Blog Book Tour | “Daily Tortilla” by Ricardo James

Posted Tuesday, 14 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Cookery Delights | Savoury & Ambrosial | Cookbook reviews by the Bookish Foodie Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Monstruo Estudio.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Cedar Fort whereupon I am thankful to have such a diverse amount of novels and non-fiction titles to choose amongst to host. I received a complimentary copy of “Daily Tortilla” direct from the publisher Front Table Books (imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I have revealed bits and bobbles of insight of my adventures down in Mexico previously, as I recollected different aspects of my time exploring Mayan ruins, the Federal District (Mexico City), and the Yucatan; however, I am unsure if I ever clearly expressed how life-affirming and changing the journey of eight days with a sponsored trip for American teenagers truly proved to be for me. I was sixteen yet I was already a seasoned traveller who ended up helping her group with such a high frequency, I never considered myself ‘chaperoned’ because the roles were in reverse! I didn’t catch-on to learning Spanish in school (courtesy of being dyslexic with a syntax issue with a romantic language) yet what proved to be more efficient was knowing English, with an alert mind, and an eye for understanding the food, culture, and history of a country your visiting.

I had friends who took mission trips with their Lutheran churches who returnt not quite as wholly enthused as I had myself – to be honest, I did not stop dreaming of walking around the ruins of Uxmal for at least a few years, and even found my poetry igniting with ruminations of my time being ‘there’. I grew up in a multi-diverse (both culturally, religious, and ethnic) city where you have as many different denominations of faith and religion as you have cultural heritage inside restaurants and eateries. My favourite ‘big event’ was held at the convention center where you get to ‘walk around the world’ for a day, eating different foods (oh, yes even in elementary and middle school I was a ‘foodie’ at heart) whilst conversing with the people who were hosting the booths. I talked the most, enquired the most, and basically took getting my ‘passport’ stamped quite seriously! I didn’t just want to ‘walk through’ the moment, I wanted to live it, breathe it, and taste it too! I have a heap of fond memories from this faire but being in Mexico changed my life.

I didn’t take a mission trip (my churches had them, but honestly I wanted to do outreach in America which was unfortunately never an option) but what I did take was a solo journey of a teenage American who fell in love with Mexican food and cultural heritage! I loved visiting the Archaeological Museum where I learnt if I had had the ability to do this, it was only a ‘short hop and a skip’ in a chartered plane to visit a more rural ruin of the Mayans hidden within the folds of the Yucatan itself. I dreamt of taking that flight even after my time there ended and I was boarding the flight home. If only,… The flamingo dancers at the night club spoke to my dancer’s imagination — as I love performance art, theatre, and dance. The creativity and the colourful way in which stories are told through the motion and art of the music is a beautiful synchronism of eloquence.

What has withstood the most against all these years of time has been my memories — the heart memories of the foods I inhaled and consumed whilst I was living off my own moxie for staying ‘true to Mexico’ without taking any health risks like my classmate did when he picked up fruit from a roadside stand. Honestly, boys are silly sometimes to the determent of their well-being! I, meanwhile, elected to pick and choose off the menus of the different restaurants, opting for as authentically Mexican cuisine as I could afford to partake each time I ate whilst being given a crash-course in Mexican dining! I loved sorting out how to ‘order the food’ without speaking Spanish but rather sorting it out in this quasi-original way between the menu itself, my facial expressions and hand gesturing with English — personally I think it was my enthused curiosity to ‘try the foods’ which won over the chefs and wait staff!

Imagine then, my happy joy in finding “Daily Tortilla”!?

 Blog Book Tour | “Daily Tortilla” by Ricardo JamesDaily Tortilla:
by Ricardo James
Source: Direct from Publisher

Sopes, Tamales, Pozole, Huevos Rancheros, you’ve never had Mexican food like this! Daily Tortilla starts with the basics of tortillas, beans, rice, and salsas, and then builds to an incredibly delicious repertoire of dishes found in any family dining room in Mexico. Say “adios” to Americanized Mexican food this is authentic, south-of-the-border flavor at its finest!

Genres: Cookery

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Front Table Books

on 10th June, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 271

Published by: Front Table Books (@FrontTableBooks)

an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

Converse via: #DailyTortilla, #MexicanFood, and #MexicanCuisine

About Ricardo James

Ricardo M. James grew up in a rural town in Wyoming. He studied Spanish Pedagogy at Brigham Young University where he also taught Spanish and directed study abroad programs to Mexico. He currently owns a consulting firm that provides technology solutions to K-12 schools across the United States and South America. He lives in Springville, Utah with his wife and five kids.

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I love reading cookbooks where the chef behind the recipes is as excited to share with you their passion for cookery delights as a direct equal of joy to your own heart’s winsome appeal to try something new! As soon as I first saw this cookbook come up for review, I nearly burst out in pure joy for finally finding a way back into the plate of my heart from my week of savoury delights in Mexico! I haven’t been able to find a truly authentic Mexican restaurant (thus far) who has a firm knowledge of what I experienced whilst I was travelling through Mexico. There is such a joy in finding unexpected foods which give you such a measure of happiness to taste, you simply want to find a way to bring them back into your life and share them with others around you! Hence the joy I have today to share what I found inside this book!

Mr James starts off his cookbook in such a wicked personal way, as his Acknowledgements page is a cook’s poem to tip his hat to those who not only encouraged his pursuit of the kitchen but encouraged his heart to develop his joy in cooking through traditional processes that own to the luxury of taste in Mexican cuisine! I love how he arranged this sentimental note by order of ‘ingredients’ wherein he included a nod of a hug to a person or a group of persons who made a special impact on his life at different moments of his education and development as a chef. He followed this up with an Introduction section where you truly get to dig into the heart of what Mexican food gave back to me, as Mr James had a similar experience of my own; wherein we each did not want to lose our tangible hold on a legacy of food which spoke directly to our spirit!

It was through this section where you start to see how intrinsically enriched your life becomes when you draw together a circle of family, friends, neighbours, and community members who tie you directly to a particular place and setting. Your not just celebrating food but life itself! Food is such a personal way of communicating because it’s sensory specific and it’s rooted in history, taste, smell, and the fresh ingredients which increase your palette’s preferences for recognition. I loved reading about how his connection to eating and living authentically in Mexico led to his lifelong connection and inspired him to step outside his Tex-Mex roots!

He goes on further to explain how his mother raised him on Tex-Mex or the Americanised version of Mexican foods to where there was an invisible boundary between where the tradition and the counter-culture of the foods themselves started to blur a bit out of focus. I applauded his technique for learning from the best sources of how Mexican foods would carve out a niche in ordinary homes and the lives of housewives; truly, the unspoken heroes of any country and culture! Mothers and wives are the connective glue who hold the family together, and they have intuitive instincts on how to provide a plate of food that does far more than nourish an appetite!

I enjoyed learning how Mexicans love consuming fresh foods straight from the (farmer) markets the day of purchase rather than having any of the ingredients lie in wait for consumption. It’s good practice but a difficult one for most of us who live hectic lives, except to say, I used to live through the seasons myself — purchasing only fresh fruit and veg (natural and/or organic; the only difference being the certifications) at the local farmer’s markets and/or co-op natural food stores knowing the distance between my plate and the food were shorter than most grocery stores who trucked everything in from warehouses. (a sad modern truth) I even loved learning a bit more of the ‘back-story’ to what I remembered whilst I ate my way through such interesting experiences as a formal restaurant, a mall-like food stop, a street vendor (for soda), hospitality at a hotel, an everyday cafe, and a unique in/out buffet! It’s hard to imagine I had enough time to ‘fit’ in such a diverse group of foodie specific eating experiences but somehow I did!

The latter by far held the most joy for me, as I nearly missed my bus! Laughs with mirth. Mind you, this half had to do with the food and half had to do with the fact I managed to sort out my ‘neighbours’ eating with me were either French, German, or Swiss and we combined our languages and love of the food to communicate in this unique way of understanding each other! I honestly did not want to leave! Sometimes you learn more by heart than by sight or sound! Whilst I was reading about Mr James’ own experiences inside Daily Tortilla and how the ingredients themselves spark the memories of how Mexican food appeals to him, my own mind started to light up inside with a beauty of what I remember of my own days being in a country whose charm and grace has never left me.

When I read about how important ‘beans’ are to Mexicans, I was not a bit surprised — mostly as I have five years of experience as a vegetarian, and beans along with legumes were quite important for protein. What did fascinate me is how uniquely different ‘refried beans’ look in Mexico compared to America, and how pink and sweet onions can be as well. I loved the whole immersion of eating outside my own heritage and even then, I’m a hodgepodge of my ancestral roots with only a small fraction being American! For my American ancestry it’s more regional than exclusive to any one standard of faire because I was bourne in the South, my heart melts and waters with such felicity of spirit to make homemade boiled down southern greens with root veg; fried okra; grits; and fried green tomatoes! The latter of course was inspired by the motion picture: how could it not be? Laughs.

Recently, I had my first introduction to ‘hominy’ and hadn’t even realised there was a wicked sweet recipe inside Daily Tortilla I could have tried! Mum surprised me by finding a recipe that turns hominy into ‘popcorn mac & cheese’ or at least this is what I’ve settled myself into calling it! Laughs. A picture of it was included on my latest review for ChocLit! Now, I never met a ‘gauc’ I didn’t love, nor a base of starter I wasn’t happy to load up on toppings (i.e. tostada (ideally what I referred to in Mexico as ‘open face sandwiches’ as I was having one of those hand gestures to menu conversations with the chef!); tortilla, tamale, gordita, sopes, and taquitos — to have a book full of recipes to create these by hand will be a true pleasure indeed!) and the accompanying bits always delight me too! I like the layering aspects to Mexican cooking inasmuch as the fact the spices and taste give me a heap of joy to eat the foods themselves! I only have to be careful of the ‘heat’ factor when it comes down to ‘peppers’!

Still my soul — he included recipes which utilise a fairly recent favourite of mine as I found a local farmer’s market who had tomatillos in droves! Mind you, they were only available at certain times of the year, but oh! If you caught yourself a lucky moment to hop over to the market, you had the pick of the harvest! I loved making salsa verde with them, as much as I liked finding ways to keep them chunky and/or as additions to other dishes, especially stir-frys or fry ups as they sometimes are called across the Pond! I hadn’t known the pico de gallo was quintessential to Mexicans due to the colours representing their flag, but it did make sense it was a natural favourite as it was on every table when you went to sit down to eat. I ate loads of it, and personally discovered I had a hankering for ‘cilantro’ moreso than my travelling companions!

Looking ahead — the recipes which tempted my heart to attempt in the future are as follows:

  • Salsa Verde Con Aguacate (p.14) – This recipe had me at “avocado meets tomatillo”! Seriously, that is all I had to read, and I knew I wanted to make this one! I might have to sub out the serrano chiles for a jalapeño as who knew I could handle a fresh pepper like the jala?! Beautiful photos are with this recipe to show the prep/cooking stages!
  • Tomatillo salsa or verde – how to choose only one?!
  • Guacamole is made more than one way – I will definitely experiment!
  • Mole sauce is a tricky one for me — I tried a chocolate mole (previously) and it fell a bit short. I think I over thought the recipe but the outcome was satisfying but not ‘authentic’ by any standard. This mole looked to be a bit easier to follow and with results which would be lovely to see happen!
  • Crema Mexicana (p. 35) – who seriously knew this was only a two ingredient dish? who!?
  • Chimichurri Verde (p. 40) – wink, wink more tomatillos! (it’s an addiction of mine, right up there with gauc! YUM!) I have had a ‘chimichurri’ sandwich before with apples and other fun bits included on special toast, but never a verde!
  • Picadillo (p. 63) – It goes without question I’ll be subbing the meat for tempeh for most of the recipes in this lovely book, as I am not going to be an omnivore forever, however, even with a sub of protein, this one had me itching to taste it! I love how Mexican cuisine calls for ‘raisins’ as I thought that was something my family did on the fly so to speak to spice up a dish in a different way; how lovely knowing they use it too!
  • Sopes de Frijoles (beans) (p.86) – I think it’s a given I’ll be using my slow cooker and/or rice/bean cooker (after I purchase one!) quite a heap in the future! This one is wicked happy for me because I’ve found a new ‘platform’ to use with the ‘sopes’! Little boats of bliss, if you ask me!
  • Enchiladas Suizas (p. 89) – Anyone who combines the following: zucchini, onion, tomatillos, garlic, spinach, and cilantro will win me over!
  • Flan – single handedly a family favourite and now I have a recipe to perfect!
  • Fried bananas or plantains are a personal favourite of mine, yet I haven’t sorted out how to make them homemade! Thankful for the recipe!
  • All the drinks included are inspired by fresh ingredients I would normally use for either smoothies or fruit/veg juicing. I love the combinations and the ways in which I can take ingredients I’m used to but re-define them in a whole new way! This was a big, big bonus for me!

All in all, a most satisfying read for a foodie at heart, a cook in the making, and a sous chef who has longed to sort out a path back into the Mexican foods and delicacies which made her mouth water and her spirit overflow in happiness as a teenager! I now have a proper primer to get myself started on traditional Mexican foods, and I couldn’t be happier for the chance to become introduced to the processes and the background of how and why everything works in combination with each other! Mr James has created a masterpiece for those who are culinary inclined to pursue their palette of curiosity with foods which ignite a spirit of joy to discover!

Remember, you can make anything ‘fit’ your individual tastes, and you can yield to the spice level that suits you; as even I have my limits on peppers and heat! I hope I’ve provided you with a bit of joy with my travel recollections and the beautiful pages of wonder Daily Tortilla gave me!

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This Blog Tour Stop is courtesy of Cedar Fort, Inc.:

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

One thing I have wanted to seek out is a way to talk about what befits a book blogger’s soul – part of what makes our soul happy is the food we consume, which is why time to time I will be showcasing a healthy-minded cookbook or baking book to augment this side of my life into my book blog. For this reason, I am still quite grateful Front Table Books and Cedar Fort gave me my initial chance to feature a cookbook — as it marked a transition moment for me, as I started reviewing for their Front Table releases in 2014 whilst continuing now in 2015, I will be regularly featuring non-fiction titles as much as dipping into the Foodie Fiction section of literature which compels my heart to discover.

Follow future installments by: #TheBookishFoodie

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Virtual Road Map of “Daily Tortilla” Blog Tour can be found here:

Daily Tortilla Blog Tour via Cedar Fort Publishing & Media

Find out which Front Table Books I hosted in 2014 + which ones are coming in 2015!

Coming soon: an interview with Annie Oliverio of “Crave. Eat. Heal” arriving on Friday, 24th of April as well as my thoughts on behalf of “The Recipe Hacker” which was a surprise arrival by post after a cancelled tour stop which will be on Sunday, the 19th of April.

Visit with me again soon!

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In conjunction with my “The Bookish Foodie” Feature on Jorie Loves A Story:

The Bookish Foodie a blog feature of Jorie Loves A Story

Quite wicked happy on this being the last cookbook feature on my bookish blog for 2014, before I kick off new features & showcases in 2015 where I am going to be highlighting both fiction and non-fiction Foodie delights! I have always appreciated “Foodie Fiction”, but I am also an amateur sous chef who likes to experiment in the kitchen with her Mum! I grew up with a keen interest in savory and sweet decadence from a Mum whose culinary wanderings spanned the world. We were always a family who were considered to eat ‘bland’ food due to the fact we limited our salt intact, and we never used black pepper! Ironically, it was through the herbs and spices my Mum always fused into our cooking adventures that first sparked my own interest in getting a bit more involved than merely developing a ‘taste’ for what I appreciated. I developed my own yearnings for Indian spices (i.e. Curry Powder, Garam Marsala, Turmeric, etc) and foods, as much as I always had a hankering for extra garlic cloves due to a high concentration of Italian foods I consumed growing up. I wanted to merge my bookish joy of reading ‘Foodie Fiction’ with my quest to uncover a healthier and more vibrant way to eat, live, and thrive. Therefore, I decided to begin featuring what I consider fit under this new Feature of Jorie Loves A Story: The Bookish Foodie! As I am *exactly!* what the title eludes — I’m a bookish girl who has a Foodie soul! Drop back and spend time with me to see where this Feature takes me!

{SOURCES: Author Biography, Book Synopsis and Book Cover of “Daily Tortilla”, the blog tour badge, and the Cedar Fort badge were provided by Cedar Fort, Inc. and used by permission. Post dividers badge and My Thoughts by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Cookery Delights | Savoury & Ambrosial | Cookbook reviews by the Bookish Foodie Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Monstruo Estudio. The Bookish Foodie badge created by Jorie in Canva. Comment box badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 14 April, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Mexico, The Bookish Foodie

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