In this week's cookbook review, we travel to South America with the fantastic Colombiana cookbook.
In Colombiana, food stylist and tastemaker Mariana Velásquez draws on the rich culinary traditions of her native land and puts her own personal twists on dishes beloved by generations of Colombians. For Mariana, the best meals are never simply about the food on the table - they are an alchemy of atmosphere, drinks, and simple snacks and sweets that complete the experience and make it memorable.
Rich with culture and stories, as well as more than 100 recipes delicious recipes, Colombiana is a vibrant gastronomic excursion that melds the contemporary and the traditional, reminding us of the power of food to keep the ritual of the table alive.
In Colombiana, Mariana pays tribute to the food of her birthplace. Emphasizing that Colombia “always remains my muse, my center, my compass,” Mariana showcases the tremendous biodiversity of the country with recipes for dishes she grew up eating, while also putting her own East Coast twist on a number of them.
Breakfast, snacks, street food, and dessert options - including Arepas prepared three ways, Pan de Arroz (cheesy rice bread rings), and a foolproof Yuca Cake - highlight authentic Colombian fare, while mouthwatering mains such as Bogotánian Ajiáco (potato soup with corn, chicken, and capers), Sancocho (beef, pork, and vegetable stew), and Lentejas Ahumadas con Chorizo (lentils with chorizo) are sure to sate even the most ravenous appetites.
Here are recipes for classics such as Arepas and Empanadas, as well as “Colombian-ish” recipes like Lomito de Cerdo al Tamarindo y Menta (Tamarind Pork Tenderloin with Mint), Gazpacho de Papaya y Camarón Tostado (Spicy Papaya and Charred Shrimp Gazpacho), and Cuchuco de Trigo con Pollito y Limón (Lemony Bulgur Farmer’s Chicken Soup).
Colombiana is divided into very easy sections: La Cocina (pantry essentials), En La Manana (In the morning), A La Mesa (main table), Al Algo (Afternoon and bites), Colombian-ish, and Oda Al Postre (desserts). One thing that you will notice in most of these sections is that the recipes have many servings - for example, the recipe for empanaditas will produce 65 empanadas. This happens because in Colombian culture no one goes hungry! It is truly a feast.
Due to the amount that each recipe yields, you'll find a quite few ingredients in each recipe. However, they are all very easy to obtain, and even if the amount of ingredients is a little intimidating, the instructions are awfully easy. The steps are easy to follow and make each dish very approachable. Not only that, it is like Mariana is right there cooking with you. Oftentimes there are stories incorporated with the recipes, so you learn a bit of Colombian culture along with how to make each recipe.
In addition to offering a unique perspective on Colombian food, Mariana shares the vibrant style of Colombian tablescapes and entertaining. For her, the best meals are never simply about the food on the table.
In the end, Colombiana is Mariana's sincere take on the Colombiana way of being - " Creating and relishing intense yet balanced flavors, with my country as my muse, embracing the beauty and bounty of nature, celebrating with friends and family, and honoring the traditions that define a home.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Colombian food and culture, look no further and take a look at the Colombiana cookbook.
Colombina is a fascinating and beautiful cookbook that will take you on a journey to rediscover the recipes and rituals of the soul of Colombia.