Ama

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Being fairly familiar with Tex-Mex food, Ama kinda blew my mind. The book came across as a labor of love, an ode to family and to the passion of culture and food (all in my sweet spot!). The photos are beautiful, the book well laid-out and above all the recipes (though some a bit more time consuming than I'd prefer) are so different than my go-to dinners; exactly what I needed.
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To choose one cookbook over all the others, it needs to have photos that are beautiful enough to inspire me to cook but also look simple enough that I won't be in the kitchen for several hours after a long work day. This book meets both criteria. The instructions are easy to follow, and I look forward to trying out many of the recipes.
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My family loves Tex _ Mex food and is always looking for a new restaurant or food truck to eat at. But sometimes they are hard to find – so this cook book is just what I need to make my own. With each page I learned more about the history of the food and where the food came from and was able to understand more about where these recipes came from. So we are gathering up these ingredients ( check the Mexican section of the grocery aisle) and fire up the grill and get cooking. We are having a big family party coming up and I am bring some of my favorites.
Making for my next family gathering.
 AMA’s Guacamole – p 189. Grated celery is his secret weapon and it makes all the difference.
6 Nana’s Deviled Eggs with Bacon – p 195. Great deviled eggs. He goes well beyond the traditional mustard addition to the yolks.
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Ama by Josef Centeno & Betty Hallock is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late September.

The mottled white stucco and light tilework backdrop makes everything near it look fresh and airy. This is all about Tex Mex cuisine (with themes of breakfast, veg, family meals, party food, and desserts) served in LA, seeped deep in the Centeno’s family history with page-edge aligned recipe titles, a preamble to promote and define it, then a vertical ingredient list and instructions. I gravitated especially toward dry salsa and torrada constituted with oil, chicken soup garnished with toasted sesame seeds, familiar and unfamiliar dishes alike brightened by a veg, sour, or pickly element; carne guisada, oi, a nudge toward heaven; spiced-up Tex Mex Caesar salad; sautéing Mexican rice before boiling it, ala Rice-a-roni; amazeballs turmeric ginger chicken and curry chili pork roast; and freshly-baked fennel-scented conchas.
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AMÁ: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock is not your typical Mexican cookbook where the authors profess that their recipes are authentic. In fact, Centeno says, “The only thing authentic about Tex-Mex is that it isn’t authentic: It evolves and adapts.” That’s one of the reasons that this cookbook will appeal to almost everyone and make it possible for them to prepare fabulous Tex-Mex dishes at home. In addition, the author includes vignettes of his childhood and family memories, which make the book and recipes interesting. In fact, this is one cookbook that is fun to just sit down and read, even if one isn’t cooking.

Joseph Centeno owns Bar AMÁ (along with some other restaurants), a popular Tex-Mex restaurant located in Los Angeles. Centeno’s upbringing and the food prepared by family members, especially grandmothers, are the main influences on his cooking and the food served at his restaurant. His family also owned several Mexican markets, so ingredients were at his fingertips. He has used the ingredients to advantage in the recipes. For most of us that means a trip to a special grocery, but it is well-worth the trip.

This excellent cookbook includes mouthwatering recipes, which are beautifully photographed, and make it difficult to decide what to make. There is an excellent recipe for homemade flour tortillas, with step-by-step photos to insure that ours will turn out perfectly at home. The chapters are a bit different than standard cookbooks, and include Larder (pickled foods, condiments and basics), Tex-Mex Breakfast (Migas, Huevos Rancheros, etc.), Super Nacho Hour (what else? Nachos, some very unique, but all incredible), and Dulces and Desserts (Cookies, cakes, and other sweets), to name a few. 

The recipes are written so that anyone can easily follow them; some have long lists of ingredients, but others are quick and easy for busy cooks. Several call for special ingredients, so hopefully readers of this cookbook have a Mexican grocery nearby. This is one cookbook everyone who loves Tex-Mex food will love. It will keep them busy cooking for months.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book
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Amá
A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen
by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock 

I miss Mexican food and do my best to make it here in Lebanon. I learned to make authentic tortillas from a woman in Saudi Arabia, learned to make salsa from a Mexican cookbook to serve to an embassy friend missing home and I have enjoyed reading and eating food from south of the border for years. I have more than one Mexican and Tex-Mex cookbook in my collection but NONE of them have the varied recipes using so many tasty ingredients as this one does. In fact, as I began reading I immediately wrote to my daughter (a foodie) to tell her about this book suggesting that she should see if she can find it. Sadly I won’t be able to find all of the ingredients where I live BUT I might be able to find substitutions and approximate the recipes. I certainly hope so. In addition to the recipes there is a great deal of family history that enriches this book. We learn of generations past that the author remembers fondly while sharing their recipes and history. 

What I liked: 
* The history of the author, his restaurants and family’s
* The ease of reading the recipes and feeling I could recreate the recipes if the ingredients were available
* The flavors that popped in my mind as I read through the book
* Being reminded of home and eating out decades ago in Los Angeles
* Seeing twists on recipes I make now or have made in the past using Centeno’s family seasonings and recipes

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I buy it for myself or others? Yes
Which recipes would I want to try first? Perhaps some of the salsas, desserts and mixed drinks and I have to say I am fascinated by the idea of using beer in cooking beans. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

5 Stars
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A good Tex Mex cookbook with some delicious recipes. I wish more of the recipes had accompanying pictures as I am much more likely to try those that do. 

A great addition to my cookbook library. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advance copy of this title in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Fideo

Borracho beans

Mexican Sriracha

Cobjini

Cornmeal pancakes

The serving containers hve a character. the one with the lobster is a narrow one. The spoons handles are cut-out.

Roasted caulfilower with cotija cheese

Sauteed corn with mushrooms

Rice with v8 vegetable juice

haha.. kale slaw

Super nachos is high tower

Tex Leches

Capirotada - mexican bread pudding

Many new kinds of chiles and sauces.
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Can we all take a moment to appreciate how ridiculously gorgeous this book is?! The cover of this book immediately grabbed my attention and it’s just as stunning on the inside. The food photography is so well done, everything looks appetizing. Plus, it’s honestly designed really well, too. The pages are super clean and consistent.

The recipes themselves are very straightforward. And none of them seemed overly complicated, even the desserts. Which I greatly appreciated. As far as ingredients go, there are definitely some that are a bit difficult to find in my local tiny grocery store. But the majority of them were easy to grab. Definitely recommend this cook book.
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Stunning book with fun and tasty recipes. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys cooking and loves tex-mex. The recipes are clearly written and the photographs are a beautiful accompaniment.
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This is a solid...meh!  It was ok but not much in the original.

**OMG!  I cannot believe that these reviews haven't been done!  I am so sorry they are so late!!!**
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Amazing cookbook. The photography is fantastic and I enjoyed the introduction by the author.  My sister in law is Mexican and our family has been lucky enough to eat some excellent Tex-Mex food. I would like to make some of the dishes I feel a little more comfortable with like Dad’s fajitas but the Tex-Leche chocolate-coconut cake is calling to me. Ground cherries are available in our local farmers market so I am going to try to make the pickled gooseberries. Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find locally. Star anise is one of the spices which is cool as a dear friend just told me he bought online a lifetime supply of star anise. We have several really good Mexican grocery stores near us which I will check out first. Thank you for allowing me to review an advanced copy.
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Gorgeous cookbook with some great recipes. Made the carne guisada and was enchanted with the result. It occasionally asks for hard to find ingredients (especially where I live in Canada), but some little substitutions never hurt nobody.
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The recipes look to die for in the photographs, which are bright, colorful and can make you drool puddles. The recipes, however, for me, are too much. They call for so many ingredients that for one, I don't keep in the house and if I did, I would waste so much money because I would never use them again. This was not for me, but I am sure someone else would enjoy it.
#Texmex #Netgalley
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This Tex-Mex cookbook did not really win me over.

On the plus side, the photographs look delicious and I would happily try any recipe from this book that someone cooked for me. The dishes are very much from scratch and use a lot of spice and peppers. There is a fried chicken recipe I’m dying to taste, and a chicken fried steak recipe which you rarely see in cookbooks these days.

On the minus side, these dishes are from scratch. The ingredient lists are long, and although mostly consisting of spices, there are also several different chiles and peppers required that are not always easy to obtain. I have had issues finding some of these peppers even living in a big city with easy access to Mexican supermarkets. It would have been very helpful to have a list of substitutions and/or similar types of peppers for options so a cook who is unfamiliar with the types (or has no access to them) could still attempt a particular recipe.

Several recipes also take a great deal of time to create, and it would be helpful if time estimates were provided for cooks who are unfamiliar with this type of cooking. Most recipes call for many pots and pans, and several burners going at once. Small kitchen operators should be careful.

That said, if you are a cook who is experienced in Tex-Mex or Latin cooking and are looking for a gorgeous cookbook with from-scratch recipes, I would say this is for you. My comments are not serious complaints, only warnings that this book is not for beginners and requires access to some possibly hard to get ingredients. Every single photo in the book looks scrumptious (wait until you see the desserts!) but the time involved in cooking these dishes – not to mention the clean up from all the pots and pans – makes this a no for my cookbook shelf. But if someone else wants to cook these recipes and have me over for a meal, I will be there with bells on.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC given in exchange for an honest review.
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I cannot wait to cook from this (or, more accurately, my partner!) - these tex mex recipes look fresh and definitely flavoursome.
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I need this book in my kitchen right now! It's not released until 10/1/2019 so the best I could do was pre order it and I can't wait. Rick Bayless is my go-to guy for Mexican cuisine, but hold the phone, Josef Centeno just stepped in.

3 reasons I'm in love with this cookbook:

1. The photographs are amazing! 

2. The recipes (I know this should be #1, but the pictures are really great). I love Tex-Mex and as the author stated, Tex-Mex is something that continues to evolve. He has provided traditional recipes mixed in with those that are new. The recipes are approachable without being intimidating and ingredients that shouldn't be too hard to find. The directions are easy to follow with terminology that's understandable. 

3. His story. He tells about who he is and all those that have special significance in his life, like Ama. He pays homage to those that paved the way before him and you know he cooks from the heart.

After I read the last page I felt like I could have a beer and a few tacos with Mr. Centeno.

Thank you NetGalley, Josef Centeno, Betty Hallock, and Chronicle Books for an advance copy.
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I can't wait to try the recipe for "Mom's Rice". I love cookbooks like this that combine restaurant food and homey favorites. The whole book was a great mix of Tex Mex recipes and twists on old classics. I really enjoyed the headnotes, they were informative and conversational.
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This book is extremely interesting. I love that it is written in two languages and the overall concept is beautiful. The recipes are excellent and I am glad to have new meals in my arsenal especially to host dinner parties. The only warning I would give people is these are not for the new cook. Some knowledge and comfortability in the kitchen is required.
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This is a beautiful Tex-Mex cookbook which skirts the line between Tex-Mex and even simply Tex food sometimes (the chicken fried steak is a great example here). I was very impressed by the assortment of recipes and tantalizing photos. The chapter on nachos and other appetizer/snack items is probably my favorite in the whole book (I would have maybe even moved it to the beginning of the book instead of nearly the end)! I can envision many football Sunday parties with a plethora of dishes from that chapter in particular. This would be a great cookbook for anyone who enjoys Tex-Mex food, but I would especially recommend this for someone who can access Latin American markets for some of the ingredients, although in this day and age most can be ordered online. Definitely two thumbs up.
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