From Publishers Weekly
This superbly organized, stripped-down offspring of the CIA's New Professional Chef has the no-nonsense tone that results when dozens of teachers collaborate on a serious project: "Keep the blades of your knives sharp and well honed"; "Don't be tempted to leave the fish in the marinade for longer than 30 minutes." It's a refreshing sobriety amid the current mania for anecdotes in the home-cooking market. Less French than most school-driven texts, the book emphasizes basic techniques, from sauting and roasting to portioning a chicken and making pasta. The recipe selections were edited with an equally heavy but sure hand: Puree of Split Pea, Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy, Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms, Gnocchi with Herbs and Butter. Each has an unobtrusive sidebar pointing out the relevant techniques (seeding tomatoes, melting chocolate). Even less familiar or more complex recipes-Roast Goose with Apple-Prune Sauce, Mole Poblano de Pollo, Steamed Cod with Gingered Hoisin Sauce-rely on sure-fire methods. Since pasta is a mainstay of home cooking, the carbonara-primavera-puttanesca trinity puts in an obligatory appearance, along with various types of ravioli and lasagne. Desserts are mostly of the simple showstopper variety: Chocolate Mousse and several classic cooking-school souffles. Look elsewhere, however, for game, sweetbreads, bread and pastry. Copiously photographed and filled with impressive-looking tables and charts (including 10 pages of weight/volume equivalents and temperature charts), this makes an ideal book for committed starting cooks, as well as culinary overachievers who occasionally need reminding of the basics.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
With this revised edition of the Culinary Institute of America’s basic cookbook for the nonprofessional, the nation’s leading culinary academy reemphasizes and updates the principles of kitchen organization, which they teach in their classes and which they deem foundational for anyone who wants to cook well. Recipes may be as simple as creamed corn or as complex as a compound dish of squid, mussels, beans, spinach, and pancetta. Few ethnic cuisines are overlooked, and their most typical dishes get full attention. Even such specialized tastes as Tunisian harissa and Chinese ma po tofu are represented. Illustrations make plain such principles as the proper carving of a roast turkey and offer visual examples of ideal outcomes for many recipes. As cooks gain confidence, the book helps them adapt a recipe’s ingredients and create dozens of equally tasty variations to take optimum advantage of seasonal produce. --Mark Knoblauch
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