Eva Longoria may be most recognized for her role as Desperate Housewives’ saucy Gabrielle Solis, but on her own time, there are few places she would rather be than in the kitchen, cooking the food she loves for her family and friends. Here is the food Eva loves to eat, and the recipes in Eva’s Kitchen trace her life story, taking readers on her culinary journey—from the food she was brought up on to the recipes inspired by her travels abroad to the dishes she serves during casual nights at home.
Having grown up on a ranch with every meal based on what was in the family fields, Eva believes, like so many of us, that good cooking relies on local, fresh, easy-to-find ingredients. In Eva’s Kitchen, she teaches readers essential cooking skills and she sprinkles in the histories and traditions behind her favorite dishes, including personal stories and anecdotes that capture the warmth, humor, and joy of her most memorable meals.
In her first cookbook, Eva welcomes you into her kitchen, offering 100 of her favorite dishes—many of which are family recipes collected over the years—all fused with her passion for cooking. She also shares memories of her Texas ranch upbringing, her very first cooking adventures, vacations overseas, nights in with her girlfriends, and last-minute pre–red carpet meals.
Inspired by her heritage, Eva highlights the essentials of great Mexican cooking, Texas style—with her family’s recipes and techniques for making the world’s best tamales, homemade tortillas, Spanish rice, and Pan de Polvo (Mexican pastry), to name a few. She also offers dishes from a variety of international cuisines, from Latin American to Italian and French, inspired by her globe-trotting travels. A taste of Lemon Dover Sole whisks Eva to a tiny hotel-restaurant she once visited on a trip to Normandy; the recipe for Cannellini Beans with Crushed Red Pepper was a souvenir from a trip to Florence; kimchi adds a kick to her Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts, a Thanksgiving staple; and Yellow Squash Soup with Lemon brings her full circle, back to her family’s vegetable garden in Corpus Christi.
With full-color food photographs, intimate portraits of her family and friends, and a glimpse into Eva’s home and her lesser-known domestic side (family first, acting second, she says), Eva’s debut cookbook will entice her loyal fans and inspire home cooks to broaden their culinary horizons and create memorable meals for the people they love.
My love affair with cooking started long ago, but I remember it so clearly. When I was about six years old, my mom was leaving for work early one morning and I told her I was hungry. “So cook something!” she answered. I vividly remember pulling up a chair to the stove and turning it on with a match. (I know—dangerous, but it was a different time!) I selected the smallest frying pan I could fi nd because I wanted to cook one egg. Not eggs, just one egg. I cracked the egg on the edge of the pan, as I’d seen my mom do effortlessly many times before, and emptied it into the frying pan.
Of course, the pan was full of eggshell. I didn’t use any butter or oil, so the egg stuck everywhere. I can’t even remember now what it tasted like, but I can recall the feeling of accomplishment I had after cooking that egg. I found it empowering and energizing. I was hooked from that day forward.
I wanted to learn everything! I wanted my little EASY-BAKE Oven to make casseroles like my mom’s. I wanted my lemonade stand to have more flavor options than just lemon. And for Christmas I wanted my own hand mixer! I eventually graduated from cooking an egg to making my own spaghetti sauce.
I have my family to thank for my cooking skills and the inspiration they gave me to begin my own culinary journey. My dad was a big believer in never eating fast food, so we were not allowed to have it. And nothing ever went to waste. I grew up on a ranch outside of Corpus Christi, Texas, and throughout my childhood my family grew our own vegetables and raised our own chickens. Every day my mom cooked with garden-fresh calabasa (squash), carrots, and beans, and freshly laid eggs. Every last bit of that garden’s harvest was always used, and any trimmings went right to the compost pile. She worked full-time as a special education teacher; took care of my oldest sister, who is developmentally disabled; and had three other daughters to drive all over town to cheerleading, band practice, work, and everywhere else busy teenage girls need to go. But in spite of it all, she always managed to have dinner on the table every night at 6P.M. for my dad. This was such an important lesson in my life. The fact that my mother clearly reveled in taking care of her family in addition to having a career inspired me to be the same way. I cannot count the number of times that I’ve found myself in a Gucci dress and heels—with full hair and makeup, about to run out to an event—pulling a roasted chicken out of the oven in order to make sure that my family is fed before leaving the house to face a hundred photographers on a red carpet.
Excerpted from Eva's Kitchen by Eva Longoria with Marah Stets. Copyright © 2011 by Eva Longoria with Marah Stets. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
About Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria es mejor conocida por su galardonado papel de Gabrielle Solis en la exitosa serie Desperate Housewives de ABC. En 2009 recibió el premio Filántropo del Año de la revista Hollywood Reporter por sus extensas obras de caridad. Eva es la dueña, con Todd English, de Beso, un asador de lujo en Hollywood y Las Vegas que ofrece cocina moderna con un toque latino. Se licenció en la Universidad Texas A & M-Kingsville y vive en California y Texas.
About Marah Stets
MARAH STETS is a food writer and editor. She lives near Washington, D.C., with her husband and their three children.
“Eva and I both come from tight-knit families where nothing is more important than gathering for meals and celebrations. Her new cookbook will help entice your family to the table for wonderful memories.”
—GIADA DE LAURENTIIS
“Eva’s recipes are simple, delicious, and enticing, and they form a perfect bridge between down-home Texas, Latin zing, and easy-to-make perfection. I’d be happy to eat the spicy stuff in Eva’s kitchen every day.”
"Eva Longoria’s new book Eva’s Kitchen will get us all back to where we belong—the family table. Not surprisingly, it’s done with a little bit of spice! I’ll add this book to my collection for the tortilla soup alone!"
“A wonderful book of family recipes and beautiful photos, Eva’s Kitchen proves that you can never miss when you cook with such passion for the people you love.”
“Eva’s recipes are delightfully personal and refreshingly simple and easy to follow. Aside from the recipes, the book is a gorgeous family album that tells a story that both our families share. I am thrilled to share my palette with Eva, and have her share her palate with me!”
“Cooking and enjoying delicious food is one of Eva’s great passions, and she really puts her heart and her heritage into every dish that she serves. I know you’ll be as inspired as you cook your way through her book as I've been collaborating with her over the years at our restaurant, Beso!”
“For me, so many of Eva’s recipes are like big hugs from great friends. They’re filled with the flavor of good times with loved ones, and of Eva’s and my shared love of the Southwest—where we were both raised. Add to those heart-warming recipes a beautiful array of simple-to-do, up-to-the-minute dishes and you’ve got a cookbook to turn to time and again. Eva can cook for me any day!”