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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let me say straight off that this is not what I personally consider a bonafide cookbook review. For several years I helped out with the annual cookbook review section published between Thanksgiving and Christmas by the newspaper where I worked. Each of us would get a cookbook category: desserts, appetizers, ethnic, regional, etc. to test and review. The rules were that you would prepare a minimum of three diverse recipes from each book, serve them to an equally diverse bunch of eaters and get their feedback; meanwhile, other recipes in the book would be scrutinized to make sure the instructions and ingredients lists were clear and made sense; books by chefs would get even more scrutiny, because recipes from professional kitchens often don't adapt well for use in home kitchens. Those are still what I consider the essential ingredients for writing a cookbook review that's worth its salt. This isn't one of them, as I've yet to cook anything from this book and probably won't until next summer, when the ingredients I most want to experiment with here are again in season.

What I can tell you is that the chef who wrote this book is amazingly imaginative and clearly knows the ins and outs of cookbook writing. Her recipes are clear and well written, the book is beautifully designed and the pictures look appetizing.

Other than her offbeat and interesting new ideas for summer produce, the recipes that intrigue me most are ones I haven't the nerve to try myself but would be first in line to get a taste of if someone else did. For example: chicken roasted "stark naked" with no seasoning at all, not even salt...pasta cooked in a bottle of wine...a soup made solely from garlic, olive oil, cumin, chickpea flour, one scallion and an onion... and spinach leaves sprinkled with kosher salt and cooked on a sheet-pan in a 500 degree oven with two spritzes of water.

I'd also be interested in tasting some of her many recipes that contain ingredients I've never heard of or ingredients I've heard of but haven't a clue what they taste like, so can't tell whether I'd like and am therefore reluctant to go to the trouble to track down and spend money on, such as: sable, slivered kimchee, frisee, herring in wine sauce, hiyashi wakame, tahina, za'atar, Greek yogurt, large Medjool dates, chickpea flour, Thai fish sauce, black sesame seeds, garam masala, pomegranate molasses, wasabi powder, prepared wasabi paste, Sriracha, soppressata, calabaza, French breakfast radishes, gemelli, purple basil sprouts, lavash bread, white miso, little bird chilies, scotch bonnet pepper, Turkish figs, ground sumac, ras el hanout, date syrup, pistachio halva, oloroso sherry, unsweetened dessicated coconut and Nutella.

As it turns out, many of these ingredients would not be hard to find, as quite a few are available right here at Amazon grocery.

So, not a review. But perhaps something that'll help you decide if this is right for you or a cook on your gift list.
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VINE VOICEon December 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good cookbook if you don't mind hunting down unusual ingredients. On one page, one recipe calls for pink peppercorns; another wasabi powder and wasabi peas. Granted, many grocery stores now stock a better variety of foods, but how often would you use the rest of the unusual ingredients?

That said, the recipes look delicious and there are some gorgeous color photos of some of them. The book is well organized in recipes for brunch, salads, soups, pasta, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables & side dishes, and desserts. Most of the recipes are quick to make, but some I don't think are 10 minutes to make; one example is just peeling a grapefruit and cutting out the segments would take a lot of people more than 10 minutes. The index fairly well-organized, with entries for major ingredients. It is missing recipe names in the index, so if you remember the recipe name "Mahogany Short-Ribs" you'll have to look in the meat chapter table of contents; it isn't in the index under "Mahogany," Short-Ribs," or "Ribs."
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on October 27, 2010
The title of this book is a misnomer. These recipies are superb, but FAR from radically simple. Most of them require impressive cooking experience, expensive equipment and ingredients, and time.
I would recommend the book to friends who love good recipe books and good food, and love to spend time cooking.
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