Dreaming of West Texas? Of big spaces and bigger skies? Fall into the stunning, brand-new Cooking in Marfa: Welcome, We’ve Been Expecting You (Phaidon Press, May 20), from the husband-and-wife proprietors of Marfa’s Capri restaurant. Arts philanthropist Virginia Lebermann opened the Capri in 2007 as an event center before eventually bringing on future husband Rocky Barnette, formerly of the three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, in Virginia, to transform the space into a restaurant and cocktail bar. She wanted to open “a bar in Marfa where we would want to drink,” is how she puts it.
Fittingly, cocktail recipes begin the cookbook, and they are heavy on agave spirits and desert ingredients like prickly pear. Writes Barnette, “In Oaxaca, when you arrive at someone’s home, they offer a small and delicate copita of mezcal. When you arrive at the Capri, we offer you an inappropriately large mezcal.” This tone continues throughout the recipes for food as well, for which Barnette takes inspiration from the region and makes them his own. Think yucca blossom tempura, rabbit braised in prickly pear wine, mesquite bean ice cream, and a rainbow of tortillas tinged with beet powder, turmeric, charcoal, and more.
Phaidon is known for its big fine-dining cookbooks, and while Cooking in Marfa contains some high-end-restaurant recipes that might be difficult to re-create in your kitchen, there is still plenty within reach of the typical home cook. In addition to the cocktails, a chapter on ice creams and paletas will be particularly welcome as the hotter months descend on Texas. And even if you don’t cook from the book, essays from Lebermann and Barnette about their town, restaurant, and culinary philosophy—along with gorgeous photography from Marfa artist Douglas Friedman—are a reminder of happy long weekends out west.
But you’ll want to make the hibiscus margarita, the most popular cocktail on Capri’s menu. Write Lebermann and Barnette: “We call it a ‘good for you’ margarita because of all the vitamins in the dried hibiscus flowers. We have expanded a bit on the simpler traditional drink, which is generally shaken with fresh lime juice and some sort of sweetener, by muddling the fruit for extra flavor.”
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
2 cups boiling water
1 ounce agave syrup
3 lime wedges, plus 1 wedge for garnish
2 lemon wedges
1 orange wedge
2 ounces reposado tequila
In a heatproof bowl, combine the hibiscus flowers with the boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain, pressing the flowers to extract all of the juice, then let cool to room temperature. Combine 1 ounce of the cooled tea, the agave syrup, and citrus wedges in a cocktail shaker and muddle gently. Add the tequila and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 5 seconds. Strain into a chilled margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.