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92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a dazzling way to start a meal
I expected the worst when I first bought this book. You know, the usual "just five minutes from raw ingredients to table" sort of promise that ends up being as hollow as a celery stalk. This book actually delivers on its rather bold premise. The recipes are technique-heavy, but ingredient light. If you have the items on hand (some are downright exotic), you have a poretty...
Published on October 22, 2002 by The Bee Bee

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amuse-Bouche
Great concept. Some very interesting recipes but needs more photoes to really hit the mark. It is hard to visulize these unusual recipies without some sort of graphics. The ones that are in the book are very good.
Published on January 25, 2007 by Ronald R. Bury


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92 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a dazzling way to start a meal, October 22, 2002
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
I expected the worst when I first bought this book. You know, the usual "just five minutes from raw ingredients to table" sort of promise that ends up being as hollow as a celery stalk. This book actually delivers on its rather bold premise. The recipes are technique-heavy, but ingredient light. If you have the items on hand (some are downright exotic), you have a poretty fair chance of getting these tasty openers in your guests' mouths in very little time. This is not a cookbook for beginners, but if you are comfortable with fairly involved techniques, then you'll have a GREAT time trying out these interesting and challenging recipes. A true must-have for the complete entertainer!
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89 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but lacks intensity, January 11, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
I recieved this book as a gift, and so far have made the "Champagne Saffron Sorbet" which was expensive to make- it required a whole bottle of champagne for 1 quart of sorbet, but nonetheless it was the best sorbet I have ever had in my life. I also tried the "charred lamb with oven dried tomatoes" and the "fig with prosciutto and marscarpone foam". I found the amuse juice section unique- the "pomegranate juice with clove" is painstaking but rewarding (juicing 7 pomegranates) and the "carrot juice with ginger syrup" was refreshing.
The photography is beautiful, but the book requires some special equipment: a juicer, a terrine mold, an ice cream machine, and a foam charger. If you are a serious chef, as I am, you will enjoy this book immensely, although it is very focused, and is not going to produce a meal!
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132 of 140 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for professionals and serious foodies., May 27, 2005
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This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
`amuse-bouche' by Chicago Tru restaurant owner / chef Rick Tramonto is all about a newly trendy corner of French cuisine which arrive before the appetizer, are generally offered for free by the restaurant, and are `Little bites of food to amuse the mouth, invigorate the palate, whet the appetite...' as stated by author.

The value of this book is based largely on the fact that, to my knowledge, there is no other book on the subject available in English which even addresses this subject, let alone does it as well as Sr. Tramonto. The primary value of `amuse-bouche' to the average amateur cook / entertainer is that it gives one the chance to present a small amount of relatively expensive ingredients such as caviar, truffles, foie gras, or sushi grade tuna in a dramatic setting. The dish has the added virtue of challenging the host's ingenuity in presenting these `little bites'.

The disadvantages are that for a single bite of food, these dishes can be a lot of work. As Tramonto prepares them, there is a relatively large amount of pureeing, straining, blanching, grinding, mixing, and reducing going on to distill the ingredients into a powerful taste which has but one chance to make an impression. Compare to this the utterly simple composition of many antipasti, often based on nothing more than a joining of bread or cured ham or olives or fruit or cheese with one another, possibly with the addition of olive oil, a tapenade, or a pesto. The problem lies in the fact that the flavors and the presentation of the amuse-bouche must be exceptionally strong and unusual. The great tripod of antipasto flavors of salty plus oily plus bitter just doesn't cut it, if only because they are so familiar to experienced eaters already.

For the professional chef, this book is probably one of the most interesting and useful they can get if they are interested in boosting the cachet of their restaurant. The book presents nine different types of dishes. These are:

Soup. This is a type of bite where you get lots of bang for the effort you put into the preparation. On the one hand, almost all these soups are creamed, requiring lots of pureeing and straining, especially of ingredients that were not necessarily created to go easily through a strainer, such as the fibrous parts of asparagus. On the other hand, you get lots of economies of scale. With a single run through, you can make enough for eight or sixteen with the same effort as it takes to make one.

Vegetables. These give more work per serving, as you have the job of creating both a sauce and a finely cut or grilled vegetable to lay on top of the sauce. Many are based on terrines which are easy for a trained chef, but which may be a bit much for the amateur.

Pasta and Grain. The heavy lifting here comes from skills needed to pipe sauces into hollow pasta shapes. There almost seems like a special effort is being made to turn a frittata, a very easy dish, into something difficult, which, due to its small size, creates very few servings from a style of dish which is famous for creating easy tapas and antipastos.

Fish and Seafood. This is probably a category where the strong tastes of the fresh ingredients will do most of the work for you. For most people, a single bite of raw tuna, nicely dressed for the evening, is about all they will want. But, even these get their share of aspics, flavored oils, and sauces, which are a breeze to whip up when you have a battalion of sous chefs.

Meat and Poultry: The realm of forcemeats, mousses, foie gras, and cured hams. Many dishes familiar to fans of hors d'ourves everywhere.

Forks and Spoons. More of a method of presentation than a class of ingredients. These recipes involve combining purees or soups with a spoon and long stringy things with a fork, or integrating the utensil into the presentation as the obvious means to eat the food.

Juice. This may be the simplest variety, as all you really need is a good juicer, the primary fruit or vegetable, and the appropriate spices.

Foam. This is the land of the famous Spanish chef Ferran Adria of Barcelona. Having never actually used a foamer, I have no idea how hard it is. I saw Masaharu Morimoto use one on `Iron Chef America', but then he has probably done it a thousand times over, so he will make it look easy. I can tell from the recipes that in order to foam, you must first puree. No free lunch here!

Sorbet. More specialized machines, as in order to create a decent sorbet, you need some kind of ice cream machine. Take my word for it, sticking sugary fruit juice in the freezer doesn't do it!

The last chapter contains basic pantry recipes for intermediate ingredients such as stocks and flavored oils or tuiles and crackers to build presentations.

I generally put little value on photographs in a cookbook, but in this case, they are essential. Half the value of spending all this time on a single bite is to load it up with all the bang you can muster, including dramatic presentations. These do not have to be expensive. I was particularly impressed by the one done using little paper cups commonly available at fast food outlets for condiments. I was also especially fond of the miniatures made to look like something else. Thomas Keller has based much of his reputation on such clever presentations. It is easy to miss, as it is done with light pastel lettering, but each dish is labeled by the best season for it's principal ingredients.

I think this book is a must for chefs and foodies. This is not a subject you get on the Food Network, except as dishes on `Iron Chef'.

Highly recommended for all `haute cuisine' lovers.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye candy with excellent recipes, April 13, 2006
By 
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
To put this review into perspective for you, it is written by a serious student of cooking that has been actively studying food on their own for 25 years. I have been focusing on Italian food for the last 10 years. My favorite cookbook is "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

If you are a serious home cook you will love this book.

The photography in this book is nice and the food styling is beautiful. If you love to entertain and/or you want the meals you serve your family and friends to be gorgeous you will get so many ideas reading this book.

The directions for the recipes are very thorough and well written. I believe that a serious beginner could follow these recipes without a problem.

I have tried many of the recipes in this book all to rave reviews. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on foams. The "cream whippers" are expensive, but they are extremely fun to use.

This book does not need to be used just for small bites. It is as simple as just making fewer portions from the same recipe.

This book is highly recommended for anyone that is serious about cooking.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Doable!, March 21, 2003
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Sydney's Mom "7923" (Clarendon Hills, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
So many celebrity recipies are impossible to recreate at home. But these can really be done! If you want to spend an hour putting together a one-bite amuse-bouche, which will set the stage for everything to come after, this is the book for you. And it looks terrific, the photography is beautiful, and it is a wonderful addition to a gourmet library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a range of time, level, and ingredients, June 3, 2010
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This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
First - I am not a professional chef or even regular amateur cook... I like to entertain and I'm planning a dinner party which is why I purchased this book but it's something I do every few years not every few months.

It was disappointing that there was not a picture for every recipe. For something where presentation is part of the appeal I wanted to see how palatable and eye catching a recipe is when it's presented on a plate. There were pictures for less than 50% of the recipes and some of those were not the preparation presented in the recipe.

The best part was that there were recipes for literally every skill level... easy three ingredient five step recipes to ten ingredient twenty step recipes with three different pieces each with its own set of steps. And I would say the appeal of each of the recipes was in the same league regardless of difficulty.

This is not a comprehensive book by any means - there are two or three ideas in each section for each season - some seasons lending themselves better to one or the other category. There are three or four easy and three or four difficult recipes per category which means if you are trying to entertain in the summer and you are a beginner you have a choice of about five items, likewise if you are experienced and entertaining in the winter, etc. That said the book is really intended as a jumping off point for your own creativity.

Overall the book is definitely inspiring and should be a great reference even if I only ever use one or two of the recipes. I can highly recommend it as a starting point for creating your own one-bite-wonders.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous and elegant, August 7, 2007
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful cookbook with beautiful ideas. It has sensational taste combinations, is very classy and is beautfully arranged by season.
The recipes are simple, but mind blowing in their presentation and appeal.
This is one of my favorite cookbooks, and many of the dishes can be made in larger portions as elegant entrees. These dishes will impress any dinner guest, and add that wow factor to any meal. Some of the reipes include Mission Bay Figs with proscuito and mascarpone foam, mushroom terrine, and baby onion tarts - all little bursts of flavor that hit the spot.
You will not be disappointed with this purchase - satisfaction guaranteed
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Hannibal Lecter's Table to Yours, July 7, 2008
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This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed the idea of this book. I was familiar with the title words from both my culinary readings and my dining experiences, but I had never heard it used in American popular culture until I saw the movie "Red Dragon" several years ago. Hannibal Lecter was serving a small dish (later we discover that it was a body part of an unfortunate flutist) to the Baltimore Symphony board when one of the members asked "Hannibal, what is this divine looking amuse-bouche?". Dr. Lecter replied (in the bone-chilling manner that Anthony Hopkins perfected for this character) "If I tell you... I'm afraid that you won't even try it".

One of the advantages of serving an amuse-bouche is that the home cook can use ingredients that would be too expensive to use in a main course (truffles, caviar, pate, etc.) except for the most special of occasions. Although I have tried several of the recipes in this wonderful book, many of them require specialized equipment that only the most advanced home cook would have in his/her arsenal (things like a "cream whipper" for producing foams, specialty juicers, meat slicers, a Japanese potato mandolin, and so on).

Don't get me wrong, I have most of the above equipment and I've prided myself in the past for trying to tackle any recipe, regardless of how difficult the technique or how laborious the preparation. Although it was always a great learning exercise for me, in the end I could have achieved similar results with less work.

Regarding the illustrations; the photographs are well done but the reproduction quality in the book (maybe even the paper stock itself) causes them to appear dull and flat. Glossier paper might have helped. The photographer (Tim Turner) uses only two different photographic techniques; an extremely shallow depth of field (see the photo for the Warm Onion Tart with Thyme) and then a sharper, view camera-style overhead shot (such as the one used to illustrate the Soft Polenta with Forest Mushroom recipe). The lighting source seems to be mostly a large light-box which only adds to the overall softness and the lack of contrast in the photos. Including an additional side-light source would have added some snap to the shots. I also think that it would have added a more approachable feel to the illustrations had they used more natural looking sets (as in the Saffron-Champagne Sorbet photo) instead of the obvious studio arrangements. Also, since presentation is a major element in serving an Amuse-bouche, there are far too few photos, especially for a book with a $35 price tag. Still, the composition and design of the photographs are exquisite. That could be the work of Mr. Turner or of a talented art director and/or food stylist.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to serve something special to friends and family, but the recipes are too involved for most of us to use on a regular basis. I would love to see a book on this theme that uses some of the fine prepared products found on Amazon's Gourmet Food section or in specialty grocery stores. Until then, I am afraid that the amuse-bouche will never make the leap from a French culinary curiosity to a common offering in US homes, a leap that the appetizer successfully accomplished decades ago.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Bites that DO delight, July 31, 2006
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
Amuse-Bouche are wonderful when served in restaurants but there have been, until now, very few books covering these amazing pieces of indulgence. This book is a real gem as it enables an 'ordinary' cook to give a professional quality to any dinner party, or family meal for that matter. I would highly recommend it, and look forward to other chefs inputting their ideas too.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amuse-Bouche, January 25, 2007
This review is from: Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins (Hardcover)
Great concept. Some very interesting recipes but needs more photoes to really hit the mark. It is hard to visulize these unusual recipies without some sort of graphics. The ones that are in the book are very good.
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Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins
Amuse-Bouche: Little Bites Of Delight Before the Meal Begins by Tim Turner (Hardcover - October 22, 2002)
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