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Book Corner: 6 Mexican Cookbooks We Love

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Enchiladas Suizas from Fiesta at Rick's by Rick Bayless [Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Whether you are planning to host a Cinco de Mayo party or simply trying to improve your tamale technique, a great Mexican cookbook can help. And while it's always tough to pick favorites from our massive cookbook collections, today we're sharing 6 of our favorite guides to Mexican cooking: books with photos that get us salivating and recipes that have proven successful.

Check out the list and tell us: do you have a Mexican cookbook you love? Please add your recommendation in the comments section.

Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

20120418mexicaneveryday.jpg"Mexican Everyday is Rick Bayless's most accessible book, and for me, it has always been not only a wonderful guide to Mexican flavors, but also to cooking in general. Every single recipe I've made has worked flawlessly, and the techniques are explained in such a way that even as a novice cook I found great success using it. As I've matured and cooked through many more books, I've realized just how rare that is. As for a favorite dish, I always turn to the braised greens tacos: rich braised chard stuffed into warm corn tortillas, topped with crumbly white cheese, and topped with a smoky salsa. They represent the book perfectly: simple, delicious, and something you never would have thought to do. Definitely the best vegetarian tacos I've ever tasted."—Blake Royer, Dinner Tonight

Buy it on Amazon, around $17 »


Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain

20120418homesicktexanbookcorner.jpg"If you're not already familiar with Lisa Fain's blog Homesick Texan, which then inspired her cookbook, you can probably guess from the title that she left her home of Texas and started missing all of the unique flavors from home. The puffy tacos. The bean-less chili. This book is a mishmash of regional Texan food with plenty of Mexican-inspired recipes represented, like a great salsa with avocado, fresh tomatillos, serannos, cilantro, and lime. And this basic migas where fried corn tortilla strips are thrown into the skillet with jalapenos and eggs whisked up with half-and-half—and don't forget the big handful of cheese that gets melted on top."—Erin Zimmer, National Managing Editor

Buy it on Amazon, around $20 »


Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy by Diana Kennedy

20120418oaxacabookcorner.jpg"The food I cook the most at home is Mexican, and I have a whole cookbook shelf dedicated to the genre. 99 percent of the time I alternate between the catalogs of Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy, and since Blake already stole Mexican Everyday, I'm going with Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto. This massive and exhaustive examination of the regional dishes of Oaxaca is at once captivating and infuriating. For one, it's nearly impossible to look up a recipe, since there isn't a comprehensive index of all the regions, so you have to flip through each one to find anything. But whereas other cookbooks are about adapting cuisines to your modern kitchen, this book is about starting over and learning to cook a new way. Sure, there are epic mole recipes, but my favorite dishes are simple and straightforward—yet don't taste like it. No recipe quite shows this off better than Swiss Chard and Chicken Liver Soup, which doesn't initially appear like a Mexican recipe, but each ingredient is cooked in a way to maximize its flavor."—Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Editor and Dinner Tonight

Buy it on Amazon, around $38 »


Amor Y Tacos by Deborah Schneider

20120418amorytacos.jpg"I love to throw a dinner party that's a little interactive, a little choose-your-own adventure. This book has been an awesome help for that. Start with chips, cut up vegetables, and a bunch of different salsas (I especially love Schneider's creamy Salsa Verde with tomatillos and avocado, and the Mango Habanero salsa with mint has the perfect sweet/hot balance.) Then have one (or more) of the taco fillings ready, heat up some tortillas, and let everybody assemble their own meal. My favorite is the grilled lamb tacos with chile rub, but the carnitas braised with milk and orange were impressively moist and super-easy to make. Serve malty beer and tangerine-ginger margaritas."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor

Buy it on Amazon, around $13 »


Fiesta at Rick's by Rick Bayless

20120418fiestaatricks.jpg"I first encountered Rick Bayless's Fiesta at Rick's when making this recipe for bacon guacamole (bacon guacamole!!). But I've found a lot more to love, like the Coctel de Camarones, a sort of Mexican shrimp cocktail with a spicy, tomato-y clam juice bath plus avocado on top. Many of the recipes are straightforward, like these, but deliver on bold flavor: my kind of cookbook."—Carey Jones, Senior Managing Editor

Buy it on Amazon, around $23 »


My Sweet Mexico by Fanny Gerson

20120418my-sweet-mexico.jpg"If you've ever been to Mexico, you know that Mexicans don't just like sweets, they're sort of obsessed with them. Yet stateside Mexican restaurants tend to offer limited dessert choices—a flan here, a tres leches cake there—and many more people drink sangria than horchata. Fanny Gerson's cookbook cracks open the delightfully vast world of Mexican sweets, offering recipes from everything from Coffee-Flavored Corn Cookies to Paletas. While the recipes aren't inaccessible, they're also not dumbed down. Guava caramel pecan rolls? Pumpkin seed candy? Delicious, but not something you'd find simply by Googling "Mexican dessert recipe." Her stories and beautiful photos add to the authentic feel of the book, which has become my Mexican sweets staple."—Carrie Vasios, Sweets Editor

Buy it on Amazon, around $20 »

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