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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine chef shares his "keeper" recipes
I once had a professor who repeatedly said "To the point!" as he paced in front of the class. And he stared us in the eye and jabbed his index finger in our direction to em-pha-size his "point". He turned out to be a darn good teacher--at least I retained the information and the concepts that he was trying to convey to us. He would emphasize what, in his mind, was at...
Published 13 months ago by I Do the Speed Limit

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2.0 out of 5 stars Great Photos, Lackluster Recipes
This cookbook is about the pictures, which are very pretty. The recipes are just lacking - they are not interesting and don't look particularly appealing. I am still wondering about the bounty of sliced radishes topped with creme fraiche. Trying to make a variation of the French classic of radishes with butter? The best recipe I noticed was grilled cheese cooked in a...
Published 1 month ago by Jack's Mum


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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine chef shares his "keeper" recipes, October 22, 2013
This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
I once had a professor who repeatedly said "To the point!" as he paced in front of the class. And he stared us in the eye and jabbed his index finger in our direction to em-pha-size his "point". He turned out to be a darn good teacher--at least I retained the information and the concepts that he was trying to convey to us. He would emphasize what, in his mind, was at the heart of the matter: That precise, little tidbit of information, that gem of an idea, which would provide enlightenment. I hadn't thought of that professor in decades. Interesting, that my brain reminded me of that professor as I digest this cookbook...

Tanis has a similar urge to teach and encourage, and to convey his point: To create the perfect, pleasurable and satisfying taste sensation, you don't have to spend the day in the kitchen; you don't have to stock your shelves with expensive and exotic ingredients; you don't have to create multiple-course meals; you don't have to create elaborate sauces or labor through long ingredient lists, and you don't have to use the latest new-fangled kitchen appliances. Do it simply, and do it with an acute understanding of a few perfectly chosen ingredients.

To help convey his attitude towards recipes and cooking, Tanis has chosen just 100 of his favorite recipes and handed them to us in this beautifully done book. It appears that he has refined his top recipes, his "keepers", to be as perfect and precise and true as possible. It has gorgeous pictures and page layouts that are easy on the eye and easy to follow. Plus Tanis is a good writer and his words are well worth reading. In a way, this is a soothing and relaxing book. Its content invites creativity; it is full of calm assurance and composed authority.

I've read his other books: "Heart of the Artichoke" and "Other Kitchen Journeys" and I own a copy of "A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes". While I liked the recipes in Platter of Figs, I never got a lot of use from the book. In fact, while writing this review, I had to go grab that book off a dusty shelf and refresh my memory of it. Oh, yes, I was reminded: He created menus with each dish revolving around another. And it was not a simple task to unwind all the information in order to pinpoint, to find, one particular recipe. This is a simpler book to follow: No more menus to present a grouping of recipes. The recipes in this book are uncomplicated and they are meant to stand alone. They are for one or two servings, up to comfort food for a table full of friends and family.

I acknowledge that one might find that a compilation of just 100 recipes is not enough to create a great cookbook (which is my feeling and why I gave it a 4-star rating). And then you have to consider that some--more than just a few--of these 100 are very basic or simple or just a twist on something from one of his other books.) But, then, you have to consider the basis for this book: Less is more.

So, to help you decide, here are some of the recipes that I've made and liked and some that are still on my bucket list. Some of the recipes I've listed below are also shown in detail in the "Look Inside" feature (which, for this particular book, shows clear, mouth-watering full-color pictures and quite a few recipes), and it also gives an indication of those simple and basic recipes that I mentioned above:

--egg-in-a-hole made with olive oil, not butter, plus garlic and red pepper flakes;
--a simple dish of spaghetti with bread crumbs and coarse pepper;
--a fun way to present a grilled cheese sandwich (use a waffle iron!);
-- mackerel or sardine rillettes, smoked or poached; I love any kind of rillettes and this is a real "keeper" for me;
--quick scallion kimchee (another keeper);
--fresh shell beans with rosemary gremolata; simple and perfect--especially when all but the lemon, oil and salt come right from my garden;
--cream of wild mushroom and parsnip soup (still on my bucket list for late fall);
--semolina and ricotta gnocchi, made in the manner of gougeres;
--a very green (cilantro, basil, mint, scallions, lime wedges) fish stew, kind of Thai-like, but grated coconut and no coconut milk;
--a creamy, comforting, soup combining soft cannellini, roasted winter squash, tiny pasta;
--a warm French lentil salad that's got one of the longest ingredient lists in the book, but every ingredient is perfectly chosen and correctly measured and the balance of flavors is superb;
--baby white turnips and butter, simmered/steamed; I grow the pure white, delicate Japanese turnips in my garden. This recipe has been a keeper of mine for several years now: An easy go-to; prep the turnips, get them in the pan with butter and water and they are done in no time;
--long-cooked kale; Tanis does not believe in the current trends for kale;
--charred endives and anchovy butter;
--"scorched" sweet peppers and onions: Tanis presents an unusual technique: Cast iron skillet, high heat, no oil or fat until the veggies start to give up their juices, then S & P, add oil and stir-fry. I love this technique on a grill. I preheat the skillet for about 10 minutes in a covered grill.
--stir-fried fresh in-the-shell shrimp that have been dipped in a wonderful spice mix with corn starch;

**I received a temporary download (about two months) of this book from the publisher in mid-summer (through NetGalley) in exchange for a review. So, I have been working my way through my bucket list of recipes for several months prior to posting this.**
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love at second sight, October 27, 2013
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
When I first leafed through the book, I was a touch annoyed at what seemed a few too many "lazy" recipes. To illustrate, I am talking about the likes of prosciutto and fruit (literally slices of ham combined with fresh fruit), waffle iron grilled cheese (only real difference to the ordinary version being the waffle pattern) or garlic toast (recommending "fruity" extra virgin olive oil doesn't really reinvent the classic).
HOWEVER, the rest of Tanis's collection amply made up for my initial irritation. Those recipes are sheer genius. And I am not just talking about the more elaborate ones like his delectable Tunisian meatballs. Spicy stovetop flatbreads make a simple but impressive side, hot or cold mussels on the half-shell are great prepare-ahead stunners for a party, and I dare you to stop eating the anchovy-garlic spread. You'll be unable to. Just as the quick scallion kimchee will be a life changer if you follow Tanis's recommendation of adding it to your ham sandwich.
I could go on, waxing lyrical about the fortifying winter minestrone, easy and lovely speckled sushi rice with nori and fresh-pickled ginger, or highly addictive sweet-and-salty nut brittle. But really, you should just do yourself and everyone you cook for a favour and buy this beautifully photographed and all-round delightful gem of a cookbook.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a book home cooks will really use., December 10, 2013
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
I love to read about what great chefs cook at home. Not the gravity-defying plates put together with a huge assortment of ingredients in their restaurants - a sauce, plus a glaze, plus a garnish in one dish, but what they cook and eat without an audience. The shorter the ingredient list and the more accessible, the better.

Google "My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken Recipe" by Thomas Keller. You'll never roast chicken any other way. Or follow what Nigel Slater does with veggies from his backyard garden in "Tender".

Look at the cover picture of "One Good Dish". Thinly sliced radishes. Sprinkled with sea salt. A dollop of whipped creme fraiche. And a grind of black pepper. Four ingredients. A really delightful way to savour radishes, even if you weren't a radish fan (I certainly wasn't).

Forget raw kale or kale chips. Kale simmered to silken tenderness in a chorizo stew elevates it to something else. David Tanis is a master and I have all his cookbooks. But this one is something else. Who knew red wine diluted with a bit of cold water and ice can be so refreshing?

And his chai made from scratch - I am from India - is the real deal.

I have hundreds of cookbooks by a pantheon of world-renowned chefs. This is the kind of book I go back to time and time again.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Cookbooks Out There!, October 30, 2013
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
I am pretty picky about cookbooks. One reason is because there's usually only a few recipes that I fall in love with, so I end up purchasing the entire book. This book, though, seemed to catch my interest because of its unique creativity with food & presentation. When I bought it, I took a chance. It just came in the mail, and it has to be one of the best cookbooks I've ever purchased. I cannot wait to try not only a few recipes....but I cannot wait to try ALL of them. Every single page drew interest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasurable, January 14, 2014
This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
To paraphrase this book's title, if you only will buy "One Good Book" in the coming months…

Here is a rich indulgence of simplicity, authenticity and enjoyment. A basic concept: 100 different, enjoyable "utopian" recipes that can either stand alone or be combined into a larger meal. Attempting to make an ultimate dish whilst not necessarily requiring the skills of a Michelin-starred chef with a budget to match, this is something that anybody who loves good food cannot fail to enjoy.

Some of the recipes sound simple, such as "Real Garlic Toast" whilst others are perhaps a lot more esoteric like "Speckled Sushi Rice With Nori" and a few have you doing a double-take with a name like "Cheese in a Jar". If you like great, quality food photography this is certainly a book for you too with the photographer carefully letting the food be the star rather than some artistic interpretation. That said, many of these pictures could be framed and hung on a wall!

The recipes themselves are fairly well written, clear to understand and draw you in, aided by a brief introduction and dispersal of a hint, tip or pearl of wisdom. Sadly our "usual niggles" about the lack of an estimated preparation and cooking time along with the sole use of U.S. imperial measures are relevant here, slightly taking off the gloss for this book but in no way is this a deal-breaker. One hopes that the promised index for this book is comprehensive and navigable as this is essential yet this was missing in this pre-release review copy so no opinion can be given over this often critical, yet under-appreciated feature.

This is by no means your usual run-of-the-mill recipe book and this adds to the charm. It is neither egocentric, hyped up or jarring - it is just a pleasurable culinary experience that has many great recipes and has the ability of giving you quite a few wonderful surprises along the way. If you are in doubt, visit a bookstore, hold it in your hand and notice its glue-like tendencies and your reluctance to return it back to the shelf...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Book, October 19, 2013
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
This book's beautiful. It's smaller than David Tanis' previous two cookbooks, but page after page is full of simple stuff that (I at least) wanted to try on sight. It all looks simple and quick, and there are even a few interesting condiments to whip up. This looks like a book of stuff Mr. Tanis likely actually eats when he's throwing things together just for himself (and quickly). There's also an interesting range of things to try, including Asian influences and Tanis' take on a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich (he says he omits the meat in his generally). Great book at a great price, and a nice addition to his two previous cookbooks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars adorable, but very simple, February 10, 2014
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Khentug (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
no crazy recipe, but simple almost borderline boring ones. however, the writing about the actual foods is great and informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good dishes, June 7, 2014
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
I found quite a few good dishes in this book. I'm not sure it deserves the breathless praise I've seen for this book. But it does have some good ideas and some of the dishes that donot appeal to me are easily modifiable. I found the book heavy on bread and vegetables. I would have liked more recipes using lean proteins. And for an author who professes not to care too much about deserts, there are quite a few. I don't cook deserts so this part of the book was mostly just for interest rather than recipes I would actually make. Overall a worthwhile buy, but not one of the all time greats.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Casual yet sophisticated--I have turned to this collection again and again, June 30, 2014
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This review is from: One Good Dish (Hardcover)
I have turned to this cookbook again and again, and have made numerous recipes in it, and look eagerly forward with complete confidence and trust to the ones I have yet to try. Spaghetti with Bread Crumbs and Pepper--great use for the end of a loaf of bread, and an easy and surprisingly comforting dinner at the end of a long day--don't turn up your nose at it. Waffle-iron grilled cheese--love it--never thought to use my waffle iron, which has been wasting away in a drawer, this way, and a heck of a lot easier than weighing down a sandwich with a pot lid and a can. Ham and Gruyere Bread Pudding--wonderful winter comfort food--again, great use for the rest of a loaf of bread. Polenta Pizza with Crumbled Sage--great use for leftover polenta. Red Beet Salad--I have made this over and over again--pathetically easy and quick, and a great and refreshing way to use all the beets being given away at the farmstand in the summer, without having to roast them (they're just shredded raw and bound with a zippy dressing). Winter Minestrone--wonderful. Warm French Lentil Salad--divine. Classic Frisee Salad--wonderful. Broccoli Rabe Italian-Style--can't tell you how many times I made this this past winter--every time I could snatch up a bunch from Whole Foods. Swiss Chard Al Forno--wonderful comfort food. Watered-Down Wine--wonderfully simple and smart way to keep from getting knocked over by red wine in the winter and yet still enjoy a glass. The Very Green Fish Stew is out of this world.

Basically, all of these dishes have become familiar comfort foods to me, a routine into which I thought I'd never settle, as I love experimenting and trying new recipes. The French and Italian twist to these recipes is sophisticated yet simple, just the way genuine, simple European cooking really is. David Tanis is a great discovery, and his recipes are reliable and trustworthy. This isn't flashy show cooking--his introductions for each dish are warmly intimate and leave me with a smile. There's a wonderful informality to this collection that is casual and yet at the same time sophisticated--casual doesn't mean that you have to be a slob. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unusual cookbook., May 31, 2014
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I am a chef and cook who seldom buys cookbooks because what else is there to learn, unless new cuisines are discovered on Mars, or in the Amazon. But this one is very instructive in a philosophical. way, encouraging simple concoctions, without all the hoopla that clings to cuisine thinking like barnacles.
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One Good Dish
One Good Dish by David Tanis (Hardcover - October 22, 2013)
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