The singer and her husband include their favorite recipes in a new cookbook

By People Staff
Updated November 11, 2008 01:00 PM
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Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan have been married for more than three decades. Their Grammy award-winning hits are internationally renowned and they've sold millions of albums. But the Cuban-born couples doesn't often get a chance to cook at home.

When they do, there's no doubt what they want to eat.

"We're very hands on in the kitchen, and we'll make chicken fricassee together," says Gloria, just back from a two-month tour performing in Europe. "We like to eat simple. White rice with chicken, avocado salad, some flan for dessert. That's our perfect meal," she told the New York Daily News in a recent interview.

Their favorite are all included in the couple's first cookbook, which focuses on their native Cuban fare. Gloria laughs that she gained weight just testing the recipes, a far cry from when she a skinny kid and her grandmother routinely tried to stuff her with food. That grandmother, Consuelo Garcia, was also the inspiration for many of the recipes in "Estefan Kitchen" (Celebra, $27.95).

"My grandmother was an amazing cook who would do everything by sight or feel," Gloria says. "A lot of times when I was watching her cook, I wanted to just grab her hand before she threw something into the pan to see how much she was putting in. I knew I wanted to be able to make the recipes myself someday."

Her grandmother wanted to open a restaurant but never realized her dream. Thanks to their success, the couple now own several restaurants, including one in Disney World's Downtown Disney, and recently opened a beach resort in Vero Beach, Florida.

The cookbook was a natural offshoot for the couple, who have rich culinary backgrounds. Gloria's great-grandfather served as personal chef for two presidents in Cuba, and her grandmother Consuelo Garcia was a successful caterer.

Their book contains recipes for Cuban drinks, appetizers, sandwiches and classic entrees like picadillo (minced ground beef creole), bacalao (codfish in tomato sauce), yuca frita (cassava fries) and papas rellenas (breaded mashed potatoes stuffed with ground beef creole).

The couple loves sharing their passion for food with their two children, Nayib, 28, and Emily, nearly 14, and their millions of fans.