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    $7.84
    1. What's New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously
    $9.90
    2. The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single
    $23.10
    3. Heart of the Artichoke and Other
    $9.59
    4. I Like You: Hospitality Under
    $17.16
    5. Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook
    $19.79
    6. 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant,
    $19.77
    7. Dip Into Something Different:
    $11.22
    8. Great Party Fondues
    $23.10
    9. Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food
    $11.13
    10. Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen
    $58.49
    11. Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Collection:
    $23.10
    12. The Best 30-Minute Recipe
    $12.89
    13. Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for
    $23.10
    14. Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas
    $10.36
    15. The Bartenders Black Book, Updated
    $23.10
    16. Baking Illustrated
    $11.89
    17. The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable
    $21.12
    18. Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All
    $25.74
    19. Gourmet Today: More than 1000
    $14.39
    20. The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering

    1. What's New, Cupcake?: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every Occasion
    by Karen Tack, Alan Richardson
    Paperback
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $7.84
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 054724181X
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 161
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    The endlessly imaginative duo who turned cupcaking into a national pastime is back, with utterly new, eye-popping creations anyone can make. Create a race-car cupcake, a robot cupcake, or ravishing jewelry cupcakes for a birthday party. Surprise the family with Chinese takeout dinner cupcakes on April Fool's or serve up a goofy chocolate moose. Captivate Mom with a bouquet of  long-stemmed rose cupcakes and build sand castle cupcakes with the kids. All you need are candies from the corner store and cake mix and canned frosting. 
     
    So what is new, Cupcake?
    • Dozens of "EZ" projects that use just a few ingredients--perfect for kids and parties.
    • More pictures, brighter colors, bolder designs.
    • More faux-food creations-- so real you won't believe they're cupcakes!
    • More comical critters and the cutest pets ever!
    • More irresistible party centerpieces to celebrate hobbies, from golf to knitting.
    • More spectacular holiday cupcakes: Valentine's, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
     
    You'll end up with cupcakes so striking that you won't want to eat them -- but so delicious you'll have no choice!
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cupcake, it's not just a noun anymore..., April 15, 2010
    "Cupcaking," it seems, has joined the ranks of verbs like "scrapbooking." Where once a cupcake was a tasty treat, now it's an arts and crafts project. I must admit that I came to this book with a misconception. I thought the point was to create something good to eat. It is not. What's New, Cupcake is a triumph of style over substance. To eat the creations in this book is not only beside the point, it's bordering on sacrilege.

    Clearly, I am an old-fashioned baker, or at least one cut from a different cloth. "Recipes" from cake mixes and the use of twinkies and mini-donuts as additional construction elements are anathema to me. Now that my biases have been disclosed, I will admit this: The photographs of the projects in this book are AMAZING. The finished projects are gorgeous--more akin to sculptures than snacks. For the, er, baker who aspires to such feats, this book should be equal parts instructive and inspirational.

    For Luddites like myself, who are as interested in the edibility of their cupcakes as the attractiveness, there is definitely useful information. I advise using real recipes as a starting place. But there is much that can be learned about types and manners of icing and frosting, how to achieve textures, creative ways to use candies and other decorative elements, and more. It may encourage you to a more ambitious level of creativity.

    This is a book for an extreme cupcaker. Perhaps there are far more of you out there than I realize. For you, this book may well be the bible of cupcaking. For the more moderate cupcakers like myself, take what you can from the book and then ooh and aah over the pretty pictures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Egg mold helpful hints, May 29, 2010
    I enjoy this book immensely and find the recipes to be very creative. Anyone else who whines that the recipes are cute to look at but inedible should stick to their boring cake recipe and frosting duo. I can tell you right now, they will never garner as much attention at a party as the recipes in this book do.
    The first recipe I tried from this book was the Easter eggs which requires molding eggs out of candy melts from plastic Easter eggs. After a frustrating hour of maybe getting one egg out of 8 to not break while unmolding I ended up with barely three and a half candy eggs and a pile of shattered attempts.
    The second recipe I tried was the "all cracked up" or the eggs on the back cover of the book. I dreaded doing egg molding again, but this time I came with several ideas and they worked!! So, I'm passing along my ideas so they can maybe help someone else who ran into the same problems I did.
    First, I filled the inside of the eggs with the candy melts and then used a brush to cover up the bare spots. A knife or spoon will not work because they scrape the sides.
    Don't be stingy with the candy melts. If the candy is spread too thin it will shatter. If I could see the color of the egg clearly through the candy I would add more.
    Using a plastic squeezable bottle I would spread an excess layer of candy melts along the inside edge of the plastic egg on one side. After it chills this layer will harden and create an overextended "lip" of candy to grip with your fingers so you have a place to grip and won't create so much pressure on the sides and shatter the candy in the egg
    I put the molds in the freezer simply because I was too impatient for the fridge. I'm not sure if that changed anything, but they were very hard when I took them out.
    Next came the unmolding which was always a challenge because even with the plastic eggs greased that candy would not come out no matter how much you tapped the top or pull from the inside of the egg. So, I tried a different approach. While still cold from the freezer I took a hair dryer and used it on the outside of the egg. It only takes seconds and you need to evenly distribute the hot air on all sides (not underside obviously) otherwise you'll melt the candy. Exerting careful pressure and gripping the "lip" you created the egg will easily slip out. If it won't, heat it up a little more.
    With this technique I had none break which was a certain change from my experience with the previous recipe. The end result was amazing with candy eggs that when served in the egg cartons made many guests assume that they were real eggs. I will certainly do this recipe again and I hope that these hints will help someone not give up on the "egg" recipes

    5-0 out of 5 stars Too Cute for Words, March 19, 2010
    What I found the most striking about What's New Cupcake is the photography by Alan Richardson. The pictures are so vibrant and colorful that they almost seem to jump off the pages. This is a good-sized book, at about 9" x 10", so they are also nice sized and detailed photos. The cover photo with the "Rubber Duckies" cupcakes is too cute for words.

    What's New Cupcake starts out like a craft book with a list of needed materials and tools. Nothing unusual is needed and most are items that would be already on hand, except for the variety of colorful candies. The instructions for decorating the cupcakes are clear and the Karen Tack's designs are fun and very decorative.

    The first chapter, April Fools Play, has cupcakes that look like something entirely different. How about cupcakes that look like a sub sandwich or a banana split? There are sections with ideas for all of the major holidays and party ideas for children and grown-ups.

    Just a couple of examples of the design titles are:

    Busy Bees (a honeycomb of cupcakes)
    Mum's the Word (beautiful flower cupcakes)
    Fur Balls and String Monsters (You have to see it!)
    Shower Heads (baby faces)
    Knit One, Frost Two (knitting needles and yarn - my personal favorite)

    Along with the decorating instructions there are quick dressed up cake mix recipes for cupcakes, frosting, and sugar cookies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book!!!!, May 14, 2010
    This is the best cookbook I have ever gotten! All of the recipies are easy and fun, and it gives you alot of techniques and tips that are very helpful. Some people may say that the candy combinations are gross but it says you can substitute the candy and use different kinds, which I think is good. I think that it is definitley worth the money because it gives you so many different decorating recipies and it even gives you a cupcake recipie and different frosting recipies in the back. So, if a kid like me can say that they are easy and fun(and yummy!)then it is definately worth getting if you love cooking.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I can do these, June 27, 2010
    I am not a fan of decorating cupcakes. the area to work within is far too small and the work is labor intensive. These creations can go either one of two ways. really detailed or a serious mess. Mine ususally go for the serious mess. while reading through this book for the first time I found myself saying over and over "I can do that" Each page had detailed instructions and fantastic photos to work from. I am very happy with my purchase and know I will get years of use from this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just Ducky!, May 12, 2010
    Loved the book! All the different cupcakes are amazing!!! We have picked out several to make for the next occasion.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great sequel!, May 1, 2010
    Lots of great ideas in this sequel to "Hello, Cupcake". I like having the "easy" rating on some of the cupcakes since I work with kids and they need easy things to do.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Some great ideas..., March 22, 2010
    I am a huge fan of the Hello Cupcake book so I couldn't wait to get What's New Cupcake? I love some of the ideas but a few of the designs were similar to what was in the first book. I like the use of jolly ranchers to make some really cool decorations for the cupcakes! More than anything I think both of the books are great for ideas to make your own cupcake decorations...seeing the different candies used is great because sometimes it's hard to think of things in a particular color. All in all I highly recommend this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Just as awesome as the original!, March 20, 2010
    If you liked Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make then you'll love this book.
    Everything you need to decorate will be candies that you are familiar with (it never asks you to use fondant).
    My favorite idea is "Chinese Takeout," where the cupcakes are decorated to look like Vegetable Fried Rice, Pork Lo Mein, and of course, a Fortune Cookie. (This is in the "April Fools" section of the book.)
    The first one I will probably make could be "Gingerbread Village," where the cupcakes are decorated to look like Gingerbread houses - for my brother-in-law's housewarming party.
    One feature that this book has that "Hello Cupcake" didn't have, is the "EZ" stamp on the more simpler recipes.
    As with "Hello Cupcake," this is mainly a how-to-decorate cupcake idea book, and not a recipe book for different flavors of cupcake batters, etc. Although it does have some recipes for different flavors of cupcakes that you can make, it is mainly a decorating book. The pictures are beautiful.
    Along with "Hello Cupcake," these are two of my favorite recipe books.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Love the pictures, consider making them!, September 21, 2010
    These cupcakes are just adorable but I have to wonder if the time and effort pay off in the end. I have Hello, Cupcake I bought it on my birthday! I made the corn on the cob ones for my neighbors next door! They were expensive to make too! I love these little cupcakes they are just so cute! But! if you just want to make them for fun a batch will cost you over $20 if you don't already have the supplies on hand! The instructions are clear and the pictures are totally the funnest part of the book! I still haven't made any from this book, and I plan to on my winter break I'm thinking on the apple ones :D ... Read more


    2. The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009
    by Gourmet Magazine
    Hardcover
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $9.90
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0547328168
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 12
    Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review


    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A history, with recipes and photos, of the cookie at Gourmet Magazine, October 3, 2010
    As a longtime subscriber to both Gourmet and Bon Appetit, I used to tell people that I liked Gourmet for its savory recipes and Bon Appetit for its sweets. This new compilation of the best cookie recipes, decade by decade, from Gourmet confronted me with the fallacy of that statement. Some of my long-time favorite cookie recipes, including strawberry tart cookies and cranberry pistachio biscotti, can be found here. The best part of this book, however, is not the recipes, as good as they are, but the history behind them. The division of the recipes by decades offers glimpses into trends, subscribers, changing culinary tastes and abilities, and, of course, the focus of the magazine itself.

    Interestingly, when the magazine was first published in 1940s and people baked more than they do today, the cookie recipes were much more simple, with tastes that highlighted a few ingredients: butter, nuts, spices. Even in the 1950s, when baking ingredients were more available, the cookies remained somewhat homey and classic, with gingerbread men, lace cookies, and sesame-seed-coated queen's biscuits taking center stage. In the 1960s, however, Gourmet's cookies started taking on a more international note; as the editors note, commercialized air travel and growing national unrest led to more daring recipes. As the book states, "not a single one of the four cookie recipes that appeared in Gourmet in 1963 was of American origin." With this new internationalism came other recipes with more sophisticated lists of ingredients and flavors. By jumping ahead to the 2000s, Gourmet's final decade, one can see how much American tastes have changed: many of the cookies are classics with gourmet twists that make them look more like professionally baked treats than homemade lunch box snacks. Because the book contains a full page photograph of each recipe, it is obvious that later recipes focused as much on aesthetics as taste, while most earlier ones were content with a plain appearance.

    Because this book contains recipes exactly as they appeared in the magazine (with some recipe notes for clarification), contemporary bakers may be somewhat taken aback by the format in the earlier decades, as their directions are "remarkably casual, a kind of mysterious shorthand that assumes that each reader is an accomplished cook." While I dispute that these early recipes require any sort of advanced experience, they are definitely written out as though one person is describing the process to another, with ingredients not listed separately but as part of the instructions. (Separate lists of ingredients don't appear until 1982, when recipes were "no longer able to count on the readers' experience.") In some ways, I found the earlier recipes easier to follow because I didn't have to worry about going back and forth between adding sugar and reading how much sugar was called for. The amount was right there in the text.

    But how are the recipes themselves? Absolutely wonderful. Not a single one of the recipes I tried missed, although, obviously, some recipes, such as the sparkling lemon sandwich cookies, took more time and effort. From the humble honey refrigerator cookies to the sophisticated coconut macadamia shortbread, these recipes will please contemporary palates.

    -- Debbie Lee Wesselmann

    3-0 out of 5 stars Decent recipes... awful design., November 5, 2010
    I was really disappointed with this book, being a lifelong gourmet devotee. The recipes and history of each are good, and up to gourmet standards. But the pictures feel like they were just tossed together in a hurry and are not all that appetizing. The reason for the low star level though, is the layout of the book. It is, to be blunt, horrid.

    The photos are on the right hand pages and at the top of the left hand page is the title of the recipe and a blurb about it's history. Aside from a very unwelcoming font, all fine. But after the introductory paragraph is a huge chunk of white space, and then the recipe and directions are crammed together in a small and undifferentiated font in the bottom quarter of the page. It is hard to read and even more difficult to follow when trying to actually cook anything. The result is an altogether cold, difficult to use book. I'll probably copy out my favorite recipes onto recipe cards and resell the book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Perfection, November 16, 2010
    I love the recipes and cookie photographs in this retrospective of the best cookies published in Gourmet Magazine. The bold graphic design of the photographs is stylish and quite attractive although I see some other reviewers disagree. To have a photograph of each cookie is helpful whether the design choice appeals to everyone or not.

    Like most pastry cookbooks there is no nutritional information provided, but I don't think any of us want to know that when we are baking cookies. But if looking for a book that caters to a particular dietary restriction, like vegan or gluten free, etc., this is not the book to buy. The pages are high quality paper and I found spills wiped up well. This hardback book stayed open, laying flat on my countertop no matter what page I turned to, so a cookbook holder was unnecessary.

    Included are seventy heavenly recipes from Gourmet Magazine's 68 year history. I have many cookie cookbooks so deciding whether to add another one to the group is dependent upon the recipes, so I am listing all of them here in case others use that method when selecting a cookbook. Cookie recipes in the book include: Cajun Macaroons, Honey Refrigerator Cookies, Scotch Oat Crunchies, Cinnamon Sugar Crisps, Date Bars, Moravian White Christmas Cookies, Old Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies, Jelly Centers, Brandy Snaps, Chocolate Wafers, Navettes Sucrees (Sugar Shuttles,) Palets De Dames, Coconut Bars, Benne Wafers, Biscotti Di Regina (Queen's Biscuits,) Oatmeal Molasses Cookies, Lace Cookies, Brazil Nut Crescents, Gingerbread Men, Pine Nut Macaroons, Brown Butter Cookies, Cottage Cheese Cookies, Curled Wafers, Fig Cookies, Ginger Sugar Cookies, Apricot Chews, Mandelbrot (Chocolate Almond Slices,) Florentines, Galettes De Noel (Deep-Fried Wafers,) Shoe Sole Cookies, Speculaas (Saint Nicholas Cookies,) Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies, Crescent Cheese Cookies, Kourambiedes (Greek Butter Cookies,) Almond Bolas (Portuguese Almond Cookies,) Lemon Thins, Irish Coffee Crunchies, Bizcochitos (Anise Cookies,) Linzer Bars, Bourbon Balls, Cloudt's Pecan Treats, Chocolate Meringue Biscuits, Spritz (Norwegian Butter Cookies,) Souvaroffs (Butter Cookies with Jam,) Pecan Tassies, Pastelitos De Boda (Bride's Cookies,) Mocha Toffee Bars, Pistachio Tuiles, Cornetti (Almond Cookies,) Mocha Cookies, Jan Hagels (Cinnamon Almond Wafers,) Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, Aunt Sis's Strawberry Tart Cookies, Basler Brunsli (Heart-Shaped Chocolate Almond Spice Cookies,) Coconut Macadamia Shortbread, Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls, Chocolate Coconut Squares, Gianduia Brownies, Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch, Walnut Acorn Cookies, Cranberry Turtle Bars, Scandinavian Rosettes, Biscotti Quadrati Al Miele E Alle Noci (Honey Nut Squares,) Polish Apricot-Filled Cookies, Mini Black and White Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies, Trios, Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies and Grand Marnier Glazed Pain D'Epice Cookies.

    The recipes I prepared are Brown Butter Cookies (amazing,) Mandelbrot (visually beautiful and equally delicious) and Gianduia Brownies (I was intrigued by the addition of Nutella in the batter -- fabulous result.) One of the other reviewers mentioned the Strawberry Tart Cookies so I tried those too. They are perfection and as with the other recipes I tested, a keeper. I will make these recipes again and again and plan to continue working my way through the rest of the book.

    A variety of flavors and cookie styles grace the pages which should appeal to cookie lovers of all types. This book would make a great addition to any cookbook library and a welcome gift for both novice and experienced bakers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book !, November 17, 2010
    I just received this book in the mail a few days ago and it already is one of my favorite cookie books! I have made several cookies out of the book and they all turned out fantastic !

    I have read some of the other reviews (some complaining of the photos) and I have to say I totally disagree - the photos clearly and simply illustrate and show off the cookie in question. I like the little blurbs about each cookie (under the title) and I love the layout - the cookies are listed by year. This way, when I want to bake a more simple (but still tasteful) cookie, I choose one from the 40's (when a lot of ingredients where rationed), and when I want to be a bit more extravagant, I choose one from a later decade.

    The only thing I would do differently, is making the print of the recipes a bit larger. However, I do like the fact that the ingredients are in bold print - it makes my mis-en-place much easier .....

    Overall, I think this is a very successful cookie book !!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Wow, what horrible design, December 16, 2010
    I love a cookbook I can cuddle up with AND with recipes that work. Here, the recipes might be fantastic and I love the listing in chronological order, but for a working book, the design is horrible with minuscule hard-to-read ingredient lists and instructions at the bottom of the page. It's tempting to take the vast white space between the description and the ingredients and rewrite them so they're legible to work from.

    The editors in Gourmet never should have approved this. They must have known better.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Picture of every cookie, November 4, 2010
    I guess I was hoping for a book that would make me salivate when I opened it and looked at the pictures. I will say that there are pictures of every cookie, which in my book is a book is a plus, but these are not appetizing looking cookies. I feel slightly guilty for saying this, but I wish that I hadn't bought it. The cookie monster inside of me says yuck to most of the cookies. They may be gourmet, but I would have passed on this book had I seen it in a book store. I would not recommend this to any of my friends or family. I would say to look at in a book store if you are able before you try to buy this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best cookie book to date., December 24, 2010
    This has to be the best compilation of cookie recipes published yet. The 70 recipes included here cover the entire history of the Gourmet Magazines run and include some real favorites. Among my favorite is the Gingerbread Men, Ginger Sugar Cookies, Oatmeal Molasses Cookies, and the Moravian White Christmas Cookies. These recipes are keepers, everyone of them.

    With the history behind the cookies, The Gourmet Cookie Book is a real keeper.

    I highly recommend.

    Peace always

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, December 4, 2010
    I love cookbooks, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. However, when push comes to shove, will I make many of these recipes? Probably not. The earliest ones are pretty old-fashioned now; lard? Dates? Cornmeal? And the more modern ones are fine, but nothing so groundbreaking, or so fantastic sounding, that I feel an urge to get the ingredients and make them ASAP.

    The strength of this book is in the historical look back at the food styles of the times, through the fascinating lens of what Gourmet magazine was featuring at the time.

    I disagree with other reviewers who say the photos aren't satisfactory; I think the photos are wonderful, and there is one for every single cookie recipe, a full-page photo facing a full-page recipe. I love that.

    However, also as other reviewers have said, this book does fall victim to the oh-so-modern problem of using full graphics capabilities to produce a "cutesy" layout that isn't terribly practical for a cookbook. For instance, the introduction is printed in a nice, large, readable font...but the designers chose to print the words in pale gray (on white paper) instead of black. On the recipe pages, there is the description of the cookie, a huge block of white space, then the recipe itself, which is in a small font and in narrative format, with no list of ingredients. For instance: "Take 1 cup of flour, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and set aside. In a large bowl beat 2 eggs..". Kind of tedious to stand in the kitchen and read a paragraph while you're measuring ingredients.

    Recommendation: Would make a nice gift, and I'm glad I read it, but its strength is its great appeal to lovers of food writing -- not necessarily as a go-to cookbook for 21st century cookie bakers in the kitchen.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Gourmet let me down!, December 18, 2010
    I bought this book sight unseen because I trust Gourmet to put out a good book. This book is completely uninspired. There is a picture of every cookie, but I think even I could of taken more creative photos. I feel like they just threw it together knowing it would sell with their name on it. Oh, how I miss my Gourmet coming in the mail every month! I'm gonna cry.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Cookie Book, December 15, 2010
    I was a subscriber to Gourmet magazine since the early 90's and so now that it is painfully absent I definitely had to get this book. The book is fascinating as it goes through each decade and looks back at how cookies can tell you a lot about how our country ate. The cookie recipes themselves are excellent. This cookbook includes recipes that I have bookmarked from my past magazines to be on my "must bake" list. I have already baked the Bride's cookies, Cranberry Turtle bars, Chocolate coconut squares, and Pecan Tassies (I use walnuts), and they are really the best of their kind. I find the pictures to be really interesting in a graphic design kind of way. I plan to buy this as a gift for my friends who are avid cookie bakers. ... Read more


    3. Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys
    by David Tanis
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 157965407X
    Publisher: Artisan
    Sales Rank: 346
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Recipes from a very small kitchen by a man with a very large talent.

    Nobody better embodies the present-day mantra "Eat real food in season" than David Tanis, one of the most original voices in American cooking. For more than a quarter-century, Tanis has been the chef at the groundbreaking Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California, where the menu consists solely of a single perfect meal that changes each evening. Tanis’s recipes are down-to-earth yet sophisticated, simple to prepare but impressive on the plate.

    Tanis opens this soulful, fun-to-read cookbook with his own private food rituals, those treats—jalapeño pancakes, beans on toast, pasta for one—for when you are on your own in the kitchen with no one else to satisfy. Then he follows with twenty incomparable menus (five per season) that serve four to six. Each transports the reader to places far and wide.  And for grand occasions, a time for the whole tribe to gather around the table, Tanis delivers festive menus for holiday feasts. So in one book, three kinds of cooking: small, medium, and large.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book for home cooks that's both accessible and original, November 4, 2010
    My wife used to be Somebody in the New York fine dining world. As for me, one of the only two jobs that's required my daily presence was as a French chef. But going out to dinner has pretty much disappeared from our lives.
    Our 8.5-year-old is the major reason. She has homework now, and reading, and piano pieces to practice, and although she is the-best-girl-in-the-world, we feel the need to sit with her in the early evening, whip in hand, while she gets it all done. Then there's the bedtime ritual --- my wife delivers a nightly lecture called "Bore Me to Sleep." By then, it's nine o'clock. Two hours until Jon Stewart. Haul in a sitter, rush to a restaurant? I think not.

    What's that? At a child-friendly hour, we could take the kid out with us? No, no, no and no. The Princess is in year four or five of a lycopene addiction so severe that her culinary parameters start at pasta and end at pizza --- no way is she going to sit in a real restaurant. And we tire of Sal's Pizza.

    So we cook at home. Sometimes for others. Mostly for ourselves.

    Few cookbooks are of much use to us. They're too fancy, too formal. They're too basic, too simple. They're too regional, too specialized.

    David Tanis, in "Heart of the Artichoke," gets it just right. No shocker there: He's the half-time chef at Chez Panisse --- he lives in Paris the other six months --- and he's a great representative for Alice Waters. That is, his thing is first-class ingredients, served with one twist --- a spice you wouldn't have thought of, a vegetable others would ignore. The result is familiar and novel, which is tr�s cool. To quote Ms. Waters: "David will give me a menu, and I'll imagine what it will taste like, and then it's nothing like what I imagined. That's the thrill to me."

    Tanis is well-traveled, and his influences range wide: Mexico, South America, France, Vietnam, Sicily. Indeed, he's such a citizen of the world that our own cuisine is an acquired taste:

    "When I cook American food, it's a little like when I conjure up my inner Italian or inner Spaniard --- it's a bit of a masquerade. If I crave American food, I have to go into my pretend-citizen mode. It's as if I'm doomed to travel the world in search of my real culture. It's not that I'm not American, it's that I grew up in Ohio, where there's no discernible regional cuisine --- unless you count funnel cakes. Owing to that particular geographical spot and era, I gained my knowledge of American cooking through other people's reminiscences. And the occasional foray into James Beard. There's something odd about having nostalgia for something I never really knew. It wasn't until I got out into the world that I learned about corn bread and gumbo, Indian pudding, chicken and dumplings, sweet pickles, and fried green tomatoes."

    Appreciate the irony: His "American" dishes are more satisfying than those of many American cooks because our cuisine is a midlife enthusiasm. He's sifted and chosen well --- the recipes we like best are native-born, if not exactly unvarnished Americana.

    And Tanis has sensible values that our can-do pragmatists would admire: "I'm a restaurant chef who has always preferred to cook at home." What is a home-cooked meal? Sometimes it's "a plate of potato salad and a beer," sometimes it's "much more than that." In this book, you get the range. First, it's divided into seasons. And then there are the secondary categories. "Cooking small" (meals when it's just you). "Medium" (menus for four to six people). And "large" (feasts for crowds).

    Tanis has preferences, which he shares in a charming opening section. After a meal, he likes fruit. Cookies? Yes, "but not giant cookies, and not chocolate chip, and not oatmeal." He travels with key provisions, starting --- smartly --- with harissa. He craves a ham sandwich, with butter, on a baguette, in a French bar. (He also likes tripe and makes his own chorizo, which is where we part company.)

    Some of his delightfully twisted recipes: fennel soup, zucchini pancakes, pork --- not veal --- scaloppini, fried fish with tarragon mayonnaise, broiled pineapple with rum. Many are shown with photographs you'd happily cut out and eat. (No wonder --- the photographer is Christopher Hirsheimer, half of the Canal House team.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The chef who really GETS IT!, November 28, 2010
    I have given away as presents over 60 copies of David's first book. He cooks as I cook and eat ... only so much better. His book was not widely available in Australia's book shops. I stumbled over it accidentally and couldn't put it down.

    This second book, "heart of the artichoke ..." is just as wonderful. The recipes are manageable for the average cook and the taste results are authentic and superb. I cooked the de-constructed turkey for thanksgiving and it was simply stunning. Rave reviews from those at the table including 2 chefs. I will never roast a turkey the old way again. My love of Pho (iconic Vietnamese soup) comes from living a year in Saigon during the Vietnam war. It is the soup I must have often for comfort and confirmation that all is right in my world. David's recipe for Pho is absolutely authentic. The recipes are wide-ranging and very interesting. This book reveals more of David's attitude to food, life, living which has pleased me immensely. Anyone who always travels with chillies in his pocket is my kind of guy! This is a book to buy and never lend out. Everyone should have their own copy. It's the perfect Christmas gift. I have purchased 22 copies to give as gifts in late December.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not just an artichoke, December 5, 2010
    David Tanis presents a cookbook that celebrates in season meals. It is not just recipes but his reflections on cooking these foods. He begins with a section on his kitchen rituals, remembering how he ate oatmeal, the first time he ate an artichoke, among others.

    The book is divided into seasonal menus: spring, summer, fall and winter, each with 5 menus His focaccia is amazing, as is the Digestivo with fresh berries and then the Molasses pecan squares are a favorite, we have even substituted walnuts with great success. Another section has 4 feasts and the recipes for them, including a deconstructed turkey.
    The index is done by ingredient, but could have used better spacing and highlighting. It is also frustrating to look up Focaccia and not have it listed, because it is not an ingredient.

    Tanis believes in simplicity and his food-recipes are not that difficult. They are different and simple but yet complicated flavors. This is an unusual cookbook for those that collect them and for those who would like to cook something that is a conundrum between simple and complex.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good Eating, December 3, 2010
    David Tanis's new cookbook is great! I am a big fan of his earlier book (Figs) and this one is just as wonderful.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Miss leading title, December 20, 2010
    I was very excited to see a title of a cook book about articokes. I was not able to review the book inside to see what the recipies intaled. If I would have known that there was either one or two recipies I would not have bothered, now I own this cook book that I am not happy about and would not have bought if I knew that their was such few recipies with such a great title that was misleading. ... Read more


    4. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
    by Amy Sedaris
    Paperback
    list price: $15.99 -- our price: $9.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0446696773
    Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
    Sales Rank: 363
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The bestselling entertaining guide from America's most delightfully unconventional hostess is now available in paperback!


    Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks?A dinner party for white-collar workers?A festive gathering for the grieving?Don't despair.Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving.No matter the style or size of the gathering-from the straightforward to the bizarre-I LIKE YOU provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy's blisteringly funny take on entertaining, plus four-color photos and enlightening sidebars on everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair.You don't even need to be a host or hostess to benefit-Amy offers tips for guests, too!(Number one:don't be fifteen minutes early.)Readers will discover unique dishes to serve alcoholics (Broiled Frozen Chicken Wings with Applesauce), the secret to a successful children's party (a half-hour time limit, games included), plus a whole appendix chock-full of arts and crafts ideas (from a mini-pantyhose plant-hanger to a do-it-yourself calf stretcher), and much, much more!
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is frickin' insane and addictive! Amy Sedaris rocks!, October 27, 2006
    I have been enjoying Amy Sedaris's freaky-weird acting for years, so I had to snatch up this book the second I heard it was out. And, man oh man, I have been laughing for days. This is one addictive book, like a paper drug. I woke up this morning, and instead of thinking about my husband or cats or breakfast or my job, I imagined Amy Sedaris trying on pantyhose, and I thought "No Squirrels." (You'll understand after you read the book.) Then I wondered how on earth I would achieve that baked Alaska featured in her book.

    This lady works comedic magic with this book. I have never, ever, ever read or seen anything like this strange book.

    Yes, there is a plethora of valuable tips and recipes for entertaining, but the way Amy presents the info is nothing short of comic genius. The pictures are all gold. And her writing is rickety and charming. And wait till you find the secret poster! You will buy a locker just so you can hang it up!

    Mark my word, this book will be *the* gift to give this holiday season. It is destined to make Amy Sedaris a household name. Plus, it is extremely useful and entertaining.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Our Parties, Ourselves, November 23, 2006
    Partially a cookbook, partially a primer about entertaining and partially the random thoughts of an eccentric actress/caterer, I LIKE YOU is Amy Sedaris's hilarious guide to hospitality.

    Recommended for those who enjoy attending parties and people who get a kick out of hosting them, this is a quirky book that succeeds in offering valuable information while charming the pants off the reader. In this way, it accurately could be described as the bodice ripper of cookbooks.

    Chock full of photographs, illustrations, notes and invitations, I LIKE YOU can be enjoyed by randomly opening it to any page, but I can guarantee that if you start it from the beginning, you will find yourself engrossed in Sedaris's simple, tasty party chow and quirky but valuable tips and anecdotes about:

    * Party Strategy
    The second you decide to throw a party start making ice. Sedaris calls buying a bag of it "cheating."

    * The Guest List
    If everyone is the same, the party is a boring convention. Still you should avoid toxic combinations, like an astrologer and an astronomer, the newly divorced couple, and a serial killer and a drunken teenager.

    * Invitations
    Be specific about time, location and themes so guests can dress appropriately. If you don't RSVP immediately, hosts will worry you are waiting for a better offer.

    * Etiquette
    Don't arrive early unless specifically asked to. But do arrive on time, especially for a dinner party. Depending upon the host, consider practical gifts like toilet paper and stamps. If you want to bring wine, ask the hostess what she is planning to serve and bring a bottle of that. If you want to be graceful in an old world sort of way, send a bouquet of flowers the following day.

    * Adult Proof Your House
    Assume guests will snoop. Plan ahead and fill your medicine cabinet with marbles.

    * Try to Turn a Profit
    Capitalize on the chance to sell things to a house full of liquored up, generous guests. Set up a table of things you are selling for 25 cents. A strict hostess Sedaris has three rules for party sales: 1) it has to be a quarter, not two dimes and a nickel; 2) you break it, you buy it; and 3) you buy it, you take it away.

    Plus completely unrelated to cooking or hospitality, I LIKE YOU covers an array of other idiosyncratic suggestions about curling your eyelashes, staining your lips with cherry popsicles, removing hair color from your forehead, entertaining the elderly, proper rabbit care and the basics of grooming, handicrafts and gift giving. For all of these reasons, I wish I could give it ten stars.

    - Regina McMenamin

    5-0 out of 5 stars There are not enough Stars for this GEM!, October 12, 2006
    Well...you had me at "IdespiseAndreaHarner", but you are right on all other accounts.

    Miss Amy has done something really special this time, and it shows!

    First off, this book is HUGE! I hadn't imagined how thick it would be- it is literally jammed packed with everything you can imagine (and more, WAY more) from our hostess extraordinaire. The hard cover edition is solid as a rock, nothing flimsy about it.

    The recipes indeed appear to be "JACKPOT" and crowd pleasing-I cant wait to try them out. The scrap book feel to this book is ever-present, with zany crafts, priceless photos (old and new) and authentically stained recipe cards in scrawling print surrounding the main text. The party ideas and themed night suggestions are off-beat and creative. It is a much beloved addition to my Sedaris collection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Tongue-in-check entertaining advice, November 27, 2006
    If you like Amy Sedaris's quirky sense of humor (e.g., Strangers with Candy), and you're into kitsch, then I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is just the book for you this holiday season. If you avoid Comedy Central, however, and are uncomfortable around irony-laden humor, you best steer clear because Amy Sedaris's new book is a rollicking romp through tongue-in-cheek entertaining, far more amusing and satisfying than anything Martha Stewart could devise.

    Armed with her own brand of humor and a bottle of liquor, Sedaris is ready for any situation, from the unexpected guest to a death in the family. She explains in detail how to write invitations, plan a menu (by color, texture, theme, flavor, or decoration), and get guests mingling. But she also includes aspects of party throwing you may not have considered, such organizing some sale items to make a little money for yourself. Sedaris insists that she lets guests have their picture taken with her pet rabbit for 25 cents. Also, consider avoiding the following guest combinations: astrologer and astronomer, psychologist and psychiatrist, and serial killer and drunken teenager.

    Sedaris offers numerous recipes throughout the book, including some favorites from her Greek family. From "I Remember the War Cube Steak" for entertaining the elderly to spanakopita for a New Year's Day brunch, you'll have the crowd clamoring for more.

    You'll also find plenty of comical desserts like the heart-shaped cake that says "Stepmother" and the "Happy Coming Out" cake in the form of a butterfly. Of course, no meal is complete without Amy Sedaris herself covered in icing and sprinkles, and she gives us just that. (Be sure to check out the poster inside the cover for the pin-up version.)

    Throughout the book, Sedaris dresses in dated polyester outfits and drops hints on everything from how to put on pantyhose to how to wear a fall (woman's long hairpiece).

    The photos (by Todd Oldham, no less) and illustrations are hilarious, and even the book jacket will have you wiping your eyes.

    Armchair Interviews says: Surely, we all know someone this book would be perfect for.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally! A book about entertaining I can relate to!, October 17, 2006
    I don't think a book about entertaining has ever made me laugh to the point of tears before! Seeing peanuts! Gift ideas for nuns! Dad come home cake! Change your medicine chest from herbal remedies to something that works! The section on guest etiquette is priceless and hits the nail on the head. Todd Oldham's photography with its lurid lighting/drab hues is amazing. And the children's games section alone is worth twice the price of the book.
    This isn't kitsch of the moment--this defines an edge of humor that deserves a spotlight. Amy Sedaris gets it! Cheers to her and her wonderful book. It is a generous, warm, inspiring and hysterically funny treasure that knocked me over with happiness. I will enjoy it for years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, November 28, 2006
    This book is awesome- I bought it for a friend for christmas and as soon as it was delivered I ended up reading the whole thing myself! I bought it for a friend who enjoys throwing parties (as I do). The recipes seemed good, and the writing was unmistakeably Sedaris! Even if the food is crap, this book is worth every penny as a conversation piece/entertaining read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is off the hook, December 13, 2006
    I had no idea what to expect other than humor, obviously.
    This book has information on etiquette and manners, classic recipes, social suggestions, and tips in areas you would never expect. You can read it cover to cover, or open any page and start new every time. I have to mention the ridiculous (in a good way) photography, illustrations and various notes that dot each spread. A refreshing compilation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect gift for crude moms & gay uncles., October 31, 2006
    This book is raunchy, scatterbrained, offensive, and absolutely hilarious. What a purchase! Amy Sedaris has created a book on entertaining that is as freakishly detailed as her home decor. Every square inch of the book (including the book jacket/centerfold) is overflowing with absurd drawings, photos, recipes, crafts, family memories, and helpful hints, such as, "Gift Ideas for Early Menopause." The tone is of a 1960s cookbook with a narcotics problem. Although this is the type of book you want to curl up with and have a laugh - it is actually useful! The recipes are delicious (try the Tiddlywinks Toadstool Pie *yum*) and the entertaining tips take the pretentiousness out of throwing parties. Go Amy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Familiar Deadpan Sedaris Humor Infuses Hilariously Off-Kilter Tweak on Martha Stewart, October 20, 2006
    It's pretty obvious Amy Sedaris and I come from the same generation because her harmlessly subversive sense of humor and kitsch-driven cultural references feel very cathartic to me. With photos and narration that reflect the becalming tone of kitchen counter magazines like Sunset and Better Homes and Gardens circa 1967, this hilariously off-kilter satire of Martha Stewart's "Entertaining" books has the familiar comic actress in a new guise, the perfect party hostess, though Jerri Blank (her put-upon protagonist in "Strangers With Candy") does show up in the book. Sedaris is smart enough to know the book cannot be a complete satire, so she actually includes honest-to-goodness recipes. The zucchini fritters and the "Li'l Smokey Cheeseball" bring particular flashbacks to me of what my mother would have served at her mah jong parties as they watched "Mannix".

    It's the faux-patronizing context and wholly unappetizing photos where she gets to express the dry and sometimes twisted Sedaris wit. For example, the author has a chapter devoted to the particulars of entertaining lumberjacks. I especially like the idea of filling one's medicine cabinet with marbles to catch nosey guests in the act of examining the host's medications. Moreover, she gives etiquette pointers like not divulging a friend's inability to conceive during a guest introduction, and sound advice on what textures to have on your party platters -"crunchy will always punch up soggy," but "never have bumpy and lumpy on the same plate". Sedaris' deadpan approach and over-the-top images are exactly the tweak your lifestyle cookbook collection needs. I am hopeful that a TV series will follow whether it's on the Food Network or Comedy Central.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I like you too!, November 27, 2006
    Imagine a beautiful full color cookbook written by a 1950's single girl with a flair for entertaining. Now imagine that girl is drunk, and messy, and just a little bit crazy.

    I love this cookbook. It's the funniest thing I've read in ages, and full of ideas designed to educate, or at least entertain. It's jam-packed too, you could pour over just a few pages for quite some time and not catch all the tidbits and visual goodies there are to be found.

    Bottom line: buy it for the style, keep it for the substance. It's hilarious. ... Read more


    5. Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook
    by Paula Deen
    Hardcover
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0743278135
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 738
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    "Many of the bonds my family has were forged over the dinner table and through the sharing of recipes. Cooking is the way we express our love for one another....I feel so lucky and blessed by the strong support and wonderful memories -- and the incredible recipes -- that my family has brought me. They are the heart and soul of this book."

    -- FROM THE INTRODUCTION


    Nothing is more important to Paula Deen than her family, and nothing makes that big family happier than sitting down to a meal together. In Paula Deen's The Deen Family Cookbook, Paula and the Deens, Hiers, Groovers, and Orts share their recipes and memories.

    Paula's beloved Aunt Peggy makes an Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf that's as good in sandwiches the next day as it is for dinner. Baby brother Bubba Hiers brings his Beer and Onion Biscuits to the table, and his daughter, Corrie, makes a simple but luscious Lemony, Buttery Baked Fish that's perfect for a weeknight dinner. (Her Carrot-Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are pretty tasty, too!) Son Jamie makes Huevos Rancheros, perfect for brunch, or try Bobby's Whole Wheat and Honey Pancakes. Husband Michael Groover knows his way around a grill: try his Company's Coming Grilled Steak and Veggie Supper for easy entertaining, and finish the evening with his Irish Coffee.

    Of course, there was no way The Lady herself was going to let her relatives have all the fun: Paula is, after all, Paula. She shares her recipe for the Ham and Chutney Biscuit Fingers she puts on the table at every family party as well as the Eggplant and Sausage Lasagna that went a long way toward getting the boys to eat their vegetables. And while there's plenty of butter, bacon, and mayonnaise in these pages, you'll find some of the lighter recipes that Paula enjoys, too: Seared Scallops with Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa is her first choice for a healthful but romantic supper with Michael, and Oven-Fried Chicken Breasts with Honey-Yogurt Drizzle lets Paula indulge in her favorite foods without guilt and with room for dessert.

    With more than 140 recipes and dozens of beautiful color photographs, there's something here for everyone. So invite over all those aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, and treat them to some home cooking, Deen family style. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy the book, April 8, 2009
    Omygosh...a cookbook that's a good read. What a concept. Paula makes cooking fun and just a little naughty...I mean...real butter, bacon, sugar and just the right amount of sauce. Thank goodness there are still cooks who create real food. Lots of great recipes...if I had to pick a favorite I guess it would be Michael's sinful twice baked potato...it's a meal unto itself. With the fabulous photography and easy instructions you can't miss...and believe me, I am no cook...but I can wow my guests with these recipes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars love love love it!, April 7, 2009
    I love love loved this book! It was so much fun reading all the little family stories that go along with the recipes - Paula's family is just as hilarious as she is (no surprise there, I guess)! The recipes all seem pretty easy to make and they're so creative. My #1 favorite is Aunt Peggy's meatloaf (no boring old meatloaf here!), and I can't wait to try all of the sweets recipes. Her cousin's recipe for whoopee pies looks amazing. And it's even got a healthy family recipe chapter - who would have thought? Looks delicious!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I love this cookbook!, June 27, 2009
    I had become tired of buying cookbooks sight unseen, and then being disappointed by the recipes once the book arrived. This had become especially true of some the the "celebrity" chef books of late. So, I decided to check this book out of my local library first and what a pleasant surprise I found. This is a GREAT cookbook with a nice variety of recipes provided not just by Paula and her sons, but also her extended family. And each recipe is accompanied by a story about the person or the recipe and it was a really great read on top of adding some superb recipes to my collection. The recipes are easy to follow and make, and there aren't too many obscure ingredients that you would have to go in search of, and many are made with staples that you probably keep on hand. It covers everything from appetizers to desserts, and I can not wait to make the coconut bread pudding. YUM! I am so pleased with the cookbook, I plan on buying my own copy. You will thoroughly enjoy the book!

    Update: I have made two recipes from this book and they were great. The first one was Jamie's Mexican Chicken and Tortilla Casserole. My eight year old son loved it--said it was a "keeper" and I should definitely make it again. The other was Corrie's Christmas Granola Waffles with Buttered Pecan Syrup. We did not use the granola--however, we did make the waffles and they are out of this world. I have made homemade buttermilk pancakes once a week for the past 8 years as either a Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast for my family, and this recipe has replaced that ritual. Both of my kids LOVE them, and they ask for them whenever I am taking breakfast requests. You will not be disappointed!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Recipe Book, May 9, 2009
    I love and have all of the Paula Deen cookbooks. This one does not let you down, if you like down home country cookin', the kind you can take to potlucks or family get togethers, then you can find plenty to cook in this cookbook. I just wish there had been more dessert recipe's .

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yummy Y'all!, April 20, 2009
    I just checked this book out from the Library and realized that I had page marked over half the book, I decided to buy it instead. This is truly a breath of fresh air that I had been waiting for, been stuck in a Paula Deen rut over the past year. I love how there is a story to most recipes and that you actually see the people who submitted the recipes, little comments on most of the recipes. I also thought the Jamie saving Brooke's fork story was just heart warming. I honestly had no idea Michael could actually cook too!

    So far I have made the Smoky Tomato Bacon Pasta which was super easy and tasty. Corrie's Granola Waffles were out of this world and will be my standard recipe now! The Pasta salad was the best I ever had as well. I made the Turkey Spinach Cornbread casserole, last week and that too turned out good.

    I truly recommend this book to all Paula Fan's, its a must have!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Cookbook, April 30, 2009
    Once again, Paula Deen has given us a great cookbook with easy to put together recipes from the South!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Paula Deen Great Book, June 29, 2009
    As always, Paula has a great book with some more of her great recipes. You will not regret buying this book. The recipes are easy and tastes fabulous!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Recipes and stories, April 24, 2009
    The recipes are exquisite but add the stories behind each one-divine! Also try FINGER LICKING DIFFERENT!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Shining Example of Why Southerners Die Young. And Happily Full., November 29, 2009

    For all of the cookbooks I have reviewed, you would think me to be a gourmet or "foodie." Well, no and no. As I have mentioned in other places, I am no one's idea of a great cook, and I don't know chutney from chives. But I like to think I know good recipies when I see them, and I also like to think that I can also see a B.S. "celebrity chef" cookbook that serves up impossible recipies no reasonable person in command of his senses would even attempt. I am pleased to report that I checked this book out, tried a couple of the easier offerings, and became hooked. The "Beer and Onion Biscuits" will spell my death.

    Deen's book is a fun read, and the recipies are really not all that difficult. And the food, while sometimes dressy, is hearty food, filling and satisfying. And I like the fact that Deen and her editors give "credit where credit is due" for these recipies, some of which were probably jealously guarded family secrets once upon a time. The book's overall construction is also user-friendly, although not accident-proof.

    I will warn anyone, though, that Deen deserves her reputation as "The Queen of Butter." If you want heart-healthy fare, you had best pass this one by. And I really don't see where most of the recipies would remain undiminished by substitution. So, this is not the book for the diet-restricted, to say the least.

    Excellent book, serviceable and delicious recipies. Enjoy!

    Recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK, June 24, 2009
    This a great cookbook, whether you are experienced or a new cook. The recipe's are down to earth and doable for anyone. My family has really enjoyed the home cooked meals I have created from this book. ... Read more


    6. 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes
    by Claire Robinson
    Hardcover
    list price: $29.99 -- our price: $19.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0446572098
    Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
    Sales Rank: 1148
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Claire Robinson, the hot new Food Network star of 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge, helps people get dinner on the table with little fuss and a few great ingredients.

    The quest for simple, affordable, and fresh, mouthwatering food is over. 5 INGREDIENT FIX helps put delicious and sophisticated meals on the table in a snap. With people struggling to simplify, streamline, and budget, the Food Network's Claire Robinson is here to help. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be impressive; simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and ultimately, money. From breakfast treats like Brioche French Toast with Strawberries and Cream to no-fuss meals like Grown-up Grilled Cheese and Iceberg Wedges with Buttermilk Dressing to a romantic dinner of Grilled Scallops with Saffron Aioli and Green Goddess Rice, all of Robinson's recipes have five or fewer ingredients. A quick trip to the supermarket for one bag of groceries, and a delicious, restaurant-quality meal can be on the table in no time.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Yum!, September 26, 2010
    I just received this book a couple of days ago and I love it! The layout is very nice and across the top of the page of every recipe the five ingredients are listed, so that you can quickly flip through the cookbook and have an overview of the ingredients used. So far I have made:

    Rosemary-Parmesan Shortbread - so delicately delicious and addictive, great with wine and I even had a few the next day with my coffee. My son kept finding his way back to the pantry to sneak some extras.

    Asian Beef Roll-ups - very flavorful (but I confess I did not roll them up), the next day my husband put the leftovers in a hotdog bun and topped them with the braised red cabbage and loved it that way too. I do think I will grill the flank steak whole next time and slice it after it's cooked. Those thin slices cooked way too fast and came close to being more like beef jerky, but that has more to do with my skills than the recipe. I also think I'll will double the sauce (so good!) and try to use it in different dishes.

    Braised Red Cabbage - this was good, but next time I will try to get my helping first instead of last, the crumbled bacon over the top definitely got people's attention! Not too mention the yummy smell of maple ("I smell syrup and bacon!" was heard a few times while I cooked this).

    Can't wait to cook some more recipes today!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Yum!, October 17, 2010
    Yum.



    Okay, in all seriousness, yum.



    It takes a true genius to come up with Baked Ricotta with Stewed Cherries and make it okay to eat for breakfast! It was seriously just like cheesecake. I love this...



    I'm not a huge fan of Claire Robinson's show (I get annoyed easily by cooking show hosts) but I love her philosophy and style. She's French school trained, yet makes things so simple!



    The Buttermilk Pecan Chicken was so easy and delish! It's now on my monthly rotation of meals to cook. I cheated a bit though and used a jarred sauce for the noodles which go with it (and added broccoli since I felt we needed a veg with dinner). But oh...I'm enjoying this book. There are little snippets on each page of "What makes this recipe really sing" and "What to toss in if you have it" that are nuggets of information from the author and it's really a great cook book. I'm looking forward to making more recipes from it in the weeks to come!


    I received a copy of the book from Hachette Book Group in return for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 5 Ingredient Fix Cookbook, October 12, 2010
    5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant and Irresistible is written by the new uprising star of the Food Network, Claire Robinson. This cookbook simply helps you put great and delicious food on your table quickly. So, being a hectic mom always running from work, daycare and life, I was thrilled to receive this book as to conduct this review.

    5 Ingredient Mix compiles some beautiful recipes using five ingredients or less. The recipes in the book are easy, affordable and quick. What else could I ask for? This cookbook, as it saves a lot of time out of the kitchen, simply works for me. The dishes do not look plain but, simply appear to be exquisite and tasteful. These recipes prove that in order to have a beautiful, lavish meal does not equal long hours in the kitchen.

    The book itself is sectioned out in parts categorizing meals from breakfast, appetizers, drinks, main meals to side dishes, desserts and treats. The choices and variety are endless. Robinson also explains her 5 Ingredient philosophy indicating that cooking should be fun, easy, affordable and healthy. She also adds a personal letter to her readers as well as a section informing her readers on what utensils they should have in the kitchen for successful cooking. So, with a quick trip to the supermarket, picking up a small bag of groceries, you can have a restaurant-like dinner on your table in no time. I can't wait to try these recipes but, with the simple cooking in the short time it takes, I am already happy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Video Review, December 7, 2010

    5-0 out of 5 stars No Time to Cook Until This Book, October 21, 2010
    I don't like to cook, or grocery shop, but I love to eat delicious food so thank God I finally found this book. For those of us in need of extra time, a yummy dinner and extra instruction this book is a gift from heaven.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Claire has Flair!, November 4, 2010
    Claire's KISS philosophy (Keep It Simple Stupid) is right up my alley. I like that the recipes deliver quickly and without fuss. I made brown butter banana muffins using up ripe bananas I had stored in freezer. I also made an Edamame hummus (like chickpea) to use up edamame (soybeans) wasn't sure what to do with it. I also made ricotta spaetzle, a nice surprise, b/c I had a spaetzle recipe I liked, but this one is better--very delicate and tender. (Altho' a colander is usually suggested for this, it helps to have a spaetzle maker or a food mill so 'drops' of batter fall into the pot of water easily). The Polenta Fries came out brown and crispy, then dipped into tomato sauce (made mine spicy)--fast, easy, very good! There are many pics in this book which help to inspire. The picture of Prosecco Gelatin Parfait in see-thru trifle cups w/ whipped cream between is calling my name. (Jello for grown-ups--will make that one for sure!). These recipes are elegant and, to my mind, innovative--yet fast and simple. Even though I have countless cookbooks on my shelf, I am glad I bought this one too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Bridget's Review, November 9, 2010
    5 Ingredient Fix is full of great cooking tips and easy-to-prepare meals. The Rosemary-Parmesan Shortbread is so delicious! It has been my favorite thing to fix for the past week. Yeah, I've already made it three times. This would make the perfect gift for the food-lover in your life.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, November 8, 2010
    5 Ingredient Fix is Easy to do Elegant recipes.
    the recipes are really good for you (low fat) and can save you money. for example the trail mix recipe is so GOOD & it makes a bunch. cost fraction of what the store bought trail mixes are, plus it makes a nice gift.
    the recipes can be changed easily for special diets such as Celiac's, Gluten Free.
    this recipe collection would be a great gift for those getting a first apartment. as it contents a list of things needed to have a functional kitchen.
    i loved my copy of 5 Ingredient Fix so much, i also purchased one for our college student. ... Read more


    7. Dip Into Something Different: A Collection of Recipes from Our Fondue Pot to Yours
    by Melting Pot Restaurants Inc
    Hardcover
    list price: $29.95 -- our price: $19.77
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0979728304
    Publisher: Melting Pot Restaurants Inc
    Sales Rank: 577
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Create a perfect night out by gathering friends and family around a pot of warm melted cheese, chocolate or a cooking style eager to add flavor to your favorite dipper. The Melting Pot dares you to Dip Into Something Different® with this collection of recipes from our fondue to yours. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Great Book!, January 13, 2009
    This is my first fondue cookbook and I am just in love with it. Finally I can have the fondues that they make at the Melting Pot without having to shell out some major $$$$.

    First, the book is really well made. It's hard bound, and stays open to the page you want quiet easily. It also has a built in ribbon bookmark to easily mark the fondue your making.

    Second, Although I don't care for their little notes about what people say about how great their restaurant is - I did love the little notes throughout the book about the history of fondue, or about the different cheeses you will be using, or even about dipping etiquette.

    Third, They give you such good directions. At the beginning of the cheese fondue section they have step by step section with pictures for each step, that applies to almost every cheese fondue you will make. I found it really helpful, and now I understand why I have had some issues with fondue in the past! So far I have made the Garlic and Herb Cheddar Fondue (OMG yum! I also added about twice as much green goddess dressing, because I liked it so much). I also made the Feng Shui Fondue, and "The Original" Chocolate Fondue. All turned out just amazing. As others have noted - I had trouble finding Butterkase. But I spoke with an expert on cheeses at my grociery store, and she instead recommended for me to use 2 very different Fontinas in the Feng Shui. (I used Carr Valley Fontina and substituted the Butterkase with Cademartori Fonti) I think an alternative cheese could easily be used in any one of the three recipes that call for Butterkase if you have trouble finding it. Other then that - all of the ingredients are easy to find and get ahold of. I'm making the Goat Cheese Fondue next! Yum!

    Also, some people seemed unclear about what it includes, so to clarify these are the sections in the book: Cheese Fondue, Salads & Dressings, Cooking Styles Fondue, all of their dipping sauces, Chocolate fondue, and cocktails and coffees.

    Lastly, What I really love about all of these, and they point this out in the book, is that you can make many of these fondues for little $ if your a poor college student, like me, or you can also spend a lot of money and get some quality cheeses and other ingredients to add, like when I go home and my parents are buying the ingredients :) You also don't absolutely need to have a fondue pot or fondue forks - I just use two pots put together and my normal forks. It makes this a truly great gift for any person who likes to cook.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love It!, December 26, 2008
    This is awesome! I can't belive how many receipes they have provided, it's all in there. They even have drinks, salad dressings and marinades. I am so excited to start using this. All the cheese fondues look awesome. If you love the Melting Pot, you won't be disappointed. I would have purchased this book for the Wisconsin Trio Cheese fondue alone, and was amazed at what other recipes they included. I did make the Wisconsin Trio with success. Had a little trouble finding butterkase cheese - but you should be able to locate it at a larger grocery store that sells Boars Head in the packaged cheese department.
    Coupons in the back - 3. 1 for free product (wine/garlic and chocolate) 2 others to use for a night out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you love Melting Pot, you will LOVE this cookbook, December 1, 2008
    I was very surprised to see in this cookbook how many recipes they shared directly from the menu. In fact, I am not quite sure if they left anything out of the book that isn't on the menu. They have everything from cheese, meat, dessert, marinating, sauces. This is by far, my favorite cookbook!

    5-0 out of 5 stars LOVING IT!!!!, October 6, 2009
    Loved eating at the resturant and now I can make my favorites at home, from the cheese, to the main course, to the dipping sauce for the meats to my favorite the chocolate. Some ingrediants are hard to find but I just google and find the substitute, It is awesome. We fondue whenever we want now.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Create the Melting Pot experience at home, August 2, 2009
    Great cookbook! I was surprised to see how many recipes from the Melting Pot were in the book. The book has everything from the famous cheese fondues to salads, marinades, broth cooking styles, sauces, and deserts. You can really create the Melting Pot experience at home! I have tried many of the cheese fondues and they have all come out well. The only substitution I use is corn starch instead of the suggested flour to help keep the cheese from sticking to itself and make the fondue smooth and creamy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fondue lovers need this book!, May 12, 2009
    I am very happy with my purchase. After eating at the Melting Pot, my husband and I wanted to bring the experience home to friends. I ordered the book and we followed through with a fantastic dinner for the four of us. The recipes were well written, easy to execute and included everything from the restaurant we were interested in. I was extremely happy that the dipping sauces, marinades and rubs are included. My only complaint is the book leaves out suggestions for dipping (vegetables, breads, etc...). We were able to recreate according to memory from our experience but it would have been great to include dipping suggestions. I am certain that this book will get a lot of use-we've already planned dinner #2!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative cookbook!, January 9, 2009
    It took awhile to get this baby in my hands, but I love it! I love the Melting Pot restaurant, and this book gives you everything you need to know to make the exact same fondues at home! The cooking styles are included, along with how to begin your bases. The recipes are pretty intense on the ingredients, but I wouldn't expect anything less. The two copies I bought also include three coupons to the restaurant. It also has a ribbon bookmark to keep your place.

    This book sells for $30 in store, IF you can find it in store! My local one has been out of stock for maybe 2 months. I called multiple times to get it and never got a response on it. I purchased my first copy a month before Christmas, and it took a couple weeks to get here. I ordered my second copy on Dec 24, and the estimated delivery date was Jan 30 because it was back ordered! However I just received it yesterday (Jan 8) and was pleasantly surprised.

    A fancy cookbook that is highly recommended!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Melting Pot Recipe book, December 24, 2008
    This book is an awesome substitute for an expensive meal. The recipes were detailed and fun to prepare! The process of making the fondue took several thrilling fun hours, and the results were well worth the preparation time. I suggest this book to anyone who enjoys fondue as an appetizer, meal or dessert!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great cookbook!, December 12, 2008
    I was pleasantly surprised to see the quality of this cookbook. It's beautifully bound in hardcover with lots of pictures. All of my favorite recipes are inside...including the "Green Goddess". I love that they included recipes for some of the mixed drinks served in the restaurant too. I liked the book so much that I ordered a second copy as a Christmas gift for a friend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful cookbook, September 17, 2009
    I bought this book because we wanted to recreate our experience at The Melting Pot at home with our own fondue set. Well this book made it possible. It is lots of fun and makes cooking all of our favorites possible. It also has some coupons to the Melting Pot in the back of the book which don't expire for years. ... Read more


    8. Great Party Fondues
    by Peggy Fallon
    Hardcover
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.22
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0470239794
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 1088
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Impress your guests and take home entertaining to a new level with the recipes from Great Party Fondues, a guide to everything you need to know about preparing and serving great-tasting fondue with expert advice on fondue pots, ingredients, safety, and even etiquette. Whether they prefer cheese, savory, or dessert fondues, your guests will devour traditional favorites like Classic Swiss Fondue, international dishes like Rumaki, and innovative new recipes like Chipotle Sweet Potato Fondue. Twenty-eight stylish color photographs show will inspire you to follow the straightforward advice and no-fuss recipes. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fondue Fun, January 3, 2009
    We had so much fun fonduing on New Years. All of the recipes we used were delicious and so easy to follow. We chose not to do the traditional cheese and chocolate fondues and did the sweet potato, mushroom, and tomato vodka for appetizers. For our main course we did the hot pot with chicken and fish fry with shrimp, scallops and swordfish. For dessert we did the very berry and sweet wine and cheese. It was great. We all made different dipping sauces. We had 4 fondue pots going and lots of laughter. Don't think twice about buying this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is wonderful, November 16, 2008
    This book is pleasing to the eye and culinary imagination, is easy to execute recipes from, and produces downright delicious results. We are already planning a holiday get-together based off the multitude of fondue recipes (savory and sweet) offered in this delicious fondue cookbook!

    5-0 out of 5 stars fabululoso!!!!!!!!!, October 21, 2008
    This book is incredible and simple to use. I have enjoyed the come back of fondue, it is a great food source and heathy for us. thank you peggy fallon

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book., March 16, 2010
    I tried fondue cooking for the first time and I used this book to get all of my recipes. The items I made were the swiss cheese fondue, midnight chocolate and 4 dips for dipping cooked meat and vegetables into (ponsu sauce, bernaise, peanut butter and mustard). Everthing was absolutely delicious. It was such a success that I actually felt like I was at a fondue restaurant. I'm usually very critical of my own cooking yet I couldn't find a bad thing about any of the recipes I tried. I look forward to another fondue day with new recipes. Also very good information about various types of pots and recommendations on ingredients. Highly recommend this book for beginners or experts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Party Fondues, February 2, 2009
    I had forgotten how much fun sharing fondu was in the 70's and 80's. The writer of this book somehow has updated Fondue with enough knowledge about today's food and health obsessions and interest in international flavors to make it more than a nod to nostalgia. I know for sure that we never tried Cauliflower Fondue with asiago and smoked paprika back then.... there may have been smoked something-- but it wasn't paprika. What an improvement on the 70's!

    I love the tips on what to serve it with and the very specific instructions for making it come out "right". That Tomato Vodka Fondue is off the charts delicious and Chocolate Midnight fondue is what I hope to be eating at the moment i die.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fab Fondue, December 31, 2008
    This book is a knock out winner. The recipes in this book include both novel and traditional types so there is something for everybody. I have given this book to several friends who love it. Fondue is back!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fonduliscious, February 17, 2009
    Wow! What a fabulous variety of flavors and types of fondues.
    All the classics followed up with truly imaginative creations.
    It makes you want more than one fondue pot!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Everything is excellent, November 18, 2009
    Every fondue and sauce I've made from this book has been delicious, and I've made a bunch. The cauliflower fondue was a nice surprise. I can't wait to make the sweet potato fondue. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants varied fondue recipes. This has cheese, other savory, meat, chocolate, and other sweet fondues.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great party fondues, February 2, 2009
    Great Party Fondue wakes up the 60's and 70's fondue with flavors and foods of today. Every recipe is easy to follow and delicious. Peggy Fallon infuses each recipe with tidbits of information and tips for success.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great party Fondues, February 1, 2009
    I purchased 12 "Great Party Fondues" books by Peggy Fallon as Christmas gifts...the book was a great hit with everyone on my list. A couple of people have had a "fondue dinner party" already and all seem to be
    enjoying the variety of recipes in the book. ... Read more


    9. Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends
    by Rick Bayless
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0393058999
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 1043
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Entertaining made easy,with Mexican-inspired recipes and handy tipsfrom the celebrity chef and winner ofBravo’s Top Chef Masters.Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together with friends or throwing an outdoor shindig, no one can teach you the art of fiesta like Rick Bayless. With 150 recipes, Bayless offers you the key to unforgettable parties that will have guests clamoring for repeat invitations. There are recipes for small-dish snacking (Mushroom Ceviche, Devilish Shrimp), dynamic cocktails to get the party started (Champagne Margarita, Sizzling Mojito), and Bayless’s signature takes on Mexican street food (Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor, Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas). Live-fire grilled fish and meat dishes like the “Brava” Steak with “Lazy” Salsa will draw friends and family to the glow of open flames. And if you’re going to throw a truly epic celebration, you’ll need a killer finale like Frontera Grill’s Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars or Dark Chocolate–Chile Ice Cream.

    Fiesta at Rick’s offers 150 diverse preparations organized into easy-to-follow chapters. But it’s far more than a collection of recipes. With four complete, can’t-miss menus for parties ranging from a Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12 to a Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24, Bayless has all your friends covered. Each of these parties has a complete game plan, from a thought-out time line with advance shopping and preparation to a fiesta playlist. Whether a first-time entertainer or a seasoned veteran, anyone can learn from the helpful sidebars, which cover topics such as how to shuck oysters, the perfect avocado for guacamole, and the best way to pick out fresh fish for ceviche preparations. Bayless breaks down the timeless building blocks that make up authentic Mexican food, explaining the value of fresh tortillas and providing surprisingly simple instructions for making your own Mexican Fresh Cheese.

    Bayless’s entertaining blueprint eliminates the guesswork, so you can let your inspiration run free. Companion to seasons six and seven of Rick’s Public Television series Mexico—One Plate at a Time, Fiesta at Rick’s is required reading for everyone who loves opening their home to friends and good times. Four-color photographs throughout
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lots of good recipes, good supplementary Mexican cookbook, not a first reference, July 5, 2010
    I view this book as a complement to Bayless's other books: once you are comfortable with Mexican cuisine, this book is a big help when you want to show off your skills for a crowd. He and his wife Deann (co-authur of the book) deal with the logistics of centering a party with various Mexican themes, from a "Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12" to a "Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24." Included are drink recipes, salsas, guacamoles (the roasted garlic and orange guacamole in particular is excellent), as well as many main dishes and desserts. Included are a surprising number of vegetarian options, important so that those guests don't feel left out of the party. The recipes also scale down well, if you aren't feeding 100 guests. Winners are the enfrijoladas, the guacamoles (not your typical guacs, these!), the Cochito Chiapaneco (grilled pork roast), the Tacos de Arrachera al Carb�n, and his twist on Enchiladas Suizas. I didn't care for the Queso Fundido al Tequila, but so far most of the recipes have ranged from pretty good to great.

    If you are looking for an introduction to Mexican cooking from a beginner's standpoint, I'd suggest either "Mexico One Plate At A Time" (by Bayless), or "The Art of Mexican Cooking" by Diana Kennedy. Either of those will provide you with the solid fundamentals that you need before you can get the most out of Fiesta at Rick's.

    Pros:
    * Detailed party-planning timelines
    * Mostly good to excellent recipes
    * Easy to follow and understand instructions

    Cons:
    * A few "clunkers" in the recipes
    * Not a good Mexican cooking intro: the recipes make more sense if you are already familiar with Mexican cooking

    5-0 out of 5 stars If you like Mexican food you will like this book, July 9, 2010
    Rick has a way to pick his dishes, and to describe them in an appealing way, with clear instructions. I'm biased, sure, I love Mexican food, and I love cooking. Still, having cooked out of dozens of cookbooks I can recommend Rick's books. This one addresses parties, cooking for larger groups of people, in a way that helps you organize the cooking work (which is an art in itself), the selection of the dishes and drinks, and the actual cooking. You'll not over-commit to too complex dishes, or run out of time - your guests arriving with your mole still cooking.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A great book, July 14, 2010
    This is a great cookbook with a unique spin. Each section is broken up into an outline for a party from appetizers to main course, including group size and even a suggested playlist. If you want to throw your own Fiesta but arent certain where to start this is definitely the book for you.

    Beyond the party blue print there are some great recipes in here. My wife's family is from Mexico and these recipes are very similar to the traditional recipes they use, the main difference is he provides details, something that has been very difficult to get with the traditional recipes. My mother in law did not measure anything using a measuring cup.

    Finally the photography and printing in the book are excellent beautiful photographs of nearly every dish.

    4-0 out of 5 stars LIFE IS GOOD WITH THESE RECIPES, August 20, 2010

    "Fiesta" is certainly a well chosen word to be included in the title of Rick Bayless's 7th cookbook because each recipe is a delicious celebration of food. Not only is the food the tastiest but with FIESTA AT RICK'S one finds joy in the preparation and most especially in sharing with friends.. Many of us who know how ebullient Rick is on television may be pleasantly surprised to find that this same joie de vivre and encouragement come across on the printed page.

    Offered as a companion to the sixth season of Rick's PBS series, "Mexico - One Plate At A Time," this photographed filled volume presents 150 new recipes ranging from"Guacamoles, Nibbles, and Libations" to "Sweet Inspirations from Street Stalls, Bakeries and Ice Cream Shops" (do not, I repeat do not miss the White Chocolate - Mezcal Ice Cream found on page 310 - a little bit of heaven on earth!)

    Whether you're cooking for yourself and a significant other or for a party of 20 Rick is a trustworthy guide, offering full menus and easy to understand day or two before the big event suggestions. For instance, since Fall is not too far away he suggests a Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24. Your friends won't soon forget this get-together beginning with a Mexican "Cruidite" Platter with Chamoy Dipping Sauce followed by Lacquered Chicken in Classic Red Mole along with Sweet Plantains, Steaming Corn Tortillas and finishing with "Cafe de Olla" Flan. Yes, you can do this thanks to Rick's Fiesta Game Plan that includes equipment, a timeline (clearly explained day by day), serving strategy, and embellishments. It's a no-fail plan for a never to be forgotten Fiesta. Rick is a wonder at making preparations not only easy but fun.

    What is my favorite recipe in FIESTA AT RICK'S? Impossible to say because each is so different treating us to varying taste sensations.

    Next time I'm in Chicago my first stop will be the Frontera Grill owned and operated by Rick and his wife, Deann. Until then I've been having my first tastes of Frontera foods (FronteraKitchens.com). We started with Frontera Guacamole Mix - fresh tasting, just spicy enough with hints of tomatillo, garlic, green chile, and cilantro - unbelievably good! We made enough for 18 people and four of us devoured it in under an hour. So easy - simply mash ripe avocados and add mix - presto perfection!

    Following that we tried Frontera Roasted Vegetable Soup - only 80 calories, no cholesterol - rich with tomato, corn, pepper, onion, zucchini. Yes, yes I know the directions say "Just heat & serve." However, since it's summer in Texas we served it chilled topped with dollops of sour cream and loved it. Know it will be yummy and warming when cold weather comes.

    FIESTA AT RICK'S is a much appreciated book at our house, and Frontera foods are much enjoyed.

    - Gail Cooke

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Awesome Bayless Book!, September 5, 2010
    Just finished doing the dishes after a great meal cooked from recipes in this book! Looking forward to cooking more tasty dinners for family and friends. Even the "going all out" menus are simplified with a timeline to help you pull it all off without breaking a sweat. But not everything has to be used for huge gatherings. There's plenty here for everyone!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Viva la Fiesta at Rick's!, August 8, 2010
    I admit that I am a Bayless fan and have all but one of his cookbooks and use them regularly when in need of inspiration to cook some great Mexian food.

    Here though is a different approach in that it provides sequence of recipes and menus and drinks and music play lists and suggestions for fiesta with friends. This is unique and so useful and a well done resource. Such a variety to choose from as well, e.g. Guacamole Bar Coktail Party; Classic Mole Fiesta; Mexican Tapas Party, and my favorite so far: Street Food Party!

    The photos and helpful breakouts on such as Tequilla tasting, Guacomole Basics are truly well done and useful. This guy is expert and can provide all kinds of insights and tidbits to make fiesta so great!

    So far tried Roasted Beet Salad with Red Onion, Poblano and Lime; Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce and Melted Cheese; Grilled Rack of Lamb with Honey-Pasilla Glaze; Flaky Turnovers with VArious Fillings; Blueberry-Tequilla Ice Creaml and Mojito Fruit Ice Pops (to which I added some coconut rum).

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another classic from Rick Baless, July 26, 2010
    Fiesta at Rick's explores multiple themes in Mexican cooking with multiple recipes organized to be used together for entertaining. In classic Bayless fashion, each recipe has an introduction explaining the dish, with its inspiration and ideas on when to make the recipe. Each section is concluded with an outline of how to throw a fiesta with menu, drink ideas and sound track inspiration.
    Fiesta at Rick's explores variations on Guacamole, Mexican inspired cocktails and ice cream/gelato/sorbets much more than in previous books along with sections on taco fillings, seafood appetizers and a great section on wood fired cooking.
    Great addition to Rick's collection of cookbooks.
    ... Read more


    10. Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen
    by Alton Brown
    Paperback
    list price: $17.95 -- our price: $11.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1584796960
    Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
    Sales Rank: 1207
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Dedicated viewers of Alton Brown’s acclaimed Food Network show Good Eats know of his penchant for using unusual equipment. He has smoked a salmon in a cardboard box, roasted prime rib in a flowerpot, and used a C-clamp as a nutcracker. Brown isn’t interested in novelty, he’s just devoted to using the best—and simplest—tool for the job.

    Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen offers honest, practical advice on what’s needed and what isn’t, what works and what doesn’t. For instance: You only need three knives, but they are a lifetime investment. And don’t bother with that famous countertop grill—it doesn’t get hot enough to properly sear. In his signature science-guy style, Brown begins with advice on kitchen layout and organization, then gets to the lowdown on these cooking elements: Big Things with Plugs; Pots and Pans; Sharp Things; The Tool Box; Small Things with Plugs; Storage and Containment; and Safety and Sanitation.

    Gear For Your Kitchen is essential for all of Brown’s fans as well as anyone who wants a good guide to great kitchen gear. With more than 125,000 hardcover copies in print, this indispensable—and highly entertaining—book is now offered in a paperback edition that every home cook can afford.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative, Entertaining and Ever So Useful, January 11, 2005
    Don't buy this book if you're looking for recommendations on which brands of applicances to buy -- even Alton Brown would admit that you're better off checking out "Cook's Illustrated" or "Consumer Reports" for that. What this book is brilliant for is the explanations of what the most commonly used kitchen tools do and don't (and can and can't) do and how they work, along with the practical tips for picking the items that suit your needs best. Alton Brown does, from time to time, make specific recommendations, but he tells you why he likes those items so that you can accept or reject them on the merits. Also it should be noted that some of his recommendations run contrary to what he recommends for baking in "I'm Just Here for More Food," so if you bake a lot, you might want to read that book as well before shopping for items such as scales and mixers that are used in both cooking and baking. "Gear For Your Kitchen" covers items used in both, but emphasizes cooking.

    Alton covers each type of equipment thoroughly, explaining, for instance, what types of pans are good for different types of cooking applications, and what are the various properties of the different materials out of which they are made. So not only do you end up understanding the diffference between a sauce pan and a saucier, you can figure out whether clad metal or copper is your best bet. This same type of treatment is given for knives, small appliances, etc.

    But my favorite part of the book has to do with sanitation and storage. The explanations of why certain sanitary measures need to be taken are coupled with easy ways to do it. I couldn't get a frozen enchilada smell out of my microwave oven until I mixed water and bleach in the proportions Alton recommends in a plastic spray bottle. So simple and obvious and yet...

    While reading this (cover to cover in practically one sitting -- it's that readable) I found myself enjoying Alton's humorous descriptions, numerous photos and drawings. But I've found myself going back to the book as a handy reference for ingenious ways to use items I already have and ideas for shopping more intelligently.

    Since buying this book I've cleared out and reorganized my kitchen and even though I bought a lot more stuff after reading this book, I have more space and am able to use it more efficiently.

    Thanks Alton!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fine Tune your Kitchen and add fun to your cooking, September 14, 2003
    The top five (5) reasons for reading Alton Brown's GEAR For Your Kitchen are:

    1. The tabulation of types of `Pots and Pans' materials, their advantages, disadvantages, and relative costs. This chapter alone is worth the price of admission. This section will not save you money except for its advice on non-stick pans. All sources I've seen from Mario Batali to AB agree on not spending a lot for Teflon � lined pans, except be sure to get them with oven proof handles for making frittatas.
    2. The thoughtful discussion of knife design and how different design features are important, or not important for different cutting tasks. This section will save you money, unless you are a knife freak.
    3. The discussion of most major types of gear, which give you the features you should find most desirable. You may not agree with AB's choices, but he tells you how to make the choice which is best for you.
    4. The essay on kitchen sanitation. This is one of many areas where the home cook can learn from professional chefs' practice. I'll bet that even Martha Stewart is not as careful as Alton recommends, and I plan to begin following his recommendations immediately. Note that one can make a little game of finding all the oblique references to Martha Stewart in the book. I've found four (4).
    5. The explanation of accuracy versus precision in evaluating measuring devices, especially weighing devices. Being a former chemist, I would argue that AB gives too little credit to the role of the balance, although I concede that using it in the kitchen does require both extra space and special knowledge the average chef may not have.

    To the book's credit, it has a wealth of references to actual makes and models, while I have detected no bias to any one manufacturer, in spite of some gratuitous general kudos to OXO. AB's opinions are based on a thorough and thoughtful use of kitchen tools over many years, so his opinions are much better than your Aunt Ida, no matter how good her apple pie may be. However, I take some with a grain of salt. I would not dismiss springform pans unless I heard both Maida Heatter and Nick Malgieri gave them up.

    Another minor nit I would pick is in his use of the term multitasking. In computer science, where the word was born, it means the ability to do two things in parallel, not two different things in series! I would especially disagree with some of the uses to which he puts a rolling pin, as some secondary uses may lead to nicks which may harbor microbeasties and impair it function. The solution of sanding said roller may give it an uneven shape. Tsk Tsk.

    This book is much better than his first, since it addresses in a comprehensive way a subject which is only dealt with in a very piecemeal way by any other source, including Cooks Illustrated. His first book was just another collection of recipes with humor and some (occasionally) misleading science.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Resource for Cooks of Any Caliber, October 12, 2003
    "Gear for your Kitchen" provides a fairly in-depth discussion on the whys and hows of choosing various sorts of kitchen implements, from cutlery to pans to small appliances. Alton Brown uses his sense of humor to help present this information in a book that is truly easy and pleasurable to read. There is another book of this nature, a very large and diverse treatise, which attempts to showcase all the various sorts of kitchen gear available to the home cook. But unlike "Gear" it doesn't provide the information that we really need to choose our cookware.

    What is great about this book is that in addition to giving actual suggestions of specific products for various sorts of implements, it also goes into great detail to show you how to choose items that will work for you. Brown is careful to highlight areas where paying more money isn't likely in your best interest (e.g. the non-stick fry pans as mentioned in another review, for instance) and where it is (e.g. cutlery).

    The goal of having the smallest set of kitchen wear to do all the cooking you need to do is a running theme in this book. In addition to a suggested exercise in minimizing your current kitchen implements, there are many suggestions on how you can use items for tasks other than they are intended, instead of buying specialty pieces (e.g. using the bottom of a heavy fry pan in the place of a meat pounder).

    This book is a great resource for cooks of all sorts, from beginners to those with years of experience. It will make a great gift for those people who are just starting out on their own!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Where were you Alton?, October 12, 2004
    About a year or so ago I finally gave up. All my knives were dull. All my pans were warped and flaking. All my appliances were not working as I wanted. I decided that I enjoyed cooking, but avoided it because of my equipment. I decided I'd start buying only stuff that'd last a life time or until something better came out.

    It started with picking up some Wusthof knives, one every couple months. Then I started getting some new small appliances, and now I'm on to pans. I've cleaned out my "junk" drawer of unitaskers and replaced them with quality instruments.

    The bad news, if I had Alton's book, I would have saved a lot of time on research. The good news is, I did fairly well on my own.

    I admire Alton and this book in particular for two reason: He's innovative with his tools so that the least number of items can do the most tasks. I used to have four different garlic tools. I now I have one -- a knife. Also, a cooking tool doesn't have to come from a cooking store. Second, I enjoy how Alton doesn't shy from naming names, both the good and bad. In most parts of the book, he explains exactly what he thinks you should have and why. It's up to you if that sounds good to you.

    A nice little plus is he gives recipes demonstrating some of the gear he discusses. So when you go out and buy something new, you can try it out.

    You'll see a lot of this book on his shows. This is probably what this book is best at, a reference for the TV show. The book is not an authoritative look at what pan is best for this or that, or whatever. Cook's Illustrated is probably a better source for this. This is more of an overview of information. Some parts are more in-depth than others. I get the impression that the book was written from Alton's memory. In other words, Alton relied on past research and experience to write this book without going the extra steps to be more in-depth or complete. Some items are better researched and more in-depth than others, which illustrates this point. If it's important to Alton, he knows it front and back and has tested various products. If not, you just get a rough guide of what to look for.

    In short, this book is basically Alton's view on cooking tools, which certainly is impressive, but I would not recommend making this book a shopping list. I don't agree with everything in the book, but it does arm you with enough information to know what you're doing at the store. Case in point, I'm looking for a new roasting pan. Alton incorrectly states that the All-Clad has an aluminum core -- it's only stainless steel. While certainly a quality pan, I'm looking for a more affordable alternative since the big thing with All-Clad is the aluminum core. Alton comes into play on what I specifically want: A stainless steel (non-reactive) pan that is heavy enough to de-glaze on the stove. In this case, I'm looking past Alton's strong product recommendation, but I know exactly what I want and why.

    Alton's books and shows made me aware of my neglect for food safety. Some great tips in there. The kitchen truly is the most danger room in the house.

    If you enjoy Alton's show and his tips for gear, you'll like this book, even if you've seen every episode. At the very least you'll have something to reference. For everyone else, I'd say page through it at a book store and look up topic you're familiar with. If you agree with what he says, buy it. You'll probably agree with everything else.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I don't like the new Cuisinart either, June 29, 2004
    I'm a hobby cook and also a gadget-junkie, so I was delighted to discover this book by one of my favorite people on the Food Network. Brown covers much more than simply can-openers and veggie-peelers, though. His topical chapters cover pots and pans, storage containers, small miscellaneous utensils, safety items, "sharp things," and "small things with plugs," and perhaps the best way to read the book is to browse from the beginning and then read his descriptions, comments, and opinions on certain items as they come to mind. I'm a regular reader of the consumer tests in COOK'S ILLUSTRATED, too, and I think Brown and Christopher Kimball would agree in many ways on what makes a particular tool useful and what features to look for among the products available. Brown's judgments are admittedly personal but he explains them very clearly. Not everything must be specially purchased, either; he recommends a length of dental floss for cutting slices of soft cheese, and he boils eggs in an electric kettle that automatically turns itself off when it reaches a boil. (Great idea!) The book's page design is also quite nice, with good photos and drawings of the tools he discusses, side discussions and tips highlighted in color, and lots of open space. All his sources appear at the back of the book. I certainly hope he does a revised and updated edition in about five years.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Three words: buy this book, November 20, 2004
    My fellow reviewers who agreed that this book is worth 5 stars have probably said what I feel better than I could. In a nutshell, this is an excellent resource to have on hand to learn which tools you really need for YOUR kitchen....not Alton's.

    The six-month "purge" in the beginning of the book is worth the price of the book alone. It's such a simple technique but it's laid out in such logical detail that anyone who does this will know immediately how much space and money they've wasted on kitchen trinkets, cheap and expensive alike.

    The section on cookware is an excellent resource for people who are scraping by on whatever cookware they got from their mother or from the local superstore. It'll help you choose the cookware (and individual pieces) that are best suited for YOU.
    I also found his information on cutlery selection to be valuable.

    Also, Brown doesn't automatically lean toward the idea that "expensive is better". In fact, he seems refreshingly honest when he tells you that superior tools can often be bought cheaper than at a restaurant supply store. One example is that he opts to use a trowel from the local hardware store rather than buy an expensive "pie server" from one of the houseware vendors.

    In other areas, he's candid enough to say, "Hey, this is going to last you a lifetime and if you buy the cheapo, you're going to regret it."

    Overall, I thought it was refreshingly honest, thorough and -- well, just plain fun to read.

    Regarding the the person who said that "$28 was too much" for a book that "wasn't very big", I'm not sure what the complaint was. Although the book is 200+ pages, well-written and wonderfully designed, that's not even the pragmatic point of the book. It's this: knowing the information in this book will save you a heck of alot more than $28 when buying the RIGHT kitchen gear instead of wasting money on stuff you don't need or shouldn't own. If it does that.....well, in my opinion, it's done its job.

    Plus, even if someone knows alot of this stuff, it's a good gift item for the chef/cook in YOUR life. Buy two and give one as a gift!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Can a Kitchen Implement Book Be Interesting? YES!, August 9, 2004
    How interesting can a book on kitchen implements be? I have always loved kitchen gadgets and machines, and although I'm the one who drags my wife through the kitchenware sections of stores, I still asked this question about this book. Well, it is a very interesting book, and I wish I had read this before buying most of what's in my kitchen.

    Alton Brown is the host of the Food Network show GOOD EATS. The show was first brought to my attention by a local radio morning show DJ. Alton is a sort of combination of Julia Childs and Mr. Wizard with a little wackiness of Jeff Corwin thrown in. After quickly getting addicted to the show, I wondered if Alton had any books, and my search led me to GEAR FOR YOUR KITCHEN.

    In the short time I've been watching the show, he's twice lifted his fire extinguisher and said, "This is the only unitasker in my kitchen." That philosophy permeates this book. You will also find that he will often use non-kitchen tools if he feels they perform the task better. He serves pie with a masonry trowel and scapes dough with a drywall taping knife.

    He's not afraid to name names, which is extremely beneficial and not often seen in books (Don't want to upset potential advertisers!). So instead of just describing what to look for in an item, he tells you what item(s) meets those requirements. Of course, this risks making the book quickly dated. He is also not afraid to say what items he's abandoned when they were poorly "updated," such as now recommending the Kitchenaid food processor over his once-favorite Cuisinart because Cuisinart changed the toggle switch to a membrane switch. Hopefully, some of the revelation will guide the manufacturers to provide better products.

    The book is very easy to read, and reads like listening to the author on his show. The layout is very attractive. The book is punctuated with interesting sidebars giving historical information on the materials and products. There are actually a handful of recipes using the tools described in that section. For example, the section on food processors includes a recipe for Hummus. The book is full of photos of recommended items. There is a several-page table on cooking utensil materials: what they are, what they're good for, and what they're not. Some of these sidebars and tables are very appealing to an engineer like me (Alton Brown, in general, probably appeals to engineers like me), but may be boring to others. You can skip many of them without much damage.

    Chapters are Pots and Pans, Sharp Things (knives and slicers), Small Things with Plugs (electric countertop kitchen appliances), Kitchen Tools Unplugged (pretty much any tool that doesn't fall into the other categories), Storage and Containment, and a potentially ho-hum chapter on Safety and Sanitation, which wasn't so bad. I could probably benefit from this last chapter, although (famous last words) I've never gotten sick from anything I made in my kitchen. It's harder explaining to my wife why I'm buying spray bottles and squeegees.

    I can offer a few suggestions for improvements. Mainly, additional illustrations are needed to help describe differences in some items. He could use diagrams to describe different kinds of pots and pans, different turners and spatulas, and the different whisks. He does this very thing describing different kinds of knives and the parts of the knives, but falls down on the job in the other sections. There are text descriptions like "straight sides," "curved sides," "flared sides," "sides that curve outward," "they all have an offset angle built into them either at the tip or in the handle," and others. It can be hard to conceive in your mind (or maybe it's really simple, and I'm just messed up because I'm an engineer and he's not describing what plane he's working in, what line he's referring the angle to, etc.) By "straight sides" does he mean "vertical?"

    And p. 192 confuses me. Alton insists there is a difference between turners and spatulas, but under "Wide, Solid Turner," he describes a particular product he owns, and there is a photo of it with a caption that clearly describes it as the same item, but calls it a "spatula." Furthermore, the next section, "Cake Spatulas," the first describing spatulas, refers to "the spatula described above." Ugh. Which is it? Are spatulas and turners the same or not?

    OK. Minor point.

    Mr. Brown does concedes that there may be a few good unitaskers, and admits to owning a few, but only if they do a job you need a done a lot, and it does it very well. Oh...and he does discuss fire extinguishers.

    I don't think I'll personally purchase this book since it is in the my local library, and it's not something I think I'll have to refer to frequently. However, if you don't have access to it, or want to keep it around for the recipes (or have an unlimited book budget and bookcase space), I'd highly recommend purchasing GEAR FOR YOUR KITCHEN.

    3-0 out of 5 stars From a fan Great Book, but not a good buy, January 22, 2005
    This is a great book, and very informative. As he does in his first book, he explains the concepts behind cooking in an almost scientific. BUT many of the most important tidbits are found in abbreviated with his first book. He also tends not to give the full story when endorsing a particular product. The Pressure Cooker, Stand Mixer, Perfect Beaker, etc. So before you buy, look at the recommendations on this site, consumer reports, and any other nonpartisan source you can.

    My suggestion is try and find this book at your library, then decide if you want to buy it. For me I took a few notes, then returned the book. I can always go check it out, and its not the type of book I'll always have out.

    (oh and before any of you try this, the terra cotta smoker is great, but not nearly as cheap and convenient as the smokey joe smoker in I'm just here for the food).

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have, June 10, 2004
    Nominated this year for another James Beard Award (for Tools and Techniques), Alton Brown has yet another gem for all to enjoy, "Gear For Your Kitchen". In this wonderful gem, Alton Brown explains how you can declutter your kitchen within 60 days and stock your kitchen with useful tools that you will actually use!

    As any "Good Eats" fan will tell you, Alton Brown believes in "multi-taskers." His logic is: Why have a yogurt maker when you only use it once a year? Instead, he shows us, on one of his shows, how he utilizes a heating pad and a couple of canisters to achieve the same results.

    Not only does he suggest unusual items for your kitchen (a cigar cutter to chop chives), but he also recommends traditional items. He explains the process with which one should consider before purchasing any item. He does explain how he chose that certain coffee maker, but he explains how we need to figure out which one is best for us.

    Being as he is forever in search of a great utensil or appliance, he is quick to point out which items are more difficult to clean, and not worth buying, and which ones are worth buying. In the section devoted purely to pots and pans, he explains each metal used for cooking, the best uses for that metal, how to care for it and the good and bad points with each metal.

    Instead of purchasing that expensive imported terra-cotta cookware, he suggests (with diagrams) on how to create your own cookware from flowerpots...I mean, they are both made from the same material. Why pay more because one says "cookware"?

    And he doesn't stop there. He also helps his readers by helping them select safety and sanitation supplies for their kitchens!

    And if you thought that was not enough, he has a large resource section, in the back of the book, where he recommends some excellent places to purchase your items, either through mail, telephone or Internet!

    This book is complete with Alton Brown's sense of humor, wit and enthusiasm. He is one of the only people out there creating books for people who never went to culinary school. I appreciate his thoroughness, and recommend this book to all new cooks, and for the more seasoned chefs as well.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Always fascinating, February 16, 2005
    My husband bought me this book (along with the newest set of the Good Eats DVDs). Initially, I didn't think that this book would be for me even though Good Eats is one of my favorite shows. As interesting as Alton Brown is, I didn't think that a book just about kitchen tools would be interesting. Then I started reading it. AB has such a unique way of writing that I was instantly mesmerized. It makes me want to go through my kitchen and purge all the unitaskers I've accumulated over the years. I will get there, though it may take a while. As an added bonus, he includes quite a few interesting recipes (that correspond to the gear he is talking about). I will never again doubt AB. In my opinion, he's the best there is in the cooking world. ... Read more


    11. Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Collection: The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, and Barefoot Contessa Family Style
    by Ina Garten
    Hardcover
    list price: $99.99 -- our price: $58.49
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0307720012
    Publisher: Clarkson Potter
    Sales Rank: 962
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    In her first ever boxed set, bestselling cookbook author and Food Network star Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, unites her initial three titles in one beautiful package.

    Here are the books that started it all for Ina Garten, who turned a passion for food into a successful specialty food store in the Hamptons and is now beloved by millions for her Barefoot Contessa television show and cookbooks. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina's first book, has all of the fabulous, easy recipes that won Ina a loyal following at her retail shop, including Perfect Roast Chicken, French Potato Salad, and those irresistible Coconut Cupcakes. In Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina shares her very best menus, divided by season, for fuss-free yet gorgeous entertaining, from a summer garden lunch for eight to an intimate fireside dinner for two. Barefoot Contessa Family Style is full of crowd-pleasers you'll make again and again, like roasted asparagus showered with freshly grated Parmesan and a French toast made with challah and just the right amount of grated orange zest and pure vanilla extract to make it sing.

    Together, these three titles form a timeless collection perfect for every home cook, whether accomplished or amateur, and for every occasion, whether a weeknight dinner with family or a larger, more festive gathering. With stunning photography and Ina's helpful tips, this boxed set makes the perfect gift for those who love to cook.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Contessa Cookbook, December 7, 2010
    Great book I receive as a gift.
    Contessa cookbook provides a variety of recipes that will please almost any appetite.
    I recommended,Any cook would appreciate the addition of this cookbook to his collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars INA IS UNIQUE - SO IS THE CONTESSA COOKBOOK, December 21, 2010



    For those who haven't had the pleasure of shopping at Ina Garten's specialty food store in the Hamptons The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook delivers - literally. Some 160 gorgeous photos plus Ina's favorite recipes fill the 252 pages of this indispensable kitchen reference
    As Martha Stewart writes in her Foreword, Ina is unique. "There is a freshness in cooking, a total lack of finickiness, a reliance on the freshest and best, and a casualness that I know will be appealing to everyone who uses her book." How true!
    Ina stresses freshness, noting that after several weeks in Provence where she found radishes and carrots with "soil still clinging to them," she determined to base her cooking on ingredients from local sources. A lesson for us all.
    Hosting a cocktail party, she decided, was not much fun if she spent all of her time running back and forth to the kitchen to get hot hors d'oeuvres out of the oven. So, she does everything possible to be sure that she does not leave the room. For instance, she has a table with all the drink fixings on it, and appetizers that can be served at room temperature so everything is either out or ready to pass when the first guest arrives. Thus we find common sense and uncommonly good appetizers from Roasted Eggplant spread to Guacamole to Smoked Salmon Sandwiches.
    Her soups are splendid, most of them starting with sauteed onions "to give a sweet, rich flavor to the stock." Parker's Split Pea Soup, which Steven Spielberg said tasted just like his mother's, is rich, hearty and beautifully presented topped either with toasted croutons or diced smoked ham.
    The joy Ina finds in cooking is evident in all of her dishes. She's a cook who makes simple food very, very special.
    Highly recommended. ... Read more


    12. The Best 30-Minute Recipe
    by Cook's Illustrated Magazine
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0936184981
    Publisher: America's Test Kitchen
    Sales Rank: 991
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Editorial Review

    300 Fast and Flavorful Recipes from America’s Most Trusted Test Kitchen

    Tired of quick recipes that aren’t really quick or don’t taste very good? While some cookbooks promise 30-minute meals, America’s Test Kitchen delivers. The Best 30-Minute Recipe is packed with more than 300 great-tasting recipes, along with time-saving techniques that will help you become more efficient in the kitchen. You’ll also find honest evaluations of ingredients important to quick cooking, such as chicken broth, preshredded cheese, instant rice, and more. And because the type of equipment you use is important to the success of any recipe—made in 30 minutes or not—we tell you which brands are worth buying.

    The Best 30-Minute Recipe features a surprisingly wide range of recipes. You get not only the very best versions of naturally quick dishes like salads and stir-fries, but also quick and easy recipes for typically long-cooking dishes that you’d never even think of making on a weeknight—including meatloaf, lasagna, beef pot pie, and a pad thai so easy that you may never call for takeout again. With efficiency and good taste, The Best 30-Minute Recipe is the time-pressed cook’s guide to getting dinner on the table, night after night. ... Read more

    Reviews

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great as a standalone cookbook, problematic for anyone with other ATK material, February 4, 2007
    If this is your first cookbook from the ATK/Cook's Illustrated crew, I can almost guarantee you will be very happy with it. It's a very thorough and accessible approach to some cracking good recipes. The prose style is entertaining and informative and helps a less experienced cook get some insight into the tastes and textures that make a "good" recipe.

    But if you want to learn more or get further into the style, you may find that you get less geniunely new material with each subsequent purchase. While any one of their books is very much worth having, they tend to endlessly repackage and reissue their recipes in various formats. That's a little problematic for someone who is a fan of the ATK approach, but also is in no way a collector of cook books. If a cook book has 3 or 4 recipes that I haven't seen before and genuinely want to try, I'll be satisfied, and each new ATK issue just barely satisfies that criterion. But the relatively high cost of acquiring these new recipes along with the 5th iteration of, say, mashed potatoes, Chicken Parmesan and skillet tamale pie, may irritate and exasperate some buyers.

    One reviewer called these folks "A cottage industry gone amok". That has some truth to it, but it may be a little harsh. A more sympathetic reframing might be that they are simply trying to package their recipes in convenient ways so as to meet the demands of a particular segment of the cookbook market: "Best Recipe" vs "America's Test Kitchen companion series" vs "Cook's Illustrated compilation". And "Quick Meals" vs "Light Meals" vs "Vegetables" and "Soups and Stews". But at some point, the typical cook will probably decide that he or she is being rather cynically exploited by some shrewd entrepeneurs determined to squeeze every possible cent out of about 350 really good recipes, supplemented with some helpful product reviews. I haven't reached that point yet, but I may soon.

    So in summary: excellent cookbook, but docked a star for my purposes because I am paying "all new recipe" prices for a "20% (or less)new material" format.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Cookbook By Cook's Illustrated!, April 21, 2007
    This is my eighth book in my Cook's Illustrated (CI) collection and I have really enjoyed it. While it is true that many of CI's cookbooks are packed with repeat and/or repackaged recipes as other reviewers have pointed out, this book stands out from the pack in that it offers techniques in streamlining recipes so that you can get a delicious meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. And yes, every recipe I have tried has lived up to that promise (unlike other famed 30 minute cookbooks!). For people familiar with CI, this is quite a change in pace. My only real complaint with other CI books has been that the recipes can be involved and time consuming and leave your kitchen looking like a disaster area when you're finished. The good people at America's Test Kitchen didn't seem to be aware with how much kitchen equipment they had you dirtying with their recipes! This hardly made CI recipes very appealing on those weekdays when you needed a fast and easy meal on the table. This book changes all that! I can finally have delicious CI recipes even on high-stress, fast-paced days!

    It is clear that CI had two very distinct goals when they put this book together...(1)every meal truly must take the average home cook 30 minutes or less to prepare, and (2)every meal must taste great. While this may sound like a given, most other 30 minute/quick meal books do not always deliver on those counts. Not only do they usually take the average cook WAY longer to prepare (do they even take prep time into consideration when they are putting together the recipes?) but even more importantly, all too often the shortcuts they take compromise the overall quality of the dishes, leaving them flat and unexciting. This is not so with CI's 30 Minute Recipe. They truly have found ways to shave time and effort off of so many of their recipes without compromising the overall flavor. How exciting to be able to deliver delicious meals even on the most stressed days! I do also love the "Got Extra Time" feature that some of the recipes come with, which gives you the option of making the meals even better if you have a few extra minutes (like using long grain rice instead of instant or adding a few other components to enhance the overall flavor) but the recipes as written are still perfectly delicious on their own. It's just nice to have that option on days that you have a little extra time to put into the recipes.

    While the techniques are different than other CI cookbooks, you can still count on all the features that you come to expect from America's Test Kitchen...the product and equipment ratings, illustrations of techniques, quick tips, and detailed explanations as to how they arrived at their recipes can all be found in this book as well. Even the most seasoned CI veteran can still feel comfortable with this book--the techniques may be different but the governing principles of CI are still front and center!

    In short, I love this cookbook! While I'm an avid cook and very often enjoy spending extra time in the kitchen putting together delicious and in-depth meals for my family and friends, even I need a quick, low-maintenance meal from time to time. Thanks to CI, I now have techniques to streamline my cooking processes while still delivering fabulous meals!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulously fast fantastic food!, March 25, 2007
    I love all my cookbooks from the Cook's Illustrated line. This one is great, too! The recipes truly are doable in under 30 minutes. And when they say 30 minutes, they mean thirty minutes from start to finish- NOT 30 minutes of prep time and another hour of cooking!

    My family loves the teriyaki recipes! I've never had better teriyaki- fast, light and fresh. We also have made some of the braised chicken dishes and they were very good.

    This book is in a similar format to many of their others: there is a discussion of ingredients and methods leading up to the recipe and then usually several variations on the actual recipe itself. I like this because it allows for some flexibility if you don;t have certain ingredients on hand. This cookbook gives tips for how to prepare the recipes in the most efficient manner (for example, it says "While meat is browning, chop the onions"). I usually find that when I've cooked a recipe several times, I'm much faster at it becase I figure out what steps to do in what order- these 'quick tips' help me get there sooner.

    The resulting food is fab! This cookbok isn't just for rushed weeknight dinners, the recipes are good enough to warrant including in your regular repetoire of things to prepare for guests and special occasions. Quick doesn't have to mean lower quality, the folk from Cook's Illustrated have proven that here with this book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, Easy, and Delicious, October 14, 2006
    Have tried four recipes and all have been very quick and easy to make and have been delicious. Have given the book as gifts and plan to give more. An outstanding book in a wonderful series of books. Never a disappointment with Cook's Illustrated books. Highly recommend to beginner or experienced cooks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Quickly became a favorite cookbook, November 13, 2006
    I have yet to find a weak recipe in this cookbook and have used it nightly for several weeks. The recipes are straightforward to follow, use fresh ingredients, and yield excellent results. Highly recommended for any busy person who loves really good food.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Cook's Illustrated people do it again, January 7, 2007
    I love the "Best Recipe" series from the Cooks Illustrated authors. Each recipe has been thoroughly tested and refined so that everyone who can follow directions can mimic their excellent results. The 30-minute recipes are a collection of recipes that I have cooked (they really do take only 30 minutes and are delicious) and plan on cooking in the future. The ingredients are those that are found in well stocked grocery stores and while I find that I often only use a few recipes from most of my cookbooks, I want to cook most of these recipes in this book.

    The best part of this cookbook and the rest in the series are the directions and the explanations. They take the time to explain why some choices about ingredients or techniques were made and not others. They take the time to give directions on how to perform cooking tasks; these explanations are very well written and the simple diagrams, when necessary, are effective. I especially like their reviews of products and cooking items. The carefully describe WHY they prefer one item over another in different circumstances. Reading this book makes me feel like I am in a master cooking class and gives me the confidence and the knowledge to try my own ideas in the kitchen.

    A large number of great recipes and great cooking lessons. A great deal for the price!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Cookbook I have ever owned, February 4, 2007
    I gave up on cooking many years ago. In the past, I would spend hours in the kitchen to make one dish that would turn out so so. I was so frustrated that my husband took over the cooking in our home. He can make up his own recipes and the dishes would turn out delicious. I do not have that skill. I have been looking for that one cookbook that had easy to prepare recipes that were fast and delicious. This is that cookbook. So far, I have made 3 meals since Christmas and they have all been easy to make and delicious. The recipes have been so good that I am actually looking forward to my next time cooking. I appreciate the written discussion with the recipes to explain some of the ingredient choices and hints to help with the recipe. With me not being an experienced cook, I need all the help I can get. I have been very pleased with this cookbook.

    3-0 out of 5 stars don't order this from Cooks Illustrated, May 4, 2007
    I agree with the reviewer who was frustrated with the amount of repackaging that Cooks does--although it is probably necessary for their business model, given that they accept no advertising. I have always been willing to pay their prices because of the quality of their recipes and of their techniques, and this book was no exception. What drove me over the edge was that, having ordered it from Cooks directly, I inadvertently got signed up for their "Automatic Preview Privilege," which meant that cookbooks just started showing up at my house. It tooks MONTHS to get them to stop. So, while I will keep buying their books and their magazine, I won't be doing it through them--will stick with Amazon, B&N, or my local bookstore.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Recipes, January 10, 2007
    If you're tired of the same old quick dinners, this book is for you! I have been very impressed with the variety of cuisine in this book, and so far, I have been able to make them all in around 30 minutes. I have used AMT's "The New Best Recipe" for several years and the recipes always turn out as promised. This book has the same trustworthy recipes, but without the 2-3 hour cooking time! The recipes taste great and are easy to make as long as you plan out your shopping list ahead of time as some of the recipes use unusual ingredients. I gave this book to my sister and she loves it too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Any general-interest public library, especially those catering to busy professionals, will find it a popular lend., February 5, 2007
    Plenty of cookbooks promise quick recipes, then either add time or skimp on flavor. Not so in The Best 30-Minute Recipe: each and every recipe here has been tested time and again - some 300 of them - and paired with overall time-saving techniques busy cooks will appreciate. The 'got extra time?' sidebars offer ideas for embellishments such as sauces which may be made when there's need for a little more zip, while recipes blend quick techniques (such as microwaving long-grain rice) with adaptations which retain flavor while speeding prep time. It also includes shopping hints as a way of speeding things all the way around. Any general-interest public library, especially those catering to busy professionals, will find it a popular lend.

    Diane C. Donovan
    California Bookwatch ... Read more


    13. Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers
    by Joyce Lock
    Misc. Supplies
    list price: $18.95 -- our price: $12.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0811858642
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Sales Rank: 1308
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Calling all food lovers! This addictive trivia game allows players to strut their culinary stuff and prove who is the smartest foodie of them all. With over 1,000 questions on topics ranging from culinary science and celebrity chefs to food history and exotic cuisine, each player is bound to get a full serving of food knowledge. But think fast, because the first player or team to fill in their game board wins!

    Includes:
    - Deck of trivia cards
    - Six game boards
    - Color die ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Foodie Fight - great fun for anyone interested in food, February 8, 2008
    I got Foodie Fight for Christmas and my friends and I have had great fun playing. You don't need to be a food fanatic or expert to have fun playing. I have learned things and had some great laughs at some of the questions and answers. I only wish they had another set of cards!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Foodie Fight Wins Hands Down, April 20, 2008
    I recently attend a weekend cooking school where we played both Foodie Fight and the Trival Pursuit Game dedicated to food. Foodie Fight was much more fun, more interesting questions, better catagories and just the right difficulty. The school was attended by "foodies" and some new to cooking and all enjoyed the game. It's a winner!

    5-0 out of 5 stars fun game that stumped even consumate foodies!, May 20, 2008
    Saw this at xmas time and thought it would be a fun gift for a family member. I was worried that the questions would not be challenging enough being that the person is a consumate foodie, as is another family member who would be present during the holiday. We played the game and even they couldn't answer all the questions!
    Game is designed really well, good variety of questions even for the novice foodie and I like how you can play a short game or a long game.
    Good fun!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, June 22, 2008
    Gave this as a gift to my brother who is a masterful chef. He enjoyed it. Good gift idea for those who cook.

    4-0 out of 5 stars challenging and a bit exhausting, June 13, 2008
    This game is fun, but can go on for a long time to the difficulty of some of the questions!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun and Educational, in a Topic that Grabs You, March 1, 2009
    My wife and I enjoy playing this food trivia game, which test one's knowledge of a broad range of cooking-related topics including cooking ingredients, celebrity chefs, restaurant service, and wine selection. When you play you learn new things in a fun-filled way. Particularly valuable are the questions on table etiquette, culinary science, and nutrition. However, the questions are uneven in level of difficulty. Some of the tough queries concern such items as a French chef, a little-known food author, an obscure movie, or a lesser-known type or style of food. This is compensated for by a substantial number of true or false and multiple choice questions. The popular culture questions can be deceptive or just plain difficult, but answers are often within the realm of knowledge of the average person.

    A good thing about the game is that it does not come easy for the winner. There are six categories, and the player who gets three questions correct in all six categories fills his six cardboard dinner plates and wins. Answering a question correctly means another turn. However, players who get a question in a category they have completed must still answer the question correctly to get another question, hopefully in an uncompleted category. Therefore, a player who gets ahead often finds other players will quickly catch up. This provides the sort of end-of-the-game competition that everyone will enjoy.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Game review, February 27, 2008
    Had a lot of laughs over the game after Christmas dinner (gift to my daughter - a foodie)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Take the byline on the box literally, November 4, 2010
    This game is for SERIOUS food lovers. I bought this for my wife last year and we were very excited to receive it. We really enjoy watching Food Network and other cooking shows, so we figured that this would be a great way to have fun on game nights. And it is....after a fashion. We found many of the questions to be somewhere between challenging and insanely difficult. After playing several rounds without anyone getting anything right, we had to relax the rules to move the game along. Even then, we had to be pretty generous with interpreting answers. We had fun after a little while, but it took time to get going Additionally, one of the categories (Company's Coming) seems out of place; it focuses on etiquette and rules for entertaining.
    The game can be fun and educational, but can also be frustratingly hard for those of who haven't been to culinary school. As some others have noted, this isn't a good game to try playing with people who aren't REALLY in to food.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, but this is not a game for children - even teenagers (or macho guys who are not into food)., July 20, 2010
    This is an original and fun trivia game. However, our family tried to play it last Saturday night, and it was not a hit with our two teenagers and two grade-schoolers, nor my All-American macho husband. Only the three family members who were foodies enjoyed it, and we still did not know a lot of the answers. A more family-friendly trivia game might be Smart Ass.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good questions, January 23, 2010
    I gave this game as a gift and was worried that it would be another one of those trivia games with either really easy questions or really hard ones. It was neither. The questions were legitimate. I mean, they had some really easy ones and some harder ones to challenge you to think and learn. We ended up not using the game pieces and just reading question after question to each other. It was fun. There were about the same number of questions that you would get in one reading box from Trivial Pursuit. I'd definitely recommend this game. It's ended up being a hit! ... Read more


    14. Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun
    by Ina Garten
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0609606441
    Publisher: Clarkson Potter
    Sales Rank: 2640
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    After more than twenty years of running Barefoot Contessa, the acclaimed specialty food store, Ina Garten published her first collection of recipes. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook was an overnight sensation, but it's the kind of success that can only be grounded in years of experience. In it, Ina shared her ideas for familiar food but with outstanding flavor and -- most important of all -- recipes that really work.

    Now, with Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ina shares secrets she has gleaned from her years not only as a caterer but as a dedicated party giver. The keyword here is fun. Ina's parties are easy to prepare and fun for everyone, including the host. Forget those boring Saturday-night dinners that just won't end. With Ina's advice, you're certain to have all your friends saying, "Wasn't that fun!"

    Ina has packed Barefoot Contessa Parties! with plans for pulling off parties like a pro, stories about her own parties, and tips on assembling food (rather than cooking everything) and organizing like a caterer. In the spring you can invite your friends to a party where they all make their own pizzas. Come summer, it's into the garden for a lunch with grilled lamb and pita sandwiches that guests assemble themselves. In the autumn, when it's not Thanksgiving, Ina roasts a fresh turkey, which her friends enjoy with popovers and a creamy spinach gratin. And on a snowy winter's day, everyone is invited for a lunch buffet with seafood chowder and butternut squash and apple soup.

    Ever since Ina published her first book, people write, e-mail, and stop her on the street to say how much they love the food. She's reached new heights here with recipes like sour cream coffee cake--the ultimate breakfast treat. Salads? The red lettuce, balsamic onions, and blue cheese; Chinese chicken salad; and panzanella may be the best you've ever tasted. Filet of beef is easy to make for a fancy dinner with oh-so-good gorgonzola sauce, or sliced into sandwiches and served with lobster rolls for a Superbowl party. And fans of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook will be delighted to find the recipe for the Lemon Cake they drooled over but only saw pictured, right here in this book.

    With so many great ideas and recipes in these pages for you to use, your friends will start to wonder why your parties are always so much fun.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for Foolproof Entertaining, May 29, 2001
    Ina Garten has brought sanity and great food to entertaining at home.

    The great thing about this book is the style everything is served and prepared in, though it uses a bit more fat than I would cook with for everyday meals. She is a friend of Martha Stewart but her recipes are very un-Martha like in preparation. Ina does not have a staff of hundreds to make everything just perfect for that dinner party for the magazine. This lady runs a business on her culinary skill - she does what works with a minimum amount of fuss - it tastes wonderful AND looks great.

    I have received rave reviews for the Sour Cream Coffee Cake, the Happy Birthday! meal, and the Chocolate Ganache Cake. The Chocolate Cake went over big. It was so easy to make, it was an afterthought while putting together a meal for six at the very last minute.

    You will not be disappointed with this cookbook.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Finally! A cookbook for the rest of us!, June 18, 2001
    I love to cook and bake but I run screaming from complicated recipes. This cookbook contains simple recipes for really great-tasting food. It is uncomplicated and the adjoining photographs are simple and elegant. Never have I found a cookbook where page after page I have found recipes that I actually want to try.

    I made the ceasar salad the first day I bought the book, the sour cream coffee cake the second. Both turned out fantastic! Tomorrow I shall conquer the delicious-looking rugelach.

    The book is touted for parties but don't let that fool you. These are great recipes for simple family dinners as well as large parties. The book is also sprinkled with Ina Garten's advice and past experiences.

    I thank Ina Garten for this wonderful new cookbook - but moreover, my husband thanks her!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ina-Thank you for another great cook book !, March 29, 2001
    I had planned to try a few more recipes before writing a review. But after making and eating 2 of the Chocolate Chunk Cookies that are photographed on the back cover of "Barefoot Contessa Parties" it's apparent that anyone who is thinking of buying this book should quickly do so. The cookies are great, they remind me of the kind that were made by a company 'David's Cookies'. Only Ina's are better.Yummm. Or as my 6 year old son Alex has just said,"They are extremely super." Last night I made the Brisket recipe but had to exchange water plus ketshup for tomatoe juice - no time to get back to the store. The results were a major success. Alex who has always refused my previous brisket attempts devoured slice after slice. As did my husband and our 10 year old. Tonight will be the vegetable pie recipe. Ina has written an introduction that clearly states the best parties are the ones you can easily prepare for and then happily join your guests. There are four Chapters:Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Fall. Each chapter has 4 menu planners with a brief introduction story ( filled with tips and personal info.for each menu). Each of the various menu's have easy to prepare recipes that are up to Ina's superior standards. I plan on testing them all. Hope she writes the next one within a year. Personally I enjoy her positive attitude that is clear in each of her many and varied recipes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on Parties I've ever read!, May 4, 2005
    Ina Garten has it down to a science - but a very relaxed science, at that. She teaches you how to throw a dinner party, garden party, even a child's birthday party with maximum style and class, and minimum stress. I love this book. I love the recipes and ideas and have used many of them on different occasions - often mixing and matching from different sections. The book is divided into four seasons, which makes perfect sense when planning a party - because it makes life so much easier when you use what is seasonally available for recipes as well as planning seasonally appropriate venues and activities for the party - indoor vs. outdoor, what type of drinks to enjoy, etc. I can't say enough good things about this book - you need it in your cookbook collection. I loaned it to someone and missed it dearly for the several weeks it was gone. I even considered purchasing a second one - just in case.

    4-0 out of 5 stars This is now my 2nd favorite cookbook!, April 30, 2001
    It doesn't top her first book, but boy, it's close! My only complaint about the book is that it's a little hard to find the recipes by category (looking for an entree? you'll have to search under poultry, seafood, etc... in the index) so I give it 4 stars, not 5. However, there is no complaint about the recipes themselves! Just like in her first book, everything I've made from this has turned out beautifully. AND, as a bonus, that beautiful looking lemon cake pictured in the dessert trays from the first book, but sadly not listed as a recipe, is included in this book. Ina Garten is my hero! I only wish the Barefoot Contessa store wasn't on the other side of the country.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Terrific--divine recipes, with only some teensy flaws, January 24, 2002
    This cookbook offers easy-to-follow, easy-to-prepare recipes that nonetheless produce delicious and elegant results. It offers tips for planning parties and creating menus aimed at getting the cook out of the kitchen and into the living room to spend more time with guests. Most of the recipes use ingredients that can be found in any supermarket, which is a big plus, and many of the recipes can either be prepared quickly or in advance. The recipes are broken down by season and then by occasion, which enhances the usefulness of the book, and the recipes are printed in a large font that's easy to read. Plenty of sumptuous photographs, too. This cookbook will be of use not only to anyone who enjoys entertaining, but to those of us who enjoy creating great meals even in the absence of a special occasion.

    There are some flaws, however. First, there's way too much name-dropping. Who cares if the author parties with the rich and famous? Do we really need to know this? Secondly, the menus often call for dishes or components which the reader is directed to locate in the author's other cookbook, "The Barefoot Contessa". There's no reason that those recipes couldn't have been reprinted here to save the reader the bother of hunting down and purchasing another book. I couldn't help but cynically wonder whether this wasn't a bald-faced attempt to boost sales. Thirdly, the oven temperature is missing from the recipe for "Rori's Potato Chips"--a minor error which will no doubt be corrected in subsequent editions. Apart from these flaws, I nonetheless recommend this cookbook wholeheartedly. After checking it out of my local library and taking it for a test-drive, I decided that it was well worth purchasing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, June 18, 2001
    I loved her first book so when this one came out I had to get it. I was not disappointed. I've made the Herbed Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa a couple of times now and everyone loved it. The Garlic Roasted Potatoes were so easy and delicious. I even e-mailed Ina to tell her how much I enjoyed her books and 2 days later she replied to my e-mail. I highly recommend this book to those who entertain and go into "panic mode" when company's coming (like me). The last 2 times I've entertained I've used recipes from her books and I was so relaxed because I wasn't rushing around that I finally got to enjoy myself without having to excuse myself from my guests to finish food preparations.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The anti-fancy dinner party book, October 17, 2001
    I was very disappointed with this cookbook. I read all the rave reviews and somehow expected the book to help me plan and pull off elegant dinner parties with recipes for those. Instead it has tips and recipes for doing everything but (i.e. a make your own pizza party, a new years day brunch, a tea party). The ideas, recipes and strategies for creating a relaxed atmosphere are good, but the book's philosophy is that those fancy Saturday night dinner parties should be avoided. If you agree, then this may be the book for you-- but it wasn't what I wanted.

    5-0 out of 5 stars She Loves To Throw a Great Party!, March 18, 2005
    I just love to read the intros to great cookbooks. They tell the story of the rest of the work. Here, what I never knew before about this great cook: how she came to the Barefoot Contessa: She loved to throw great parties!

    Arranged around the four seasons, she provides four menus for events like Sunday breakfast, Canoe trip, Birthday, Christmas, Snow Day, Fireside Dinner.

    Great solid recipes that are not too complicated or overpowering on the exotic ingredients nor techniques, just great party offerings such as: Perfect Poached Fruit;Carmel Chocolate Nut Ice Cream; Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Apples (this is soooo good!!); Fennel Soup Gratin; Vegetaple PotPie.

    Couple this with lavish Clarkston Potter superb layout, writing and color photos, and advice on scheduling, decorating, invites, etc. and this is great work for you who like Ina enjoy feeding and entertaining others. Love your advice: Never seem like you're not cool about what's happening, even though it seems disastrous.


    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent choice for those who love to entertain!, May 24, 2001
    I am passionate about food and cooking and appreciate a good recommendation on cook books. This book came highly recommended by an associate at the bookstore so I thought I would give it a try. The stories are wonderful and the recipes extremely easy to follow and create(especially with a color photo to compare to).

    I've made 3 recipes so far, ceasar salad, chicken chili, and chocolate chunk cookies - all to rave reviews! I decided to try the salad for a family gathering - a family of fine cooks - so I was a bit nervous trying something new. I soon realized there was no need to be nervous when the complements started and noticed some dipping their bread in the salad bowl. I knew this book was a great treasure when I received so many complements on the cookies - which I've been trying to master for years (Toll-House doesn't compare to these).

    I can't wait to creat more of these wonderful recipes! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to entertain and equally loves food! ... Read more


    15. The Bartenders Black Book, Updated 9th Edition
    by Stephen Kittredge Cunningham, Robert M. Parker, Jr.
    Plastic Comb
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1934259179
    Publisher: Wine Appreciation Guild
    Sales Rank: 1518
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    The newest and ninth edition to the Bartenders Black Book franchise adds 143 brand-new recipes that were created by bartenders, professional and laymen, around the world in the last two years. That brings the total beverage count to 3,000, more than double that of any other drink guide. All the sections have been expanded and updated, including Robert M. Parker, Jr. s Vintage Guide and Mr. Cunningham s already vast Martini section. Of course this book still has all its classic features: an index by ingredients, in-depth mixing instructions, metric conversion tables, a list of every possible garnish, sections on hot drinks, frozen drinks, beers, ales, lagers, and malternatives. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended from Behind the Bar, March 16, 2003
    I'm a bartender and there is always one customer who comes along and orders a drink you dont know how to make. Behind the bar we keep several drink books, but this is the only one that actually gets used. Easy to read recipies, non-coded names for liquors, short, sweet, and to the point. Spiral binded so the book will not close while you are mixing. Contains the most variety of drinks I've seen from Vodka Collins for beginners (which most books don't have) through Long Islands all the way to a Mongolian Mother for the more adverse. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to shake, stir, or blend.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Newest Edition Has Recipes, Convenience--and a Wine Guide, December 20, 2004

    Tons of Lore and Just as Much Convenience


    By Bill Marsano. There are more than enough bar guides around to satisfy even the thirstiest soul, so the question becomes which one is the most helpful, the easiest to use. Well, this one has a pretty fair claim to the title.

    At about 4.5 inches by 9, it is of convenient, under-bar size (no bartender wants the customer to know he has to look anything up). It has some 2,700 recipes, and it takes them all with a straight face, from the utterly genteel to the impossibly vulgar (in my view, anyone who orders a German Leg-Spreader or a Duck Fart is a lout who should be flung into the street at the earliest opportunity, but that's the bouncer's job). There's an enlarged section on the martini, that greatest of cocktails, that Fred Astaire of drinks; and sections on flavored vodkas, shooters, floaters and wines. The wine section is especially worthy of note. Bartenders used to take the approach of Tim Costello's old Manhattan saloon, which had its wine list painted on the wall. It said: "Red, $2.50. White, $2.50. No substitutions." But times are changing and with any number of places offering wine by the glass, the able bartender has to know more than how to use a corkscrew. In this book, the wine advice comes from that demigod, Robert Parker Jr. himself. Nuff said.

    But the best thing about this book is that it has a comb binding--something like a spiral-wire binding, but made of plastic. It means this book, unlike all the others I've see lately, lies FLAT. No more bending the book open, flexing it until the binding cracks, and then weighting it with a beer bottle to keep the thing from flapping closed. Sometimes strokes of genius are as easy as they are rare.--Bill Marsano is an award-winning writer and editor.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this Book, April 10, 2003
    I had to write a review after reading the prior one of a man in search of a picture book. There are a plethora of [bad] picture drink books on the market. It is funny, he was looking for a common thing (a [bad] picture drink book) and he got the finest drink recipe book ever written. The author painstakingly alphabetized and reworked thousands of drinks. He threw out all the [bad stuff] and made a No [fooling] essential tool, that restaurants, bars, and liquor stores must carry (they all seem to). The book is unbiased (no liquor companies pushing their product) It lays flat so I can work and read at the same time. I own a 4th, 5th and a 6th edition and I await new editions. I have learned from them all....THE BARTENDER'S BLACK BOOK IS A 5 STAR BOOK.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Bartender's Black Book: The Drink Recipe Collection, September 13, 2002
    This book is excellent. My husband works part-time at a liquor store and they have a copy there to help the customer's know what goes into their drinks at a bar. That way if they want they can purchase what they need to make them at home. The book is awesome. I'm always referring to it at the store so I decided I'd like a copy for at home. So I ordered it online from Amazon.com.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best of what I have found, March 30, 2000
    I have used several bartender books, and have found more of the popular drinks I see at various bars in this book. Most of these popular drinks are missing from other books. Long Island Ice Tea (several variations), Sex On The Beach, Purple Hooter, Buttery Nipple, they all are in there. I am an amateur bartender with a reasonably extensive liquor cabinet (40 bottles or so). My girlfriend left and took my copy, so here I am at Amazon getting one to replace it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The most complete of all the drink guides., June 3, 2005
    Don't know which kind of Orgasm is right for you? The Bartender's Black Book, by Stephen Kittredge Cunningham, offers no fewer than three choices. The original Orgasm (aka Burnt Almond or Roasted Toasted Almond) combines vodka, coffee liqueur and amaretto. Orgasm 2 uses triple sec and white cr�me de cacao instead of the coffee liqueur; Orgasm 3 uses Irish cream instead of the vodka. If Sex On The Beach is more your motivator, you'll be pleased to discover four varieties as you leaf through this handy, spiral-bound volume.

    If The Bartender's Black Book were a simple compendium of titillating or even interesting mixed drink recipes (Sex on the Sidewalk, Atomic Waste, Quaalude, Dying Nazi From Hell, Rigor Mortis, Wharf Rat, International Incident, Root of All Evil, Tongue Stroke, Wombat) it would join the ranks of dozens of other stimulating compendia; good reads perhaps, but incomplete references. The Black Book, published by the Wine Appreciation Guild, is instead a definitive professional guide, featuring over 2600 recipes for every variety of mixed drink (or drink mix), with special sections on garnishes, bar tools, a wine guide by Robert M. Parker, Jr., and anything else you need to know about drink preparation. Cunningham is a professional bartender whose penchant for detail turned him into a drink recipe collector, then into a careful professional compiler. He revises the book each year, adding dozens of new recipes, many of which continue to expand the art of nomenclature: Leg Spreader, Hot Tub, Dirty Ashtray, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Prison Bitch, Brain Tumor, Boston Massacre, Jumper Cable, Stuffed Toilet, Long Sloe Comfortable Fuzzy Screw Against the Wall with Satin Pillows the Hard Way, and whatever else the mind of man can think to drink.

    Cunningham covers the novelties, certainly, but he also gives us the ammunition we need to handle the basics. As an example of the care with which the Black Book has been produced, in the case of Martinis, Manhattans, Rob Roys and related spirit/vermouth mixtures, Cunningham provides bold-faced cautions: "DRY can mean either make drink with Dry Vermouth or less Sweet Vermouth than usual; PERFECT means use equal amounts of Sweet and Dry Vermouth; SWEET means use more Sweet Vermouth than usual; NAKED means no Vermouth at all." Speaking of Martinis, Cunningham adds a useful section that cross references more than 100 Martini variants: classics like the Gimlet and the Negroni, more unusual varieties like the Maiden's Prayer and the Purple Russian. A 30-page index cross-lists every drink in the book by constituent ingredient; Amaretto, for example, is used in several hundred drinks from the Abby Road to the Zonker; Dark Rum's applications range from the American Graffiti to the infamous Zombie. There are sections explaining beer and cognac varieties, all spirits, mixers and liqueurs, and an interesting monograph on "Being a Good Tipper" (think, 20%). The beverage references are generic (i.e., "Coffee Liqueur," rather than Kahlua or Tia Maria, "Orange Liqueur" rather than Cointreau or Grand Marnier). The result is a true resource, prized by professionals, supremely useful to amateurs with standards.

    By the way, I know you're wondering, but, no, I have never actually had an Orgasm, of any variety, nor do I expect to have any Orgasms in the near future. You ask why not? I'm still working through the hundred or so drinks that begin with the letter "A." Atomic Bodyslam, anyone?

    (...)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is by far the best recipe guide available..., August 16, 1999
    I've bartended for 7 years and I've gotta say that this book has the most current and creative recipes in the market today. It also has many alternate recipes for drinks that may vary by region. I've bought alot of bartending books over the years, but nothing beats this one. I have not been paid for this endorsement. ;)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on market! Most up to date!, November 9, 2004
    You will probably discard any other books you have previously purchased. The author/bartender obviously knows his stuff.
    This book is not by a wannabe or a corporate monkey. It's great that this book does not push brands and is unbiased. The book lays open flat, and the recipes are easy to follow.

    I once had a book with twice the recipes but they were 98% bad recipes. I threw that book out.

    There is a wine section written by Robert Parker, that has helped me immensely picking out bottles of wine. Other things that make this book stand out are the Martini instructions, Dessert Drink Section, Hot Drink Section, Frozen Drink Section. Glossary of Bartending Lingo.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 7th Ed. Bartenders black book, March 1, 2006
    A ton of drinks but the only problem is that it doesn't list the glassware that will be used for the drink. Other than that, all the information that anyone would ever need for bartending.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another bartender who loves this book., June 9, 2006
    I own four or five drink recipe books. This is the one that travels with me when I tend bar. I've bought several copies of it over the years -- the single downside of this book is that, if you turn your back on it, one of your fellow bartenders will steal it from you. It's just that good.

    It's the most complete drink book I've ever seen. It's easy to use, with drink recipies in a clear, sans-serif font -- in a darkened bar, it can sometimes be a little tricky to read if you're a geezer like me, but I think they did the best possible job of designing the book for use -- a larger font size, and the book would be too bulky to stick in your hip pocket, a smaller one, and even young guys would have trouble reading it.

    The cover is water-resistant -- hell, I recently used the sucker as a cutting board to chop up limes. I don't recommend that use, but it survived the treatment. This book takes a beating -- it's been in puddles of beer and vodka, it's had orange juice poured on it, and it lives at the bottom of my bag at all times. I don't treat it nicely, and it treats me great.

    There is no better book for a professional. None.

    Another user mentioned that it has no pretty pictures. That's true. Because pretty pictures would distract from its primary use -- for a professional bartender to look up an obscure drink while working in a busy bar, in order to find the recipe, make it, and move on to the next customer. ... Read more


    16. Baking Illustrated
    by Cook's Illustrated Magazine Editors
    Hardcover
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0936184752
    Publisher: America's Test Kitchen
    Sales Rank: 2309
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Packed with 350 recipes and 500 illustrations, Baking Illustrated brings you inside America’s Test Kitchen, where the test cooks and editors have exhaustively examined every ingredient, technique, and piece of equipment that is critical to your baking success. Have you ever wondered how long you can keep that can of baking powder in your cabinet or what brand of chocolate will yield the best brownies or flourless chocolate cake? Or puzzled over the key to making pizza crust that is thin and crisp or cookies that bake evenly? The editors at Cook’s Illustrated have pulled back the curtain on the seemingly complex world of baking to give you the answers to these and thousands of other questions.

    Recipes range from quick breads and yeast breads to pizza, cookies, cakes, pastry, crisps, and cobblers to all manner of pies and tarts. And they feature American home classics (including Southern Cornbread, Pecan Sandies, and Sour Cream Coffee-cake) as well as more contemporary favorites (such as Rosemary Focaccia, Orange-Almond Biscotti, and Chocolate Truffle Tart) and European baked goods (such as Brioche, Black Forest Cake, and Tarte Tatin). Every recipe has been exhaustively researched and tested to bring you the "best" recipe (we’ll let you be the judge), along with detailed and precise explanations from everything from why you should use unsalted butter to what is the best oven temperature and why it all matters. We’ve also tested every kind of baking equipment available, from mixers and food processors to the humblest spatulas and loaf pans, and the results of our experiments are described throughout so you can benefit from our trial and error.

    And because we know that good baking depends on understanding basic techniques, Baking Illustrated features a 16-page, full-color insert that shows you how to avoid some of the most common pitfalls in baking, such as overmixed egg whites, cheesecakes that crack, and bread dough that has overproofed. (We know a lot about mistakes – we’ve made them all.) We don’t want you to take the time to bake a layer cake from scratch only to settle for the "homemade" look. The visuals in this insert show you how to do it right. Color photographs demonstrate good results as well as bad, and hand-drawn step-by-step illustrations help you to perfect your technique for fail-safe baking.

    Baking Illustrated also gives you the handy tutorials on baking basics, including how to stock your pantry and how to store and measure ingredients, cream butter and roll out pie dough. A master baking class between two covers, Baking Illustrated takes the guesswork out of baking and will expand your repertoire without ever losing sight of your ultimate goal: making family favorites that taste better than ever. ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Baking Enthusiast, April 28, 2004
    This volume, `Baking Illustrated' is a compilation of articles and recipes from `Cook's Illustrated' magazine. This is the same source as many other volumes presuming to provide the `best' recipe for various dishes. Overall, I find the recipes in this book very good, but with several reservations.

    I am really happy to see the `America's Test Kitchen' crew turn their attention to baking. Unlike savory cooking, baking is highly dependent on accurate measurements of weight, volume, and temperature. Therefore, it is an area where a scientific approach of varying various quantities will have a more beneficial result than in the savory world.

    This book is subtitled `The Practical Kitchen Companion for the Home Baker'. This means the book is directed at the amateur home baker. This facet does not really distinguish the book that much from dozens of other baking books I have reviewed. In fact, I would warn occasional bakers who simply want recipes that this book might just be a bit too wordy for you. You may be much better served by a general baking book by Maida Heatter, Nick Malgieri, or even Martha Stewart. On the other hand, if you love `Cooks Illustrated' or simply reading about cooking and baking technique, then this is a book for you!

    My biggest reservation with the whole `best recipe' approach by `Cooks Illustrated' is that a recipe is best only by a certain set of criteria. What may be the best FAST recipe may fall flat on its face for ENTERTAINING or for MOST HEALTHY. The `Cooks Illustrated' team generally goes for a good compromise between fast and tasty. A corollary to this reservation is the presumption that the `Cooks Illustrated' approach has a unique insight into baking truth. This is simply not true. I just finished reviewing professional baker Sherry Yard's new book `The Secrets of Baking' an I believe it is unequivocally the best book you can get for understanding baking technique. She spends no time on discussing failed approaches. Everything in the book is right to the point. With only slightly less enthusiasm I would recommend the `Bible' series of baking books by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

    One clue to my preference for Yard and Beranbaum is the way they treat brioche and challah. Both deal with these two recipes as two variations on a common `master' recipe. Thus, when you understand how to make one, it is clear that you are very close to knowing how to do the other. This `Baking Illustrated' volume gives the two recipes side by side, but gives little other clue that the recipes are related.

    Another symptom of where the `Cooks Illustrated' method may be less than satisfactory is in their carrot cake recipe. Carrot cake is a really interesting product, made even more interesting to me by Sherry Yard's explanation of why it is so good and so versatile. I have been making a three layer carrot cake for birthdays from a Nick Malgieri recipe for over a year now, and I am very happy with the results. `Baking Illustrated' gives a passle of advice on what works and what doesn't work and ends with a recipe for a single layer sheet cake. This simply does not have enough WOW quotient for an important birthday.

    Yet another weakness in the `Cooks Ilustrated' method is illustrated by a recent Jim Villas book which has over a hundred recipes for biscuits, with over twenty for simple, unflavored biscuits. Each of these twenty recipes has their own charms. The current volume has only one `best recipe'.

    After all these reservations, I must still say that for the person who treats baking as a hobby, this book is a rich resource for all sorts of recipes. Some few baking books such as those by Yard and Beranbaum do a lot of explaining and offering alternatives, but most books do not. If you really want the straight scoop on what is the best ingredient to use, this is your book. It is also a rare source of excellent pictorials on technique based on line drawings that focus on the important aspects of a technique and do not distract as many photographs may do. The explanation of differences in types and results with butter you may not find anywhere else. The discussion of variations in flour is good, almost as good as the one you will find in Beranbaum's books.

    I give the book five stars but there may be many potential buyers who may not want the extensive why and what ifs and just want the recipes. For those people, I suggest Nick Malgieri's `How to Bake'.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Get "The New Best Recipe" Instead, January 5, 2006
    I loved the Cooks Illustrated "The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition with 1,000 Recipes" so much I asked for this for Christmas based on the glowing reviews here. Big mistake- this book is just the baking chapters from that book with 1 or 2 recipes added in each chapter and a couple of pages of color photos. Buy "The New Best Recipe" instead. It is the same price and you get 90% of the recipes in this book, plus 600+ other recipes!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The pefect tone for aspiring bakers, March 6, 2004
    For somebody who already spends a lot of time in the kitchen, this book is a revelation. I own several good baking titles, but Baking Illustrated just runs circles around them. The book is literally packed with tips and information. Even the areas I thought I knew something about were covered in such exquisite detail and straightforward instruction that I have all but stopped making the usual dumb mistakes which torpedoed my many attempts at pies, tarts, cakes, brownies, etc. And as always, the folks at Cook's Illustrated have filled the book with clear, simple illustrations that show exactly how to do it--a difference between this and other titles that makes ALL the difference.

    Baking Illustrated is a gem; it will find a prime spot on my bookshelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, But there's an error, April 8, 2004
    I like the way Cook's presents recipes. They tell you how they experiment which give you, the home baker, the skills to experiment on your own! This is great.

    There are a lot of recipes here and they are all well-written. Please note, there is an error in their Basic Pie Crust recipe. It should be 1/2 cup of shortening rather than one cup. This was sent to me in an email from the America's Test Kitchen website.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome desserts when typos don't mess them up, November 22, 2005
    The best general book on baked goods out there.

    THE GOOD:

    The recipes -- as with all Cooks Illustrated books, the people at America's Test Kitchens have tried every variation reasonably possible to come up with baked goods that taste the best to a majority of people and don't contain any wasted steps (such as macerating apples in sugar before baking them in a pie). For instance, for their cranberry nut bread, which is one of the most delicious baked goods I've ever tried, they experimented with different sweeteners (sugar, brown sugar, orange juice, etc.), different liquids (milk, buttermilk, yoghurt) and various leveners, all to come up with a moist, not-too-sweet, flavorful treat.

    The organization -- the book is organized into types of baked goods: quick breads, yeast breads, cakes, pies and tarts, cookies, etc. Each section has an index that lists the recipes in that section plus the variations on each main recipe. For example, under apple pie, there are varations for apple-cranberry, apple-bluberry, apple-ginger and so on.

    The pictures -- there aren't a lot of pictures, but the ones ther e are are gorgeous and inspiring.

    The illustrations -- there are myriad illustrations showing how to do such things as line a baking pan to make removal of bar cookies clean and easy, how to roll out pie dough, how to toast nuts, etc. These illustrations help make the instructions particularly easy to follow and show how to simplify complicated baking steps. Easily the best thing about this book.

    The instructions -- amounts are given in both volume (cups) and weight (ounces) so that bakers with scales can use the most precise measurements but that bakers without scales can use the recipes, too. Everything is crystal clear, including decriptions for how to tell when something is done by how the dessert looks and behaves, so that you don't have to worry so much about whether your oven is exactly the same as the ones the authors used. Instructions run from purchasing items all the way through to slicing.

    The tips -- plenty of useful tips on ingredients, which equipment works the best for each task (down to brand names) and which is the best value, to how to prepare, shop, store and work with different pieces of equipment and ingredients.

    The summaries -- some people don't care about all the things the authors tried, but there is a summary for each recipe if you're interested, and it helps to explain why to use certain ingredients and when you can substitute, which helps one to become a better baker all around and eventually lets you personalize the recipes to suit your taste, not to mention helping you learn to create your own. This eliminates a slew of baking errors as they tell you what not to do as well as what works. But you can just as easily ignore the summaries and follow the recipes alone.

    THE BAD:

    It would have been nice had they included some non-baked desserts , such as ice cream. The ice cream recipes in The New Best Recipe are fantastic, but they would make sense in a book that has so many desserts that go well with ice cream. Also, you won't find anything fancy here -- the recipes are for pretty basic items, although anything basic you want is probably in here, with the possible exception of an all-butter pie crust, which is inexplicably left out. You only get items that the authors think are the easiest and best all-around for the category. In any event, since other bakers aren't always as thorough in trying out recipes, when I want to make something fancy, I find it helpful to consult Baking Illustrated for techniques and ingredients so that I can intelligently change recipes from other cookbooks that don't quite work.

    THE UGLY:

    This book has a shocking number of significant typos and inconsistencies. Two examples: The recipe for basic pie dough calls for twice as much shortening as is correct. After making a gooey mess, I double-checked the recipe in The New Best Recipe and in Cooks Illustrated online, and found that Baking Illustrated indeed contains a typo -- the amount of shortening should be 1/2 cup, not 1 cup. In the recipe for Pecan Bars, the crust calls for 1/4 cup of pecans, and the filling for 2 cups, but in the instructions for the filling it says to add the remaing 1 3/4 cups. Thankfully I have a subscription to Cooks Illustrated online (a fantastic website), so I could confirm that the 1 3/4 cups was correct. (As an aside, the recipe online calls for the same ingredients as in the book, but with an entirely different technique).

    In short, this is a great book other than the sloppy editing job and is highly recommended for both beginning and experienced bakers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Reliable, but Very Irritating`, May 9, 2005
    On the whole, I like this collection of baking and pastry recipes. When I have never baked something before and need a failsafe recipe, this is the first book I pick up. It is a good source of reliable, if fussy, recipes. Although I have serious reservations about much in this book, I do recommend it, but not for the kitchen neophyte. It is disturbing how many best-selling baking and pastry books published in the last few years with a famous chef on the cover are chock full of recipes that simply do not work; Baking Illustrated is a happy exception.

    One myth about this book (produced by the same people who publish Cooks Illustrated magazine) should be dispelled from the beginning. It is not a collection of the best recipes of a particular baking or pastry item, nor is it an effort to take a classic, old fashioned recipe and do it correctly. Most of the recipes start out with a goal with a specific combination of texture, flavor, and appearance in mind (cf. brownies). The result very often is something that lacks the character you would normally expect from that dish. So, before you forge ahead with one of the recipes in this book assuming that it is the best of it's type, read the introductory material carefully to see the end result the authors were shooting for (as prime examples of a failure in this vein, I cite the recipes for Corn Muffins and Sacher Torte). In particular, I object to the dampness of many of the chemically leavened baked goods. I also find the flavors generally to be bland. Not enough spice is fixed by adding more, but other problems like not enough richness or not sweet enough, is not easily fixed unless you are willing to re-engineer the recipe.

    This book has many shortcomings, but none of them fatal. The most vexing is side-bar mania: putting valuable information about ingredients, equipment or techniques in random places scattered throughout the book. Much of this information is generally applicable to many recipes and other books. This information is disorganized, making this potentially valuable book useless as a reference. It also suffers overlap from another ATK publication: The Dessert Bible. Both books plough similar ground, although the actual recipe overlap is not that substantial; however, you do not need both to them. The main difference being that the Baking Illustrated has breads (both quick and yeast), and the book other does not. Given a choice, pick Baking Illustrated. Note carefully that the recipes are generally more involved with more steps than a typical baking and pastry book. The emphasis here is on correct result, not easy and simplified recipe procedures and steps that will save you time. Some of the recipes are risible: expecting you to blind-bake a pie crust and make the filling, and have both recipes finish at exactly the same time (maybe after doing the recipe a half dozen times you can accomplish this); expecting you to have room in your refrigerator overnight for a sheet pan of dough. You should also read the recipes carefully, as some take several days to finish.

    On the other hand, this book has many strengths. It is a team effort from a commercially viable test kitchen, meaning that it does not suffer from the prejudices or idiosyncrasies of one chef, famous or not. The authors are careful to point out which mixing method is best: standing mixer, food processor, or wooden spoon and strong arm. They are not wedded to one particular mixing method, nor do they blithely claim that all mixing methods will work with all recipes. They are also careful not to accept conventional wisdom or tradition for a recipe without thorough testing. This book has reliable versions of many recipes that are hard for the beginner to do correctly (cf. macaroons and meringue cookies). Many current baking and pastry books will quietly ignore those items that are staples but troublesome to do correctly (viz. pate a choux, angel food cake); this book merrily ploughs through each subject systematically, including those hard to do recipes. So, if you need a basic recipe, you will probably find it here done correctly.

    The most valuable aspect of this book is as a learning tool. If you are ready to move beyond the recipes in the newspaper or the back of the chocolate chip bag, this book is for you. I found the chapter on yeast breads to be particularly interesting: they discover dough folding, yeast preferments, cold proofing, and autolyse. Note that all recipes are preceded by a rather detailed and long-winded narrative of how they came to the final version of each recipe. These narratives are interesting and valuable learning tools you will not find anywhere else, even in culinary school.

    It has chapters on: quick breads, yeast breads, pizza, pies and tarts, pastry, fruit, cakes, and cookies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars watch out for repeats, December 13, 2004
    If you already own The New Best Recipe, this book isn't required. What I mean by that is that at least 80% of the recipes in Baking Illustrated is already in The New Best Recipe, if not more. I didn't do a thorough count-through but a lot of the recipes are repeats. Of course, I give 5 stars because I love the explanations and the layout of the book.

    If you absolutely don't need the few extra recipes Baking Illustrated offers extra from The New Best Recipe (and you already have The New Best Recipe) then go for another cookbook.

    Onto the cooking aspect, the explanations are a plus. The instructions are clear and I've made a couple of the recipes so far and they came out great (even with a mess up on my part)!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Bible for Bakers, January 3, 2006
    This is, by far, the best cookbook purchase I have ever made. Not only does it have delicious, foolproof recipes, but it contains a wealth of baking knowledge that any amateur baker could ever need. In the year that I have owned the book, I have grown from an enthusiastic (but scared) beginner baker to a much more accomplished, knowledgable and skilled baker. Each recipe in the book is accompanied by a detailed explanation of their testing and how and why they arrived at a particular method and recipe. So not only do you have a foolproof recipe, but you also know WHY a recipe works. This is an invaluable tool for home bakers because these lessons can be applied to all aspects of baking--boosting expertise, knowledge and confidence in the kitchen. There are also many other general hints and illustrations scattered throughout the tome that are very useful, like how to properly frost a layer cake or the correct way to whip egg whites. Just about any information you need can be found in this book. It's like a baking course in book form. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone who is serious (or wants to be serious) about baking.

    Update: I disagree with the above reviewer. It is true that many of the baking recipes in this book can also be found in the New Best recipe, but in my opinion there are much too many great recipes found in Baking Illustrated that are left out of The New Best. Like the Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake, Coconut Cream Pie, Classic White Layer Cake with Raspberry Almond Filling, Chocolate Truffle Tart, Black and White Cookies, Rugelach, etc, plus the entire chapter on Pastries. Not to mention the countless illustrations and helpful tips that can only be found in Baking Illustrated. (However The New Best does have a chapter on Custards and Puddings that BI sadly does not include). While I think the New Best is a wonderful book, I still think that if you are an avid baker (or aspire to be one) then Baking Illustrated should be on your cookbook shelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cook's continues to amaze, February 28, 2004
    Those people at Cook's Illustrated magazine have triumphed again! I've made 8 items so far, both sweet and savory, and each is delicious. The pie crust, though available in a few of their books, is absolute perfection. The NY Style cheesecake is the best I've ever eaten. This book is inspired, and it makes me anxious for the next book to come from Cook's!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let THEM make the mistakes so you don't have to!, August 16, 2005
    I've been baking for a few years and there's nothing worse than working hard to assemble a recipe and have it turn out with too much of this and not enough of that. Unlike cooking, where you can adjust the water, salt or spices during the process, in baking you throw it together, put it in the oven and hope for the best. If a recipe falls apart, never comes together, proves too dry, too wet, too salty or too bland, it can seem like a real waste of time and ingredients.

    That's where the America's Test Kitchen comes in: they make a bunch of recipes for the same dish, and they test and tweak until they have the product they want. The same kind of trial and error would take the weekend home baker months or longer.

    In my short experience of baking bread (two years), I've been able to experiment with a bunch of different recipes and techniques, but the ATK team were able to test different flours, rising times, baking temperatures, and much more esoteric tricks like pre-ferments, autolyse rests while mixing, and turning the dough. By offering all the different options to their tasters, they were able to make improvements to the look, texture and taste of their Italian Rustic Bread, for example, which came out excellent my first try.

    I've found some pretty good brownie recipes in the past, but the "Triple Chocolate" brownies from this book leave the others in the dust! I've made them 3 or 4 times now, and they're just the right balance between fudgy and cakey. For the reviewer who complained about the recipes not being healthy, this recipe called for much less butter and eggs than Nigella Lawson's brownies.

    One reviewer mentioned that the book might be too wordy for somebody just looking for a recipe. If that's you, then skip the introductory remarks and just go straight for the recipe (they're pretty clearly marked). No need to read their sidebars, background info or equipment recommendations if you don't want to. Personally, I loved reading the team's comments and rationale behind their choices.

    So, if you're interested in finding some well-tested recipes (and would rather somebody else have to throw out their rejects), check this book out. ... Read more


    17. The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion
    by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
    Paperback
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $11.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 1592333745
    Publisher: Fair Winds Press
    Sales Rank: 2126
    Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Entertain in Style—Vegan Style

     

    The Vegan Table is your one-stop source for creating the perfect meal for your friends and family. Whether you’re hosting an intimate gathering of friends or a large party with an open guest list, author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, crowned the “Vegan Martha Stewart” by VegNews magazine, will answer your every entertaining need.

    Inside you’ll be treated to practically limitless recipe and menu ideas, making it easy to satisfy any and all palates and preferences. From romantic meals for two to formal dinners, casual gatherings, children’s parties, and holiday feasts, you can keep the party going through every occasion and season.

     

    Recipes include:

    Pumpkin Curry

    Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke, and Pesto Sandwiches

    Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

    Elegantly Simple Stuffed Bell Peppers

    Pasta Primavera with Fresh Veggies and Herbs

    Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pies

    African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew
    Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions
    Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
    South of the Border Pizza

    Tofu Spinach Lasagna
    Blackberry Pecan Crisp
    Flourless Chocolate Tart

    Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting

    Celebrate the joy of plant-based cuisine with The Vegan Table, your ultimate at-home dining and entertaining guide.
    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt thank you to Colleen from Sacramento, CA, May 19, 2009
    Some background - This past mid-April, my husband and I attended the 5-Day McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, CA. Colleen was there as one of the chefs giving a cooking demo/lesson to help us learn how to cook food for our new healthy diet. My husband has always been an omnivore and swore he would never give up meat (but he was willing to attend the 5-day session with me). I have been what I call a fat 'imperfect vegan' for over 20 years (cheese, butter and oil were my vices). Enter Colleen. She prepared a few dishes out of this new book and passed around servings for us to eat. My hubby said: Babe, if we can eat like this all the time, I'll never miss the meat. And I agreed. We adopted a lowfat vegan diet that week, and have not looked back. I have cooked several of the recipes that Colleen gave us that week (all from the book) and they are all yummy. I have ordered the book because I want more. Colleen, I hope you are reading this: You are a wonderful, witty, talented chef. My husband and I loved your your cooking, and your wonderful sense of humor. Dr McDougall, Mary, Jeff, and Doug helped us adopt this new healthy diet, but you definitely sealed the deal. The 'No-queso Quesadillas' have been our go-to snack when we need a little something-something, now! Since April 15, I have effortlessly lost 15 lbs and my hubby has lost 12. Thank you SO much! We hope to see you again!

    5-0 out of 5 stars My new favorite cookbook, April 29, 2009
    I have a pretty big cookbook collection, but this is the first one I've seen that I actually want to try EVERYTHING! Even if you aren't vegan, you will find many delicious additions to your menus here. There are great tips for people new (or even not-so-new) to vegan cooking, and interesting information on subjects like edible flowers, high tea, and what they *really* ate at the first Thanksgiving. I've been looking forward to this book's arrival for a long time, and I agree with another reviewer who said it exceeded expectations. (I've already tried 3 recipes & all were delicious!)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Colleen has done it again!, April 29, 2009
    First came The Joy of Vegan Baking, which elevated baking without dairy or eggs to new heights! With The Vegan Table, Colleen expands our repertoire to everything from salads, to pizza, to kugle! Peppered with insightful pieces on vegan philosophy, this is not just a cookbook, it's a tome on how you can live your life compassionately and joyfully and share that spirit with your friends and family. Absolutely amazing recipes and exquisite photography, this is one of the best cookbooks I've bought!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, but..., August 29, 2009
    Like most people I was eager to get my hands on Patrick-Goudreau's second book. One cannot live on sweets alone, and her first book on baking is one of my go-to titles. The Vegan Table is a far more attractive book, full color, beautiful photography, and all the tidbits on vegan food and living we've grown to expect. The recipes I haven't tried look very good, and the ones I have tried turned out well, with the exception of the chocolate espresso ganache cake FAIL. (To be accurate, the cake was delicious, but the topping and glaze were a miserable failure.)

    However, I absolutely loathe the organization of this book. As cookbooks go, and I have dozens, I feel it was an experiment gone awry. The book is divided into meals for two, four to six, six to ten, and so on. If I'm interested in finding an entree, I have to flip through five chapters. The chapters are further divided by the four seasons. I appreciate eating seasonally, but this goes too far. At the very least a master list or index of apps, soups, salads, entrees, etc. would have made sense. If I want to make cornmeal-crusted tempeh for just my husband and me, I have to adjust the quantities since it's under "formal dining for six to ten." Granted, one would probably adjust for servings with any cookbook depending on your family size, but this system feels much more complex and unwieldy. I can think of several more effective ways this book could have been organized with respect to seasons and the appropriateness of each recipe for various styles of entertaining. As is is, I find it very difficult to use in the way one normally uses a cookbook. ("I need a main dish with beans," or "what can I do with all this zucchini?")

    All that aside, the book is very well written and the recipes are mostly rather simple, with some sophisticated 'touches' and seasonings to make them feel more special. There are no ingredients that a well-stocked pantry wouldn't have on hand already, or that would be difficult to find in most large grocery stores. Even when an unusual ingredient is listed - kudzu root comes to mind - the author suggests a far more accessible substitute (arrowroot, in that case).

    Perhaps the best thing to be said about the book is that it doesn't waste the cook's time with an abundance of "veganized" versions of foods omnivores typically like to eat. Most vegans who cook already have a favorite tofu scramble or lentil loaf recipe, and while these are included, by far the majority of the dishes are just good, original, vegan food. So I give Patrick-Goudreau credit for developing and marketing her own style of dining and entertaining, instead of writing "The Joy of Cooking...Vegan Style."

    Despite the challenges in the book's structure, I absolutely recommend it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect cookbook, vegan or otherwise!, May 8, 2009
    Like many other reviewers on Amazon, I am a cookbook fiend. I often wonder if I like purchasing new cookbooks more than I like actually using them because sometimes I will buy one, and after the initial look-through where I drool over the recipes, it sits on my shelf collecting dust for too long before I finally use it.

    This is so not the case with Colleen's first cookbook, "The Joy of Vegan Baking," or thankfully, her newest, "The Vegan Table." "The Vegan Table" is the perfect follow-up to "TJoVB," and every single recipe begs to be made. The recipes are healthy, delicious, and beautiful. Gorgeous photos of MANY of the dishes are scattered throughout the book, which I love because that inspires me that much more to get cooking!

    I was lucky enough to be a recipe tester for this book, so in addition to the several recipes I've made since receiving the book this week, I knew I already had some favorites. The Matzoh Ball Soup is perfect, as is the Panini with Lemon-Basil Pesto. The Tempeh Pate melts in your mouth, and the Warm Spinach Salad is amazingly healthful & delicious. I recently impressed company with the Blackberry Pecan Crisp, which took literally less than five minutes to assemble. The Portobello Mushrooms with Herb-Infused Marinade are on the menu for tonight, and I think I'll serve them alongside the Scalloped Potatoes.

    Each dish is simple, yet upscale (but that does not mean expensive!). Most things could be served for a simple weeknight dinner, yet they're impressive enough to share with company. I love that Colleen split the book into chapters based not only on the group size (meals to serve from two to ten, and everywhere in-between) - but also by season. The index is also terrific, and makes everything SO easy to find. Of course, Colleen's compassion for all living beings shines throughout the book, and I LOVE her explanations of different holidays & how we can (and should) celebrate the essence of them without harming animals in the process - like Easter without eggs, for instance, and Thanksgiving without turkey.

    "The Vegan Table" is a must-have addition to every kitchen out there, vegan or not!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exceeded expectations, April 28, 2009
    Colleen set the bar for new Vegan cookbooks pretty high with her "Joy of Vegan Baking" so, I knew I would not be disappointed with "The Vegan Table" when I ordered it. What I did not expect was to be impressed again but, I am. It is a very attractive, nicely designed book. There are plenty of photographs (something missing from most Vegan cookbooks) and there are sidenotes and tips everywhere. This is a cookbook that would be a good read even without any recipes. The one recipe I have had a chance to make so far (savory tofu spread) was superb.

    Excellent book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Vegan Amazin', May 11, 2009
    The first night I received my new Vegan Table cookbook, I poured through it and put sticky notes on about 50 pages of recipes that I wanted to try right away. So far I have made Tempeh Pate, Lavender Lemonade, and Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese. Every single non-veg person who has eaten the pate has loved it, and the macaroni dish was a big hit today at work. Get used to hearing, "I never would have known it was vegan." The recipes are incredible, the pictures are beautiful, and the design is fantastic. Even the pages smell good (well, maybe I'm weird, but they do!). The Compassionate Cooks' Tips and Did You Know? boxes are cool features and give you additional information on recipe items and food lore. Get this book. You will not be disappointed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cookbooks Don't Get Better Than This!, May 12, 2009
    Is your stomach growling? Are you planning to grab this cookbook, slip comfortably into bed, and do a little meal planning before you doze off to sleep?

    Don't. Even. Think. About. It.

    The Vegan Table is chock-full of so many tantalizing recipes, interesting tidbits, and gorgeous photos that you'll be up into the wee hours of the night, contemplating whether to make the Peach and Pecan Muffins or the Home-Fried Potatoes when morning finally does arrive! (That's what happened to me, anyway!)

    Not surprisingly, Colleen's new cookbook is amazingly well-organized. The recipes are laid out according to theme, season, occasion, and even party size. And, although I normally don't gravitate towards "meal-based" recipe organization in cookbooks (just a personal preference), this book does it in such an intuitive and helpful way that I can't help but love it! The "Food Lore," "Compassionate Cooks' Tips," and "Did You Know?" blurbs that accompany each recipe are also great, as they give the reader more insight into each recipe.

    And, speaking of the recipes, here are just a few of the stand-outs:

    *African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew
    *Fruit Sushi with Strawberry Reduction Sauce
    *Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Frosting
    *Purple Potatoes with Cashew Cream
    *Spicy Black Bean Burgers
    *Potato Salad in Radicchio Cups
    *Chai-Spiced Almond Cookies

    As if that weren't enough, even the intro/informational pages at the beginning of each chapter are captivating! They range from light topics (like how to prepare a romantic dinner for two) to heavier stuff (like "surviving the holidays" as a vegan, and confronting difficult food-ethics issues). If you're a fan of the author's podcasts, you'll probably recognize some of these discussions, although they fit perfectly into this cookbook as well.

    Being one of many voracious readers/collectors of veg-based cookbooks, it takes an awful lot to impress me when it comes to products in this area. Happily, however, I can confidently say that The Vegan Table has already far exceeded my expectations. (Who can argue with heaps of creative recipes cloaked in a colorful, text-book-like package? I mean, really?) Just like Eat, Drink & Be Vegan: Great Vegan Food for Special and Everyday Celebrations, The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets (also by this author!), and Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook that came before it, this book is destined to become the next big thing!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Vegan Entertaining!, September 25, 2009
    I have been cooking out of the vegan table for about a month now. I LOVE colleen's "vegetarian food for thought" podcast and I wanted to try her cookbook out. I own many vegan cookbooks and this is right up there with veganomicon and Vegan with a vengeance on my top vegan cookbook list. its hard sometimes to break up the dinners for 6 into dinners for two but i still love her ideas and would use them if i had a party.

    good recipes:
    moroccan stew- great. i was eating it for about a week it made so much! very flavorful and great to serve to non-vegans

    chocolate truffles- gave them to friends as presents and they were eaten up very very quickly. easy to make with that special feel

    beet/squash pizza- really interesting flavor. completely different from anything else i have tried. very good

    tofu with orange ginger sauce- also very good. i am not crazy about most tofu but this was very edible

    potatos with caramelized onions- AMAZING. could barely stop eating them

    Lentil Loaf- the second one of these i have tried and this was very edible. great with potatoes.


    BAD:
    red velvet cake. made this for my BF because it was his favorite- the icing was good but he said the cake tasted like "cornbread". i agree. had to throw it out. :(

    4-0 out of 5 stars Delicious, low-fat comfort food!, June 26, 2009
    I own several vegan cookbooks and this is one of the best. I've owned this book for only a month, but have made several recipes already, all of them delicious. Furthermore, most of the recipes are low-fat - the author calls for sauteing in water for many recipes. I admit, I often sub oil, but I like knowing that I can make the recipe low-fat if I want to.
    One of the best recipes in this book is the Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese, it is the first vegan recipe for "mac n' cheese" that I've liked. And I like this one a lot, I couldn't believe how good it was! We had an omnivore friend over for dinner and he loved it as well.
    The tempeh bacon recipe is also one of the best I've used.

    I haven't tried any of the Indian-style recipes - which there are several - but I'm looking forward to trying them.

    THE JOY OF VEGAN BAKING by the same author, was the very first vegan cookbook I bought, and I was so impressed with it, I felt I had to buy this one. The book has exceeded my expectations. Everything in the book sounds delicious and I can't wait to make all of the recipes. ... Read more


    18. Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers
    by Pam Anderson
    Hardcover
    list price: $32.00 -- our price: $21.12
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0547195958
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 5065
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Amazon.com ReviewFall into Cooking Featured Recipe from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: Festive Roast Chicken and Stuffing

    The chicken can be rubbed with the spice, the bread cubes toasted, and the sausage and vegetables cooked up to 2 days in advance. After you just brown the chicken, mix the stuffing, bake, and serve. If you need to bake this dish in a disposable pan, remember that the thin foil will not retain heat like a heavy roasting pan, so you’ll need to increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes. --Pam Anderson

    Serves 8

    Ingredients

    10–12 cups ½-inch bread cubes, plus 2 cups finely ground fresh bread crumbs (use a food processor) from a couple loaves of dense, crusty Italian or French bread
    3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
    1 tablespoon plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
    2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
    2 teaspoons fennel seeds, minced
    1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
    4 large split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 4 pounds), protruding rib bones and excess fat trimmed, rinsed, patted dry, and halved crosswise
    1 pound bulk Italian sausage or 1 pound links, casings removed
    2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
    3 medium celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
    1½ cups finely chopped dried Turkish apricots
    ½ cup minced fresh parsley
    2 large eggs
    1 quart low chicken broth


    Instructions

    Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet and spread bread crumbs on a separate baking sheet; let dry for several hours or overnight.

    Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake bread cubes until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. (Do not toast crumbs.) Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

    Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons Italian herbs, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper, fennel, orange zest, and oil in a small bowl. Smear mixture over both sides of each piece of chicken.

    Heat a large heavy roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. When wisps of smoke start to rise from pan, add chicken in 2 batches (breasts skin side down). Cook until skin is well browned (3 to 4 minutes), turn, and cook until chicken breasts lose their raw color on remaining side and skin on thighs is well browned, another couple of minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

    Add sausage to roasting pan and fry, stirring frequently to break it up, until it loses its raw color, about 5 minutes. Add onions and celery to pan and continue to cook until vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. In a large bowl, mix bread cubes, bread crumbs, sausage mixture, apricots, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian herbs, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Whisk eggs into broth in a medium bowl and pour over stuffing ingredients. Toss to coat and let stand for 10 minutes so bread absorbs broth.

    Turn stuffing into unwashed roasting pan. Top with chicken (breasts skin side up) and bake until attractively brown and chicken is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    Drink An Alsatian white, a buttery West Coast Chardonnay or, for red, a delicate, fruity Pinot Noir




    Product Description
    In Perfect One-Dish Dinners, the New York Times best-selling author Pam Anderson shares her secret for having people over without breaking stride: Make just one dish. Instead of a parade of offerings, she focuses attention on a single main course--a rustic tart, paella, grilled platter, or homey stew. Perfect One-Dish Dinners showcases about forty such meals, perfect for every season and occasion, all designed to wow guests, calm the cook, and relieve the dishwasher at the end of the night.

    Stews for All Seasons
    Worldly Casseroles
    Roasting Pan Complete
    Big Summer Salads and Grilled Platters.

    But that's not all. If the cook wants to make something extra, Pam provides a compatible appetizer, salad, and dessert for every one dish. And as a special bonus, she throws in "nearly instant" alternatives for each--more than 200 mixable, matchable recipes. Whether for a book group, church get together, birthday party, or family supper, Perfect One-Dish Dinners makes easy, shareable meals perfectly doable. More than 200 recipes in all.



    Recipe Excerpts from Perfect One-Dish Dinners


    Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

    Baby Spinach Salad with Mangoes, Toasted Almonds, and Red Onions

    Miniature Lemon-Raspberry Cakes




    1 ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Look no further - you've found the perfect cookbook, August 26, 2010
    I have several of Pam Anderson's books, and always considered "How to Cook Without A Book" my favorite. But Perfect One-Dish Dinners is quickly moving up the ranks to the top. We've made three recipes out of this book in a week, and each one was as good as the last. Even better, both the turkey feta meatballs with penne and the coq au vin blanc were actually BETTER as leftovers, leading me to think that I should make ahead on Sunday nights for delicious meals all week long with hardly any prep.

    I can't say enough about the coq au vin blanc. It was so yummy I was dreaming about it long after we'd finished the pot. The photos are gorgeous, and I love that Pam includes optional wine pairings, appetizers, and desserts for almost every dish - so if you're entertaining a crowd, you've got your menu planned already.

    None of the ingredients are foreign or hard to get, and we (a family of 2) are easily getting 4 meals out of each dish. That makes for a super economical dinner, even if you're splashing out for really nice prosciutto or wine.

    Next on my list to make: the pecan pie sundaes. This Texan approves of any meal that ends with pecans!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, but... mis-aimed?, October 19, 2010
    Perfect One-Dish Dinners / 978-0-54719-595-7

    I love cookbooks and I was excited to try this one when it came available on NetGalley. Several weeks later, I'm a little...confused.

    Make no mistake about it - this is a breathtakingly lovely book. There's a lot of valuable recipes here, but they're definitely of the "advanced student" variety, so do be aware of that. Almost every recipe has at least a dozen ingredients, and almost everything in this book is made completely from scratch - anytime dumplings or biscuits are working into a recipe, for instance, you *will* be making those dumplings from floury scratch.

    There's nothing wrong with an advanced-level cookbook, but it's just strange because the book is marketed as "easy" recipes, and there's really nothing easy about these. No prep times are estimated with the recipes, but I'd guess that most of them take over an hour to prepare. Adding to my confusion is the whole "one-dish" premise isn't kept to - the introduction states that "one-dish" dinners are easier, and thus was born this book... but every "one-dish" comes complete with an appetizer and dessert suggestion... as well as the occasional side. Don't get me wrong - it's great to have the suggestions of sides and desserts for when they are wanted or needed, but this is especially weird because everything is grouped together as one "meal", rather than the usual entrees, sides, appetizers, desserts layout of most cookbooks. The practical upshot of this is that if you want to make the "Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream", you'd better remember that it was listed with the "Lobster Dinner", because there's no Table of Contents to get you there. (In all fairness, there is an alphabetized index in the back.)

    I'm also not sure about the "Get-Togethers" part - a lot of the recipes are very exotic and specialized, and maybe my family is different, but if you get more than 5 of us in a room together, someone is going to dislike (or worse, be allergic to) at least one of the ingredients in these dozen-ingredient extravaganzas.

    So, ultimately, if you take out the "one-dish", the "easy", and the "get-togethers", we have "Perfect Dinners: All You Need". But, then, I don't know if this is ALL you need since the layout can still be a little wonky - there's no Table of Contents, the pictures aren't labeled (although they ARE lovely) and sometimes require a little guess work to match with the relevant recipe, there's no prep times listed, and there's no nutritional data summary (a nice touch in many of the Better Homes and Gardens books that I've come to like).

    Really, if you have all the time in the world, love baking from scratch, are an advanced hand in the kitchen, and have a non-picky and open-minded group of friends and family, there are some really good three-course meals in this book. I just don't understand why they're not marketing it that way?

    Note: I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from the publishing company via NetGalley.

    ~ Ana Mardoll

    5-0 out of 5 stars One-Dish Dinners: A One-Cookbook Meal Planner That Makes Entertaining That Much Easier, August 31, 2010
    This book is packed with foolproof recipes that take the sting out of entertaining. Each main recipe is not only beautifully photographed but also includes a complete meal plan with appetizer, salad when appropriate, dessert, and even wine pairing suggestions. The appetizer and dessert options are more than suggestions: their recipes are included as well. If there are any shortcuts or more-instant alternatives available, those are likewise noted, which makes the whole process of putting an entire meal together--even at the last minute--completely doable. Whether it's for a get-together or just a family meal, cooking at home just became that much easier and a whole lot more delicious.

    This is more than just a collection of recipes. Pam Anderson's experience as a recipe developer is evident and she isn't afraid to break the rules of traditional methods if she finds something that works better. She'll tell you why it's better, too. From tips on how to make mac and cheese incredibly moist to great suggestions on replacing the meat in some dishes with seafood or vegetarian options, this book is full of great nuggets of culinary wisdom that will serve you well in the kitchen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The best book for the wanna-be cook, September 3, 2010
    I saw Pam Anderson this week on WGN-TV in Chicago. She was preparing a one-dish pasta and meatball dish that really looked great. And I thought, Even I could do that. She then prepared an even simpler but scrumptious-looking dessert in minutes. She spooned out some raspberry jam and toasted almonds between two short-cake shells (store-bought) and then slathered on some creme cheese frosting. I cook a little bit and I think I'd do it more but some cook book recipes are just too complicated. I went out and bought four books, one for my wife and me, and one for each of our three grown kids. We all want to eat at home more and I think Pam's book is the recipe.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Cookbook, August 31, 2010
    This cookbook, filled with mouth-watering recipes and photos, is one of the most unique cookbooks I have in my very large collection. Pam Anderson makes cooking for get-togethers a breeze by providing the main entr�e recipe, as well as an appetizer, salad, dessert and even a suggested beverage pairing for the entire meal. Another great feature of the cookbook is that the recipes are broken down into easy-to-follow steps. As Ree Drummond perfectly stated, "Pam makes you feel like you can cook anything, and with her help -- you can!"

    For a dinner party I hosted recently, I prepared the Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables. The recipe was not only easy to prepare, but it allowed me to cook the entire dish before my guests arrived so that I could enjoy their company. The aromas that permeated from this dish made the house smell wonderful and the taste was absolutely delicious. I served this dish with a goat cheese salad and homemade rolls to soak up the sauce from the main entr�e. For dessert, I prepared the Pecan Pie Sundaes recipe from the cookbook. The whole table went silent as we devoured the sundaes and savored each and every bite. A few days after the party, I received an e-mail from one of my guests asking for the recipes because she loved the food and couldn't wait to make it for her family.

    This cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, stews, casseroles, roasts, salads, desserts...the list goes on and on. If you are hosting a dinner party, or need recipes for simple yet flavorful dishes for weeknight meals, this book, as stated in its title, is perfect.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Filled with amazing recipes, August 31, 2010
    This book is chock full of amazing recipes. So far, I've made the coq au vin blanc and the cassoulet-style Italian sausages & white beans, and both meals were extraordinary. In fact, I was so confident with these easy-to-follow recipes (and easy-to-find ingredients) that I made the coq au vin blanc for the first time for company. Not only did it turn out perfectly, but everyone loved it and it was gone within minutes. It is now a staple in our regular meal rotation.

    The photography in this book is just gorgeous, and I love how each main dish is paired with appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks. Even if you don't happen to have what you need on hand for a particular pairing, these drool-worthy suggestions are instant inspiration for planning a complete dinner party. The hardest part is deciding which recipe to try next!

    2-0 out of 5 stars Another beautiful book with recipes you'll never make, October 17, 2010
    The glowing reviews on amazon and the appealing title grabbed me, so I thought I'd give this book a try. The words "one-dish" and "easy" popped from the page.

    Well, after thoroughly reading the entire book I'm sad to say the recipes are neither easy nor appropriate for mixed-crowd entertaining. Maybe if all your friends are gourmands and you have all day to spend in the kitchen, but these recipes are not for the simpler get-togethers and accompanying meals I was imagining. None of the recipes evaluate prep-time and it's obvious why as you progress... they are not quick, typically involve many ingredients, and are 2-pages long on average.

    The book is beautiful and the format engaging. However, almost every recipe has a unique (and sometimes bizarre) flavor twist. As I continued to read it, I got the impression that these flavor combinations are the inspiration of someone who is quite bored with ordinary food. Orange sorbet with chocolate sauce? White and black bean caviar? I appreciate some creativity but I thought the balance between "oh, everyone would like this" and "I wonder if that would actually taste good..." was way off. Most of it fell into the latter category for me, and since it's all a hefty amount of work I will probably not be finding out what unique combinations are worth the hassle.

    Perhaps a better title would have been "Intriguing One-Dish Dinners for Sophisticated Entertaining" instead of "easy." If my expectations had been primed for complex meals to impress my guests I would be writing a better review. I expected more simple, broad-appeal dishes mixed in with the exotic.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the eyes, September 8, 2010
    What beautiful photos this cookbook has! They are sparklingly clear - almost edible. I love that in a cookbook - I want to see what the finished dish will look like. I have been swayed by a picture more than once when the ingredients have not jumped out at me.

    The recipes are mostly simple and are written in a clear, straightforward way. There are no strange ingredients that you will have to go in search of. I just loved how Ms Anderson gives you options to vary the recipe and also suggestions for desserts or appetizers to go with the main dish. That is a real help in my home.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not One-Dish Dinners at All, November 3, 2010
    I don't get it. I bought this book specifically to create ONE DISH meals on weeknights when it's just the two of us, and it's full of meals that include the dish, an appetizer, a salad, and a dessert. You'd spend half your day in the kitchen making this. This isn't what I wanted at all. I just wanted ... well ... one dish meals, where you cook the meat and vegetables in the same pot, and maybe even rice and potatoes too.

    Beyond that some of them just look ... weird -- or so simple that anyone who has cooked at all won't need a recipe for them.

    I try to review a book based on what it set out to do versus how well it achieved that, and this one falls short.

    It implies easy and with minimal dishes to wash in the title, but that's not what's inside the book at all.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect one-dish dinner cookbook!, September 13, 2010
    This is first of Pam Anderson's cookbooks that I've owned and I already adore it. The first time I flipped through the book, I marked off about 15 recipes that I wanted to make immediately. As I feel the first recipe from a new cookbook is a crucial choice, I chose the Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages & White Beans and I couldn't have been happier with the result. It was a quick and simple weeknight meal that I know I'll be making all fall and winter long. I've read reviews on other blogs of other recipes from Perfect One-Dish Dinners and everyone has the same reaction I do: love! ... Read more


    19. Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen
    Hardcover
    list price: $40.00 -- our price: $25.74
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0618610189
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 4745
    Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Amazon.com ReviewProduct Description
    In no other period of our country's history has the food scene changed so rapidly. Exciting new ingredients are available everywhere, expanding our culinary horizons. Even casual meals have globe-trotting flavors. We want memorable dishes, and we want them to be healthy for our families and our planet. And with our busy schedules, we want them on the table faster than ever. A new culinary world calls for a new cookbook. Gourmet Today responds to our changing foodscape with more vegetarian recipes, more recipes for popular dishes from every corner of the world, more recipes for stunning meals ready in 30 minutes or less, more simple ways to prepare all the vegetables in the farmers' market, advice on choosing sustainable fish, chicken, and beef, tips on throwing an easy cocktail party, more recipes for flavorful techniques like grilling, and more recipes for the new ingredients flooding our market.

    Each of the over 1,000 recipes was selected by editor in chief Ruth Reichl, a best-selling author in her own right, who wrote the introductions to each chapter. Every recipe has been tested and cross-tested in the Gourmet test kitchen so every cook, whether a first-timer or a veteran, gets impeccable results. With menus for holidays and other seasonal occasions, an authoritative glossary of ingredients (plus mail-order sources), and hundreds of sidebars on ingredients and handy techniques from the test kitchen, Gourmet Today is the indispensable book for today's cook.



    Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Ruth Reichl

    Dear Amazon Reader,

    These days you hear a lot of gloom and doom about the state of American food. It's certainly true that if you want to focus on the negative, there's a lot to despair about.

    On the other hand, the opposite is also true.I wrote my first cookbook in 1971, and when I see the difference between what was available then and the food that now fills my supermarket, it makes me want to go dancing down the aisles.

    Back then things were so different that my editor insisted that I call for ground beef instead of lamb in a classic Greek moussaka; she said not many grocers actually sold lamb. She also worried about the recipe for handmade pasta (too esoteric) and a simple Chinese stir-fry of chicken (what on earth was a wok). She worried when I called for freshly grated Parmesan cheese (most people still used the stuff that came in the green can), fresh garlic (frowned upon in many places) and chiles (too hot, too hot, too hot).

    What a difference a few years make!The American supermarket has turned into an international bazaar, offering us all the best flavors of the world. Whether you want to cook the foods of Asia, the Americas, India or Europe, the ingredients are there. And that's only part of the good news; the other is that the era of mindless eating is over. Good cooks everywhere are now aware of the consequences of their choices, and when they walk through the aisles, they think about sustainability.

    It's a wonderful time for people who care about food.But it requires a new kind of cookbook, one that takes advantage of the great modern marketplace. Gourmet's twelve test cooks spent five years exploring all the new ingredients available in the supermarkets--from frozen pizza dough to Thai chili pastes and eggroll wrappers--figuring out the best ways to use them. They haunted farmers markets too, so we could offer advice on cooking everything from ramps to celery root. They spent time in fish markets, snapping up new offerings like Arctic char and tilapia. Then they cooked each dish again and again and again, taking out unnecessary steps and ensuring that each was absolutely foolproof.The result is more than a thousand recipes that are absolutely guaranteed to work.I couldn't live without this book.I love cooking from it.I hope you will too.

    Best wishes,

    Ruth Reichl

    (Photo © Brigitte Lacombe)




    Recipe Excerpts from Gourmet Today

    • Raspberry Lime Rickey
    • Grilled Ceasar Salad
    • Grilled Cumin Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa
    • Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

    1 ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great content; Binding breaking but publisher quickly resolved issue, September 13, 2009
    I got this book last week and have had it on the table, flipping through it and reading it all weekend. The recipes look great, they really do, contemporary and tasty, and I can't wait to try them. I doubt this book will hold up for cooking, though, because the binding is already breaking and those cute little green ribbon bookmarks popped out immediately. At over a thousand pages, this book should have a heavy-duty binding, and it doesn't. I think Houghton Miflin should have published it in two volumes to be more manageable and should have used much higher quality binding and materials. I would be willing to pay more for a book like that that would last. Addendum: WOW--these comments do get noticed! The publisher of this book contacted me and is sending me a new one. They were very apologetic and concerned and said that since I got an early run of the book, that might have explained the poor binding. I was very impressed with their response and how quickly they worked to resolve the problem--the true mark of quality customer service. I'd now give it five stars, but the app doesn't want to let me do that.

    5-0 out of 5 stars First, braised rabbit, then the world!, September 30, 2009
    I had never made rabbit before last week. Not once, until a good, good friend gave me Gourmet Today. I meandered through it, loitering at the recipes that especially caught my eye, which many did, including one for rabbit braised in red wine. It reminded me of a French dish I love in which chicken and shallots are simmered for about an hour in red wine and vinegar, so I figured I'd try this similar approach to rabbit. It was better than the chicken, better than I ever hoped! The wine really deepened the flavor of the rabbit and it was so incredibly tender. And it was really easy, I actually made this after getting from home work on a weekday, and it is one of the best meals I've had in months. I took the book's suggestion and made buttered polenta to go with it, which was a great pairing.

    This book is just wonderful! The only problem might be that there are too many recipes; I doubt I'll get through them all. I'm trying though. I've only had this for a week and I've already made the rabbit, weiner schnitzel (it's Oktoberfest time, after all, I should have appropriate food to go with my festbier), delicious cornmeal sugar cookies, and the grilled cumin chicken breasts with avocado salad. All great, and surprisingly easy. Last night some friends came over, including a couple vegetarians, so I made the asparagus with roasted potatoes and fried eggs (they weren't vegans!), plus I tweaked the red leaf lettuce salad a bit based on what I had on hand. These friends were also huge Mad Men fans, so I made Old Fashioneds and vodka Gimlets from the cocktail section. It was a good time, and it gave me an excuse to roast potatoes, as if I ever need one. The fried egg add-on was something I hadn't thought of doing, but it was a great idea.

    A lot of the recipes seem very adaptable, which is a necessity for someone like me who always forgets a couple things when I'm grocery shopping. There's a great range of quick dishes and more involved and time-consuming recipes. So it's really useful for weekday meals as well as recipes for the weekend or when company is over.

    The recipes also range widely as far as what ingredients are used. There are a lot of opportunities to use exotic seasons and ingredients, but also plenty where I can rely on what I have already on hand (as far as pantry items).

    This is a really great book. If I had paid for it, I would say it's paid for itself already by getting me to stay in and cook better food than if I'd gone to a restaurant. I just hope I don't get too many food stains on it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Gourmet Locavore: The Go To Cookbook, October 20, 2009
    Five Stars- 4 stars error

    I heard Ruth Reichl speaking with Terry Gross on 'Fresh Air' while I was on a long drive home. She was scheduled to discuss her new cookbook and, oh, by the way, Conde Nast had just shut down the publication of 'Gourmet' magazine. A shocker to all and none more than Ruth Reichl- she had not seen this coming at all. In her grief, she was able to provide a marvelous romp through this new cookbook plus she was able to tell wonderful stories that go with food. The minute she started describing her two 'go to' dinner dishes, the meals that she could prepare in a hurry, I was more than hooked. I wanted to get out of my car and buy the cookbook immediately. I did buy it via Amazon,, and it is a beauty!

    A 1008 page cookbook with a the most luscious green cover. Her cookbook from ten years ago is yellow and this compliments that book well. Besides this cookbook is a greening up of America, and the color is just perfect. Grant you, this cookbook is large, over 1,000 recipes. A little intimidating to be sure, but a cursory glance through the book quickly convinced me that this is the 'Go To Cookbook'. One of the ironic by products of this cookbook is that a one year subscription to 'Gourmet' is included on the flyleaf.

    The cookbook is well designed and the lay out is perfect. The table of contents is two pages. From drinks, hor d'oeuvres, soups, salads, pastas, grains,vegetarian main courses, fish, poultry, meats, grilled dishes, vegetables, breakfast and breads, cookies and bars, pies, tarts. and pastries, fruit desserts, puddings, custards, frozen desserts, menus, tips and techniques, glossary, sources, and index. Did she leave anything out? It will take me years to find out for sure!

    Ruth talked about her son who had gone to college, and after his first meal in the cafeteria decided to cook his own meals. Ruth went shopping with him one day and discovered the world was much different now. We have more fresh foods, we want fresh foods, some prepared foods, ethnic foods, fun foods, the world was out there for her son to discover. She realized that she needed to write a new cookbook, and thus this 'go to cookbook' was born. The chapter on drinks surprised me, but what a wonderful surprise. All drinks wise and wonderful. The drinks, vegetarian main meals and grilled dishes are new entrants into this book. The combination of all of these foods, plus menu planning and party ideas is a boost. This is a cookbook for a cook- a new cook, a cook with many years and the ultimate chef. Everyone can benefit from this cookbook. It is a must for every kitchen.

    The green ribbon place finder is a wonderful surprise and right now it is on the page of my first recipe. Spiced Chicken on page 397. This could be one of the best chicken recipes I have ever had, and one of the easiest to prepare. The combination of spices and the chicken are yum, yum, finger licking, really. And, she gives us a hint of what to serve with it, and how to make a sauce. Really, everyone, you must try this chicken, I mean it!

    'Gourmet Today' has found a place of honor in my kitchen, and I read a chapter or two a day. Cookbooks are for reading and they are one of my favorite books. I love this book.

    Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-20-09


    Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way

    Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table

    Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

    The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, exceptional...a truly wonderful wonderful cookbook, November 22, 2009
    Gourmet Today is a really spectacular cookbook. In the intro they (she...R Reichl and crew) state that bascially the American food culture has changed significantly ("sales of salsa now top out catsup....") as has the American lifestyle, with more demands on people's time coupled with a greater interest in eating well, and eating better, healthier food. So in Gourmet Today they strive to provide a cookbook that addresses this. I think they do a fantastic job in their effort. I have a truly huge (nearly 300) and very well used cookbook collection and I do not offer my praise of this one lightly. They have presented a broad, diverse collection of recipes with extraordinary finesse. I only buy new cookbooks that have recipes that fascinate and intrigue me and maybe go beyond what I have. Was going to pass on this one at Costco (folks, it is 21.95 there!) but started reading it and couldn't put it down. Got it home and have been enjoying it now for several weeks both to cook from and to read.

    I have the first Gourmet cookbook; I like it well enough and refer to it fairly often, but in my estimation, this one is way better. I will not belabor the various sections, which are pretty standard and listed in detail by another 5* reviewer. But I will say there is something for everyone. It has great recipes for the familiar including tuna noodle casserole, a fantastic recipe for turkey meatballs w/spaghetti from Lidia Bastianich, and simply a myriad of other favorite salads, soups, sides and mains. But there are also some fantastic yet accessible recipes for that go beyond: turkey tonnato (yep, a turkey version of the infamously elegant veal tonnato, making it more affordable,healthier, easier to get than veal, and also more ecoloigical and a tad more compassionate), salmon cannelloni with lemon cream sauce (you make the fresh crespelle for the cannelloni..but it is still elegant and simple); some fantastic vegetarian recipes that are very well presented including an excellent tempeh burger, and my favorite for the moment - Afghani scallion dumplings with yogurt and meat sauces (folks, the most exotic ingredient in this charmer is wonton wrappers), mushroom tamales, roasted vegetable panzanella and much more. I could go on, but I hope this gives a sense of some of the interesting contents. There are really well-selected recipes from at least 6 major cultural groups (sorry to group some of these together but for expediency...): India, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, Euro-Mediterranean along with classic American. Great preparation tips and hints. There is an assumption that you might be entertaining or prepping ahead so there are tips for that as well as a healthy batch of both alcoholic and non-alcohlic beverage recipes; good section on grilling. Good info on sustainable seafood/fish. There are some excellent bread recipes. There are some good stories that accompany some of the recipes. Excellent collection of vegetable recipes as well as starch/pasta/grains. The desserts are awesome.

    I saw somewhere where a reviewer said these recipes were 'dumbed down'. Not at all...but they are expertly conceived and presented making them seem simple or at least accessible. I will absolutely stand by that. The 'ethnic' recipes are brilliant - they have managed to make them both very accessible and authentic. There are recipes that are really simple to assemble and others that are more sophisticated but all, even the more complex ones, seem to have an ease of preparation bacause they are well thought out.

    For those who live in really rural areas...might be some ingredients you can't get ( but then, even in small towns there are often "ethnic" groceries that cater to local Mexican and Asian populations...might try there for some ingredients, or mail order.). For those who simply MUST have pictures...this is not the book for you, but it does have stellar graphic design.

    i will just restate that this is truly an excellently crafted collection of recipes that will not disappoint. I am amazed with how well thought out it seems to be. While I respect and use some of Mr. Bittman's cookbooks I sometimes feel like he defaults to Asian cooking style/flavors a bit too often; I do not find that at all with the Gourmet Today collection. I do find the collection is what I would call 'well-grounded' which for me means it is food the way real people eat, at home that is and not how they eat at 3 Star restaurants in Napa Valley (yes, we love French Laundry...but who cooks like that at home!).

    Probably not for a timid beginning cook, but if you know and like anything about Gourmet Magazine, then this is highly recommended for you. Yes, some of these recipes can be found online or in editions of the magazine; other not. But with Gourmet Mag now sadly defunctified by Conde Nasty, this collection seems somehow even more special. Hope you get it and enjoy reading and using it as much as I have. This is going to stay on my favs shelf. There is PLENTY to explore in this masterpiece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Glorious Swan Song of a Book, October 16, 2009
    Yes, I'm still in mourning for the death (the stupid, ill-conceived death) of one of the great food magazines in history, so my review is tinged with sorrow and anger...BUT I think you can trust me (I'm a food scholar and happily adventuresome cook of over 30 years) when I say that Gourmet Today is a FANTASTIC cookbook! Yes, many of the recipes are lighter and quicker than "traditional" Gourmet fare, but why not go buy the slightly older "Gourmet Cookbook" (which includes revised recipes from the magazine's sixty years of publication) and have a twosome? I did.

    Gourmet Today is simply crammed to the brim with attractive, clever, well-described and executed recipes for nearly everything you could want to cook, with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, world cuisine, and innovation. The recipes are sensible, understandable, and yet incredibly seductive. Ruth Reichl and her staff have somehow distilled the essence of new American Foodways (which, really, means fusion world cuisine) down to the BEST and most alluring recipes, across the spectrum. I have over 400 cookbooks but I could see myself easily, happily, using just this ONE book for years, if I were stranded on the proverbial deserted island (with a grocery store or internet access ;-). Just now, I was cruising the soup chapter and ran out of bookmarks for soups that take old friend ingredients and combine them in seductive new ways: White Bean and Tuscan Kale Soup with Chestnuts...Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Wafers...Chunky Butternut Squash, White Bean, and Tomato Soup...Tunisian Soup with Egg Noodles and Chard, and it goes on and on. I'm drooling as I write this, in fact.

    As to the "ingredients are hard to find" claim, well...perhaps. One doesn't get much more "rural" than my location (I'm outside a small farming town of just 1000 in NW Iowa, in a land where "dinner" means meat and potatoes...the nearest "gourmet" grocery store is a 2.5 hour drive) and yet with some advance planning (we shop at better stores when in Omaha and Des Moines--we hit up Penzey's Spices each time, too-- and freeze what we can), stockpiling (I buy pinon nuts by the five pound box and freeze) and with the incredible ease with which one may order just about any gourmet food item known to womankind, from Amazon (super saver shipping! Free!) or I-gourmet, etc., there' not a recipe in this book that cannot be made. Most don't require anything more than your average "slightly upscale" kitchen/pantry/grocery store, in fact.

    By the way, this book comes with a "Bonus Offer" of a year's subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Seeing that made me sad all over again. So,I called the subscription service number listed at the Gourmet website and found out that one does NOT have to accept a substitute subscription to Bon Appetit, but may instead request a check for the $12 cost of an intial Gourmet subscription. Should this actually go through and work out, you just saved another twelve bucks off the cost of this book, so what's YOUR excuse for not buying it this instant? Cheers!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book!!!, October 7, 2009
    I live in India, and received the book a week back. The vegetarian and grilling sections are amazing, really extensive and different from other cookbooks that I own. I especially liked the quick puff pastry recipe, that was easy to make, (we don't get puff pastry in the supermarkets in India), and tasted very authentic! Also, the Indian inspired recipes are surprisingly like the real stuff!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile book, October 6, 2009
    I too received a copy of Gourmet that didn't stand up to the binding. I wrote to Gourmet and they passed my letter onto the publishers. I immediately heard from them and they replaced my copy. I have tested the binding on my new copy and it strong and will most certainly hold up to use. The pages stay open which means I can easily use it on my kitchen counter.

    Im a prolific collector of cookbooks and when I first received my copy (for a gift) I was surprised to see no pictures and wondered whether I would actually meander through the book. I read the first few pages and was hooked. Every page holds a treasury of delights. I feel like a kid in a candy store! I love the blurb before each recipe. I am drawn into the recipes and feel like Gourmet is entertaining me in their kitchen.

    This is wonderful value for money and a must for anyone who loves cooking.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Love the new Gourmet!, September 28, 2009
    I was dying to get a copy of the new Gourmet - I'm a huge fan of the earlier version, and have made many many favorite dishes from it that are real crowd pleasers. The new Gourmet is the right mix of practical every day recipes with wonderful occasion dishes. I was truly delighted to see recipes like white gazpacho, ricotta dumplings (gnudi), and apple pizza (desert!). I was also happy to see the inclusion of more fun, less traditional dishes, healthier recipes, a big section on vegetables with an expansive variety of veg covered, and a great soup section. In general I think the book lives up to its 'contemporary kitchen' claim, and I was very pleased by the steady infusion of international recipes. As in the previous version, the sidebars impart hugely valuable information. Finally, with regards to the comment about the book binding - perhaps it was one bad apple? From a construction perspective the book seems of a similar good, strong quality to the previous Gourmet - a book I have heartily abused for several years now, yet is absolutely fine.

    5-0 out of 5 stars As the best cookbook we've bought in 10 years, it will become a standard in our kitchen, November 20, 2009
    This book, discounted as it is, is an absolutely SPECTACULAR deal.

    We have tried several recipes - all perfected in the experimental kitchens of the sadly defunct Gourmet Magazine - and they have all been distinctive, relatively simple in terms of technique, and written with perfect economy and clarity. Each recipe we have tested are based on newly available ingredients in common grocery stores, and they add just that little twist of new flavor and combination to many standard recipes. Unlike the rather banal standards or overly complex yupped-up offerings in New Basics (excellent but you need about 40 recondite ingredients that you may never use for anything else), these recipes are accessible to busy parents who want to offer more than chicken nuggets every other night.

    I am convinced that we will plumb the depths of this masterpiece over the next ten years - adding many standards to our cooking repertoire and educating the palettes of our children. We have looked for a cook book this excellent, with a density of ideas and step-by-step instructions for even novices, for several years; indeed, we have spent a lot of money in the process! This one is it, at long last.

    Warmly recommended. It is a testament to the great mag that spawned it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Innovative update, November 5, 2009
    Despite the demise of cosmopolitan Gourmet magazine, its comprehensive updated namesake tome is likely to be this season's blockbuster.

    Designed for the new American cook - accustomed to a variety of choices in the supermarket hardly conceivable even a decade ago, from Arborio and Basmati rice to chayote and edamame - this 1,000-page volume (with 1,000 recipes) caters to health-conscious, environmentally savvy cooks who, while always pressed for time, love to eat and entertain.

    Gourmet's editor and former New York Times food writer Reichl (and her team) put a lot of effort up front in splashy drinks and sophisticated openers. If the hors d'oeuvres and dessert are fabulous, "the middle will pretty much take care of itself."

    Hence homemade Samosas, Korean Pancakes, Oysters with Champagne Vinegar Mignonette, Terrine de Campagne (French pork p�t�), Vietnamese Summer Rolls.

    And for dessert, well, how about six chapters, comprising almost 200 pages? Traditional cookies, cakes, pies, fruit desserts, puddings and frozen desserts as well as modern twists like Lemon Cakes with Basil Lemon Syrup, Ginger Fruit Salad, Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake.

    In between? Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops, South Indian Shrimp Curry, Orecchiette with Rabbit Ragu, Lobster Cantonese, Crawfish Etoufee. Most of these take 45 minutes or less. And Reichl includes plenty of homey familiar things too - Browned Onion Kugel, Garlic Shrimp, Bean Burritos, Fresh Corn Spoon Bread.

    There's a comprehensive vegetarian chapter (Fennel, Taleggio, and Cardamom Tart, Mixed Mushroom Tamales), a chapter of grilled dishes and 85 pages of vegetables, A to Z.

    The book concludes with some handy appendices - a Menu chapter that encompasses weeknights by season, holiday menus, party menus, international menus; a few pages of tips and techniques; a glossary; list of sources, and a very thorough index.

    Each recipe includes prep times and head notes providing tips or background on the recipe. This is a must-have for anyone who enjoys cooking - or eating. ... Read more


    20. The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food
    by Garrett Oliver
    Paperback
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $14.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Isbn: 0060005718
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 1888
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Editorial Review

    Traditional craft-brewed beer can transform a meal from everyday to extraordinary. It's an affordable, accessible luxury. Yet most people are only familiar with the mass-market variety. Have you tasted the real thing?

    In The Brewmaster's Table, Garrett Oliver, America's foremost authority on beer and brewmaster of the acclaimed Brooklyn Brewery, reveals why real beer is the perfect partner to any dining experience. He explains how beer is made, relays its fascinating history, and, accompanied by Denny Tillman's exquisite photographs, conducts an insider's tour through the amazing range of flavors displayed by distinct styles of beer from around the world. Most important, he shows how real beer, which is far more versatile than wine, intensifies flavors when it's appropriately paired with foods, creating brilliant matches most people have never imagined: a brightly citric Belgian wheat beer with a goat cheese salad, a sharply aromatic pale ale to complement spicy tacos, an earthy German bock beer to match a porcini risotto, even a fruity framboise to accompany a slice of chocolate truffle cake. Whether you're a beer aficionado, a passionate cook, or just someone who loves a great dinner, this book will indeed be a revelation.

    ... Read more

    Reviews

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dispelling the Image of Beer as "Cheap Fizz", March 16, 2004
    Before Garrett Oliver visited our wine/beer shop, I hadn't read a word of this book. Now, I can't put it down.

    It was obvious, during his hour-and-a-half visit/tasting that he was a wizard. Grabbing various cheeses and beers from our shelves, seemingly on a whim, I wondered what he was up to. But tasting Ommegang's Three Philosophers Quadrupel alongside the ubiquitous Humboldt Fog; tasting Dupont's Miel with a sheepsmilk beauty; tasting Garrett's own Brooklyn Monster Barleywine alongside a stinky Stilton, it made us all realize that this guy was the brew master.

    After that, I opened his book, and my world was changed forever. Food, which I had always tried to pair with wine, was transformed into a whole new experience. And the rows of weird-looking bottles that I used to simply stare at for hours during a slow shift at the store, now made sense. Who knew that the $5.50 Le Coq Imperial Double Stout was a "world classic"? Garrett did. Who knew that the $3.79 Schneider Wiess was a "tour de force"? Garrett did.

    His book is at once a recipe for a culinary celebration, and an encylopedia of beer styles and producers. The simple organization of the book is perfect! He starts with the chapter: Wheat Beer, for example. Then, within that chapter, he addresses different styles and regions-for example, German weissbeer. That section is then divided into 3 parts: a history of the style and an explanation of the beer itself; pairing that beer with food; and, notable producers of that style. This simple yet intelligent organization lends to a broad base of interest and knowledge within each chapter.

    Garrett doesn't get too technical, but he doesn't dumb it down either. There always seems to be a real passion flowing over the pages, and he is not shy about letting this passion show like a neon sign. Of course, he harbors a bit of arrogance over wine when it comes to pairing beer with food. However, the more I test out his suggested pairings, the more I realize that his arrogance is pure genius. The extent to which he has "researched" food pairings (groaning work, to be sure...) is simply amazing. With any given beer style, he will list ten or twenty different dishes or styles with which to pair that beer. I also enjoy his ability to invoke the essence of "place", as it relates to the beer experience. He writes of an experience in amsterdam, watching the barges, drinking beer with his salmon, and enjoying the moment. He recalls the homely atmosphere of London beerpubs with fondness. He describes the musty, cobweb-filled Belgium lambic houses in great detail.

    And somehow, he manages to never drift too far on a tangent, and always pulls whatever experiences he has had back to history and the beer itself. The amount of knowledge in this book is astounding. His food pairings are exquisite (though sometimes, I think he is a bit too generous). The historical information is both interesting and helpful in understanding the beer and its roots. And his introduction and description of each style is impeccable. If you walk into a store like ours, and the sheer selection of beer scares you, just thumb to the index of The Brewmaster's Table, and you'll probably see a reference to whatever bottle you're holding in your hands.

    Warning: this book will drastically change your culinary world! It will consume you, and turn every meal into a new opportunity to turn a good beer into a magical experience. As you pore over each chapter, you'll want to run down to the store and hunt down that particular style, just to see what Garrett's making such a racket about. The pages, with the absolutely beautiful photography and descriptions, will consume you to the point that you've just gotta have that Imperial Stout, right now! And if it hasn't happened already, this book will certainly make sure that you will never again let the likes of Budweiser fizzy water pass your lips.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Serious writing about beer, May 15, 2003
    As a fan of beer it is disappointing to go into a book store and see dozens of intelligent books about wine and then look at the beer books. There are several good books on homebrewing, recipes, and styles. However, this book looks seriously at beer and food. Sure there is some background information and history of beer. Mostly it lists many of the beers and what they pair well with. It is the kind of book needed to take beer more seriously.

    Part One: The Basics
    1. What is Beer?
    2. A Brief History of Beer
    3. Principles of Matching Beer with Food

    Part Two: Brewing Traditions
    4. Lambic
    5. Wheat Beer
    6. The British Ale Tradition
    7. The Belgian Ale Tradition
    8. The Czech-German Lager Tradition
    9. New Traditions - American Craft Brewing
    10. Unique Specialties

    Part Three: The Last Word
    Glassware, Temperature, Storage, and Service
    Beer with Food: A Reference Chart
    Index

    Typically each style is talked about in general then a bunch of brewers are covered including food pairings. Garrett mentions in his foreward that a bunch of recipes from a who's who listing of chefs were left out of this edition. I look forward to another book with recipes. There are nice color pictures in this book too.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book with wide appeal, March 3, 2004
    This book is a good introduction to craft beer for newbies, and a good source of information for connoisseurs as well. It surveys the major beer styles, and discusses the best food pairings for each, teaching skills that help the reader decide what beer to pair with which food.

    Wisely, Oliver omits the technical descriptions of beer styles and focuses on what they taste like. For homebrewers and beer geeks (hey, I'm one myself), discussions of IBUs and original gravities are great, but they can turn off people who are just interested in drinking good beer and in expanding their beer horizons. And this book is as much about spreading the good word about craft beer as it is about appealing to those who already love it. However, there is enough information about history and brewing to appeal to the most advanced brewer. Indeed, Oliver does a good job at keeping it breezy and accessible without being pedantic or "dumbing down" the material.

    The appendix at the end provides a list of suggested beer and food pairings. It is useful and provides a quick reference that you can consult before heading out to the store.

    If you have any interest in craft beer and good food, you will enjoy this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book !, October 10, 2005
    The content of the book deserves all the accolades that other reviewers have heaped upon it, so I won't repeat what has already been said.

    Garret Oliver's passion for beer and food is evident from the first paragraph. The prose is at once zealous, lighthearted, and entertaining, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Once opening the book, one can't help but consider what beer to accompany the next meal or snack, to the point of planning menus for the whole week. A delightful must-read for anyone looking to improve their culinary life; also an invaluable resource to any restauranteur, chef, sommelier, caterer, gourmet food or beer retailer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Beer Book, July 15, 2007
    I read alot, and use Amazon alot, and have read many beer books, but this is the first time I've been prompted to write a review. This is by far the best book on beer I've read. Comprehensive, delightful, and informative, it would be enjoyable even for someone who was not a beer enthusiast. I don't particularly care about pairing beer with food, and so might have overlooked this volume. However, even passing lightly over the sections about beer-food combinations, it remains the best book on beer I've seen! It's my beer bible!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great for discovering new beers and food pairings!, February 28, 2007
    I take this book with me whenever I enter any store with a good selection of beer. It has proven to be an invaluable source of advice as i peruse the shelves of imported and craft beers. i never appreciated how good beer and foods could go together before i tried some of the combinations in this book. The discussions of various Belgian styles, particularly the Saisons, has been eye opening for me.

    I recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to expand their beer experiences and more importantly, to anyone who wants to experience how different beers and different foods can come together in some wondrous ways.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Bible for the beer foodie, January 20, 2008
    Between 1850 and 1880, "Brewers Row" in Brooklyn became home to eleven breweries, due to a massive influx of immigrants from Germany. By the end of the century, Brooklyn had become a major center for brewing, boasting 48 brewing establishments.

    In the spirit of this brewing tradition, Garrett Oliver emerges. As Brewmaster and a partner of Brooklyn Brewery, he imparts his knowledge like flakes of gold, creating traditional styles of beer with classic depth. An avid lecturer, he articulates the connection between fine food and beer with the passion of a master.

    THE BREWMASTER'S TABLE - DISCOVERING THE PLEASURES OF REAL BEER WITH REAL FOOD is a bible for the beer foodie. Mr. Oliver entices you into his world, using colorful words to tease you into submission. Once captured, he takes you on a grand journey, matching food tastes with beer styles, introducing you to fine European traditions, and creating a burning desire for more.

    The reader travels with him throughout Europe, to the Payottenland district west of central Brussels, home to lambic beer. Discover the Bavarian Weissbiers, with their strong spices and malt sweetness, merging seamlessly with Thai, Indian, Mexican and Chinese foods. Visit the pubs of London, with their English Bitters and Imperial Stouts. Enter the fascinating world of Trappist and Abbey Ales - Chimay from Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont and Westmalle from Abdij Trappisten van Westmalle - and onward, through the Czech Republic and returning to America, where traditions are merged by the artisans of beer.

    Whether you are a connoisseur of beer, a gourmet cook - captivated with the art of pairing food with beer, or an individual with a passion for palatable treats, THE BREWMASTER'S TABLE leads you into the pleasures of real beer with real food.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is the guide to beer!, August 22, 2007
    I've had this book for 2 years and just bought it for a friend because I've loved it so much. I've reread this book twice because there is so much great information. This book changed the way I look at, buy and drink beer. I'm also a home brewer and this book gave me a whole new perspective on what I was trying to make and what I wanted from my beer.
    There are few books that talk about pairing beer with food and I think this is THE book on the subject.
    If you want to broaden your beer horizons, this book will do it. You will never look back.
    Enjoy!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Garrett makes it fun!, June 13, 2003
    There are lots of books on beer craftsmanship, beer history and even beer styles; but through all the beer books I've read, none can touch Garrett's handling of pairing beer styles and food. Garrett approaches his task from a standpoint of making it fun and enjoyable. He writes in a very friendly, light-hearted (but serious) and easy-going style and pulls from vast experiences to help the reader along.
    If you're looking to take your enjoyment of beer (and food) to another level, I would recommend this book highly.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still one of the best in the genre., June 7, 2009
    This book started my journey into beer and food matching. Definitive and inspiring. Great insight into a developing market. ... Read more


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