Monday, October 28, 2013

Texas Rose Cocktails with Spiced Snack Mix + My Review (& a Giveaway!) of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi {#Cookbook Spotlight}

What better way to review a cookbook than paging through it, contemplating the many delicious recipes inside with a cocktail in hand and a spicy nut mix to nibble on?! As part of the Cookbook Spotlight I have been participating in these past couple of weeks it is time to review The New Southwest: Classic Flavors with a Modern Twist by Meagan Micozzi and to give you the opportunity (lots of opportunities in fact!) to win a copy for yourself. (Note: Only one cocktail was consumed while writing this review. I take my responsibilities far too seriously to do any drunk cookbook reviewing!) ;-)

The New Southwest has all the things I look for in a cookbook. It's solid, with a hard cover that can be made to sit open well on the counter when cooking. Each of the 80+ recipes comes with a large color photo to drool over as well as a description from Megan about the recipe. I like knowing something about the recipe I am making--where it came from, how to enjoy it--seeing the author's personality coming through. Recipes are easy to understand and follow, even for those of us in the not-so-savvy-to-southwestern-cooking category. There is a helpful 15 pages on The Southwestern Pantry and a chapter on Building Blocks to help with the basics of roasting chiles, making tortillas and other helpful tips. 

There are a good selection of recipes in all the usual categories--Condiments, Breakfast, Drinks, Appetizers & Snacks, Breads, Side Dishes, Main Courses, From the Grill, and Desserts. There is even "A Christmas-Style Extra" at the end--a recipe for holiday burritos, covered in both red and green chili sauces.   

Hardcover / 232 pages
Hippocrene Books (October 23, 2013)

Recipes I have tabbed to make include: Roasted Garlic Guacamole, Quick Pickled Jicama, Whipped Agave Ancho Butter, Roasted Crema, Coconut Crunch Muffins, Breakfast Tostadas with Cumin-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Pinyon Butter Oatmeal, Cucumber & Melon Agua Fresca, Savory Baked Pumpkin Flautas, Fried Sage Smashed Potatoes, Stacked Squash Enchiladas, Vegan Puffy Tacos with Cumin-Spiced Hummus, Citrus & Herb Red Snapper and Chia Cupcakes.

What I have cooked so far:

Heather of girlichef, our Cookbook Spotlight host, selected Mushroom & Leek Migas as our group recipe. I loved this take on a traditional dish with its meaty mushrooms, sweet leeks, crispy corn tortilla strips and creamy eggs. I ate my half-recipe for dinner and wished I had made a full recipe. 

For my Blogger's Choice recipe, I selected the Pinto Bean Breakfast Patty Melts--another dish from the breakfast chapter that translates just as well into lunch or dinner. These are excellent bean burgers--full of flavor, crispy outsides and moist and creamy within. Perfect to sit down over or enjoy on the go.

I am fond of (OK, borderline addicted to) homemade spiced nut and seed mixes. I could care less about store-bought nut and trail mixes but the homemade ones get me every time. It's the reason I hoard nuts in my freezer and why I had to try the Spiced Snack Mix in the book. It's an addictive blend of Spanish peanuts and pumpkin seeds tossed in a blend of cumin, ancho chile powder, ground oregano, garlic powder and other spices. They are wonderful warm from the oven, with the toasted spices and a subtle heat. 

My best "test" of a nut mix is how well, once cooled, it pairs with some of my stash of dark chocolate mini chips for when that sweet & salty craving hits in the afternoon. This mix pairs very well--reminding me a bit of a favorite chocolate chile bar. Yum!  

A spicy snack mix cries out for a cold cocktail like the Texas Rose. My favorite cocktails are ones that are fruity without being too sweet.

Texas Rose
Slightly Adapted from The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi
(Yield: 1 Drink)

2 oz (1/4 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
2 oz (1/4 cup) pineapple juice
1 oz (2 Tbsp) crème de banane* (See Notes/Results below)
1 oz (2 Tbsp) light rum
1/2 oz (1 Tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice
pineapple wedge for garnish (optional)

Mix the orange juice, pineapple juice, crème de banane, rum and lime juice together in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Fill a lowball glass with ice and pour the mixed cocktail over the top. Garnish and serve.  

Notes/Results: I had a merry chase to find the crème de banane and none of the three grocery stores I tried had it in the liquor section. I even tried my neighborhood liquor store that I vowed not to go into since I once practically had to mortgage my house to buy a last-minute bottle of ouzo there, and still no luck. I could have probably driven across town to a larger liquor store but I am lazy and instead I bought a fresh juice blend of orange, pineapple and banana juices and used the Whaler's Big Island Banana Rum that I had on hand. Not quite the same I am sure but the banana was present and it was ultimately very drinkable. The lime juice and pineapple keep it from being too sweet and the juices make it ultra-refreshing. I can see a lot of imbibing of this cocktail in my future so I'll keep an eye out for the crème de banane.

The New Southwest is great for those loving Southwestern cooking and looking for new takes on classic recipes, those who want to learn more about Southwestern cooking and ingredients and any foodie looking for a colorful cookbook full of tasty recipes. 

Author Notes: Meagan Micozzi was born in New Jersey, raised in Washington, D.C. and educated in New England. In 2011 she launched Scarletta Bakes, a blog devoted to her adventures in southwestern cooking. Micozzi's recipes have been featured on The Huffington Post, The Kitchn, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Scarletta Bakes was named a Site We Love by Saveur. Micozzi resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. You can visit her at

And now... here's how to win a copy of your very own!

 ***The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight Giveaway!***

How to enter:

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favorite Southwestern dish is.

2. There are tons of optional extra entries in the rafflecopter widget!

Hippocrene will be supplying 14 copies of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi for this giveaway, in conjunction with The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight. Contest is open to anybody with a shipping address in the USA. Submissions will be accepted via the rafflecopter widget through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 3, 2013. Fourteen winners will be chosen by random draw, verified, and be notified by email (from Heather at girlichef) within 48 hours of the close of this contest. The winner should respond within 24 hours of notification, or a new winner will be drawn in their place. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!!

This post is part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef

Mahalo to Meagan, Heather & Hippocrene for a fun event and a great opportunity to review a fantastic new cookbook!

Note: I received a copy of this cookbook from the publisher as part of a Cookbook Spotlight event, however I received no monetary compensation to review it. As always, my thoughts, feedback and experiences cooking from it are entirely my own. 


  1. See, I knew we were friends for a reason. You, me, kicked back on the beautiful island...eating spiced snack mix and drinking Texas Rose cocktails... ;)

    I'm so loving the addition of dark chocolate to make it taste like a chocolate bar w/ chiles, too - brills (okay, I don't say "brills" for brilliant, but for some reason it just came out...)! And banana rum sounds pretty perfect in its own rite.

    Thanks so much for being such an awesome part of The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight, Deb. :)

  2. Wow what a great recipe book you have! Looks like you have had fun making the recipes you showed! I would love to have a sip of that martini! If you'd like to see the food we like to make see

  3. Jalapeno cornbread!

  4. Have just been to Kim's! Lovely cookbook! And the spiced nuts looks fantastic, I could snack on these until the bowl is empty!
    Good luck to all!

  5. I'm thinking from now on when I review cookbooks, I should always include a cocktail in my review process. This sounds so refreshing!

  6. I love your review, Deb! And I'm so happy that you are enjoying The New Southwest. The Texas Rose is one of my favorite cocktails, but I have yet to enjoy it alongside the snack mix. Can't wait to try that combo, especially with your snack mix test of added mini chocolate chips! :) Thanks so much for participating in this Cookbook Spotlight, Deb!

  7. Deb - I wish we could share a Texas Rose or two and make those fried sage smashed potatoes together :) I have some of the same recipes tagged to make. The spiced nuts look terrific! I'd love to make them but it is getting harder and harder to have nuts in the house.


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