Bring a Taste of Elote to Your Kitchen
The Elote Café in Sedona, Arizona has been dishing out Chef Jeff Smedstad’s award-winning, ‘from-scratch’, Mexican-inspired cuisine since 2007. The restaurant is considered a destination dining spot among travelers as well as home to the Sedona locals. Often times, Elote Café is completely packed and they don’t even take reservations (proof of how much this place is loved!).
But there’s good news for all those who don’t live in or near Sedona. In between weekend trips up to the Red Rock City, you can still savor a piece of Elote Cafe… in your kitchen. Chef Jeff has created “The Elote Café Cookbook”, a best-selling cookbook with more than 10,000 sold already. It dives into more than 21 years of his travels throughout Mexico, where he learned the intricacies of authentic Mexican cooking and how food has played an important role in the country’s culture and traditions. You’ll find several favorites from Elote Café are sprinkled throughout as well.
We recently got our hands on a copy of the cookbook and, I must say, it’s gorgeous. The photography throughout the book is enough to make you salivate. The recipes do pay tribute to some of Mexico’s most authentic, classic dishes like tamales and tacos, but each recipe has some sort of twist that only Chef Jeff can contribute.
Containing more than 110 recipes, there’s bound to be something for everyone, and I’m ready to cook my way through it from beginning to end. Recipe categories include:
- Appetizers & Small Plates | Among these including the restaurant’s namesake, Elote, that Chef Jeff makes with sweet Silver Queen corn, Flor de Calabaza Rellena (bright gold squash blossoms prepared using the same method for traditional chile rellenos, then folded in a warm tortilla), Goat Cheese Fundido, Crab Cakes with Veracruz-style Spicy Pumpkinseed Crema, and homemade Chorizo.
- Soups & Salads | Including recipes like Jicama and Orange Salad, Sopa Azteca (a traditional soup boasting many flavors of Mexico that Chef Jeff adds carrots and corn to), and Posole.
- Entrees | Includes Chef Jeff’s recipe for his Cure (what others may call a rub or spice mix), Aracherra with Guajillo Sauce (grilled skirt steak with a savory sauce made from Guajillo chiles), Duck with Mole Verde, Scallops al Mojo de Ajo, Shrimp Chilaquiles, Pumpkinseed-Crusted Snapper, and an array of side-dish recipes from Refried Black Beans, Cowboy Beans, Chipotle Spinach, Arroz Con Queso Y Elote.
- And, of course, a chapter dedicated to Desserts | Recipes like Tequila-Spiked Pecan Pie, Pastel de Elote, Tamal de Chocolate, Mexican Lime Crème Brulee, and Platanos Almendrados (Chef Jeff’s play on Bananas Foster).
The book wraps up with a few drinks recipes including a Pink Martini (made with prickly pear vodka), The Impure Margarita (a little different with a splash of OJ), Blood Orange Margarita, Rompope (Essentially, Mexican eggnog) and several more.
Personally, I especially loved Chef Jeff’s preface which is jokingly, but truthfully written explaining in detail, what a “day in the life of Chef Jeff at Elote Café” really entails. He also goes into great detail about his travels and how they influenced his personal style of cooking.
If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, I highly recommend you do. It’s a great read filled with an enormous amount of delicious-sounding (and looking!) recipes and a beautiful cookbook you’ll be proud to display.
“The Elote Café Cookbook” can be found on Amazon.com, EloteCafe.com and dozens of other retailers throughout Arizona and is priced at $29.95. You can also pick up a copy in the restaurant on your next trip in!
Elote Café | 771 Highway 179 | Sedona, AZ | 928-203-0105 | elotecafe.com