Most helpful positive review
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
James Peterson is known for his technique books, like Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making. Kitchen Simple is Peterson's entry into the more everyday cooking. Most recipes can be made in 30 minutes, though he does have "weekend recipes" that take more than 30 minutes, like chicken broth. There is also an entire section on sauces that could be made ahead, like homemade mayonnaise.
The chapters are divided with such headings as soup, salad, poultry, etc. There are excellent ingredients and techniques chapters at the beginning of the book that really helps with understanding recipes and makes the recipe faster, if you don't know what the technique is just reference the front of the book.
There are a lot of pictures of the finished product, very drool worthy, but not every recipe has a picture.
The recipes themselves are, on the surface, an odd mix. Everything from mashed potatoes to slow roasted duck legs with sauerkraut. The potato recipe has a bunch of variations to elevate it, from the simple additions of basil or garlic, to fancy truffles. Beef tacos sit next to roasted leg of lamb. There is a wide variation from very simple to more advanced, but still streamlined, proving that everyday cooking can also be fairly complex tasting, using techniques to simplify the recipe and steps but still end up with a wow factor. And then some days you just want delicious tacos.
There are even dessert recipes to round out the meal. The sauteed spinach with garlic is a delicious side dish. Served beside the grilled country ham and aged Gouda sandwiches it was a fast and easy meal that really satisfied, though my Gouda was from Sam's and I'm not sure how aged it was, still really good.
The Asian poached chicken was wonderful with rice. The next day we put leftover chicken in soft tortilla wraps with a little rooster sauce and hoisin sauce mix, a few mixed salad greens, and it was a great second meal. The roast pears with butterscotch sauce was like a restaurant dish, but amazingly simple to make at home.