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Positing that many Americans associate Mexican cuisine with shiny globs of orange cheese, Valladolid sets out to offer a broader, more diverse and healthier vision of south-of-the-border cooking. The Tijuana-born, Ritz-Escoffier-educated Valladolid is a young mother as well as a culinary television personality. As such, she values "weeknight" recipes that can be produced with a minimum of fuss and a few good flavors. Though Valladolid's mission is to educate readers of the world beyond Old El Paso taco kits, she distinguishes herself from authenticity-focused Mexican cookbook authors such as Diana Kennedy, allowing for looser, creative interpretations that befit contemporary eaters: osso bucco with lime zest and chilis; mascarpone-stuffed squash blossoms with raspberry vinaigrette; and the decadent Mexican cake, pastel de tres leches, made with Italian meringue as a substitute for the traditional raw egg whites. Using ingredients that are readily found in the U.S., her creations are reliable and at times wonderfully simple, like a bright slaw of jicama, arbol chilis and uncooked beets with toasted sesame oil, or baked cod with anchovies, lime and a few kalamata olives and capers thrown in for good measure. Home cooks will appreciate Valladolid's enthusiastic yet straightforward approach. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.