traditional pico de gallo will satisfy your cravings for sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Select fresh peaches that are still firm, so their flesh will keep its shape when cubed. In the South, peaches are in season throughout the summer. I prefer free-stone varieties, which have loose pits that release easily from the flesh, making them much simpler to slice. Canned peaches in syrup will not work in this recipe (because of their mushy texture and overly sweet flavor). Frozen and thawed peaches may be used in lieu of fresh, but nothing beats the flavor of local, seasonal peaches. Make this salsa, and a kaleidoscope of colors will welcome you to taste.
2 cups peeled and cubed fresh peaches (about 3 large peaches)
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro (leaves and tender stems)
2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (seeded and deveined if less heat is desired)
1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the peaches, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, pimientos, and lime zest. Add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Let the salsa sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend, or cover and chill until ready to use (for up to 24 hours).
Makes 2 ½ cups
Cook’s Tip: Peel peaches easily by using a serrated vegetable peeler (available in cooking specialty shops) or by blanching them. To blanch them, bring a large pan of water to a boil; using a paring knife, cut a small X through the skin at the base of each peach. Drop the peaches into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer them into a bowl of iced water for 2 minutes; peel the skin off starting at the base of the peach.