Sabores Yucatecas: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán

Filed Under: Contests & Competitions - Home Cook, Linda's on the Line

Gilberto Cetina just published the first English cookbook, Sabores Yucatecos, on Yucatecan food based on recipes he cooks at his Los Angeles restaurant Chichen Itza.

LOS ANGELES, Ca. January, 2012 The food at Chichen Itza is not the Mexican everyone knows. Open since 2001, the restaurant has a loyal following who have discovered Yucatecan cuisine based on Mayan, Spanish with Lebanese and Dutch influences. Chef/owner Gilberto Cetina wrote the recipes in Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán (WPR Books: Comida, $27.95), based on his mother’s cooking. A reception to launch the book was held at the restaurant recently. Co-authors Katherine Diaz and Gilberto Cetina, Jr., son, were on hand to share experiences.
Born in the Yucatán, Cetina began cooking as a young boy to help his mother who ran a home restaurant for loggers in the timber town of Tizimín. After moving to the United States, he worked in a number of restaurants. Later, he started a catering business serving only Yucatecan dishes before opening his own restaurant.
“I was advised that a Mexican restaurant serving only the regional foods of the Yucatán would never make it,” Cetina wrote on page 8 of Sabores Yucatecos.
“He refused to do that. And, as they say, the rest is history. His restaurant and foods are highly acclaimed by food critics and foodies – and his customers,” said co-author Katherine Diaz.
The two met when the freelance editor covered Chichen Itzá for an article. They became friends. “Chef Cetina is very committed to preserving the culinary traditions of the Yucatán. That’s why this first cookbook has focused on traditional dishes. That’s not to say that he can’t be creative and put new spins on traditional dishes. But that was not the purpose of this first cookbook,” said Diaz.
Cochinita pibil is probably the most well known dish of the Yucatán. Gilberto Cetina, Jr has worked in the restaurant since its opening and has gradually moved from the front to learning the secrets of his father’s and grandmother’s cooking. He said, “At the last taco competition in Los Angeles there were several tacos made with cochinita pibil.”
According to Cetina, only 50,000 people from the state of Yucatán live in the US a likely reason the cuisine is so little known.
Cetina explained that many Lebanese migrated to Mexico and their influence on the cuisine is evidenced in Kibis, a popular dish of meat and bulgar wheat patties with mint. Known as kibbeh in Lebanon, the book also has crema de garbanzo that might sound like but, ” is not to be confused with hummus.”
Queso relleno dates back to sea trade with the Dutch. A version of Edam called Gallo Azul is made by the Dutch for the Yucatán and this dish of stuffed baby Edam cheese.
Author Cetina said, “I put everything I know in the book.” Readers will find 190 pages contain 140 recipes, most with colorful photos, written simply and clearly enough for anyone to make.
Fun trivia such as allspice being one of the few New World native spices ( the other two are capsicum peppers such as jalapeno or habanero, and vanilla) is scattered throughout the book. The name refers to the aroma that is a mix of cloves, juniper, nutmeg and pepper.
Recados, spice mixes that can be wet or dry, are important flavoring components to the cuisine and are printed in the first chapter along with salsa recipes with chiles or tomatoes as primary ingredients.
One flaw in the book, otherwise user friendly, is recipes that call for a recado or salsa do not give the corresponding page number. So the reader must look it up in the index. For example Cochinita Pibil, achiote-marinated pork baked in banana leaves calls for Recado rojo and Cebolla para cochiniate pibil, with just “see recipe”. Banana leaves, another recipe element are in Techniques and Glossary.
Some notable recipes: Panuchos, turkey topped corn tortillas stuffed with bean paste; the tortillas alone are bite-worthy; Sopa de Lima, lime soup with shredded turkey; Pavo en relleno Negro, roasted turkey with pork meatballs in recado negro; and Tamal Horneado, an extra large baked tamale crunchy and crispy because of the baking.
See recipes for Akat de Codillos, achiote-marinated pork shanks in banana leaves; Sikil Pac, roasted tomatoes and ground pumpkin seed dip; and Xec, jicama citrus salad.

To purchase this book and others please visit our books page.

Just in case we've missed an update about any events or information above please confirm all of information directly with the venue before making the drive to the location.

The OC Food Lovers Calendar features a wide variety of exciting events including wine dinners, industry related meetings and seminars, festivals, family fun, entertainment, charity fund-raisers, wine tastings and a little jazz!



Subscribe for E-News

Find all the local wining & dining events that are happening today!

Mar
24
Tue
2015
11:00 am Curry Festival: East India – ADY... @ Adaya - Anaheim
Curry Festival: East India – ADY... @ Adaya - Anaheim
Mar 24 @ 11:00 am – Mar 30 @ 11:00 pm
Curry Festival: East India - ADYA - Anaheim @ Adaya - Anaheim | Anaheim | California | United States
CURRY FESTIVAL This Spring, ADYA will feature four weeks of special curries in a month-long celebration of India’s regional culinary styles. The specials will provide guests with a delicious, in-depth look at India’s culinary diversity.[...]
11:00 am Restaurant Week – Park Ave & Il ... @ Park Ave - Stanton
Restaurant Week – Park Ave & Il ... @ Park Ave - Stanton
Mar 24 @ 11:00 am – Apr 3 @ 11:00 pm
Restaurant Week - Park Ave & Il Garage - Santa Ana @ Park Ave - Stanton
That time of year our 10th Annual … PARK AVE. and il garage RESTAURANT WEEK Tuesday March 24th through Friday April 3rd 3 Course Lunch $18.00 First Course(Choose one) Fresh Clipped Greens PAG Beets and[...]
Mar
27
Fri
2015
8:30 am California Wine Intensive – MGM ... @ MGM Grand Las Vegas
California Wine Intensive – MGM ... @ MGM Grand Las Vegas
Mar 27 @ 8:30 am – Mar 29 @ 5:30 pm
California Wine Intensive - MGM Grand - Las Vegas @ MGM Grand Las Vegas | Las Vegas | Nevada | United States
Play the slots, take in a show, and then spend a few days in Las Vegas tasting wine with San Francisco Wine School. Not what you expected for a trip to Sin City? David Glancy[...]
9:00 am Farmers’ Market – Laguna Hills @ Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot (next to Sears)
Farmers’ Market – Laguna Hills @ Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot (next to Sears)
Mar 27 @ 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market - Laguna Hills @ Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot (next to Sears) | Laguna Hills | California | United States
Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot at the 5 Freeway and El Toro Road Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine) Manager – Trish Harrison Affiliated with Orange County Farm Bureau Sponsored Certified Farmers’[...]
11:00 am $10 Lunch Specials – RokPrime St... @ RoKPrime Steakhouse & Grille
$10 Lunch Specials – RokPrime St... @ RoKPrime Steakhouse & Grille
Mar 27 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
$10 Lunch Specials - RokPrime Steakhouse - San Juan Capistrano @ RoKPrime Steakhouse & Grille | San Juan Capistrano | California | United States
$10 Lunch Specials 11-4pm A great deal never tasted so good. A Cheese Burger & Fries, Fish Tacos & Summer Slaw, and the Soup & Salad are just a few Specials to choose from.

View Calendar