Thumb through this lovely book and you will find yourself writing and rewriting guest lists, imagining menus, scanning the shelves of your pantry, thinking through shopping lists, and examining china and crystal. You may even find yourself ironing tablecloths and napkins, so be prepared. Rozanne Gold's Entertaining 1-2-3
will get under your skin. Scratch all you want. The only relief will come when the first guest walks through the door and absolutely ogles your food.
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
This collection is intended to reassure panic-prone cooks that they, too, can feed their guests, be it New Year's Eve, a wedding breakfast or a casual lunch. Continuing her three-ingredient approach, Gold (James Beard Award-winning Recipes 1-2-3: Fabulous Food Using Only Three Ingredients; Recipes 1-2-3 Menu Cookbook) provides 10 chapters on quandaries such as serving morning guests, sit-down dinners (with advice on every season), holiday entertaining and "spontaneous entertaining." In her introduction, Gold encourages would-be party planners: "Whatever it is, put it on a beautiful plate and call a friend, or two." But often her three-ingredient recipes require at least one ingredient that would stump cooks outside of the biggest cities. For example, Sable with Dill Cream calls for 11/2 pounds of smoked sable; Socca Blini, Olive "Caviar" calls for three-quarters of a cup of prepared black olive tapenade or eggplant caviar. Still, the book runs the gamut on entertainingAfrom how it works in Gold's own home ("I own two 12-cup coffeemakers and use one or both as needed, transferring the contents to an attractive insulated pot") to "grapenotes" on wine selection with menus and simple recipes for practically every occasion, such as Wrinkled Potatoes with Salmon Caviar for Valentine's Day, and Tri-Tip Fillets in American Red Wine for a celebratory Fourth of July. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.