*Baja! Cooking on the Edge - Chosen by Food & Wine magazine as one of the year’s best cookbooks
Chef Deborah M. Schneider CEC
When I left behind the little town in Canada where I grew up, I never imagined that I would wind up a chef, much less a published author. Today I’m Executive Chef/ Partner of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach California and Scottsdale Arizona, where we offer up simple, delicious coastal Mexican cooking based on my writings and travels in Baja California and elsewhere in Mexico. I’ve authored 5 cookbooks that focus on the food, culture and flavors of Mexico – my next door neighbor. My cooking career has taken me from yachts in the Greek islands to some of the finest restaurants in Southern California, and now to SOL. I am having a blast!
I started cooking 30 years ago in San Diego, and found myself in the kitchen with a bunch of Mexican guys - the lone woman and sole English-speaker in the brigade, immediately tagged ‘la guera’ (blondie). We got along well enough, after they realized that I wasn’t going to go away or leave them alone. Together we cooked California-French-Italian food for our guests, but for family meal, out came the chiles and guisados, along with stories of their far-away pueblos and families, and memories of the regional Mexican cuisines they grew up eating. Around the same time I met the man I later married, and together we started travelling to the remote surf breaks and beaches of Baja California, the most spectacularly beautiful place on earth.
My two great passions are food and history, and of course, I fell in love with Mexico. In the delicious cuisine you experience unique indigenous ingredients, unusual techniques and the practical results of two worlds colliding. And no one with a heart can fail to be engaged by the turbulent story of this place and people, which is so entwined with American history, or appreciate the vibrant Mexican culture and its spectacular artistic heritage. The books are my attempt to put in writing -and on your plate- everything I love about Mexico.
As for food, I love simple food made with great ingredients. I’m happiest at any taco stand, watching the cooks working over a smoky grill, surrounded by bowls of green onions and pickled jalapenos and their deliciously unique salsas, chowing down on a perfectly fresh, succulent taco (or 10)…. prowling through markets piled with ripe fruit and chiles, beans and spices, the most beautiful food you’ve ever seen all begging to be taken home and turned into something fantastic. Check out my blog, 1000Tacos.com . I hope you’re inspired to cook something great!
Restaurant cooking is quick, revolving around the grill and sauté pan. So writing The Mexican Slow Cooker (Ten Speed Press) was a revelation, and truly changed the way I cook. Who knew you could make Mexican classics such as Mole, Tamales, Fajitas, Pozole or Flan in a slow cooker? Or that they would be so easy? I regularly use my slow cooker to make belly-warming guisados, salsas and soups, rice and beans, and even desserts. Maren Caruso’s gorgeous photos invite you to plug in and make something wonderful.
Love and tacos…what else do you need? Maybe a party! Amor y Tacos (Stewart Tabori & Chang) is a fun ‘party in a book’ for all you cooks with a wild side. There are exciting new margaritas to try , like the Pineapple Serrano marg, and the Organic Skinny, as well as little-bite antojitos packed with surprising ingredients and tastes (raw beef ‘ceviche macho’) , and of course, tacos and salsas you won’t find anywhere else, like the Chicken Fried Steak Taco, Coca-Cola Shredded Beef, and Chipotle Duck. Many of the recipes are from SOL.
I co-authored Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Latin Cooking - a gorgeous, full-color book that will be around for years. It’s available at Williams Sonoma stores and from their on-line store. Check out recipes from all across the Spanish New World, from Mexico to South American to the Caribbean, such as Pupusas, Arroz Verde, Ropa Vieja and dozens of others in a beautiful full-color format.
Rancho La Puerta, a life-changing fitness resort in the mountains of northern Mexico, and its founder Deborah Szekely inspired Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta. I cherish my continuing association with this beautiful, spiritual place, its gorgeous cooking school and organic gardens, where I learned that great-tasting food can also be healthy and good for the earth and the soul.
¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge (Rodale) is my first book, and was so much fun to write. This gorgeous book, with its hand-made look and fabulous photography by Maren Caruso, is a celebration of the food and wine country of Baja California – a magical and extraordinary place.
I encourage everyone who loves eating as much as I do to support a green restaurant culture, sustainable seafood and local organic farmers, so that future generations will enjoy all the pleasures of the table – at home and away.
Chef Deborah Schneider LIVE!
Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World Famous Spa
NOMINATED FOR JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARD
In this book, our goal is feeling good: full of energy, vitality, creativity and Deborah’s favorite word- joy.
Food and cooking can be one of the great pleasures of your life. When you eat well and enjoy yourself, you’ll feel better. Well-being is not just about living a long life. It’s about feeling great for every beautiful, irreplaceable day of it. Read more…
Rancho La Puerta is truly an exceptional place-when you arrive you feel an instant connection to the beautiful landscape. And when you prepare the fresh, seasonal, delicious meals in this book, you begin to understand that something as simple as the food you eat can put you in direct harmony with the natural world.
- Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION AWARD