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Cooking For Two | America’s Test Kitchen

Wouldn’t you love a great recipe that is made just for two? Of course you would.

Cooking for Two 2013 | CLICK TO PURCHASE

TITLE: Cooking for Two – 2013
AUTHOR: Many. America’s Test Kitchen
PUBLISHER: Cook’s Illustrated
CUISINE: American

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FEATURED INGREDIENT: THE CROCKPOTPhoto #431 - Crockpot | By Tammra McCauley
Trying to feature a single ingredient out of a recipe collection like this is next to impossible. Or, maybe, just downright impossible. So, in lieu of an ingredient, how about an appliance? There is an entire section of this book dedicated to slow cooker recipes for two. That will make for some super convenient and delicious dishes.

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Look, this is a book that is published by one of the premier cookbook publishing companies around. So, you expect it to look great and be more thoroughly tested than the common book off the shelf. And, it is. A nice gloss stock makes page turning a breeze. There are beautiful images throughout from Carl Tremblay, Keller + Keller and Daniel J. Van Ackre. It is exactly what you would expect from Cook’s Illustrated. Classy, useful and well laid out.

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WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)
The Smart Shoppers Guide
One-Dish Suppers
Pasta for Dinner
Vegetarian Suppers
Dinner Off The Grill
Light and Fresh
Express Lane
Slow-Cooker Favorites
Side Dishes
Baked Goods and Desserts

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So maybe you’ve seen a Cook’s Illustrated magazine or cookbook. And, maybe you’ve even caught an episode or two of the television series. You may be thinking, “Wow all of that testing and analyzing and sampling, these people must really be serious and committed to their craft. Well, they are. But… have a look at some of their lighter moments.

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THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Prime Rib for Two Maryland Crab Cakes
Weeknight Roast Chicken Chicken & Chorizo Paella
Spicy Pork Tacos (al Pastor) Sour Cream Biscuits
Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes Fresh Pasta Without a Machine
Vegetable Pot Pie Risotto Primavera
Campanelle with Roasted Garlic, Shrimp and Feta Grilled Spicy Shrimp Masala with Zucchini and Couscous Salad
Turkey Taco Salad Braised Cod Peperonata
Shrimp Fried Rice White Bean and Tuna Salad
Slow-Cooker Black Bean Soup Crème Caramel

 

There are tons of great recipes here. Over the years, I have seen so many versions and adaptations of the traditional US Senate Navy Bean Soup (P.60). Oddly enough, I never tire of them. This particular recipe really nails it. Great care was taken to replicate the original dish. I am certainly not a baker. I’m the first to admit that. The Skillet Olive Bread (P.268) can make even my limited skills really shine. Easy and beyond tasty. I know that we’re leaving winter behind at this point. But, the Slow-Cooker Southwestern Pork (P.226) is a fantastic excuse to breakout the crock pot in the middle of July! Is an excuse really even needed? Just plug and play.

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SPECIAL FEATURESCooking for Two 2013 [Hardcover]
The most special feature of Cooking For Two is the detail displayed in each of the recipes. Not that you would expect anything less from the authors of this cookbook. Short, illustrated lessons dot the sidebars along the way. And, an occasional product evaluation makes an appearance to guide you to the best ingredients for your creation. The Smart Shoppers Guide at the front of the book gives the reader a list of some of the basics you might consider for making the recipes.

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CONCLUSIONS
Here is the thing about this book. The basic structure is as comfortable as the popular Cook’s Illustrated magazine. If you like that style (like I do), then you will love this cookbook. Great recipes, more than thoroughly tested and explained in detailed step by step instructions. If you love the periodical, you’ll flip for the book. Cooking For Two makes cooking for two a snap and a pleasure.

Culinary Expertise 5.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS
Cook’s Illustrated Website
America’s Test Kitchen YouTube Channel
Follow America’s Test Kitchen on Twitter

Cooking for Two | CLICK TO BUY IT!

UPDATE: Check out our review of the new Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen!

 

America’s Favorite Food | MyRecipes.com

Can new tech play nice with comfort food cooking?

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

 

TITLE: America’s Favorite Food
AUTHOR: Many. Edited by, Nichole Aksamit
PUBLISHER: Oxmoor  House
CUISINE: American/Comfort/Magazine

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America's Favorite Food | Digimark AppFEATURED INGREDIENT: IPHONE
Our “Featured Ingredient” for this cookbook isn’t really an ingredient at all. But, it is one of the most important components of this particular cookbook. The Smartphone. Without this “ingredient” you take away some of what makes this cookbook unique among it’s peers.

 

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS
At first blush this is all a little hard to take in. I consider myself a “tech” person too. I get the concept. But, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. To be sure, this is a great collection of some delicious magazine reprint recipes. If you haven’t taken the time to subscribe to each, then this is really a treasure trove. You know the names, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Real Simple, Coastal Living, Health and more. It contains lots of easy to prepare dishes for everyone in your family. There are beautiful food images throughout. All in all, an eye pleasing, easy to flip through book.

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WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)
Starters
Soups & Sandwiches
Poultry
Meats
Seafood
Meatless Mains
Pasta & Pizza
Sides & Salads
Desserts
Breakfast & Brunch

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How about a small taste of what some of the video extras look and feel like. Hey, everyone needs to know how to cut up a whole chicken.

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THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Spicy Black Bean Hummus Watermelon Margaritas
Hearty Potato Soup Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
King Ranch Chicken Casserole Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
Cheddar Burgers w/Red Onion Jam Classic Beef Stew
Brandied Cranberry Short Rib Stew Salsa Verde Braised Pork
Halibut w/Coconut-Red Curry Sauce Fresh Salmon-Cilantro Burgers
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Broccoli Beef Lo Mein Shrimp Pad Thai
Peach & Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza Broccoli Casserole
Italian Chard Dressing Grilled Potato Salad
Oatmeal Cream Pies Salted Carmel Brownies

 

It’s obvious from the list above that just about anyone you would care to feed could be satisfied. There are lots of very traditional dishes. Some with a new, more modern twist. Some have been left to their roots. That’s a good combination. There is no shortage of recipes from any of the individual chapters. Every major food group is well represented.

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BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazinesSPECIAL FEATURES
This book is actually one giant special feature. Special tips and hints are available for a large percentage of the recipes via the smartphone app. And, as a bonus, the app works well. No hang ups. That means even the least tech savvy cook in your household will be able to take advantage of all that this cookbook has to offer. Each recipe is coded with special icons that represent the dish. There are metric equivalents and nutritional information stashed in the back for reference use.

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CONCLUSIONS
OK, there are a couple of things at play here. First, we should call this cookbook what it really is. It’s compilation of magazine recipes. And, a lot of them are great tried and true dishes. You’re going to find no nasty surprises once you start cooking. They have all been thoroughly tested and they work. A HUGE bonus. Second, This book is not a cooking tech breakthrough of any kind. I do love the use of the current technology. And, I appreciate the fact that smartphones and tablets have found their way into the kitchen. I use mine there. It’s just that it might be too loaded with extra off site “stuff”. I’m just left wondering how often those badges get scanned and used. You also end up with a little tech overload. So, here is the bottom line. Buy it if you are looking for an easy to use, comfort food cookbook for your whole family. And, you may just have a little unexpected fun in the kitchen whipping up your dinner of choice. That too is a nice bonus.

Culinary Expertise 4.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

RESOURCES, LINKS AND PRESS
My Recipes Website
America’s Favorite Food | Digimark Website
Oxmoor House Press Page

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

Canal House Cooks Every Day | Hamilton & Hirsheimer

 

Simple, elegant & refined. Just the way a cookbook should be.

Canal House Cooks Every Day | Hamilton & Hirsheimer

TITLE: Canal House Cooks Every Day
AUTHOR: Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
CUISINE: American/Comfort/Seasonal

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Featured Ingredient: Duck ConfitDuck Confit | By AllanThinks
Duck confit (French: confit de canard French pronunciation: ​[kɔ̃.fi d(ə) ka.naʁ]) is a French dish made with the leg of the duck. While it is made across France, it is seen as a specialty of Gascony. The confit is prepared in a centuries-old process of preservation that consists of salt curing a piece of meat (generally goose, duck, or pork) and then poaching it in its own fat. [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
Gorgeous! Substantial and sophisticated also fit well. That’s my first impression. This is a cookbook that is also a work of art. Simply amazing. From the soft textured cover to the recipe ribbon to the bright white premium stock, this cookbook says class from beginning to end. It is what a cookbook should be.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter

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Sometimes seeing is believing. Have a peek at what the Canal House is all about.

 

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The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Cold Avocado and Cucumber Soup Lobster Stew
Roast Chicken and Bread Salad Canal House Crab Louis
Open Faced Sandwiches Shrimp Risotto
Smoked Salmon Butter Roast Goose with Ten Legs
Shrimp Roast Pan Fried Chicken Thighs with Zucchini
Asparagus with Lemon-Butter Sauce Baked Ham with Golden Bread Crumbs
Roasted Spring Onions Strawberry Shortcake
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream Apple Tart
Braised Beef Brisket with Onions & Currants Olive Oil Poached Zucchini and Raw Tomatoes

 

OK, there’s a list above of some of our favorite recipes. But, in all fairness this list is very flawed. Just about EVERY recipe contained in this book could have made the list. I haven’t reviewed many cookbooks I can say that about. Anyway, there are of course some standouts. The Lamb Shoulder Chops with Rosemary Potatoes (p. 216) is super easy and super tasty. Here is a common scene from a lot of parties. Someone walks through the door carrying a tray of Deviled Eggs (p. 71). They are immediately mobbed by happy people saying, “Awesome, deviled eggs. I LOVE those”. The Canal House version is simple and classic. Finally, the Deconstructed Carbonara (p.201) is a creative and fun take on a traditional Italian dish. This recipe update works well.

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Special Features
BUY IT | The Canal House Cooks Every DayI love the recipe index up front. For me indexes shelved away in the back of the book are a waste. Being front and center is almost like saying, “Hey, here’s all the good stuff you’re in for, have a look”. There is a very brief intro and then straight into Spring. A conversion table is located in the back of the book as is some author bio information. Obviously, Melissa and Christopher have some amazing culinary credentials. But, this book isn’t about them. It’s about the food. And I like that.

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Conclusions
This cookbook stands out from a very crowded field. It’s apparent from the moment you pick it up that this book is different. The dishes are simple and refined. There is a range of recipe difficulty. But, for the most part the recipes are doable for most competent home chefs and cooks. The images are art. Christopher does any amazing job. They far surpass the normal cookbook photos. You could reprint any one of them, hang it in your kitchen and have an immediate upgrade in your kitchen décor. Here’s the bottom line on The Canal House Cooks Every Day, buy it. Buy it now for a holiday gift for yourself or someone you know. The recipient (even if it’s you) will be happy and grateful.

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Culinary Expertise 6.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Resources, Links and Press
Canal House Website
New York Times Article
The Kitchn – Recipe Review | Serious Ragu
Canal House on Twitter

BUY IT | The Canal House Cooks Every Day