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on October 3, 2008
I must admit that I, like other reviewers, was at first disappointed by the offerings in Giada's latest publication. When I looked at the recipes closer, however, I realized how much I appreciated the book.

Fans are used to an array of savory, Italian dishes...understandably because this is what Giada has turned out before. This new book puts more of an emphasis on fresh, light flavors. Many recipes call for butternut squash, melons, and other vegetables.

The recipes are no longer strictly "Italian," which I think opens Giada's creativity. Although many recipes call for fresh herbs, I found the ingredient list to be, in general, significantly less intimidating and pricey. It's really about fewer groceries with fresher, bigger flavors. I particularly enjoy the "(Not) Just For Kids" section. Here we find fun recipes for things like pizza pot pies, polenta-fried shrimp, and mascarpone mini cupcakes with strawberry frosting.

I think Giada's new direction, away from specifically "Italian" cuisine and into an Italian-inspired Californian cuisine, will prove successful. After three cookbooks of mostly traditional Italian food, she needed to expand somewhere anyway. Staying loyal to strictly Italian food may have become boring and listless for both the chef and her following. I can't wait to see where she goes next!
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VINE VOICEon October 14, 2008
I was pleased to see inventive recipes in this book that I have not seen elsewhere (such as butternut squash and vanilla risotto; fresh tomatoes and goat cheese strata with herb oil; prosciutto andmelon soup; linguine and prosciutto frittata; baked artichokes with gorgonzola and herbs; and orange and chocolate zeppole). I was also pleased that with the exception of the chapter on meat, many of the recipes are either vegetarian or could be adapted for vegetarians. The recipes in the chapter for children also have universal appeal.

Chapters include Appetizers and First Courses; Soups, Paninis and Snacks; Salads and Vegetables; Pasta; Meat, Poultry and Fish; Desserts; and Not Just for Kids. Drink recipes are offered in several chapters and include apple and thyme martini; pomegranate and cranberry bellini; amaretto sour with prosecco; amaretto and raspberry smoothie; and spiced Americano with cinnamon whipped cream.

My only complaint is minor - I would have preferred more photos of finished dishes rather than photo after photo of Giada (there are 5 sets of double page spreads of photos of Giada). I know what she looks like. I don't know what all the finished dishes look like there. Having said that, there are more than 50 beautiful, vivid color photos of the dishes.

I am pleased with my purchase and look forward to trying many of the recipes in this cookbook.
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on October 4, 2008
I own several other of Giada's books, and by far I believe this will be my favorite. With her other books I found myself making recipes only once a month or so because the majority seemed to heavy to eat in Florida weather. This new book contains a variety of fresh takes on classical Italian food. There are lots of fresh veggies, fresh herbs, chicken, and fruit used in her book. I think this might become my new favorite book to reference for new ideas in the next few months!
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on October 7, 2008
I'm actually pretty excited about this book. It's definately different from her other previous books in that it seems less "Italian", but there are still some really fresh ideas in there. I noticed some people saying they've seen all these recipes on her show already. I don't get to watch her show too often anymore since it's on while I'm at work and any other day you have to hunt on the Food Network to find it with all these new shows they have on now, so for me these recipes were a lot newer. Over the weekend I already tried the balsamic barbeque chicken (delicious!!!) and the lemon risotto. I personally loved the risotto because I'm a lemon lover, but my husband and in-laws didn't seem to like it (hmph!) because they thought it was too tart. I can't wait to try the pizza pot pies (how cute), the crostata with apples, walnuts, and gorganzola, and the chocolate panna cotta! I don't know if Giada will ever be able to top her first book for me (still my personal all time fav from her), but this one will definately get some use. It's worth a try!
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on December 30, 2013
The recipes were very interesting, and fairly simple to make. I would have loved the cookbook if I didn't have to struggle to read it. The prink is light gray, and impossible for my older eyes. I don't blame Giada for this, but the publisher is doing her book an injustice. I wrapped it and gave it away as a holiday present to a much younger recipient. How much can they be saving by using watered down ink?
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I have earlier acquired and used one of Giada De Laurentiis' cookbooks, "Everyday Pasta," which was jammed with good pasta recipes. None that I ever tried turned out to be a dud. So, I took a look at another of her books, "Giada's Kitchen." Again, this is a fine resource.

She begins be speaking to her approach (Page 10): "These days, my palate responds most to clean, vibrant, simple flavors, and my eyes can't resist the undeniable freshness of great ingredients and bursts of bright colors." So, presentation of dishes is an element in her selection of recipes for this volume. And, indeed, the pictures of the finished product are mouth-watering and aesthetically appealing!

I married into an Italian family, and one of the benefits is my introduction to dishes such as stuffed mushrooms. Giada presents a recipe for Tuscan Mushrooms as an appetizer. Not quite the same as my family recipe, but a filling of red bell peppers, olives, cheese, and scallions spooned into mushroom caps sounds awfully appetizing.

A very attractive dish (see the photo on page 79) is simple to make--Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi. A couple zucchini (shaved) and a bunch of asparagus (trimmed and sliced into small pieces), tossed with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. After tossing, shave some Pecorino Romano cheese and sprinkle over the vegetables. Like I said, both simple AND tasty.

Pasta? Take a look at the photo on page 104 and the recipe for Asparagus Lasagna on page 105. Instead of using tomato sauce as the basis for the lasagna, she suggests sun-dried tomatoes. I have not yet made this, but it is on my list to try out in the very near future.

I made my first risotto yesterday (featuring mushrooms), and was well pleased with the results (I can't say that every dish I try comes out wonderfully!). The Lemon Risotto presented here is another approach. Arborio rice, chicken broth, lemon juice, shallots, white wine, grated Parmesan cheese etc. One thing that I learned when making my first risotto is also emphasized by de Laurentiis: one must stir pretty much constantly as you add the broth bit by bit to the cooking rice.

One nice feature comes at the end of this book--recipes that kids can help out with. The author says that (Page 203): ". . .my hope is that these recipes will help kids be more comfortable in the kitchen and give them the confidence to try new foods and to ultimately create their own dishes."

To conclude, this is a very nice cookbook, filled with recipes that are (and promise to be) tasty. The recipes are, for the most part, accessible to the amateur chef, not so fancy that you need a sous chef to help out! And the photos are attractive indeed.
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on October 6, 2008
I found Giada's new cookbook to be a refreshing change from her earlier cookbooks (although I loved them as well!). The recipes seem easy to prepare and although they are elegant enough for special occasions I would make a lot of them during the week. Well done, Giada! Thank you!
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on September 30, 2008
Let me preface this review by saying how much I love Giada. I was anticipating this book so much that I preordered it in June. It came today and I must say that I was a *little* disappointed. I recognized mostly all of the recipes from her shows!! There are very few, if any, that I haven't seen before. Of course, they are all fabulous, but Giada - I want more! :) At least for about $20 I can have them in a nice condensed book version instead of all my printouts from foodnetwork.com.
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on June 27, 2009
I bought her first book since I really liked her show and her overall presentation. Then I tried a few recipes and these were simple and yet outstanding! Now we own this terrific book as well and there is a treasure of goodies inside. Try a few of them on your friends and they will rave! Giada is a gem in all manners of speaking.
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on February 7, 2013
As a Giada fan this book was a no-brainer. I am watching her shows on tv and I have tried many of her recipes so far. Never did I had one that didn't turn out or didn't taste. Love the easy to follow instructions and the turn outs.....Get this one
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