34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2009
This is really a must not buy item. The title is deceptive. There's actually 125 recipes, and they have 4 variations of each, for example, a recipe of a bruschetta with red bell pepper and garlic, and then a variation of yellow pepper and garlic is considered another recipe. It's a cheap book though.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2007
I loved this book, it's full of a wide variety of appetizer recipes to meet nearly every occasion. Most recipes have photos, and each comes with several variations to further customize them. I didn't find the recipes difficult or fussy, so I'm not sure what the other reviewer was referring to. Most are simple to prepare, look elegant, and taste terrific -- sure to impress guests at any gathering.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The first thing that "500 Appetizers: The Only Appetizer Compendium You'll Ever Need" has going for it is the use of the word "compendium" in the title. That is one of my favorite words! OK, so that might not do it for you. Let me try some more ways!
In graduate school one of my English professors and Dean of Humanities at the time said such a strange and wonderful thing (a thought I already held dear). He said--this during the first five minutes of class--a dear little man of Irish extraction--"Just holding a book in your hands can give you a sense of what's inside." To begin, the book jacket is plasticized paper, so has that distinctive feel. Flip it off and you will flip off a maroon jacket only to find a bright, bright orange hardcover. Awesome!
For a thick book--some 288 pages--it holds open fairly well. You will still need something to hold down the sides when you are toward the front and back. After awhile, the book will probably prop open with ease. The spine seems to be designed for ease of use. The book is also small in size--6 inches x 6 inches. Altogether a great feel for what is inside.
Inside, ah, inside are the best recipes for appetizers. Here it comes, oh yes, it's a compendium of appetizers! Pop open one page in the middle--"garlic & chili shrimp." Your first instruction is: "Serve these delectable shrimp with chunks of crusty bread for soaking up the garlic and chili-infused oil." Of course, following the new trend in cookbooks, there is a picture with every recipe--all color on semi-slick pages (that feel again!).
Pop open toward the beginning: "quail's eggs with black olive tapenade"--my only complaint is that I have no clue where to obtain quail's eggs or if I want to. The directions give no clue either. OK, let's try again: "avocado salsa" (note: the book does not capitalize titles, so I'm not). A familiar recipe, a comfortable recipe.
And toward the back: Oh yum! "mashed pea and ham crostini"--Those smashed peas begin as frozen green peas, cook, process until chunky in the blender, rub bread with a slice of garlic, spread peas, fold a slice of prosciutto across, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Does that sound good?
Susannah Blake explains the source of her recipes in the introduction, international in variety, some hot, some cold, some as first course (an example is golden polenta), all either little snackers or little taste-tempters. Then she discusses necessary equipment. Do you know what a debris dish is? It's a necessity at a party where people need to be able to dispose of olive seeds, chicken bones, and the like without tucking them into your houseplants.
Her Table of Contents gives the reader all sorts of choices:
chips and sticks (interesting)--"poppy seed grissini" (breadsticks)
dips and salsas--"fiery pumpkin dip"
mini mouthfuls--prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with lemon mayo"
big bites--"grilled polenta with blue cheese and arugula"
tapas tasters--"green pea tortilla"(this looks so tempting!)
amazing meze--"garlicky tomato and eggplant stacks"
asian flavor--"chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce"
quick canapes and hors d'oeuvres--"walnut toasts with warm goats cheese and fig"--oh heaven!
mouthwatering salads--"baby spinach, roasted squash and gorgonzola salad"
elegant starters--"phyllo tartlets with cherry tomatoes, basil, and ricotta"--a gorgeous dish!
If you are wondering how Ms Blake could fit in 500 recipes, here's how. After she gives main recipes, she ends each chapter with variations of several of the recipes. For example, she takes "zucchini pancakes with tomato salsa" and offers these variations; "with sour cream and chives," "with sour cream and caviar," "with pesto cream," "with salsa and sour cream," and appropriate directions with each. I think she can count each one as a different recipe. You can imagine how different each would be.
I am going to have so much fun during the holidays making some of these fine recipes. I also see several wonderful evening meals. Mention goat's cheese and figs and I swoon. Although I don't have fresh figs, I did can several jars of fresh figs as substitutes. Maybe not a compendium, but a few.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2009
I purchased this recipe book thinking, like everyone else, there were 500 recipes in there. There are only a hundred or so and four variations to each. The recipes themselves aren't bad but definitely not the norm. If you have a picky eater in your house, like my fiance, you probably wont have much chance to use it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2007
The beautiful photographs in this book will stir your appetite and imagination.
Some of the recipes use only one or two ingredients and quite simple, some have more ingredients and are more involved. None of the recipes seem overly complex - and most seem to be forgiving in terms of cooking time.
The primary recipe and related variations format helps keep the size of the book small (about 280 pages). Most of the ingredients are easy to find. The index is complete and useful.
A fun and useful little book.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2007
Compiled and organized by London-based food writer and editor Susannah Blake, "500 Recipes: The Only Appetizer Compendium You'll Ever Need" truly lives up to its title with a culinary wealth of easy-to-prepare recipes for delicious, palate-pleasing, appetite teasing, offerings that would grace any formal or informal dining occasion. Profusely illustrated with more than 200 photographs, this compact, 288-page cookbook features tips on how to select the right ingredients and how to make each individual appetizer look perfect in its presentation. There is a comprehensive introductory section on preparation and cooking essentials, techniques, equipment, ingredients, conversions, and troubleshooting. Variations for each recipes are also provided. From Mozzarella and Basil Quesadilla Wedges; Garlic Mushrooms; Chili Cheese Straws; and Spiced Carrot Salad; to Caramelized Onion and Anchovy Squares; Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce; Roasted Bell Pepper Salad with Mint and Pumpkin Seeds; and Sticky Glazed Pork Ribs, each recipe is gourmet quality, kitchen-cook friendly, and mouth-wateringly delicious. Of special note are the appetizers that are healthy, low-fat and low-sugar snacks ideal for evening soirees. "500 Appetizers" is a welcome addition to any family cookbook collection, but especially recommended for anyone who does a great deal of entertaining in their home.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
In our family, we enjoy an annual extended family "appetizer" cook-off...a sort of (usually) friendly competition, with a declared winner. It includes people of all ages and taste preferences. This year, I will be the hands down winner. My only problem, can I find the discipline to narrow down to one or two of these fun, imaginative appetizers? Amazon reader reviews led me to this book, one of a series. I hope to collect them all.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2007
The title 500 recipes intrigued me. I have an annual holiday party and am always looking for new recipes. I assumed it was 500 different recipes, as opposed to 50 or so main recipes with variations on each to complete the 500 total.