Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen is a tapas-lover’s dream. The book is broken down into nine sections – the ninth being drinks. The restaurant, Cúrate, is the brainchild of owners Katie Button, a former electrical engineer, and her husband Felix Meana, a former hospitality specialist. Together, they opened Cúrate in Ashville, NC. Katie went on to become the pastry specialist at Jean-Georges in NY. Three years later, the couple opened a second restaurant, Nightbell. Experience at those restaurants are what bore this cookbook. Throughout the book, Katie tells stories. I really enjoyed reading about how she went about not only preparing the actual food but setting the stage for the dining experience.
Cúrate gives traditional Spanish food an American spin, so the recipes are tailored to our lifestyles. So my husband and I decided to put their book to the test and create a Spanish-themed dinner for guests at our home. I selected five recipes to make, to be served in four courses. Taking Katie’s advice, I set the scene with floral centerpieces I felt represented Spain. On the table were hand-painted plates from Italy (okay, so not Spain, but they were beautiful and reminded me of Spain). Lastly, I queued up Spanish guitar music on Pandora. Our guests arrived and immediately declared, “I feel like I’m in a Spanish restaurant!”
Not even one of the recipes we made was “meh.” Every single one was absolutely outstanding. Katie’s recipe instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow. I had never made flan, so I decided to attempt that for dessert. It actually was the hit of the night! Not only was it beautiful to present, but it tasted light and refreshing.
The other recipes we tried were the “Endive Salad With Walnuts,” “Pomegranate and Blue Cheese” (pg 50), “Grilled Spice-Rubbed Hangar Steak” (pg 103), “Hake and Clams” (pg 94), and “Tomato Bread.” The tomato bread I actually turned into an interactive activity for everyone at the dinner table — drizzling the olive oil onto the toasted bread, rubbing the garlic into it, and then rubbing on the already cut tomato. It was fun, and we all laughed.
I have SO many other recipes already tagged in this cookbook. I intend to try many more. This book will be a staple in my kitchen. No doubt.
Reviewed By: Heidi Komlofske-Rojek