By Keri Hayes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Those who have experienced the exquisitely beautiful landscapes of Sedona will understand the inspiration behind Susan K. Bollin’s new “Sedona Cookbook, Recipes from Red Rock Country,” a plethora of scrumptious recipes compiled from submissions by Sedona restaurants, bed and breakfast inns and the author’s own kitchen.
For those not familar with Sedona, suffice it to say it is a magical place. With more positive vortexes (energies formed by the earth’s magnetic fields) concentrated in Sedona than any other place on earth, many feel regeneration and connection with the spirit world within the red rocks. This same landscape is said to be home to the Great Spirit in Native American legend.
Some of Bollin’s recipes definitely reflect Sedona’s unique energy, and are accented with informative trivia about Sedona and its history. Breakfasts like baked chile rellenos and Oak Creek eggs draw from traditional Southwestern spices and ingredients such as green chiles, limes, chorizo and tabasco. The remainder of the breakfast recipes are quite bland however, with variations on traditional pancakes and french toast.
There are some very interesting salads though; the “Tonto Salad” combines kidney beans, tuna, green onions, capers and various other spices and ingredients for a delicious taste sensation. The “Asparagus-Avocado Salad,” including tomatoes, lime juice and basil vinegar also sounds appetizing. Bollin includes a wonderful Sedona shrimp salad and a Southwest tradition — black bean salad.
A Southwest cookbook would not be complete without tortilla soup, a traditional favorite that, if prepared correctly, is said to cure varying ailments. The question is whether Bollin’s recipe, which calls for ingredients like chicken, white onions, green chiles, avocados and stewed tomatoes, can rival the best available — that served at Tucson’s own Cafe Magritte.
Of course Bollin includes a few variations on another Southwestern specialty — chili. Her “Absolutely Perfect Arizona Chili” calls for sirlion, bell peppers and onions combined with a long list of spices and simmered for ten to twelve hours!
For meat-eaters, Bollin provides an array of main dishes, like “Ham With Tequila,” “Tamale Pie,” “Shrimp Jambalaya,” “Sedona Swordfish” and “Kachina Chicken.” Vegetarians would have to resort to the salad section, or delete the meat from recipes because there are no entree recipes that do not include meat or seafood.
Particularly enticing are Bollin’s desert or beverage sections with recipes like “Chocolate Cheesecake,” “Flan,” “Mexican Wedding Cake,” “Strawberry Tequila,” “Spiced Coffee” and “Sangria.”
Although secondary to the content itself, the cookbook’s layout could have been far more spectacular than it is. Being one of the most photographed places in the United States, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon would have been beautiful beside the recipes. The book is illustrated with small sketches at the bottom of each page, but no photographs appear.
Bollin’s “Sedona Cookbook” does offer an array of Southwestern favorites and unique dishes, although some of the recipes are not too original apart from their catchy names.
Nevertheless, for those aspiring cooks, or for students just sick of fast food, “Sedona Cookbook” offers some wonderful alternatives, most of which are simple to prepare and delicious to devour.
Susan K. Bollin’s “Sedona Cookbook,” Golden West Publishers, retails for $7.95 and is available at Waldenbooks and B. Dalton’s.
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