Rancho La Puerta Cookbook

Bill Wavrin, Author Broadway Books $21.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7679-0163-5
Executive chef of this 58-year-old oasis in Baja, Mexico, not far from the California border, Wavrin has created an inspired panoply of spa cuisine, designed to keep daily fat levels below 18%. While he has six acres of organic vegetables to draw from, anyone can apply his tantalizing approaches to food likely to satisfy even those who are skeptical of low-fat dishes. Employing chiles, herbs and spices to energize flavors, Wavrin also assembles components that marry intriguingly. Soups are especially imaginative. Yellow Jubilee Tomato-Mint Soup is served either hot or cold. Appetizers include Thai Spring Rolls, which, filled with nine highly seasoned chopped and sliced vegetables, are baked, not fried. Salads can be warm (Sesame Broccoli Stir-Fry Salad; Warm Red Cabbage Salad with Sprouts and Green Beans) or cold (Lentil and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad). Blue Cheese Pepper Dressing features yogurt flavored with feta and blue cheese. Caesar Dressing leaves in the anchovies but replaces egg and oil with buttermilk. Entrees include sauteed rather than fried Chiles Rellenos, Classic Spa Lasagne slimmed down with a filling of vegetables, crumbled tofu and nonfat cottage cheese, and Chile Pasta with Arugula and Coriander. Blueberry Cheesecake has a baked graham cracker crust and a yogurt and ricotta filling firmed with gelatin. Wavrin's recipes are not complicated and most of the prep time will go into chopping. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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