Cookbook | Elote Cafe Notebook: James Beard Awards-Semifinalist New Cookbook
Nationally recognized Arizona chef and restaurateur, Jeff Smedstad of the Elote Cafe in Sedona is proud to announce the release of his latest cookbook, entitled Elote Cafe Notebook, in early July. Available at bookstores and online sellers, the 280-page, 200-recipe Elote Cafe Notebook ($35) is a follow-up to Smedstad’s top-selling “Elote Cafe Cookbook,” (presently in its 7th printing) and features the same straightforward yet innovative recipes that have made Elote Cafe one of Arizona’s most celebrated dining destinations.
Think smoked pork cheeks with cascabel chile sauce, cumin-buttermilk drizzle and corncakes inspired by Smedstad’s grandmother. Or a spicy bean dip crafted with heirloom Native American Anasazi beans that were lost for millennia until they were accidentally rediscovered inside a sealed clay pot in the 1950s. Meanwhile, cocktail & spirits lovers will revel in the dozens of refined tequila- and mezcal-based recipes, including adding fresh raw beet juice to any margarita for an earthy, sweet kick, or the secrets to a true sangrita chaser (think outside the tomato), or why you should never serve a citrus chaser with añejo spirits, unless it’s orange slices sprinkled with chile-infused salt.
An Arizona native, Smedstad blends the fiery, flavorful cuisine of southern and deep interior Mexico, with the seasonal and sun-drenched cuisine of the American Southwest. After learning to cook aboard a US Coast Guard cutter, Smedstad attended the Seasons of My Heart cooking school in Oaxaca and has spent the past two-plus decades exploring the back roads of Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona, shopping the local markets, eating in restaurants across the region and sharing time with local families to help expand his understanding and gain inspiration and wisdom. At Elote Café and inside the beautifully illustrated and colorfully photographed pages of the Elote Cafe Notebook, Smedstad proudly incorporates sustainable, local, healthy and organic products to showcase his passion for food as well as responsible cooking.
Some highlited recipes from the Elote Cafe Notebook
From a spicy bean dip featuring Native American beans that were rediscovered in the 1950s after being extinct for some 1,500 years, to a simple yet bold cocktail inspired by “The Big Lebowski,” here is a sample of the recipes available in the cookbook.
- The Mexican Lebowski cocktail(page 260)
- A classic White Russian spiked with two types of tequila
- “This is my ode to the Dude… Of course you know it tastes better when you’re wearing a bathrobe,” Smedstad says.
- Fundido de Frijoles (Anasazi Bean Dip)(page 58)
- Reinvented version of the traditional spicy bean dip made with heirloom Native American beans.
- “Back in the 1950s a scientist discovered beans sealed inside a clay pot amidst some ancient Anasazi ruins, and despite being carbon-dated to some 1,500 years ago, miraculously, they sprouted. So now all modern versions of the Anasazi bean come from that original pot-it’s like tasting history,” Smedstad says.
- Smoked Pork Cheeks with Cascabel Sauce, Buttermilk Drizzle and Corncakes(page 184)
- Southwest meets Mexico with just a hint of Grandma’s corncakes
- “Certain foods evoke emotion and transport you, and corncake would be that food for me. When I eat these, I am a small boy again at Grandma Perkins’s table. I recently started serving these with smoked pork cheeks at the restaurant, something Grandma, who is long gone, would have never seen coming,” Smedstad says.
Founded in 2009, Elote Cafe’s authentic yet modern Mexican & Southwestern cuisine is culled from Smeadstad’s 20-plus years of travel across Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla and the American Southwest. Overlooking the scenic Red Rocks of Sedona, Elote Cafe proudly features seasonal, locally grown ingredients, plus a handpicked cocktail menu highlighted by the finest tequilas and mezcal. Prior to relocating to Sedona, Smedstad previously co-founded Los Sombreros Mexican Restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ.