There are more than 300 recipes in Entertaining 1-2-3, and none of them asks for more than three ingredients. This may sound absurd on the surface, but in Recipes 1-2-3 and Recipes 1-2-3 Menu Cookbook, Gold proved the might and the right of her new path to sprightly flavored foods that exhibit an elegant edge of simplicity. Despite the carefree spin of the title, this is not a blitzkrieg in the kitchen cookbook, a no-brain/no-pain cookbook. This isn't about fast and easy, or about gourmet on the table in under 10 minutes. None of that. Rather, Gold's approach is to use few ingredients and seek a synergy that will push the combined flavors and textures and chemistries to the top of the meter.
Take Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, for example. You'll find it in the Sit-Down Dinners section (there are also chapters devoted to "Morning Guests," "Casual Lunches," "Classy Cocktails and Party Wine," "Hors d'Oeuvres," "Holiday Celebrations," "Great Buffets," "Healthy Entertaining," and "Spontaneous Entertaining"). To two pounds of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, the author wants you to whip in two tablespoons of wasabi powder mixed with four tablespoons of water, and a stick of butter. Water, like salt and pepper, is considered a freebie in Gold's 1-2-3 recipes. Wasabi, you may recall, is the green horseradish paste found in sushi that so quickly clears your sinuses. Tucking in to a plate of these mashies will be like hopping a fast freight, with no looking back. All accomplished with three ingredients.
This a book that demands thoughtful cooking and thoughtful shopping. Using just three ingredients requires a balancing act of flavor. Use lousy, flavorless, out-of-season produce and it's Wallenda time. Once you are in the loop, however, there's some exciting ground to cover in Entertaining 1-2-3. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.