This is the second book in the Reyes Family Romances series. Patti, the best friend in the first book, is the chef in the party-planning business she runs with Tegan, the paperwork gal and heroine from the first book. In this one, Tegan's soon-to-be-husband, Alexander Reyes, invests in Patti's cooking by backing her to open a small diner that specializes in Mexican cooking. She's overwhelmed at the idea of being the Maid of Honor at their wedding, as well as the caterer, so she heeds Alexander's advice and advertises for a cook to help her out. None of the applicants know Mexican cooking--until a large, bald, bearded, multi-tattooed biker walks in. J.T. has spent his life on the road, but worked a lot in the southwest as a cook. He knows how to make authentic Mexican foods, that will satisfy even Alexander's relatives. So despite her worries about whether or not she will be able to keep her hands off of her employee, Patti hires him.
Personally, I want a bumper sticker for my truck that says, "I brake for Mexican restaurants. Because I do. Give me a glass of red sangria and some taco chips with salsa, and I'll happily study the menu while I sample the chips. But I don't have much experience with cooking my favorites at home. I love chilli rellenos, but the recipe I found was challenging, to say the least. I love posole, the very hot Mexican pork shoulder soup, but it was a lot of work--and I had to eat it all myself--husband said it was too hot for him. I called him a gringo.
Many of the foods that are in this book are ones that I've enjoyed in restaurants, but have not had the courage to try to create at home. To let her try his cooking, J.T. makes sopes with chilli, tortas de papas, and coconut flan. For the wedding, they serve chilli rellenos, tamales, and other tapas. Then later in the book, J.T. makes Guatemalan black beans with rice, and corn relish with tomatoes and peppers. For dessert, he creates a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry and almond compote. (Note: this I have made and it was delicious!) Needless to say, I was hungry quite often while I wrote this book.
In the end of the book, J.T., who is a Roma (the real name for people known as gypsies), whose grandparents lived for a while in and near Poland, makes golabki for Patti and her kids. Since my mom learned to make this from her mom (my Busia, who lived in Chicago for over 50 years, yet never learned any English), this I do know how to make. When I asked Mom for the recipe, she laughed and said there wasn't one. So I had to watch her make it, and write down every step. I had to do the same thing with her capoosta recipe--Polish-style sauerkraut, that you add bacon, cabasa (smoked Polish sausage), peas, mushrooms, and onions to, making a complete low-carb meal. Mom's been gone ten years a week from now, so when I miss her, I make one of her recipes, and I feel her smiling, sitting next to me while I enjoy eating it.
If anyone wants my 2 Polish recipes, I put them on the last page of my website--under Olio. If anyone has any good Mexican recipes that even a newbie can make, please share them with me.
And if you want to try some new pie recipes, note the tab above that says Pies, which has my never-fail-pie crust recipe, as well as some of my family's favorite pies. In For the Love of His Life, Veronica bakes pies all through the book. Just in case you want to use pie to woo your own Raul (the hero's name), I supplied the recipes.
To find out what recipes from fiction that other authors want to try, hop along on the Wednesday Blogging Challenge by clicking here: