Top positive review
330 people found this helpful
Tasty, tasty, and quick
on November 13, 2006
Quite simply, this is the best "cooking for two" cookbook I have ever used. Most recipes call for "regular," i.e. non-exotic, ingredients and attention has been given to avoiding awkward leftovers: you know, 1/2 can of white beans that -- well, what are most of us going to do with THAT?
These go together quickly, too. Each recipe includes an estimate of time to table and, if anything, the estimates seem to run a little on the long side. Some cookbooks that promise 30 minute recipes are optimistic about how quickly some of us can chop. Here are recipes that really do go together in a scant 30 minutes, especially if both people are in the kitchen.
The Publisher's Weekly bit above mentions some of the more esoteric recipes. Interesting as those sound, more appealing to us have been chicken tacos and salt and pepper shrimp (Best. Shrimp. Ever. -- and incredibly fast and easy to make). A strength of this book is its imaginative ways with relatively ordinary ingredients and its helpful introduction to ingredients that I have not used before (chipotles [smoked jalapenos] in adobo sauce is one example that comes to mind). I am becoming a bolder, better cook because the information gives me courage to try new things and to use old ingredients differently.
The introduction provides an overview of how to shop when cooking for two, including specific suggestions for shopping for produce and meats. A concise section of very basic cooking instructions will help anyone new to or simply timid about approaching a stove. There are complete, accurate descriptions of methods and there is a brief but thorough section on outfitting a kitchen for the first time. The lavish photographs are beautiful, in themselves, but also impart information about how a particular dish should go together.
The back of the book has an easy to use section on sauces, side dishes and fast (really fast!) desserts for two. These things are, for me, particularly challenging because I am used to preparing larger quantities. I appreciate directions for scaling down sauces and preparation of grains. In addition to indexing recipes by name, recipes are also sorted by preparation time and a list is provided of "healthy weight" recipes.
Yes, this is a book about healthful eating and each recipe includes nutritional data. But the reason I like this book and recommend it so highly is that the recipes are exceptionally tasty, easy to prepare, and fast. It is a book we would have enjoyed as newlyweds. As empty-nesters, it's an absolute treasure.